2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Handsome cabin with impressive fit and finish, comfortable ride, smooth powertrain, can accommodate up to nine passengers.
  • Third-row seat doesn't fold flat and must be removed, overly soft suspension makes for less than precise handling.
List Price Range
$9,605 - $16,999

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though its luster is dulled slightly by less-than-sharp handling and unwieldy third-row seats, the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe still shines as a top pick for a full-size SUV, thanks to its attractive cabin and unstoppable towing ability.

Vehicle overview

Though hybrids and small cars are media darlings right now, there are still plenty of Americans who need a vehicle with large passenger-hauling and trailer-towing capabilities. In cases like this, only a traditional full-size SUV will do. And for the past few years, Chevrolet's Tahoe has been a very popular choice to fill this role.

Of course, with gas at around $4 a gallon, there's a reason everyone's fretting about fuel economy these days. Yet there are some large SUVs that tread more lightly than others when it comes to fuel mileage. The Tahoe fares decently in this regard, especially for 2009. A new six-speed automatic transmission is fitted to just about every Tahoe, making it slightly more fuel-efficient on the highway by lowering rpm.

There are a few other notable changes this year as well. For the first time since the current-generation Tahoe debuted for 2007, a larger engine is available. It's a 6.2-liter V8 and very similar to the one you'll find in the Tahoe's upscale siblings, the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali. In the Chevy, it makes 395 horsepower and boosts both acceleration and towing capacity.

The Tahoe's brawny truck-based underpinnings give it the sort of ruggedness that's a natural fit for recreational use. Yet it would be remiss to review the Tahoe without mentioning the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia, its two most worthy rivals in the full-size-SUV dust-up. The Tahoe trailed the Expedition in our most recent comparison test. Each offers unique strengths; the Chevy's cabin is more inviting, but the Expedition's fold-flat third-row seat gives it the edge when it comes to convenience. The Sequoia is equally impressive due to its refined nature. In the end, though, all three vehicles are quite competent and worthy of a recommendation.

However, before parking a Tahoe in your garage, it's worth asking yourself if you really need a full-size SUV to begin with. If your main interest is passenger and cargo space, there are large crossover SUVs -- such as the GMC Acadia, Saturn Outlook and Mazda CX-9 -- that will get the job done in a more fuel-efficient manner. However, if you need an SUV that can tow huge loads and barrel confidently off the paved path, the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe shines as an excellent choice.

2009 Chevrolet Tahoe models

The 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV that's available in four trim levels -- base LS, midlevel LT1 and LT2 and upscale LTZ. The LS should please most folks, as it comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a 40/20/40-split bench front seat with built-in storage compartments, OnStar telematics, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, full power accessories, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, dual-zone climate control, an MP3-capable CD player with an auxiliary audio input, a 50/50-split bench third-row seat and a trip computer.

Additional standard equipment on the LT1 includes foglamps, front bucket seats and a turn-by-turn navigation feature for the OnStar system. The LT2 trim adds a six-disc CD changer, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle start, tri-zone automatic climate control and rear park assist. Stepping up to the LTZ trim adds premium leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats (with eight-way driver adjustment) and a Bose audio system. The top-dog LTZ trim also features 20-inch alloy wheels, heated second-row seats, a locking rear differential, a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, second-row bucket seats and GM's Autoride air suspension.

Major stand-alone options for the Chevrolet Tahoe include a navigation system with real-time traffic updates, a rearview camera and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. LTZ Tahoes offer an optional Side Blind Zone Alert system that uses radar to detect vehicles in the SUV's blind spot. This year's tow package also includes a trailer brake controller.

For buyers who plan to drive their Tahoe off-road on a regular basis, Chevrolet offers an off-road suspension package with differently tuned springs and shock absorbers, 18-inch all-terrain tires, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, a high-capacity air cleaner and front tow hooks.

2009 Highlights

For 2009, the Chevrolet Tahoe receives a few mechanical and feature-related changes. Almost all Tahoes are now equipped with a new six-speed automatic transmission that promises improved fuel efficiency. There's a new optional engine, too, a 6.2-liter V8 with 395 horsepower. Feature updates include a standard third-row seat for all models, real-time traffic information for the navigation systems and an enhanced version of OnStar. New Tahoe features this year include an integrated brake controller, Bluetooth connectivity, heated and cooled front seats and a blind-spot alert system.

Performance & mpg

A trio of V8s sees duty in the Tahoe, and two transmissions are offered. One may also choose between two-wheel drive (2WD), which sends power to the rear wheels, and four-wheel drive (4WD). The 2WD Tahoe LS comes standard with a 4.8-liter V8 with 295 hp and 305 pound-feet of torque; a 5.3-liter V8 good for 320 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque is optional. All other Chevy Tahoes come standard with the 5.3-liter V8. A 6.2-liter V8 that boasts 395 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque is optional on LTZ models. The 4.8-liter V8 is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission, while the other two engines are mated to a six-speed automatic.

