by James Allen
If huge SUVs like this are your thing, the Chevrolet Tahoe will tick many of your proverbial boxes.
Buyers who are after a go-anywhere large SUV will be rather satisfied overall with what the Chevrolet Tahoe offers. Being based on pick-up truck architecture, the Chevrolet Tahoe is quite accomplished as an above-par off-roader, and the impressive towing and seating capacities means your family and a sizeable chunk of their belongings can be brought along for the ride. There's more to the Chevrolet Tahoe than that, though. For instance, the cabin is one of the best built and intuitive to operate in this segment, and the standard equipment levels are satisfactory too. As a usable day-to-day big SUV, the Chevrolet Tahoe makes a convincing case for itself. However, there are some notable flaws on display here, and it is debateable in places whether the Chevrolet Tahoe does a substantially better job than some smaller and more affordable three-row SUVs. They don't massively detract from the Chevrolet Tahoe's strengths, but those aspects are worth considering if you're in the market for such a car.
The Chevrolet Tahoe emerges on top with its well-built and pleasantly plush interior.
One of the Chevrolet Tahoe's big selling points is its high-quality interior. Even with pretty staunch competition in this area from the Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, the Chevrolet Tahoe emerges on top with its well-built and pleasantly plush interior. The control layout is also rather straightforward on the Chevrolet Tahoe. All of the buttons on the steering wheel and center console are easy to operate and simple to get to grips with, and the touchscreen infotainment is also one of the most pleasant to use as a result of the clear display and quick input responses. Overall space is pretty good in the front and middle rows. The driver and passenger get supportive and comfortable seats with good amounts of adjustment, and even the center row setup (which can be replaced with a pair of 'captain's chairs', depending on which model you go for) offer good amounts of head, shoulder, knee and leg room. Overall, adults should have enough space to feel comfortable on longer journeys in the Chevrolet Tahoe.
As with the maximum trunk capacity, the storage facilities on the Chevrolet Tahoe are pretty good.
Sadly, the room available in the rear row isn't quite as impressive. Whilst access to the back row is sufficient enough and the shoulder room isn't too bad, the overall head and leg room on offer is rather lacking. Even some three-row SUVs from the class below (such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Honda Pilot) offer more rear room for adult-sized passengers in the back, so we'd only advise you allocate the rear seats to children if you purchase a Chevrolet Tahoe. Likewise, the trunk space isn't breath-taking by segment standards. At 15.3 cubic feet in size with all the seat backs in place, the Chevrolet Tahoe is one of the least practical vehicles in this segment (the Nissan Armada offers an average-by-class-standards 16.5 cubic feet). Granted, the trunk does extend considerably once you fold the seat backs down (51.6 cubic feet behind the second row; 94.7 cubic feet with only the front seats in place), and the combination of a large trunk opening and a flat load bay means longer items will be gobbled up with ease – even though the high ground clearance will potentially make loading heavier cargo in a bit tricky. As with the maximum trunk capacity, the storage facilities on the Chevrolet Tahoe are pretty good. The door bins are wide and big enough to accommodate larger water bottles, and the cubby spots under the front center armrest and in the glovebox are pretty sizeable too.
The Chevrolet Tahoe's also a very pleasant vehicle to spend longer journeys in.
Being such a huge vehicle, the Chevrolet Tahoe was always going to be on the back foot when it comes to manoeuvrability. That said, it's not all bad in this area: a combination of light steering and a tight-by-full-size-SUV-standards turning circle means the Chevrolet Tahoe can successfully navigate tighter turns. Even the visibility's okay on the Chevrolet Tahoe – though, being a full-sized SUV, there are some chunky pillars to contend with. The Chevrolet Tahoe's also a very pleasant vehicle to spend longer journeys in. Overall, the ride quality is very well composed at highway speeds, and the noise insulation levels are pretty good considering the Chevrolet Tahoe's boxy and bluff proportions. The body control on bumpier, undulating road surfaces is also commendable, and there's a surprising lack of body roll to contend with when cornering too.
The Chevrolet Tahoe also impresses with its towing capacity.
Sadly, the Chevrolet Tahoe isn't quite as composed at slower speeds. The ride that's smooth on the open road becomes noticeably harsher at slower speeds, with lumps and bumps over pot holes being surprisingly prominent. If you're after the most comfortable full-sized SUV on sale today, you'll likely find more to like about the Ford Expedition. Where the Chevrolet Tahoe starts to claw back some ground is in its off-road ability. Admittedly, it's far from being totally optimized for driving on slipperier surfaces, but the Chevrolet Tahoe can go quite a way off the beaten path before finding itself stuck – and especially if you specify the optional all-wheel drive system. The Chevrolet Tahoe also impresses with its towing capacity. Whilst the Ford Expedition's maximum capacity of 9.200 lbs is superior, the 8,600lbs the Chevrolet Tahoe is capable of is still very good by class standards, and means the SUV should be able to haul heftier loads with ease.
Much like the Chevrolet Tahoe itself, the 5.3-liter engine is rather well suited to life on the open road.
