I am glad to see that GM is staying the course when it comes to full-size SUVs. And I don’t say this just because they are produced not very far from my house.
I say this because for me, and still many others in North America, full-size SUVs, while perhaps not being the most “P.C.” neighbor on the block, serve a sought-after purpose for families and other consumers.
Many buyers still appreciate a full frame architecture underpinning their ride as they pull the boat or travel trailer. Still others may be hauling the Boy Scouts and their gear on a camping trip or Eagle service project off the beaten path.
While my needs do not include any of the above I realize full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban still provide a valuable service in certain niches other than simply fulfilling the need to occupy as much mobile real estate as possible. (I guess these buyers were the “Occupy Any Street” headline grabbers of the previous decade.)
Recently I spent a week with the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe in fully-laden LTZ trim that includes new hard-drive navigation radio package (including SiriusXM Weather Service for you Scoutmasters and Den Mothers) along with electronic trailer sway control on the Stabilitrak stability control system and hill start assist. The blind spot alert system is also standard on the LTZ models.
A few (frosty) mornings the new heated steering wheel became my new “BFF” but overall I was reminded that the Chevy Tahoe is still a great vehicle.
Since the total makeover several years back, the GMT900 platform has really stood out. Despite not having an independent rear suspension this is a very stable riding vehicle especially given its size. And the styling is the absolute best in the models history (save for some of the early Suburban Carryalls).
Tahoe is offered in two- and four-wheel drive and all models are powered by the Vortec 5.3-liter V-8 engine that is E85 compatible and features GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology to improve fuel economy under light load operating conditions.
Also enhancing fuel economy, as well as ride and driving comfort, is the six-speed automatic gearbox. EPA figures for the Tahoe are 15-mpg city and 21-mpg highway. Chevrolet does offer a two-mode hybrid Tahoe for enhanced fuel economy around town.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is very comfortable even with the 4WD models as our tester was. About the only reminder the vehicle can operate off-road is the transfer case switch on the dash panel.
As with all other GM models Tahoe features the latest OnStar driver safety and communication technology and Chevrolet packs a host of safety equipment and technology into Tahoe including airbags all around, Stabilitrak electronic stability control, ultrasonic rear park assist with available rear camera view (for pedestrian alert as well as hooking to a trailer), tire pressure monitor, side assist steps (power retractable available on LTZ) and power rear liftgate.
Pricing for the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe begins at $37,980 with our LTZ tester tipping the scales into our driveway at (brace yourselves) just a tick over 60 grand.