The Chevrolet Tahoe is one of GM's crown jewels: a big, comfortable, extremely capable classic SUV that is consistently and deservedly the bestseller in its class. If you're into serious hauling -- an off-road trek to a hunting cabin, carrying bulky cargo, pulling a trailer, loaded for a cross-continent family adventure vacation -- the Tahoe will handle it all with broad-shouldered ease and all-American style.
What's New for 2016
The Tahoe was thoroughly refreshed for 2015 so changes are minor. An Enhanced Driver Alert package is available on the LS line; among other details it includes a forward collision scanner and lane-keeping system. An aircraft-style heads-up display is available on the LTZ, and Apple's CarPlay iPhone-integration software is bundled with the infotainment system on all three trim levels.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Tahoe
The Tahoe is among the last of its kind -- a full-size truck-based body-on-frame SUV -- but it has also evolved to be perhaps the best of its kind as well. Driving a Tahoe is something of an experience in an age of rationally-sized front-drive sedans and car-based CUVs, given that it weighs nearly three tons and is larger than some big-city apartments. All that size and bulk translates to serious capability: seating for up to nine, nearly 95 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats folded, and the ability tow up to 8,500 pounds.
Power comes from a 5.3-liter V8 that sends 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive with a limited-slip differential is standard, and four-wheel-drive is a $3,000 option available across the trim lines. GM's powerplant team has managed to coerce the Tahoe into returning decent fuel mileage: cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing contribute to EPA estimates of 16 mpg city and 23 (RWD) or 22 (4WD) mpg highway.
Those heavy-duty roots provide a solid foundation for the massive amounts of comfort, convenience and safety gear that is either standard or available on the Tahoe. What looks like a truck on the outside is actually a very refined, secure, well-appointed vehicle inside and throughout.
Standard equipment for all Tahoes includes automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a sound system including SiriusXM and HD radio, preparation for trailering, and GM's OnStar telematics system.
The Tahoe is available in three trim levels:
Given how it provides a massive boost to off-road and slippery-weather capability at a fair price and a minimal fuel-economy penalty, the 4WD system is a must. Past that the smart money is on the LT; it strikes a great balance between the elemental LS and the pricey LTZ and offers the most useful range of options, including the Z71 off-road package.
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