The Chevy Tahoe marks the dividing line between full-size SUVs and the biggest of crossovers. It can seat up to nine passengers, sports standard V-8 power, and can tow up to 8,300 pounds. None of its car-based lookalikes can do that.
With rivals like the Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, the Tahoe doesn't have it easy. It still works its way to the top tier of big SUVs, thanks to lots of power, creature comforts, and space.
Sold in Tahoe LS, Tahoe LT, and Tahoe Premier trims for the 2017 model year, we give the lineup an overall score of 6.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Chevy Tahoe styling and performance
The Tahoe has a familiar look, one it shares in essence with the Silverado/Sierra trucks and the Yukon/Escalade SUVs. The very crisply folded wagon body is mostly shared with the Suburban, though that even bigger utility vehicle has a stretched cargo area.
The Tahoe's cabin is the relief from all the hard, straight edges that define the exterior. The interior is soothingly smooth and curved, with an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen centerpiece and more overt car, and even luxury, influences than ever.
The Tahoe gets one drivetrain: it's a 5.3-liter V-8 teamed with a 6-speed automatic. With 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Tahoe can be fitted with rear- or optional four-wheel drive. Power is strong at all speeds, and the engine works well with the smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The Tahoe can tow up to 8,600 pounds when properly configured; fuel economy isn't bad for what the Tahoe can do, at up to 19 mpg combined.
With a body made mostly of high-strength steel, electric power steering, and available adaptive dampers, the Tahoe drives better than a vehicle of its size should. Steering feel is light but direct, and the ride is controlled and isolated when fitted with the standard live-axle, leaf-spring rear suspension. Tahoe Premiers come with GM's Magnetic Ride Control, which uses shocks filled with magnetically charged fluid that changes damping rates every few milliseconds. When equipped with the Magnetic Ride Control system, body control of the large SUV is remarkable, even on winding roads, while comfort is maximized. Agile? No, but the MRC-equipped Tahoe is a well-sorted machine.
Tahoe comfort, safety, and features
The Tahoe's wheelbase is 116 inches long, while the Suburban's span is 130 inches. With all that space, the Tahoe can accommodate between seven and nine passengers, depending on the chosen seating configuration. An available power-folding option for the second- and third-row seats make it easy to convert from passenger duty to cargo-hauling mode. The cabin's storage bins are quite useful too, with a center console bin deep enough to hold a tablet or small notebook computers. The cabin is also much quieter than the previous Tahoes, matching nicely with the comfortable seating and stylish look.
The Tahoe tops an extensive safety package with GM's exclusive front-center airbags, on models with front bucket seats. Adaptive cruise control is an option, as are a lane-departure warning system with seat-mounted haptic alerts, blind-spot monitors, forward collision alerts, and front parking sensors. Crash tests haven't done the Tahoe many favors, though; the NHTSA rates it at just four stars overall.
Standard equipment includes power features, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth with audio streaming. Options include keyless ignition, an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Chevy MyLink connectivity, a head-up display, a power tailgate, a cargo-management system, up to six USB ports and six power outlets, a Blu-ray DVD entertainment system, and up to 22-inch wheels.