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.
Little has changed for the 2006 model year: a standard tire-pressure-monitoring system, relocated catalytic converters and a manually adjusted parking brake are now available. Additionally, all 2006 models now offer an optional 295-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 that runs on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol. V-8 models also feature General Motors' StabiliTrak electronic stability system. LS and LT trim levels are available.
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 nearly 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.
Nine people can fit inside Tahoes 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 limit seating to 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 standard in LT and Z71 editions and optional in the LS. A multilingual driver information center is installed. Entertainment options include XM Satellite Radio, a Panasonic rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a family of Radio Data System radios. A single antenna now serves the OnStar communication system and XM Satellite Radio.
Under the Hood
Either a 285-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 or a 295-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 can be installed in the Tahoe. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. Tahoes can 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 7,800-pound maximum towing capacity. A flex-fuel version of the 5.3-liter V-8 is available.
All-disc antilock brakes are standard, and side-impact airbags for front occupants are optional. StabiliTrak is standard with V-8 engines.
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 roomy and comfortable SUV 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.
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