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Reviews 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD

18:56  21 november  2016
18:56  21 november  2016 Source:   caranddriver.com

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Big looks good when you’re Bill Gates eyeing his double-decker yacht sitting in the bay, but maybe not so much when you’re handed a blind-date dinner bill that could be confused for a phone number. Chevrolet’s time-honored Tahoe falls on both the good and the bad sides of bigness. On one hand, it’s a comfortably appointed people hauler that features a full array of safety tech and entertainment treats. On the other hand, it’s hobbled by its pickup-truck origins and is an expensive-to-buy, expensive-to-operate giant with a marginally useful third row.

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While the Tahoe is based on the Chevrolet Silverado’s body-on-frame design, this SUV benefits from a smoother riding five-link, coil-spring rear suspension in place of the pickup’s leaf springs. The Tahoe also shares that truck’s 5.3-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission. This aluminum small-block is equipped with direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy; here, it makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. That’s the only available powertrain, but it can be configured with rear- or four-wheel drive.

Today, truck-based behemoths such as the Tahoe are fighting an uphill battle to remain relevant amid the mounting popularity of crossovers that are better tailored to a variety of needs. Back in 2002, Chevy sold more than 200,000 Tahoes in a year, but it hasn’t topped half that figure since 2007. With gasoline prices low of late, sales have rebounded somewhat since the 2012 nadir of fewer than 70,000 units. Of course, being based on a huge-selling pickup platform makes the Tahoe and its corporate cousins (the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade) easy to keep in production even as the market for them shrinks. These vehicles’ die-hard buyers are people who really need to carry up to seven people while towing more than four tons; they perhaps also need some off-road ability. Models equipped with four-wheel drive and the Max Trailering package ($500) can pull up to 8400 pounds; two-wheel-drive versions are rated for 8600 pounds.

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Redesigned for 2015, the Tahoe remains one of the biggest players in the full-size-SUV class. Our 2017 four-wheel-drive test car came in top-of-the-line Premier trim that supplants last year’s LTZ version. For 2017, automatic grille shutters were made standard in a bid to improve fuel economy, while new safety technologies and infotainment-system updates teach this big old dog new tricks.

2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier© Chris Amos 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

Haulin’ the Bacon

Accelerating the Tahoe’s 5751 pounds of mass from zero to 60 mph takes 7.2 seconds; it covers the quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds at 90 mph. Stops from 70 mph take a lengthy 191 feet—nearly the worst in its class. EPA fuel-economy ratings for this configuration are 16 mpg city and 22 highway. We recorded 14 mpg, or 1 mpg less than we measured in a 2015 test.

Not long ago, after you got them off the highway, most full-size SUVs handled like top-heavy hay carts on a muddy hillside. Now, technology such as GM’s Magnetic Ride Control—standard on the Tahoe Premier—very effectively quells excessive body motions. It makes a tremendous difference on a truck this size by keeping it stable during quick lane changes, but it can’t fully alleviate the behavior inherent to the Tahoe’s truck underpinnings. The ride quality over rough surfaces is far from smooth, the rear axle fidgets over uneven freeway surfaces, and quivers still ripple through the body.

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2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier© Chris Amos 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

Size Does Matter

As mentioned, the Tahoe is virtually identical to the GMC Yukon. Both of these General Motors utes thus rank near the bottom of the class for second-row legroom and last in third-row legroom. Indeed, the third row is difficult to access and unsuitable for anyone out of elementary school. If you want more room in a GM SUV, you’ll need to order one of the extended versions of the Tahoe/Yukon, the Chevrolet Suburban and the Yukon XL, which offer more third-row legroom and serious cargo volume.

A Suburban has more than double the cargo volume behind the third row of seats, while the Tahoe-sized Toyota Sequoia offers three more cubic feet than the Tahoe’s 15, and the Ford Expedition tops it by four cubes. With the third-row seat folded, the Sequoia’s advantage is huge. And the Expedition’s independent rear suspension allows a lower cargo floor that makes loading items easier.

Otherwise, the Tahoe’s cabin is comfortable and nicely appointed. Our test car featured a two-tone cocoa/dune color scheme that looks rich, with contrast stitching and leather accents. Leather also wrapped the heated steering wheel, the heated and cooled front seats, the heated second-row captain’s chairs, and the third row. Both front seats feature 12-way power functions and are supportive for long trips.

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2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier© Chris Amos 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier

Stuffed with Safety and Tech

The Tahoe is chock-full of intuitive and useful interfaces. The Premier comes standard with a 10-speaker Bose audio system, as well as an 8.0-inch MyLink touchscreen infotainment system featuring navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto with available 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi. An optional Driver Information package ($850) adds an 8.0-inch display in the gauge cluster and a configurable head-up display. Rear passengers can watch Blu-rays, DVDs, and other media on a 9.0-inch screen that drops down from the headliner in models with the Sun, Entertainment, Destination package ($2885).

The Tahoe’s variety of high-tech safety and assist features have been expanded and refined for 2017. Our test truck had forward-collision alert, lane-keeping assist, lane-change with blind-zone alert, rear-traffic alert, automated emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Now standard on all Tahoes is a Teen Driver mode that allows owners to monitor the behavior of drivers who borrow their keys. Most important, the safety assists did a remarkable job of making the big Tahoe manageable in traffic and around town, as well as somewhat mitigating the poor outward visibility. The Tahoe also is extraordinarily quiet inside at freeway cruising speeds, a significant factor in reducing fatigue during long-distance travel. Adaptive cruise control is available on the Premier trim, but it was not on our test car.

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The High Cost of Capability

Tahoe prices begin at $48,410 for a rear-wheel-drive LS and rise to $53,540 for a mid-level LT and $63,225 for the top-shelf Premier. Adding four-wheel drive to any trim level costs $3000. The as-tested price of our example totaled an extraordinary $74,195—including 22-inch ultrabright aluminum wheels ($2245), Siren Red paint ($495), and power-retractable running boards with perimeter lighting ($1745).

There once was a time when saying “SUV” brought to mind only vehicles like the Tahoe, but with so many alternatives now available, you really have to need its elevated towing and hauling capabilities to opt for this Chevrolet. Indeed, and especially at the price of our test truck, there are any number of near- and full-fledged luxury crossovers, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS, that offer more refinement, better packaging, and more satisfying dynamics.

Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED: $74,195 (base price: $51,410)

ENGINE TYPE: pushrod 16-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 325 cu in, 5328 cc

Power: 355 hp @ 5600 rpm

Torque: 383 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:

Wheelbase: 116.0 in

Length: 203.9 in

Width: 80.5 in Height: 74.4 in

Passenger volume: 162 cu ft

Cargo volume: 15 cu ft

Curb weight: 5751 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 7.2 sec

Zero to 100 mph: 19.3 sec

Zero to 110 mph: 23.9 sec

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.7 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.1 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec

Standing ¼-mile: 15.5 sec @ 90 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 114 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 191 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.75 g

FUEL ECONOMY:

EPA city/highway driving: 16/22 mpg

C/D observed: 14 mpg

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