Used 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1996

For 1996, Tahoe gets 50 additional horsepower and more torque out of a new 5700 V8. Other improvements include rear-seat heating ducts, quieter-riding P-metric tires, improved automatic transmissions and extended interval service schedules. Daytime running lights are new for 1996.

Vehicle overview

Compact sport-utility vehicles get most of the attention nowadays, but for folks with big families--or scads of goods to lug around--they're just not spacious enough inside. Chevy dashes forth this year with an answer: a four-door version of the full-size Tahoe, marketed since spring of 1995 alongside the shorter-wheelbase two-door. That one was formerly known as the K-Blazer, but Chevrolet now restricts the Blazer badge to compact sport-utes, to avoid confusion.

At a glance, the four-door Tahoe and Suburban look nearly identical, but a Tahoe measures 20 inches shorter. That means it's more likely to fit into a normal garage. Beneath the hood sits a brand-new Vortec 5700 gasoline V8, rated 250 horsepower. That's 50 more ponies than the 1995 Tahoe. Aren't you glad now that you had to wait so long to get one? Two-door Tahoes can be equipped with a diesel instead of the Vortec 5700.

Also new for 1996 are rear seat heater ducts, a revised armrest storage compartment with the 60/40 split bench seat, and a new interior color called Neutral. Outside, daytime running lights have been added, and two new paint colors are available. Tahoes get new P-metric tires for a quieter ride. A two-wheel drive two-door Tahoe has been added to the lineup, though we wonder who will buy it.

From the driver's seat forward, Tahoes are virtually identical to full-size pickups. Space is massive up front. Capable of towing as much as 7,000 pounds, four-door Tahoes seat either five or six, and an underbody-mounted spare tire helps boost cargo space. The driver faces a new airbag and revised instrument panel. A passenger airbag is not available.

On the Interstates, a Tahoe rides nicely, but the wide body takes some getting used to if you're accustomed to compacts. Turning onto smaller roads, it suddenly feels more like a truck. Easy to control either way, the sizable machine is reasonably maneuverable, if driven with discretion. The V8 is strong, and the four-speed automatic transmission shifts neatly.

Think about the "entry assist" running boards if your regular riders aren't so nimble. They help. So do the robust grab bars that ease entry into the rear seats. Rear cargo doors are standard, but a lift glass version is available.

Because Chevrolet targets customers with an income of $85,000 a year, luxury conveniences are part of the Tahoe package. The typical prospect is an upscale 40-year-old man who currently drives a Ford Explorer and is attracted to a vehicle's size and power. Those attributes, the Tahoe has in abundance, as does its little-different GMC Yukon counterpart.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.