Fitted with the 5.3, a 4WD Tahoe posts EPA fuel economy estimates of 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 combined, figures that are above average for the traditional full-size SUV segment. Properly equipped, a 4WD Tahoe can tow up to 8,200 pounds.

Safety

Standard safety features for all Tahoes include full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes and stability control. In government crash testing, the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe garnered a perfect five stars in both frontal- and side-impact evaluations.

Driving

For a 5,500-pound SUV, the Tahoe does pretty well when it comes to acceleration. Even 4WD models with the 5.3-liter V8 are able to get from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 8.6 seconds. Load it up with passengers and cargo, though, and the Tahoe's pudgy curb weight becomes more of a liability. Braking is about average for this porcine segment.

Those who favor a soft, forgiving ride will appreciate the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe, but the downside of that cushy comfort is steering and handling that feels somewhat rubbery. The Tahoe may feel less than agile around corners, but its tight turning circle -- measuring just 39 feet -- makes it relatively easy to pilot in the city.

Interior

Thankfully, the current Tahoe raises the disappointingly low bar set by past Chevy SUVs when it comes to interior aesthetics. Slide inside the cabin and you'll find attractive materials and outstanding build quality. The Tahoe's controls are intuitively laid out, and even the navigation system is a snap to operate. It's also able to transport up to nine passengers, so it's at the top of its class when it comes to seating capacity.

The Tahoe offers 109 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, besting that of rivals like the Dodge Durango and more or less equaling that of the Ford Expedition. One notable shortcoming concerns the Tahoe's standard third-row seats. These seats must be removed manually, and their hefty weight makes the process laborious.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Tahoe LTZ 6.2L
Oblidoblido,05/26/2009
Traded in a 2005 Suburban 3/4 ton 6.0L 4WD for a 2009 Tahoe LTZ 6.2L 4WD fully loaded, black with black leather. Wow! What a difference in the ride. This Tahoe is very smooth, especially with the 6-speed. I have owned a 2002 Tahoe Z71 and the 2009 LTZ is almost like driving a different truck. The 6.2L has fantastic performance. My gas mileage around town is 13-14 mpg and on the highway about 17-18 mpg; however, my driving style does not place much priority on gas mileage.
Excellent Choice
famcircus,07/29/2013
Recently traded our 05 Toyota Sequoia in for the 09 Chevy Tahoe; very, very happy we made the change. Can't say anything bad about our previous vehicle, but the 09 Tahoe and it's ride quality, power, and options are extremely solid. My wife (and I) loves everything about her Tahoe and mentions she feels safe and comfortable while driving herself and 3 kids. Chevy did and outstanding job putting this vehicle together.
Still the Best Fullsize On the Road
Jerhico31189,12/03/2009
It drives me nuts to see you guys messing with the ratings on a good SUV because of something like fuel economy. You don't like getting 15 MPG,THEN DRIVE A CIVIC!!! It does everything a big SUV is made to do. Great in the winter and rain, tows anything and its got great cargo room. Totally satisfied!
Best SUV I've Ever Driven
Hugh,01/30/2009
I traded in my 04 Yukon Denali for this Tahoe, and it was a great choice. For its size, the Fahoe drives so easily around the city, and it's so comfortable inside. The dash looks very elegant, the seats are super comfortable, and the nav screen is easy to use, and the design of the whole truck is great. In mostly city driving, I get about 14.9 mpg, which is great because my old Denali only got about 11 mpg

Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
Seats 9
4-speed automatic
Gas
295 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 8
6-speed shiftable automatic
Flex-fuel (ffv)
315 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 7
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
320 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 8
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
320 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe

Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Overview

The Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe is offered in the following submodels: Tahoe SUV. Available styles include LS 4dr SUV (4.8L 8cyl 4A), LT1 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT1 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT2 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT2 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LS 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT1 XFE 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), and LT2 XFE 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ is priced between $14,000 and$16,999 with odometer readings between 96857 and154378 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe LS is priced between $9,605 and$9,605 with odometer readings between 155523 and155523 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe LT1 is priced between $9,995 and$9,995 with odometer readings between 159995 and159995 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe LT2 is priced between $13,777 and$13,777 with odometer readings between 119349 and119349 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2009 Tahoes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,605 and mileage as low as 96857 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Can't find a used 2009 Chevrolet Tahoes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Tahoe for sale - 3 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $19,370.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $21,248.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Tahoe for sale - 6 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,435.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $11,065.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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