What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Chevy Tahoe receives OnStar and steering wheel-mounted audio controls as standard equipment. Additionally, the StabiliTrak stability control system and a tire-pressure monitoring system are now standard across the board.
Chevrolet is no newcomer to the SUV game; it rolled out its version of a full-size sport-utility vehicle more than 30 years ago. Its current model, the Chevrolet Tahoe, debuted in 1994. Formerly known as the K-Blazer, the Tahoe was built to be a rough-and-ready, go-anywhere sort of ride. Back when it first emerged, Chevy described it as a "rugged, multipurpose family vehicle that's at home on and off the road," and the manufacturer has always seen to it that the vehicle is sturdy enough to live up to this promise.
The 2000 model year brought with it a complete redesign for the Chevrolet Tahoe. Its decade-old platform was replaced with a new frame that was stronger and more rigid than previous designs; the 'ute also got two new V8 engines that provided it with more horsepower than ever before. The Tahoe continues to give drivers more of what has made the vehicle a favorite with those seeking transportation that efficiently handles both on-road and off-road adventures. With a roomy and comfortable interior, it makes a great weekend-getaway machine. If you want a sport-utility that can handle passengers and cargo as well as it does a backcountry road, the 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe should be on your short list.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Chevrolet Tahoe is available in three trim levels. The base LS boasts standard features like tri-zone manual climate control, a CD player, keyless entry, a driver information center, cruise control and OnStar. The LS comes with two rows of seating and can accommodate up to six thanks to a front bench seat; an optional third-row bench brings capacity to nine. The off-road-oriented Z71 model offers a specially tuned suspension, front captain's chairs with heaters and 10-way power adjustment, leather upholstery and unique trim. Uplevel LT models get the third-row seat standard, while adding automatic climate control and XM Satellite Radio. Available options include a towing package, second-row bucket seats, a DVD-based entertainment system, a sunroof and touchscreen navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
A 4.8-liter V8 is standard on the LS, and it offers 285 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Optional on the LS and standard on the LT and Z71 is the 5.3-liter V8 that ups the ante with 295 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a four-speed automatic with a tow-haul mode for improved performance under heavy loads. Four-wheel-drive models feature the push-button Autotrac transfer case, which provides both 2WD and automatic 4WD modes for driving on the street. The Chevy Tahoe can tow up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard, along with a stability control system. Front-seat side-impact airbags are optional on all Tahoes, but full-length side curtain airbags are not available. In NHTSA crash tests, the Chevrolet Tahoe scored four out of a possible five stars for its protection of front occupants in frontal impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the Chevrolet Tahoe provides a simple layout with easy-to-read analog instrumentation, user-friendly controls and well-cushioned seats. The quality of the materials, however, could stand improvement, as many of the plastics look and feel cheap. Second-row bucket seats are available when you order leather upholstery, as is a DVD-based entertainment system. An available 50/50-split third-row seat allows the Tahoe to seat anywhere from seven to nine people. With no third row and the second-row seats folded, the Tahoe offers 104 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Either of the Chevrolet Tahoe's Vortec V8 engines delivers ample power in most situations. Those who pull a trailer often would be wise to opt for the 5.3-liter engine, as it provides a substantial bump in torque despite only 10 additional horsepower compared to the 4.8-liter V8. The suspension delivers a stable, smooth ride, regardless of whether the Chevrolet Tahoe travels on or off pavement, while the steering is light enough to maneuver the big sport-ute easily in tight situations.