The 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe is deceptive. It has a crisply tailored look, but don’t let that tuxedo-effect fool you because the Tahoe does not have Fred Astaire’s moves. Creases and chrome may make one statement but the cumbersome way this big, truck-based SUV negotiates a parking lot in suburbia makes another.
Maybe you need the utility it offers: seating for nine persons (in the base model), V8 power, impressive towing capacity, and significant off-road capability with the available two-speed transfer case. On those few weekends of the summer when you put the boat in the water, the Tahoe will yank it and the trailer back up the ramp and bring the whole crew home. All the other days of the year, be prepared to live with compromises, which go beyond the sluggish responses and swaying ride. This is a tall truck, which means forever depending on the standard side-assist steps to climb into the passenger compartment. There’s also a high lift to be made when loading cargo through the rear opening. You might be additionally surprised to find less cargo capacity inside than expected from such an enormous vehicle.
Another trade-off is fuel economy. The rear-wheel-drive Tahoe C1500 achieves an EPA rating of 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) while the four-wheel-drive Tahoe K1500 gets 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway).
It comes as no surprise that the truck-based Tahoe drives much like a truck. Handling, comfort and maneuverability all take a hit from the emphasis on durability and utility. More modern crossover SUVs are based on passenger car platforms, which often make them drive more comfortably and get better fuel economy.
Even among other body-on-frame, full-sized SUVs, the Tahoe falls short, achieving only middling scores overall. As a result, we encourage shoppers to check out the Tahoe's competition before fully committing. Rivals include the Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition, both of which offer similar levels of capability along with a few other unique features.
Selecting a Tahoe is a straightforward proposition. Three trim levels are offered. The nicely equipped Tahoe LS is available with an optional front bench seat, upping capacity from eight to nine passengers. The Tahoe LT incorporates even more comfort and convenience features. Finally, the Tahoe Premier lives up to its very name and offers you a lot of luxury without a lot of ostentation.
Let Edmunds help you find the perfect 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.