Think late 1990s or early 2000s — President Clinton is in office, Eminem is rapping about “The Real Slim Shady” on the radio, and gas prices are just over a buck a gallon. Back then SUVs, were as hot as crossovers are today.
Riding high in the 2017 Chevy Tahoe LT will help you relive those times and maybe even surprise you with updates like front active aero shutters, MyLink shopping apps, and Teen Driver spyware.
Granted, the thought of a teenager piloting a 5,631-pound SUV and texting is a frightening scenario — so maybe spying on them is a good thing.
Chevy’s Tahoe feels bigger inside than it looks on the outside. Our tester came with the LT Midnight Edition package that adds 20-inch black wheels, a roof rack, and black Bowtie emblems for an additional $1,835 to the $55,455 base price.
It also featured the Sun, Entertainment, and Destination package for $3,210 that added a (rather small) power sunroof, MyLink Audio system with an 8-inch navigation screen, and rear seat entertainment.
In addition, the $2,995 Luxury package adds a recommended remote keyless start, handy power folding seats, and a heated steering wheel. It also includes front and rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, lane change alert, and other annoying doodads. This brings the total vehicle price to $65,320.
Overall, the blacked-out Tahoe looks like a special ops vehicle or something you might see in a Presidential motorcade, which looks cool, but it seems to get covered in dust the moment you look at it.
The Tahoe may be a dusty, relic from the past, but its still comfortable and easy to drive. While it is not our first choice for big city commutes, we can see it at home on the range or in big sky country U.S.A.
Powering the beast is a 5.3-liter V-8 that provides 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Given the Tahoe’s size and weight, it could use a few more ponies, but it gets the job done.
The “Ecotec3” engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic and, thankfully, it doesn’t have start-stop technology. It’s refreshingly old school and can tow up to 8,700 pounds — perfect for hauling your boat, stabile of horses, or your Harleys to Sturgis.
Its four-wheel drive capability is a great bonus and really helps keep the truck firmly planted on the pavement in tighter freeway turns. Five-link, coil-spring suspension offers a smooth ride, and 13-inch brake rotors help stop the Tahoe when needed.
The cockpit is at a good height above the road and offers solid visibility all around the vehicle. However, the hood drops off like a cliff and it would be helpful to have a front camera to go with the rear one for easier parallel parking.
Second and third row seats can fold flat with an optional power-folding feature from the rear, which is a handy and recommended feature.
You can fold them all down with a push of a sequence of buttons located at the rear of the SUV when the rear hatch is open. This comes in real handy when you are loading in loot from the hardware store in the back.
It’s roomy overall and seats seven — the second row is comfy but the third row is really snug and getting back there is a challenge for grown-ups. Opt for a Suburban if you want more legroom for rear passengers.
There are seven USB ports and six power outlets available, plus a wireless charging option located on the center console.
Standard safety features include forward collision alert, safety alert drivers seat, and lane keep assist.
These are sensitive almost to the point of being annoying. The driver’s seat vibrates and a flashing red warning light appears on the dash every time you backup to park or approach a highway medium on a turn too quickly.
Fuel economy is what you would expect for a vehicle of its size and we averaged around 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the freeway. It has a 26-gallon fuel tank, which will rack up some hefty fuel receipts despite cheaper gas prices.
Overall, the Tahoe is a capable blast from the past that’s a solid choice for larger families. But it’s definitely a better ride for the Great Plains than as daily driver in a big city.
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