Only one engine is available in the Chevrolet Tahoe range: a 5.3-liter eight-cylinder gasoline engine. With 355-hp and 383 lb-ft of torque to call upon, it isn't the most potent engine you'll find in this segment, though those outputs are enough to endow the Chevrolet Tahoe with a decent turn of speed. If it weren't for the dull response to gas pedal inputs at lower revs, this eight-cylinder engine would actually be quite a flexible all-rounder. Much like the Chevrolet Tahoe itself, the 5.3-liter engine is rather well suited to life on the open road. On top of being punchy enough to pull off overtaking moves in a timely manner, the unit is also quite smooth and unobtrusive under lighter gas pedal loads, and settles down nicely at cruising speeds.
The Chevrolet Tahoe's transmission line-up is limited to a solitary option in the form of a six-speed automatic transmission.
Considering the size of the vehicle and the engine under the hood, the Chevrolet Tahoe's a fairly efficient full-sized SUV. Though the economy figures of 16mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway for rear-wheel drive models (adding all-wheel drive reduces the highway economy by one mpg) aren't class-leading, they're far from being the worst in this segment. For example, the Nissan Armada can only return 19mpg on the highway and a paltry 14mpg in the city. Much like the engine range, the Chevrolet Tahoe's transmission line-up is limited to a solitary option in the form of a six-speed automatic transmission. It's a unit that's seen life other big SUVs, so unsurprisingly the automatic is quite a good one overall. However, whilst the gear changes are smooth and the transmission does change gears promptly enough when left in fully automatic mode, this gearbox is starting to feel a bit out-dated in comparison with the newer eight-speed automatic transmissions that are available on other big SUVs.
Admittedly, a decent amount of equipment is fitted to the base Chevrolet Tahoe.
One big downside to the Chevrolet Tahoe is that it's quite an expensive vehicle when compared with rivals. With a starting price of $48,410, the full-sized SUV is noticeably pricier than rivals like the Nissan Armada ($44,900) and Toyota Sequoia ($45,460). Admittedly, a decent amount of equipment is fitted to the base Chevrolet Tahoe. Heated wing mirrors, three-zone climate control, cruise control, built-in WiFi, navigation, a reversing camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility is available on the most affordable versions you can buy, and it's worth pointing out that the $250 40:20:40 split-folding front bench option that's exclusive to the entry-level 'LS' trim also increases the Chevrolet Tahoe's seating capacity to nine. The $695 Enhanced Driver Alert Package (lane keep assist, adjustable pedals, forward collision warning) is also an extra we feel is worth considering if you'd prefer to own a more affordable Chevrolet Tahoe. We feel the mid-range 'LT' trim is the one most Chevrolet Tahoe buyers should consider. Though it's noticeably more expensive at $53,540, it does include all of the prior equipment (bar the three-seater front row) on top of leather upholstery, heated front seats and a telescopic steering wheel. For many, that should be enough equipment – though, if your budget extends far enough, the abundance of equipment in the $2,995 Luxury Package (keyless entry, wireless charging, heated middle row of seats, front parking sensors and blind spot monitoring) is just enough to justify the steep price.
The vehicle was able to secure a four-out-of-five star in its most recent NHTSA crash test.
As nice as the range-topping 'Premier' trim is, we don't feel it's worth going for. Apart from the adaptive suspension system and ventilated front seats, there's very little meaningful gear that justifies the considerable premium this $63,225 spec has over the 'LT' trim. It's also worth highlighting that vehicles from the class above start becoming available at this price point, and the two 'captain's chairs' in the middle row reduces the Chevrolet Tahoe's seating capacity to seven. Safety-wise, the Chevrolet Tahoe fares rather well. The vehicle was able to secure a four-out-of-five star in its most recent NHTSA crash test, and the array of stability assists (including a trailer sway functionality) on top of the front, side, curtain and rear airbags should mean the Chevrolet Tahoe will keep you and your passengers safe should the worst happen. A shame, then, that the warranties available for the Chevrolet Tahoe (three-years/36,000-miles bumper-to-bumper and five-years/60,000-miles powertrain) are only average by class standards. That said, the Chevrolet Tahoe does have a very good reliability record, so you shouldn't need to make a claim under warranty during your ownership period, and the car is expected to hold onto a sizeable chunk of its value come resale time.
Overall, the Chevrolet Tahoe is a pretty capable three-row full-sized SUV. In particular, the Chevrolet Tahoe excels as a long-distance towing vehicle, thanks to its competitive hauling abilities, good refinement levels, impressive high speed ride quality and well-trimmed cabin. Alas, the Chevrolet Tahoe isn't without noticeable flaws. Whilst it's manoeuvrable at lower speeds, the ride quality isn't quite up to the same levels, and we're also disappointed with the compromised trunk space, the limited rear row room and higher asking price. There's also a valid case to be made that vehicles from the class below can perform as well (and, in some areas, exceed the full-sized SUV's abilities) as the Chevrolet Tahoe on a daily basis. We do reckon the Chevrolet Tahoe is worth considering if you're after a large SUV that can swallow up loads of people and haul all of their luggage and belongings about. However, if you're just after a general three-row vehicle, then we do feel you should look at the car's rivals first before committing to buying a Chevrolet Tahoe.