The Chevrolet Tahoe was the first of several full-size sport utility vehicles that General Motors overhauled for 2007. The new Tahoe is 5 inches longer than its predecessor, and its slipstream styling is mirrored in GM's other 2007 SUVs, whose platform the Tahoe shares.
The 2007 Tahoe offers a choice of two V-8 engines, one with cylinder deactivation technology that increases fuel economy up to 17 percent over the outgoing model — an impressive feat considering the new model has gained nearly 500 pounds.
Available in base LS, LT and top-of-the-line LTZ trim levels, the Tahoe has available four-wheel drive and seating configurations for up to nine occupants. A hybrid Tahoe will go on sale for the 2008 model year. The Tahoe and its siblings compete with other full-size SUVs such as the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
The Tahoe, built in Arlington, Texas, and Janesville, Wis., went on sale in January. Prices for two-wheel-drive models range from $33,115 for a Tahoe LS to $43,140 for a Tahoe LTZ, not including the destination charge.
Integrated front and rear fascias replace the previous Tahoe's lower bumper cladding. The headlights are larger and have clear lenses, each with four clearly defined bezels. A thick horizontal frame bisects the grille, and a large Chevy bowtie sits front and center. Tighter body gaps, foam-filled A-pillars and a stiffer body-on-frame design reduce cabin noise. A rack-and-pinion steering system replaces the previous generation's outdated recirculating-ball setup.
Height, width and wheelbase remain roughly the same as the previous Tahoe's, but the 2007 model gains more than 5 inches in length. That bumps the Tahoe into the same ballpark as the Expedition, Armada and Sequoia, though it doesn't quite beat any of them.
The Tahoe LS has 17-inch wheels and black exterior moldings, while LT models add body-colored moldings and fog lights. The Tahoe LTZ features 20-inch wheels, an Autoride real-time damping suspension and a power-operated rear liftgate. An available Z71 offroad package includes unique exterior details, 18-inch wheels and an offroad suspension.
A curvaceous dashboard and flush-mounted buttons give the Tahoe a carlike interior. Standard equipment includes a power driver's seat and an eight-speaker CD stereo. LT models add a rear audio system as well as available leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power passenger seat. The Tahoe LTZ packs a long list of luxury features, including rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated first- and second-row seats.
Two rows of seats hold up to six occupants, with a third row optional on lower trims and standard on the LTZ. The second-row seats fold either manually or with an optional power-operated mechanism. The third row is removable, but it doesn't fold to the floor like the Ford Expedition's. With both rows stowed, maximum cargo volume is 108.9 cubic feet, which beats the Armada, nearly ties the Expedition and falls well short of the Sequoia's 128.1 cubic feet. With the third-row bench in place, cargo volume falls to 16.9 cubic feet.
A 4.8-liter V-8 is standard on two-wheel-drive Tahoes. It makes 290 horsepower and 290 pounds-feet of torque. Optional on two-wheel-drive Tahoes and standard on four-wheel-drive versions is a 5.3-liter V-8 with 320 hp and 340 pounds-feet of torque — a much-needed bump over the previous Tahoe's 295-hp V-8, considering the new model weighs 487 pounds more. The 5.3-liter V-8 runs on regular gasoline or ethanol-based E85 fuel.
Fuel economy improves thanks to a fuel management system that deactivates four cylinders under low-load situations such as freeway cruising or downhill coasting. It comes only with the 5.3-liter V-8 and yields 2 to 3 mpg increases in highway mileage over the previous Tahoe.
Both V-8 engines use a four-speed-automatic transmission. When properly configured, the Tahoe can tow up to 7,700 pounds.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard, as is a StabiliTrak electronic stability system. The system features new rollover mitigation technology that senses impending rollovers and applies individual brakes in an attempt to keep the Tahoe on all four wheels. Side curtain-type airbags that cover all three rows of seats are standard on the Tahoe LTZ but optional on the LS and LT. Front-seat side-impact airbags are not available.