Few SUVs since the mid-1990s have been as popular as the Chevrolet Tahoe, and it's not hard to see why. With room for up to nine passengers, V8 power and plenty of available amenities, the Tahoe has traditionally been a go-to choice for large American families.
The Chevy Tahoe faced little competition when it debuted, popularizing the full-size SUV by being a somewhat smaller and more maneuverable version of the giant Chevy Suburban that established the segment. Today, however, there are more choices than ever. In particular, large crossovers are more efficient, easier to drive and more versatile inside. The Tahoe remains competitive, though, especially among those who need the added capability of towing.
Current Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevrolet Tahoe is a traditional full-size SUV built on a truck platform. Depending on how you equip it, anywhere from six to nine passengers can be transported.
The expected three main trim levels of LS, LT and LTZ are available. The LS is well equipped with dual-zone climate control and full power accessories. Going with the LT or LTZ fills out the standard equipment list with more luxury-oriented items. Feature highlights, depending on trim, include a power liftgate, heated second-row seats, an integrated brake controller, Bluetooth connectivity, heated and cooled front seats and a blind-spot warning system. Options include a navigation system and a rear entertainment system on most models. Safety features include stability control and front side as well as side curtain airbags.
Ample power comes by way of a 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8, matched to a modern and efficient six-speed automatic transmission. There is a choice between two- and four-wheel drive, with the latter available with either a traditional two-speed transfer case or a single-speed unit without low-range gearing (not available on LTZ).
In reviews, our editors found the Chevy Tahoe to be a capable and comfortable performer with a welcoming interior. The ride quality is comfortable and handling surprisingly composed, but you'll find larger crossovers more maneuverable and responsive. The cabin's design is starting to look a bit dated compared to its rivals. Another downside is the third-row seat, which is less spacious than those of rivals and does not fold flat into the cargo area. Instead, you must physically remove the two heavy rearmost seats and store them elsewhere when you need the full cargo area.
In total, if you're mostly looking to carry a bunch of people, the Tahoe isn't the best choice. However, if you also need to tow or venture off-road with a real four-wheel-drive system, the burly Tahoe continues to make a lot of sense.
Used Chevrolet Tahoe Models
The present (third) generation of the Chevy Tahoe debuted for the 2007 model year, representing a marked improvement in terms of drivability and interior design, as well as materials and build quality.
Prior to 2010, Chevy offered one of two V8s: a 295 hp 4.8-liter or a 320 hp 5.3-liter. Both were matched to a four-speed automatic. For 2009, a 6.2-liter V8 with 395 hp was available. A six-speed automatic was also introduced that year and was fitted to the 5.3 and 6.0 V8s.
Other key changes for this generation involved safety feature content. Prior to 2008, side curtain airbags were optional on some trims, while front side airbags were unavailable prior to 2010. Another noteworthy change involved the third-row seat, which was optional for 2007 and '08.
The previous-generation Chevrolet Tahoe was built for the 2000-'06 model years. Through most of this period, our editors considered the Tahoe to be one of the best full-size SUVs available. This second-gen Tahoe was a little bit smaller than the third, but it still offered room for up to nine passengers. Two V8 engines were available -- either a 285-hp 4.8-liter or a 295-hp 5.3-liter -- as were 2WD or 4WD. For most of its history, the model came in LS, Z71 or LT trims. The Z71 was designed for improved off-road performance.
Generally, our editors were impressed with the power from the V8 engines and the truck's maneuverability, but put off by cheap interior materials and spotty build quality. Shoppers placing a priority on safety will want to look for a Tahoe with the optional stability control system; Chevrolet started offering it in the 2003 model year on trucks with the larger V8.
Previous to this was the first-generation Chevrolet Tahoe offered from 1995-'99. It could carry a maximum of six passengers, large amounts of cargo and best of all would fit in most garages. This was the only generation that offered both two-door and four-door models. The two-door versions were also available with a 180-hp turbodiesel V8 instead of the 255-hp, 5.7-liter V8.
Read the most recent 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Tahoe page.