2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

The Car Connection The Car Connection
June 25, 2019

Buying tip

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe models receive no changes, so look for a 2019 model at a discount while they last.

In its last year before a redesign, the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe offers old-school SUV chops with a heaping helping of additional options and features.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is proof that sometimes the old ways are best… at least when it comes to hauling people and stuff. With its truck platform and strong V-8 engine options, the Tahoe tows more and goes further off-road than most crossovers. Still, the big Chevy is showing its age in what may be the final model year for this generation. We give it 6.4 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Tahoe receives no changes for 2020 minus the deletion of one paint color and a few option-package reshufflings. An all-new model is reportedly due for 2021, so look for some great deals on the last fourth-generation Tahoes, particularly leftover 2019 models.

It may look stoic next to the comparatively wild new Silverado and re-born Blazer models, but the Tahoe is still a big SUV with presence. If you’re looking for a more chrome-laden experience, the GMC Yukon is essentially the same vehicle, and those in search of luxury would be wise to turn to the Cadillac Escalade. A long-wheelbase version of the Tahoe is available in the form of the Chevrolet Suburban, which adds about 20 inches and a lot more cargo room, especially behind the third row. Chevy, GMC, Cadillac—they all roll off the same Arlington, Texas, assembly plant.

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All Tahoes come standard with a 5.3-liter V-8 and 6-speed automatic transmission with the exception of the RST and Premier Plus Special Editions, which get more grunt from a 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic. The base engine makes a respectable 355 horsepower, while the upgraded engine pushes out 420 hp. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive costs extra on every Tahoe.

A body-on-frame design and pickup truck chassis yields more ground clearance than the average crossover SUV, while the maximum tow rating sits at an impressive 8,400 pounds. Of course, a truck platform has its compromises, namely in the form of handling, ride quality, and interior capacity.

The Tahoe can be as stripped-down or luxurious as you like, with everything from cloth seats to fine leather and rear-seat infotainment systems. Front seat passengers will be plenty comfortable, and rear-seat occupants fare well enough, but the third row is cramped and all-but eliminates rear cargo room.

Though only managing a disappointing four stars in crash tests, the Tahoe offers some optional active safety features including automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. While fuel economy figures haven’t been updated for 2020, combined mileage maxes out at 17 mpg, and a dismal 13 mpg on E85 ethanol fuel.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Styling

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is old-fashioned inside and out, and that’s a good thing.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is dated but undeniably handsome, warranting a 7 out of 10 rating in the styling department. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

When it comes to full-size SUVs, square is best for many, and the 2020 Tahoe is about as boxy as they come. A simple, two-box design and squared-off edges yield a truck-like look, and though other competitors are sleeker, more modern, or more muscular, the Tahoe offers the most old-school charm. In high-spec Premier Plus trim, there’s abundant chrome, while the RST—or Rally Sport Truck—trim adds 22-inch black wheels and darker styling accents for those who want a sportier look.

Inside, the Tahoe is more car-like than the Silverado pickup with which it shares a platform, and that’s a plus for family-oriented buyers. A front-and-center infotainment screen, wide center console, and available leather upholstery make for a comfortable cabin with plenty of storage space.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Performance

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is all truck, all the time.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe doesn’t need no fancy turbochargers. This big SUV makes use of its two V-8 engine options with aplomb, warranting a rating of 6 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All Tahoes come standard with a 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel-drive. Four-wheel drive is optional, and for those looking for more power, a 6.2-liter V-8 plucked from the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade is available on the RST and Premier Plus trims. This engine makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque sent through a 10-speed automatic transmission and is capable of towing up to 8,600 pounds. Both engines also feature a cylinder-deactivation feature that turns it into a V-4 at highway speeds, helping push fuel economy numbers well over 20 mpg on average.

With its Chevrolet Silverado pickup frame, the Tahoe rides like a truck in many scenarios, which is to say fairly bumpy and not particularly sporty. However, some great suspension helps even out road blemishes, and on smaller 17- or 18-inch wheels, the Tahoe is much more comfortable than its pickup brethren. Adding 20- or 22-inch wheels increases stiffness without improving handling, so we recommend choosing smaller rims.

