The 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe needs no introduction. This is America’s all-time-favorite full-size SUV. It seats nine, tows up to 8,500 pounds, deals with smooth pavement or none at all, in good weather and bad, and it's rated at over 20 mpg on the highway. For all its virtues, unless you really need those kinds of capabilities, a smarter choice would be a midsize or larger crossover SUV.
You'll Like The 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe If...
If you absolutely need something that does what the Tahoe does so well, and you don’t mind driving around in and parking a big, heavy truck-type SUV, it’s a great choice.
You May Not Like The 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe If...
If your trailer-towing will be less than 6,500 pounds, you can get seats for eight passengers, measurably better fuel economy, easier maneuverability, better handling and a more comfortable ride in a crossover SUV. Try Chevy’s Traverse or one of its siblings, the Buick Enclave or GMC Acadia.
There are few changes to the Chevy Tahoe for 2014. LS models receive a standard Convenience Package that includes power-adjustable pedals, remote start and rear park assist with rear-vision camera and inside mirror with camera display. Concord Metallic is a new color choice.
The Chevy Tahoe’s interior has more hard plastic than we’d like, but there’s a lot of interior to cover and it’s all quite durable and probably perfectly suited to its use. The seat upholstery patterns look nice, we like the optional soft leather seating, and the dash is attractive with its blue-backlit controls and white-backlit instruments. Getting into and out of the Tahoe’s 3rd-row seats is easy, even for less-than-nimble adults, either through the power release fold-and-tumble mechanism on the standard 2nd-row bench seat or with the walkway between the optional 2nd-row captain’s chairs. Other appreciated features include the available 2nd-row heated seats and the excellent navigation system with its touch-screen operation.
Conservative but nicely-sculpted sheet metal is set off by the 2014 Tahoe’s expressive and recognizable Chevrolet-family face, consisting of twin horizontal grille sections separated by a big Chevy bow-tie badge. The power-bulge hood and big wheels and tires (up to 20-inchers) give the Tahoe a substantial road presence, an attitude that becomes particularly CIA-like when it’s finished in black. The Tahoe’s flush headlights, smooth wrap-around bumper, lower air dam and steeply-raked windshield all contribute to its low 0.36 coefficient of drag, a number that lets this big rolling brick slip through the wind with relative ease. It’s big, but it’s also clean and, in its way, attractive.
Chevrolet has pushed the Tahoe’s full-size body-on-frame SUV platform to the limits of what such a design can manage, but the results are impressive. The fully-boxed frame results in a rigid chassis that helps improve handling and reduce interior noise. The coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering contribute to a surprisingly maneuverable, tractable and smooth-handling SUV. We also give high marks to the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control because it’s a meaningful safety aid that can reduce single-vehicle accidents. With 320 horsepower, the Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V8 is more than capable of moving the fully-loaded vehicle easily and responsively, and the Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system seamlessly switches between 4- or 8-cylinder operation as needed for improved fuel economy without compromising performance.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe starts right around $40,000 for a 2WD LS model and ranges up to just over $57,000 for a fully-loaded 4WD LTZ. We advise that you check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see the typical price consumers in your area are paying for the 2014 Chevy Tahoe, to make sure you get the best deal. As the segment sales leader, the Tahoe offers decent projected residual values, slightly better than those of the Dodge Durango, Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, but below that of the Toyota Sequoia.
The 2014 Chevy Tahoe includes an impressive array of standard features. Even the base LS model includes dual-zone (manual) air conditioning, 6-way power driver’s seat, StabiliTrak stability control, OnStar, Bluetooth, tire-pressure monitoring and airbags everywhere: Front and side for the front seats and head-curtain bags for all rows. The LS also has a standard Convenience Package. The LT group adds tri-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, Bose 9-speaker audio system and ultrasonic rear parking assist. Stepping up to the LTZ trim adds 20-inch aluminum wheels, heated and cooled 12-way memory front seats, 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system and Autoride rear air-assisted load-leveling.
Beyond the three trim packages, the Chevrolet Tahoe can also be optioned up to a great degree. Among key options are an engine-block heater, rear-seat entertainment center with DVD player, Z71 Off-Road Package, Side Blind Zone Alert System, rearview camera system, a navigation system, and a radio that includes CD, MP3 and XM NavTraffic compatibility. A choice of 2- and 4-wheel-drive models and a variety of axle ratios and trailering packages are also offered.
There is no doubt the Chevrolet Tahoe can accomplish a wide variety of tasks, and will do anything its reputation would indicate it can handle. It’s not the most efficient thing on the road, though not bad for its size, and, within reason, the Tahoe will not let you down.
ACTIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT
Helping you have your cake and eat it too, this system smoothly drops out four cylinders when they are unneeded, enhancing fuel efficiency.
Under the Hood
The Tahoe’s sole engine offering is a strong, smooth, sophisticated and well-proven 5.3-liter V8. In the interest of performance with efficiency, it employs variable valve timing, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation that cuts off four cylinders when they aren’t needed) and FlexFuel capability. When running on E85 (85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline), fuel economy suffers by about 25 percent but power and torque increase slightly. To save weight, it has aluminum cylinder heads and the engine block is either aluminum or cast iron depending upon other equipment ordered. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic.
5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 mpg (2WD and 4WD, gasoline), 11/16 mpg (2WD and 4WD, E85)
It is not by accident that Chevy’s Tahoe is this country’s all-time favorite full-size SUV. For what it is and what it does, it does those things very well. Need to carry up to nine people? Tow a good-sized trailer? Deal with bad weather or lousy roads? Take a long trip in easy comfort and bring all your stuff with you? The Tahoe will do all of that and more, and has maintained a position at the head of a class that includes the Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada. In addition, it can travel more than 20 miles down the highway on a gallon of gas. Yet, as appealing as all that might be, if you don’t require those sorts of capabilities and your transportation needs include mainly family and pavement, you’d be better off with one of the more efficient crossover SUVs, such as a Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango or Chevy’s own Traverse, any of which would be much more sensible.