The Chevrolet Tahoe is huge – large enough to ferry nine people. And it’s strong – powerful enough to tow that horse you just bought.
By Holly Reich
The Big Picture
Let’s just forget the controversy about choosing a small SUV over a big one. If you have a posse of kids, the Chevrolet Tahoe is a good choice. The Tahoe is a full-size SUV that seats a maximum of nine (!!) people and has a towing capability of up to 8,500 pounds – enough to haul a horse, or a boat, and anything else you need to move from one place to the next. Fuel economy? The 2WD models are estimated at 21 mpg on the highway; the Tahoe Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 20 MPG city/23 MPG highway.
When I got into the Chevrolet Tahoe, I had a moment of, “How am I going to handle this big guy?” I quickly got comfortable. The Tahoe is easy to maneuver in the city; it has quick pick-up on the freeway and also drives quietly. Note, this is not a car; it’s a truck-like SUV with a big sounding engine and a lot of machismo.
An Inside Job
Commanding is the word that comes to mind when describing the cabin. My 2013 Chevy Tahoe 4WD LTZ model was equipped with three rows (bucket seats in the second) and stadium style seating. Stadium style means that the last row is raised so that kids can look out the front window. Basically, when they can’t, it makes them nauseous.
The center console is HUGE—so big, it fit my purse and laptop computer. The dash is two-toned plastic with smart-looking wood accents that pull it all together. While the steering wheel doesn’t telescope in and out, the plush seats adjust enough to make me feel comfortably close to the controls. The power lift gate – a standard on the LTZ – is a must. Otherwise, the door is too heavy to close with one hand. I also found that it didn’t take too much heft to flip up and flatten the back seats to get to the little ones in carseats.
Besides that huge center console storage bin, the Tahoe has numerous storage compartments and cup holders that are all designed with family in mind. For nice amenities, you’re going to have to upgrade from the base model. For instance, heated front seats are standard on the Chevy Tahoe LT; heated and cooled front and heated second row seats are standard on the LTZ model. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on LT and LTZ. The rear-seat entertainment system is available on LT and LTZ, including a DVD player with remote control, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, and a remote game plug-in.
The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe comes equipped with head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for both seating rows. Seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger provide thorax and pelvic protection. The StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by applying throttle, braking, or a combination of both.
Available Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist can detect certain stationary objects in the rearward path of the vehicle and beeps if there’s something in the way. It also displays lights near the rear window, in case you’re distracted and don’t hear the sound. Side blind zone alert (one of my favorite features) is standard on LTZ. It lights up and beeps if there’s a vehicle in your blind spot, just so you won’t change lanes and hit a car you can’t see. Another great feature — the standard remote keyless entry has a second function for the red panic button so that owners can locate their vehicles without setting off the panic alarm.
Gizmos and Tech
OnStar, standard on all Chevrolet Tahoe models, is one of the oldies but goodies. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of a crash. OnStar also has a feature called Turn-by-Turn Navigation, which sends all the directions to the car by an advisor so you don’t have to stop and program them in. Another cool feature for small kids (and mother-in-laws) is a set of power-retractable assist steps available on LTZ. For sound, the long list includes standard Sirius XM radio, Bose Surround Sound system on LTZ, Navigation radio with touch-screen on the LTZ, and power-adjustable pedals.
This is a large vehicle that is comfortable, capable and easy to drive, in spite of its girth. Perfect for a big family trip to the snow, through muddy terrain, or to the ball park.
The ease of operating a vehicle this large
The look: Lots of chrome, a big grille and big wheels. Yeah!
Base model should have more appointments