2017 Chevrolet Tahoe: Full-SizeTruck-Based SUV Comes at You Confidently

By Mike Blake - Carlisle Events
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Since 1995, when Chevrolet renamed its Blazer, GM has packaged its full-size truck-based SUV as Tahoe, a name borrowed from a rugged and scenic California ski area.

Three years into its fourth generation, the 2017 Tahoe has replaced the top trim LTZ with a new name: Premier, which now comes with perforated, leather-trimmed heated and vented driver and passenger seats. Also new is a standard Teen Driver feature that encourages safe driving habits with teenagers, enabling parents to view the vehicle’s maximum speed, distance driven and the number of times active safety features were engaged during a drive.

New front active aero shutters enhance aerodynamics on the highway and new available items for Tahoe include rear seat entertainment system upgrades with HDMI/MHL connector; additional USB port; digital headphones and device projection and a new video voiceover feature that benefits visually and hearing impaired. Chevrolet MyLink adds in-vehicle shopping apps and you also get Rear Seat Reminder Customization, and available Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking. New exterior colors for this year include Blue Velvet Metallic and Pepperdust Metallic

Bucking the trend toward curved, Euro-sculpture for sports-utes, Tahoe doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. It is a truck-type SUV and it comes at you as such. It is upright and trucklike in its architecture – old-school boxy, though Chevy considers it refined and precisely sculpted. Its inlaid doors fit into the body side openings instead of over the top of the body, for quietness of the interior cabin while contributing to solid aerodynamics – an attribute that helps the vehicles slip through the air on the highway with less drag for greater efficiency. Lightweight aluminum hood and liftgate panels also enhance efficiency through reduced overall mass.

Tahoe measures 204.9 inches long, 74.4 inches high and 80.5 inches wide on a 116-inch wheelbase, and weighs in at 5631 lbs. in the LT trim I tested.

Tahoe can carry up to nine people, though the third row can be tight. Inside, you get 45.3 inches of front legroom, 42.8 inches of front headroom and 64.5 inches of front shoulder room. The second row comes in at 30.0 (headroom), 42.8 (legroom) and 64.5 (shoulder room), and the rear seats accommodate only 27 inches of headroom, 38.4 inches of legroom and 63.5 inches of shoulder room.

The cabin is refined to enhance functionality and comfort, while delivering advanced technologies and connectivity. Premium materials and enhanced ergonomics demonstrate the SUVs’ blend of sophistication, craftsmanship and function. The instrument panel, for example, has a straightforward design featuring a large, easy-to-view cluster. It includes a 4.2-inch color driver information center display in the center of the cluster, for vehicle, infotainment and other data. There’s also an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen radio on LT and LTZ models in the center of the instrument panel, incorporating secured storage behind the motorized screen.

Tahoe is powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 that thunders out 355hp and 383 lbs,-ft. of torque. The system delivers excellent passing power, but there was a slight delay in translating pedal inputs to engine response. With a truck feel and action, and mated to a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission, my Tahoe LT finished off a zero-to-60 mph sprint in 7.4 seconds (hand-timed) and completed a quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds (also hand-timed), EPA estimates of 18/city and 22/highway in 4WD configuration were close to my tests, which yielded an average of 19.7mpg in mixed-use driving.

I found Tahoe’s electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system to be a bit heavy, and maneuvering this big SUV in tight city or town spots can be challenging. Braking response was good, but you need to press down and not ease down on the pedal for solid engagement; and the independent coil-over-shock front suspension works with a solid axle rear with five-link location and coil springs to give soft road feel at speed and some bounce over highway irregularities.

The 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe is available in three trims. The Base LS starts at $48,410 in 2WD, the LT adds leather-appointed first- and second-row seats, power liftgate with programmable height, heated front bucket seats with memory, Bose® premium sound system, and safety upgrades and starts at $53,540. The top trim, Premier, starts at $63,225 and adds high-intensity discharge headlamps, 12-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels, Side Blind Zone Alert with Lane Change Alert, and more.

My Black test Tahoe, in LT trim, added 4WD for $3,000; The Luxury Package for $2995 added keyless entry with push button start; heated second row power-release 60/40 split-bench seats; outside heated power-adjustable, power-folding mirrors; power-fold third row 60/40 split-bench seats; memory power tilt-and-telescopic steering column and heated steering wheel; wireless charging; hands-free power liftgate; fog lamps; Front and Rear Park Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Side Blind Zone Alert; body-color trailer hitch closeout in the rear fascia.

The Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package for $2710, added Chevrolet MyLink® Radio with Navigation ; rear seat Blu-ray entertainment system; power sunroof and more.

Integrated roof rails added $250; molded splash guards added $170; and Destination and Freight charges of $1285 put the sticker-as-tested at $61,265 after manufacturer discounts.

Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.

Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.

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