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GM's Solid SUV

Chevrolet’s 2WD Tahoe improves towing muscle for 2013.
By Tom Crosby

Since the last major upgrade to the Tahoe in 2007, rumors have persisted that major changes for the popular sport utility vehicle are on the horizon. However, changes are barely noticeable for 2013. There are some different paint offerings (which cost $395 for any color) and standard power train grade braking to reduce torque and preserve brakes are offered.

Tahoe

Chevy’s Tahoe continues its comfortable, handsome design and solid performance for 2013. ©Chevrolet photo

Our test-drive was the Tahoe LTZ 2-wheel rear drive, which increases towing prowess over the 4-wheel drive by 300 pounds to 8,500 with the optional $230 heavy trailering package. The test drive model also had a $2,435 Sun and Entertainment package that adds a rear-seat entertainment system with DVD screens on the back of the front passenger seats, a power sunroof, and an additional nine months of XM radio and live traffic information with the standard navigation system.

Outside, the gold Chevrolet bow-tie logo sits on the front grill with no chrome or sculpted artistic touches. GM’s Active Fuel Manager improves fuel economy by temporarily deactivating four of the engine’s cylinders under light load conditions and seamlessly reactivating when needed. With flex-fuel capability, E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gas) can be used, although it diminishes power, costs more, and reduces the Tahoe’s already low miles per gallon by another 20 percent. However, E85 is clean burning and emits less greenhouse gases. The Tahoe exhibits plenty of power for a nearly three-ton vehicle, and while not particularly quick, is no slouch, either. Handling is excellent at lower speeds with some roll in turns.

Inside, large gauges that are easily reached and seen make for a friendly dashboard. Many functions–including audio controls and trip information–occur on the standard eight-inch navigation screen. The ride is quiet on the LTZ’s 20-inch tires, and all seating positions are comfortable with ample head and legroom.

Safety features are strong, third row seats fold (not flat, however), and there are plentiful storage areas and cupholders. Wood trim, low-gloss materials, and chrome accents keep the cabin looking upscale.

So while redesign speculation for Tahoe now centers on 2014, this full-size SUV still is a winner.

Like: Space, power, interior comfort, versatility
Dislike: Fuel economy
Bottom line: This full-size SUV delivers performance and comfort.

Tom Crosby is vice president of communications for AAA Carolinas. He is based in Charlotte, N.C.

Nov/Dec 2012 Issue

Tahoe Fact File

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