2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4dr SUV (5.3L V8 FFV 6-speed Automatic)
Driven On 2/24/2015
The Tahoe's revised interior is the new standard of the class. Chevy's big SUV also gets more power and better fuel economy. But the solid rear axle is an obvious cost-cutting measure, dramatically hurting both ride comfort and third-row legroom. The high rear load floor drops the Tahoe to last-in-class in terms of cargo space and loading ease.
PerformanceSluggish throttle tuning overshadows an otherwise stout 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic. Brakes are slow-acting, too, and the Tahoe feels large and heavy at all times. Towing ability is a saving grace. Soon-to-arrive 8-speed will improve performance.
Sixty mph arrives in only 7.1 seconds with the standard 3.08 axle ratio in the 2WD Tahoe. But in regular use its response feels lethargic because the gas pedal must be pressed harder than expected.
The brakes are effective, halting the SUV from 60 mph in only 121 feet, impressive for something this heavy. But the soft, long-travel pedal doesn't inspire confidence. Brake response, like throttle and steering, is slow.
Winding roads don't flatter the Tahoe's steering, with a tad lighter effort than we'd like. Feel through corners isn't as good as most other competitors, especially those that are smaller.
There's no hiding the Tahoe's size when you try to hustle it. The old-school rear suspension becomes obvious on broken surfaces and mid-corner bumps easily upset the chassis. Drive the Tahoe moderately and it's fine.
Sluggish gas pedal and brake response dominate the Tahoe's character, though a slow gas pedal is good in tight situations. The 6-sp automatic is smooth, but we wish the "Grade Braking" downshift logic was more proactive.
A concealed receiver hitch comes standard. 4x2 tow rating is 8,600 lb. although this rating is not SAE-compliant.
ComfortThis new Tahoe is about as quiet as SUVs get. The first two rows of seats are roomy and comfy, the same can't be said for the third. Although the suspension is adept at controlling big bumps, seemingly insignificant ripples and road patches tend to give the cabin the shakes.
Front seats have nicely shaped cushions and they stay comfy for all-day road trips. The second row doesn't adjust much because of the seat-folding mechanism, but it's still comfy. Third row is thin and flat.
Cushions sharp impacts well and is resistant to large float and bounce motions, though independent rear suspension-equipped competitors are better overall. Suprisingly small imperfections will give cockpit the shakes.
Admirably quiet inside with road noise especially well controlled. New door shape with triple perimeter seal design is one of many improvements. Engine noise is restrained.
InteriorThe first two rows of the Tahoe are excellent in terms of ease of use, room and access, and even the third row is fairly accessible. But the rear floor is high because of the solid-axle suspension, and that harms third-row legroom and cargo space.
A telescoping steering wheel is now available. Instrument panel includes a handy new configurable screen. Central MyLink touchscreen system is vastly improved. Generously-sized audio and climate control buttons/knobs.
The central door post is 2 inches forward from last year, giving extra second-row foot clearance along with longer rear doors. Power fold-and-tumble second row makes for excellent third-row access.
Abundant head- and legroom in the first two rows. Depending on seat position, driver's elbow may contact large center armrest when steering. Third-row legroom (24.8 in.) is terrible compared to competition (34-38 in.).
Thin windshield pillars aid front view, tall side windows. Rear camera and rear parking sensors standard on all grades. Mid-level LT trim gets forward collision alert and lane departure warning. Outside mirrors are too small.
Good news: the third row seats finally fold flat into the floor like everyone else's. Bad news: the floor was raised 4.3 in. to do it, reducing capacity by 14 percent. Competitors carry more, have lower load heights.
ValueMore standard features this year and build quaility is up, especially inside. Rated MPG is tied for class-leading compared to truck-based SUVs. But the Tahoe has gotten more expensive, making the old-school chassis that much harder to stomach.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Exterior build and paint quailty are improved, but the interior sees the biggest steps. Material quality and the look/feel of the various buttons and knobs have made significant leaps.
The Tahoe has more standard content than before and our LT tester had many standard active safety features. But the new fold-flat third-row seat and cargo area are compromised by the ancient suspension beneath.
You'll need to bring more money to buy a Tahoe now. The LT's base price, at a little over $51,000, is about $4,000 higher than last year. And you'll see these increases across all trims.
The EPA rates the 2WD Tahoe at 18 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway), which is better than the Toyota Sequoia. We averaged 17.3 mpg over 845 miles of mixed driving, including 19.5 mpg on our standard test loop.
The powertrain is covered for 5 years/100,000 miles, which is great. The bumper-to-bumper warranty is rather ordinary at 3 years/36,000 miles.
Scheduled maintenance (oil changes, tire rotation) is included for the first 2 years/24,000 miles. 24-hour roadside assistance lasts for 5 years/100,000 miles.
Fun To DriveCertain aspects of the Tahoe's performance seem designed to discourage fun, most notably the laggard throttle, brakes and steering. Understandable given the truck's mission, but these measures extend too far into the realm of everyday driving and become annoying.
The Tahoe has enough engine power and braking force when you really need them, but these systems feel noncommital in normal use. In general the Tahoe feels ponderous and doesn't like to be rushed. It is very quiet, though.
The body has a distintive new look yet it still has as much towing and people-hauling capability as before. It's decidedly more expensive, but it does at least look the part inside and out.
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