2015 Tahoe is refined brute
The beefy, tough, redesigned 2015 Chevy Tahoe can require someone to “hoist” themselves up into a vehicle.
So there’s your fair warning: If a big, full-size SUV — one you could pull a house with — isn’t what you seek, you’re reading the wrong column. But if you want a full-size SUV that can haul that 30-foot boat — or a small house — and you want the kind of interior refinement and technology usually found in luxury cars, then read on.
A dominating presence in the full-size SUV market, the Tahoe returns this year with thunder. The engines have more horses — and advanced technology that squeezes out more miles per gallon. And it rides on an all-new platform derived from the Chevy Silverado pickup.
All Tahoes are equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8 that generates 356 horses and 383 pound-feet of torque. A smooth-shifting six-speed transmission sends power to the rear wheels or all four with the 4WD version getting a two-speed transfer case with low range gearing.
Maximum tow rating for the 2WD is 8,600 pounds; 8,400 for the 4WD. All Tahoes are prewired for towing and get a 2-inch receiver hitch. Optional is a MAX Trailering package that gets its own gearing and trailer brake controller.
While the Tahoe is a brute when called upon, on the highway it is well-behaved. The ride is smooth and nearly as quiet as a luxury sedan. And Tahoe’s electric-assisted power steering is surprisingly responsive.
Bumps are managed nicely, thanks to its Magnetic Ride Control, adaptive suspension system that adjusts the stiffness of the shocks within milliseconds. And corners are handled without excitement or concern.
Acceleration, though, is somewhat sluggish.
Mileage is EPA-rated at 16 mpg city, 23 highway for the 2WD; 15-22 for the 4WD. While EPA figures often are generous, my figures were close with an empty truck.
Overall, the interior is significantly improved. Refined, luxurious even. The materials have a rich feel.
Seats up front are comfortable and reasonably supportive. Leg room, head and shoulder space are plentiful.
Chevy has made great strides in technology offerings, too. Even the base Tahoe LS has rear parking sensors, remote engine start, rear-view camera, 6-speaker sound system with satellite radio, and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.