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2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

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$2,470 — $9,434 USED
Sport Utility
6-9 Seats
17 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
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Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Posted on 12/12/02
Vehicle Overview
Chevrolet’s top-selling full-size Tahoe sport utility vehicle is based on the Silverado pickup truck. The Tahoe is the less-gargantuan kid brother of the king-size Suburban, and GMC produces a near twin called the Yukon. Both models compete against the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia. According to Automotive News, Tahoe sales have risen sharply from less than 150,000 units in 2000 to 202,319 units in 2001.

The Tahoe comes in LS and LT trim levels. A Z71 Off-Road Package is available on the 4x4 LS, which includes a specially tuned suspension, 17-inch tires, tubular side steps, skid plates, wheel flares and lower-body moldings. The Z71 also gets GM’s OnStar communication system as well as color-keyed mirrors, bumpers and grille. OnStar is standard on the top-of-the-line LT model and optional on the LS.

Changes to the Tahoe are considerable for 2003. StabiliTrak, GM’s electronic stability system, is now optional for Tahoes equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine. Adjustable pedals come with or without a memory feature. XM Satellite Radio, a Panasonic DVD backseat entertainment system and a new family of Radio Data System (RDS) radios are now offered. Tri-zone climate control is available on the LS and Z71 editions, and an electronic control feature is offered with the LT. The Tahoe’s engines gain electronic throttle control, and the turn signals are now displayed in the glass of outside mirrors. An enhanced driver informati...
Posted on 12/12/02
Vehicle Overview
Chevrolet’s top-selling full-size Tahoe sport utility vehicle is based on the Silverado pickup truck. The Tahoe is the less-gargantuan kid brother of the king-size Suburban, and GMC produces a near twin called the Yukon. Both models compete against the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia. According to Automotive News, Tahoe sales have risen sharply from less than 150,000 units in 2000 to 202,319 units in 2001.

The Tahoe comes in LS and LT trim levels. A Z71 Off-Road Package is available on the 4x4 LS, which includes a specially tuned suspension, 17-inch tires, tubular side steps, skid plates, wheel flares and lower-body moldings. The Z71 also gets GM’s OnStar communication system as well as color-keyed mirrors, bumpers and grille. OnStar is standard on the top-of-the-line LT model and optional on the LS.

Changes to the Tahoe are considerable for 2003. StabiliTrak, GM’s electronic stability system, is now optional for Tahoes equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine. Adjustable pedals come with or without a memory feature. XM Satellite Radio, a Panasonic DVD backseat entertainment system and a new family of Radio Data System (RDS) radios are now offered. Tri-zone climate control is available on the LS and Z71 editions, and an electronic control feature is offered with the LT. The Tahoe’s engines gain electronic throttle control, and the turn signals are now displayed in the glass of outside mirrors. An enhanced driver information center works with up to 34 functions. Second-row bucket seats are now optional for models equipped with leather-upholstered front bucket seats.

A Premium ride suspension became standard for the 2002 model year, except in the Z71 edition, which features a specially tuned offroad suspension. Preferred-equipment groups are offered in order to suit specific owner requirements.

Exterior
For most shoppers, the four-door Tahoe has one clear advantage over the Suburban: smaller, more manageable dimensions, which translates to easier maneuverability. The Tahoe rides a 116-inch wheelbase and measures 198.8 inches long overall — that’s 7 inches shorter than the newly redesigned Expedition and more than 20 inches shorter than the Suburban.

In four-wheel-drive (4WD) form, the Tahoe stands more than 76 inches tall and stretches 78.8 inches wide; its ground clearance is 8.4 inches. Buyers get the choice of swing-out rear cargo doors or an aluminum liftgate. An optional roof rack holds up to 200 pounds. Cast-aluminum wheels hold 16-inch tires.

Interior
As many as nine occupants can fit into the Tahoe, when it is equipped with the optional three-place rear bench seat. The front and middle bench seats also hold three passengers each. Front buckets are optional, which drops the total capacity to eight. The Tahoe’s middle and rear seats fold down and can be removed with the help of integral wheels. The third-row seat is split 50/50.

The Tahoe’s cargo volume is 104.6 cubic feet with the middle and rear seats removed, but that dimension drops to 16.3 cubic feet when the optional rear seat is in place.

Under the Hood
A 275-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8 serves as the base engine, while the LT gets a 285-hp, 5.3-liter V-8. Both engines team with a four-speed-automatic transmission. The Tahoe may be equipped with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or Autotrac 4WD, which engages automatically, when necessary, to regain or maintain traction on slippery surfaces. Optional trailer packages give the RWD models a 7,700-pound towing capacity, while the 4WD Tahoe can haul up to 7,400 pounds.

Safety
All-disc antilock brakes and side-impact airbags are standard. StabiliTrak is offered as an optional feature on models equipped with the 5.3-liter V-8 engine.

Driving Impressions
Unlike some full-size SUVs that constantly give the impression of immensity 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, which is more than can be said for some large SUV models.

The Tahoe is roomy and comfortable inside, and it maneuvers better than its external dimensions suggest. The Tahoe’s performance is abundant and the ride is reasonably smooth, but the action gets harsher if a model is equipped with the Z71 Off-Road Package. But in offroad treks and trailer-towing tasks, the Z71 delivers a wholly satisfying experience.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
47 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

The best of the best never had 1 problem with that

by Cokie from New Orleans La on November 26, 2018

Never had 1 problem with this truck I love it I recommend this truck to anybody my friend in family this truck will not let you down Read full review

(5.0)

One of the most reliable cars we've owned

by Tahoe03Arlington from Arlington, Texas on November 7, 2018

This Tahoe was manufactured here in Arlington, just 10 minutes away. It is solidly built and reliable. A service rep at Vandergriff Chevy said the 2003 Tahoe is one of the best. He told us they rarely ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe currently has 7 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe has not been tested.

Latest 2003 Tahoe Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Tahoe received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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