Chevrolet’s truck-based SUV, Tahoe, is slightly smaller than its Suburban sibling. Capable of transporting up to nine people or towing up to 8,600 pounds, the 2017 Chevy Tahoe is one of the most utilitarian SUVs currently offered.
For the 2017 model year, Chevrolet’s product planners prescribed several judicious tweaks to make it more luxurious, more comfortable, more fuel efficient and safer. GM’s Teen Driver feature is now standard equipment, allowing parents to keep an eye on young drivers when they’re out on the road. Telemetry is provided for maximum speed, distance driven and the number of times active safety features are engaged over the course of a drive. Geo-fencing sends parents a text message if the Tahoe is driven outside of a pre-determined radius and the audio system’s output can be governed to keep it below a certain level.
Speaking of on-board entertainment, the Tahoe’s optional rear-seat video system has been upgraded to accept HDMI/MHL connectors and another USB port has been added too. Digital headphones are now supported and a “video voiceover” feature allows sight-impaired individuals to enjoy movies and TV shows along with the rest of the family.
The trim package formerly known as “LTZ” has been designated “Premier”. Its perforated leather upholstery permits cooling in addition to heating the driver’s and the front passenger’s seats.
Power comes from a 5.3-liter V8 producing 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission feeds power to the rear wheels through a locking differential in the standard powertrain configuration. Naturally, four-wheel drive is offered as well, and can be had with an optional single-speed transfer case. If you go for the Z71 Off-Road package, or the Max Trailering package, you’ll get a two-speed transfer case. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg overall with rear drive and 18 overall with four-wheel drive. As we mentioned above, Tahoe is good to tow up to 8,600 pounds with rear drive. If you go four-wheel drive, it will do 8,400.
Inside, you’ll find more than adequate space for a wide variety of body types. The nicely appointed environment is graced with above average materials and a handsome design. Bucket seats can be had for the second row, which reduces the maximum passenger count, but keeps squabbling siblings farther apart on long family drives. On the other hand, the third-row seat is a bit flat and its cushioning is on the thin side. Those who have little concern for comfort will be best served back there.
As for carrying capacity, you’ll get 15.3 cubic feet with all three rows deployed. If the third row is folded, that kicks up to 51.6 cubic feet. Retire the second row from the passenger business, you’ll top out at 94.7 cubes.
Ride quality is good for the most part, but bear in mind, you’ll trade a bit of smoothness for ultimate capability. The Tahoe is based upon the same body-on-frame platform underpinning the Silverado. So yes, it drives like a truck (a very nice truck to be sure but a truck nonetheless). With that said, the Chevrolet SUV is generally smooth riding and quiet.
The only time you’ll be reminded of its DNA is when you encounter rippled pavement and bumps. Handling and maneuverability are also reminiscent of its Silverado cousin, so you’ll learn to manage its size and weight carefully.
Still though, the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe offers strong towing capability, good cargo capacity and a nicely outfitted cabin with the latest tech for a family fond of road trips and outdoor activities. If you’re shopping in this category, the Tahoe definitely rates a test drive.