2017 Chevrolet Tahoe

In the world of big SUVs, really big SUVs, we get names like Expedition, Armada, Sequoia, and… Tahoe. Big road beasts named after big things. The Chevy Tahoe along with its big brother the Suburban are no exceptions, nor are they any stranger to bigness.

When Chevy rolled out its redesigned Silverado several years ago, that meant the Tahoe inherited those changes. Those changes included a new body design, a boxed frame, and more high-strength steel; all which translate into improved structural rigidity and weight loss — though it is still quite hefty at 5,756 pounds.

Another feature we like is electrically-assisted power steering, which helps with fuel economy — and also gives the Tahoe a lighter touch, making it much more maneuverable than one might expect from this large SUV.
As expected, the Tahoe shares the same engines with the Silverado: a healthy 5.3-liter small block V8 that delivers 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation yields a respectable 16/22 city/hwy mpg with four-wheel drive. You get slightly better mpg on the two-wheel drive version. All that power and fuel economy comes by way of a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting and tow mode (which means it holds gears longer and downshifts sooner).

Towing capacity rates at 8,400 pounds for the 4X4 and 8,600 pounds for the 2X4. Equally as impressive, and perhaps as important when considering towing factors, are the Tahoe’s brakes. Strong and fade-free, the Tahoe can go from 70 to 0 in about 176 feet — respectable even for a mid-size sedan.

One way the Tahoe differentiates itself from its pick-up truck counterpart is with its exterior design. For the first time, it does not share the same front doors, meaning it gets a look all its own. And that look feels quite up-leveled from a brawny pick-up. Its design is quite sophisticated, with sharp angles and an upright greenhouse delivering a sophisticated, expensive look.
This leads to the inside, which is also somewhat different from the Silverado (though it does share some gadgetry). A nicely appointed dash features all the comforts you could imagine, with less plastic for a more expensive feel. There’s plenty of room inside, and enough USB ports to keep all the gadgets you can imagine fully charged. While the load floor is high (to accommodate the full-size spare underneath) you can fit a full 95 cubic feet worth of stuff within the cavernous space created when all rows are folded flat.

The Tahoe’s ride is pleasant for both driver and passengers alike. While the ride isn’t quite luxurious, it comes pretty darn close. Wind noise is kept to a minimum even at highway speeds. Its independent front suspension and live rear axle provide a smooth enough ride, given the largesse of the thing.

The Tahoe comes in three trim levels — LS, LT and Premier. The base LS has a long list of standard features including active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics, heated mirrors, 18-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry and ignition, rear parking sensors, side assist steps,  and roof rails, tri-zone climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, OnStar telematics with navigation, a rearview camera, satellite radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Starting price is $48,410 for the rear-drive version. Edmund's says this model can be purchased for around $44,000.

Our mid-trim LT with four-wheel drive carried a base price of $56,750. After options including an entertainment package, luxury package and Z71 Midnight Edition Package — very hot looking with 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, black tubular assist steps and blackwall Duratec tires — the bottom line was $65,085.

— Jim Meachen