A redesigned Tahoe full-size SUV went on sale in January with new styling, a new family of V-8 engines and a new interior design that carries up to nine people. GMC will offer similar models as the Yukon and luxury-oriented Envoy. The main rivals for General Motors' full-size SUVs are the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, and GM's new models should heat up the battle for buyers in this market segment.
The Tahoe used to have only a six-passenger capacity, but the 2000 model holds as many as nine if you spring for the optional three-place rear seat. The front and middle bench seats also hold three people, though a pair of front buckets is optional. The middle and rear seats fold for additional cargo room or can be removed; these seats are outfitted with integral wheels designed to make the chore easier.
Chevrolet brags that the front and middle rows have more room this year, and there are more cupholders, cubbies and storage bins. Maximum cargo volume, however, has dropped 10 cubic feet to 108. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are a new standard feature. General Motors's OnStar satellite navigation system is standard on the top-shelf LT model and optional on the LS. A power sunroof is a new option for both trims.
Formerly available in two- and four-door styling, Tahoe now comes only as a four-door with an overall length of 199 inches, almost an inch shorter than the previous version and nearly six inches shorter than the Ford Expedition. Width and height have grown a couple of inches to 79 and 74 inches, respectively, and are about the same as Expedition. The new styling is patterned after Chevy's full-size pickup, from which the Tahoe is derived.
Buyers have a choice of swing-out rear cargo doors or an aluminum liftgate. An optional roof rack holds 200 pounds.
Under the Hood
Last year's engines have been replaced by new Vortec V-8 engines, a 4.8-liter with 275 horsepower and a 285-horsepower 5.3-liter. A diesel V-8 is supposed to be added for the 2001 model year. Tahoe comes in 2WD and 4WD guises, the latter being GM's Autotrac system that automatically engages when needed. All models use a four-speed automatic transmission. An 8,800-pound trailer-towing package is optional.