You’ve seen them on TV newscasts and may wonder if Chevy Tahoe’s and Suburban’s are the official car of the Secret Service, FBI, DEA and other law enforcement agencies. It’s no wonder though as these two full-size SUV’s offer everything agencies like these need. They’re powerful, have gobs of interior space and can be serviced at a prolific number of Chevy dealers nationwide and worldwide.
To maintain Chevy’s dominance in the full-size SUV market, Tahoe and Suburban have undergone a redesign, a first in eight years.
Both vehicles are being built on the same body-on-frame design of the recently launched 2014 Silverado pickup truck, but the sheetmetal is totally different. The 2015 models will have a tighter build, be more aerodynamic, more spacious and more upscale with a quieter ride said Dan Ammann, Chevy Vice President and CFO at the vehicles’ recent debut in New York.
The new Tahoe and Suburban sport new sheet metal giving it a more squared, sculpted look. The dual-port grilles are chromed horizontal slats centered between shark eye headlamps underscored with LED running lights. And the back ends are squared-off in an apparent effort to give taller cargo space.
The doors are inlaid and curve into the body rather than overlapping as before. This design, says Chevy, significantly improves interior quietness while improving aerodynamics.
For weight and in turn fuel savings, hoods and tailgates are aluminum.
LED taillights and a chromed bumper along with a rear wiper arm that’s embedded into a spoiler instead of on the top of the tailgate, gives the rear a classy, clean look.
Inside, both vehicles offer an 8-inch display, rearview camera, GPS nav, Chevy’s MyLink Radio, Bluetooth, weather, Onstar and more. For peripherals, there are six USB ports and up to 12 charging stations for portable devices.
Optionally available are power-release second row seats (which offer 2 inches more legroom) and power fold third-row seats. And there’s a cargo area underfloor offering a partitioned bin for small item storage.
There’s also a nifty panoramic “conversation mirror” on the overhead console to check out the kids in the back seats.
Safety items, aside from airbags, include optional forward collision alert, adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert that uses directional vibrations in the driver’s seat (a buzzing) to warn the driver of a potential accident (this feature has been offered on Cadillac’s).
Of course a makeover wouldn’t be complete without a new powerplant. Tahoe/Suburban get as standard an EcoTech 5.3L, V8 that is rated at 355-hp and 383 lb/ft of torque. It couples to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The engine features the latest cylinder deactivation under light loads and spark ignition direct injection, both for better fuel economy. It’s the same engine that debuted in Chevy’s 2014 Silverado/GMC pickups.
Chevy, however, did not provide EPA mileage estimates (or pricing) at the launch, but the SUVs are expected to achieve the segment’s best V8 fuel economy.
Chevy did confirm that the vehicles will become available during the first quarter of 2014 and are being made in Arlington, Texas, the state with the highest Suburban ownership.
In 2013 both Tahoe and Suburban (and GMC’s Denali’s) sold a total of 125,000 vehicles, which in part represents a 44 percent share of the full-size SUV market.
To automatically receive auto news and views from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.