It has been a few years since I test drove a Tahoe but that change 3 weeks ago when I had the opportunity to put the 2014 Tahoe LTZ to the test, and boy how things have changed. This good looking yet rugged SUV deserves strong consideration if you're shopping for a large, traditional SUV with impressive towing capacity, good looks, comfort and style.
I was very impressed with the remarkable styling of the Tahoe which starts right up front and is carried through every detail from its unmistakably powerful grille to an aggressive stance highlighted by a wide track and large tires. From any angle you look at it, it screams austerity, sleekness, "go anywhere, do anything attitude", yet docile enough to go in total comfort anywhere you go.
Conservative but nicely-sculpted sheet metal is set off by the 2014 Tahoe's expressive and recognizable Chevrolet-family face, consisting of twin horizontal grille sections separated by a big Chevy bow-tie badge. The power-bulge hood and big wheels and tires gives the Tahoe a substantial road presence and a firm appearance, one that made a few people do a double take as I pulled into a gas station or even dropping off one of our photographers at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport. The Tahoe's flush headlights, smooth wrap-around bumper, lower air dam and steeply-raked windshield all contribute to a very aerodynamically vehicle, easy to handle and very nimble indeed even when we were cruising on the highway at 75+ mph.
Amongst many attributes and features, one of the thing that struck us the most was the extremely refined powertrain. This trendy sports utility vehicle comes with a 5.3-liter V8 producing 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque. That engine is offered in 2 & 4-wheel-drive, with either drivetrain using a 6-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds, while fuel economy ratings are 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway in both 2 or 4-wheel-drive modes. Chevy’s Active Fuel Management system takes you down to 4 cylinders when you are out on the highway, and the transition is seamless and undetectable.
Tahoe is offered in three trim levels: a base-level LS, a mid-level LT and an upscale LTZ. All three include eight seats as standard, though optional second-row bench seats can bring that number down to seven.
The Tahoe LS includes tri-zone climate controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, satellite radio, dual power front seats and a USB port for music. A newly standard convenience package includes a rearview camera, a remote starter, power adjustable pedals and park assist, and this model will set you back roughly $42,495
The mid-level Tahoe LT adds several upscale features. They include tri-zone automatic climate control, leather and an upgraded Bose sound system. A locking differential and fog lamps are also included for drivers who may encounter rough roads. Options include a sunroof, a rear DVD player, heated front- and second-row seats, a power lift gate and a Z71 off-road package. You'll have to shell out approximately $46,990 for this one.
And for the top of the line model, the Tahoe is offered in the LTZ trim model with standard features that includes 20" alloy wheels, air suspension, heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system and a heated steering wheel. As on the LT, the LTZ offers an optional sunroof and rear DVD player. Other options include power retractable running boards and a blind spot monitoring system. This one tops out at roughly $55,490
Inside the LTZ we found nothing but comfort, pure style and very nice finish in every corner of the cabin. As I sat behind the wheel of the Tahoe, I felt in total control of the vehicle, the road, my surroundings and it gave me a great sense of safety. The instrument panel is elegant, friendly and very intuitive, with a very attractive blue-backlit controls and white-backlit instruments. The first and second row captain chairs provide an extremely comfortable and roomy ride for occupants, and three adults can sit across the third row seating in relative comfort too. Getting into and out of the Tahoe's 3rd-row seats is easy, even for older folks like me, either through the power release fold-and-tumble mechanism on the standard 2nd-row bench seat or with the walkway between the optional 2nd-row captain's chairs. Other features that we like include the available 2nd-row heated seats and the excellent navigation system with its touch-screen operation.
Cargo area is great. Room behind the third row seat is good at 16.9 cubic-feet. Remove the 50/50 split third row seats, if you have that configuration and the cargo area increases to over 60 cubic-feet, and if you fold the 2 row seats forward then you find yourself with an amazing 108.9 cubic-feet of cargo space.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger, full-coverage head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover sensors, four-wheel antilock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, trailer sway control and hill start assist, LATCH child safety seat anchors, and a tire pressure monitor. Optional safety features include Side Blind Zone alert, rearview cameras, and rear park assist.
We were impressed with the Tahoe's dynamics, performance, elegance, execution, and comfort... No wonder the Chevrolet Tahoe is the best-selling full-size SUV in America, with about 28% of the segment and contributes to a nearly 50%market share with the Chevrolet Suburban. I guess this tell the story in a nutshell, don't you think?