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By Jim Flammang
March 21, 2005
Vehicle Overview Chevrolet's strong-selling Tahoe full-size sport utility vehicle is based on the company's Silverado pickup truck. The Tahoe is the kid brother of the king-size Suburban. GMC produces a similar SUV called the Yukon.
For 2005, both two- and four-wheel-drive Z71 Tahoes, which feature a specially tuned suspension and 17-inch all-terrain tires, are available. Chevrolet claims its 2005 Tahoe achieves improved fuel economy. A rear liftgate with lift-up glass is now standard on all models. General Motors' OnStar communication system gets upgraded hands-free capability and is standard with all equipment groups, and a touchscreen navigation radio is available. Traction assist and a locking rear differential are available.
Exterior To many shoppers, the four-door Tahoe has one clear advantage over the Suburban: it has more manageable dimensions. These smaller measurements translate to easier maneuverability while driving and parking. The Tahoe rides a 116-inch wheelbase and measures 196.9 inches long overall � that's 9 inches shorter than the Ford Expedition and more than 22 inches shorter than its Suburban sibling. The four-wheel-drive Tahoe stands 76.7 inches tall and has a ground clearance of 8.4 inches.
Interior As many as nine people can fit inside the Tahoe when it is equipped with an optional three-place 50/50-split rear bench seat in the third row. The front and middle bench seats also hold three passengers each. Front buckets are optional, and models with that seating arrangement hold eight people. The middle and rear seats fold down and can be removed.
The Tahoe holds 104.6 cubic feet of cargo when the middle and rear seats are removed and 16.3 cubic feet when the rear seat is in place. Adjustable pedals are available. A driver information center works with 34 functions. Entertainment options include XM Satellite Radio, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a family of Radio Data System radios.
Under the Hood Either a 285-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 or a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 may be installed in the Tahoe. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Tahoes may be equipped with rear-wheel drive or Autotrac four-wheel drive, which engages automatically to regain or maintain traction on slippery surfaces. Optional trailer packages give rear-drive models a 7,700-pound towing capacity.
Safety All-disc antilock brakes are standard and side-impact airbags are available. GM's StabiliTrak electronic stability system is available.
Driving Impressions From behind the wheel, both the Tahoe and its Yukon cousin come across as tolerable in size for most journeys. Not only is the Tahoe easy to drive, but it can actually be enjoyable.
This SUV is roomy and comfortable inside. It maneuvers better than its external dimensions suggest. Performance is abundant and the ride is reasonably smooth, but the action gets harsher on Z71 models. In offroad treks and trailer-towing tasks, the Z71 delivers a wholly satisfying experience.