Off-road, the 204-inch, 5,700-pound Tahoe is no mountain goat, but the optional four-wheel-drive system can be had with a two-speed transfer case, and the Z71 package adds skid plates, recovery hooks, and all-terrain tires that improve the experience.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe offers plenty of comfort and cargo space as long as the third row stays stowed away.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is due for a redesign but boasts plenty of comfort and excellent build quality. We give it 8 out of 10 as such. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While base models come with a bench seat up front, most Tahoes are capable of hauling 7 or 8 passengers depending on whether buyers opt for a bench or captains’ chairs in the second row. The front seats are plenty comfortable, especially in higher trims with leather, power features, and heated and cooled cushions, and second-row passengers will find head room to be plenty but legroom slightly lacking. The third-row seat is uncomfortable, however, thanks to its high floor that accommodates the fuel tank and frame underneath. Bear in mind that cargo space is effectively eliminated with all three rows in place in the Tahoe, so opt for the longer Suburban if that’s a crucial concern.

Speaking of cargo space, the Tahoe offers up to 95 cubic feet with both rear rows folded, and an impressive 52 cubic feet behind the middle seats, but that number drops drastically to 15.3 cubic feet with the third row in place. The load floor is also unusually high, making larger and heavier items much more difficult to place in the rear.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Safety

Active safety tech is optional on the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe, but it hasn't been fully crash-tested.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe gets mixed results from the federal government, but does offer optional active safety features, a leg up over its pickup truck siblings. However, without a score from the IIHS, we’re unable to give it a safety rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The Tahoe comes standard with seven airbags including a center airbag that keeps front seat occupants from colliding with each other in a crash. Anti-lock brakes and stability control are standard too, while the LT and Premier trims get active safety features as standard and the LS trim gets them as optional. These include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and a seat-buzzing driver alert system. Adaptive cruise control is also available on the Premier trim.

The Tahoe receives four stars overall from the NHTSA, with front and side impact scores reaching five stars. A three-star rollover rating keeps the Tahoe from that fifth overall star, however.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Features

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe ranges from humble family hauler to luxury truck, but prices climb fast to over $70,000.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is unchanged for the fourth-generation’s last model year, but with three major trim levels, a wide variety of options and packages, and a good infotainment system, there’s a 2020 Tahoe for everyone. This warrants a 8 out of 10 rating here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base 2020 Tahoe LS trim comes with dual-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth phone and audio support, five USB ports, a power driver’s seat, and cloth upholstery. Stepping up to the LT adds leather, heated front seats, Bose audio, a power tailgate, and safety features such as automatic emergency baking and automatic high-beam headlights as standard. A Luxury package includes keyless ignition, a power-folding rear seat, heated steering wheel, and blind-spot monitors. 

The LT trim can also be optioned with a power moonroof, rear-seat DVD entertainment, and larger wheels, but we think a base LT is the smartest buy here. 

The sportier RST model adds the larger, more powerful V-8 and blacked-out looks on the grille and wheels, and a Midnight Edition adds similar black trim to the regular LT and Z71-equipped LT models. 

The top-tier Premier trim can reach $75,000 fully loaded, but its features list is competitive with some luxury SUVs. Cooled leather seats, navigation, faux wood trim, and magnetically-damped suspension makes it a convincing luxury vehicle with a mass-market badge.

For those looking for off-road adventure, the Z71 package adds all-terrain tires, hill-descent control, skid plates, and special suspension components, but the Tahoe’s considerable heft and size make it more of an occasional off-roader. At the top of the line, the Premier Plus Edition comes with the larger V-8 and a unique interior, rear-seat entertainment system, power-folding seats, a head-up display, and more.

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2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is as thirsty as its big V-8s would suggest, but there’s hardly a penalty for choosing more power.

The 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is no fuel-miser with its big V-8s, but long highway journeys are made easier thanks to cylinder deactivation. We give it 3 out of 10 here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

While 2020 numbers aren’t official, we don’t expect them to change much from 2019. The rear-wheel-drive 5.3-liter V-8 Tahoe manages 15 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined, while opting for E85 ethanol fuel drops those numbers to 11/17/13 mpg. Adding four-wheel-drive comes with a slight penalty for this motor, ringing in at 15/21/17 mpg for regular gasoline but 11/16/13 mpg for E85.

Surprisingly, the bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter V-8 manages one mpg better on the highway than the 5.3 thanks to its cylinder deactivation technology that turns the engine into a V-4 at low-demand cruising speeds. That results in 14/23/17 mpg for the 2WD model and 14/22/17 mpg for 4WD Tahoes.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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6.4
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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