2015 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4WD
Dates tested: 8/21/2014-8/28/2014
Miles Driven: 124
Fuel Used: 8.1 gallons
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
Real-world fuel economy: 15.3 mpg
EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/highway/combined): 16/22/18
Base price: $62,000 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test car: sunroof and rear-entertainment package ($3255), adaptive cruise control ($1695), trailering package ($500), theft-deterrent package ($395), sunroof package discount (-$500)
Price as tested: $68,340
The great: Bountiful person and cargo space, luxurious appointments
The good: Good power, compliant ride, quiet cabin
The not so good: Non-linear throttle response, expected class fuel economy
For 2015, Chevrolet revitalizes its full-sized sport-utility vehicles, the larger-than-life Suburban and its junior partner, the Tahoe. Both have picked up some things from the latest generation of the Silverado ½-ton pickup that was new for 2014, but the SUVs interpret them in their own way.
That’s what Consumer Guide® editors experienced when testing a new Tahoe in top-of-the-line LTZ trim. It has exterior styling distinct from the Silverado, but uses the pickup’s essential chassis and adopts its 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8. Inside, there’s a more stylish look with a different instrument panel, but items like the steering wheel, gauge cluster, and audio/climate switchgear match what’s found in the Silverado.
Engineered to tow up to 8500 pounds, the Tahoe feels pretty strong once under way. Getting started, however, isn’t quite as impressive. Accelerator response is kind of slow; your foot is pressing down and you’re hearing the engine rev, but it takes a long moment before any kind of forward motion begins. Axle gearing probably can’t be blamed—CG’s test Tahoe had the optional trailering package with a 3.42:1 axle ratio that’s a little more aggressive than the standard 3.08:1 cogs.
Joined to a cooperative standard 6-speed automatic transmission, the Ecotec3 V8 features cylinder deactivation in pursuit of fuel savings. (The instrument display informs the driver when the Tahoe is operating in 4- or 8-cylinder mode.) Any kind of help is welcome, considering EPA mileage estimates are 16 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway. However, this driver recorded just 15.29 mpg from a 124.1-mile stint in which 64 percent of miles driven were under city conditions.
The LTZ’s standard-equipment list starts with features like an automatic locking rear differential, rear-vision camera, rear park assist, remote starter, automatic trizone climate control, a front center air bag, power adjustable pedals, leather first- and second-row seats with memory function for the front, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with 8-inch color touch-screen, Bose sound system, lane-departure and forward-collision alerts, and a power liftgate that opens to a driver-programmable height.
Features specific to Tahoe’s top model are high-intensity-discharge headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, fog lamps, keyless entry with push-button start, 12-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, heated power-release second-row bucket seats, a power-fold third-row seat, memory power-tilt and -telescoping steering column, front park assist, side blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, and lane-change assist. LTZ chassis equipment includes “Magnetic Ride Control” suspension and 20-inch alloy wheels. Base price comes to $62,000 for the 4-wheel-drive model—$3000 more than its rear-drive sibling.
For that money, the Tahoe LTZ displays a high degree of cabin quiet. The leather seats are comfortable, and room abounds in the first two rows. Soft-touch materials impart a premium feel to areas like door tops and arm rests, but give way to large sections of grained hard plastic. The console features a covered bin and covered cup holders. Other storage is found in a box under the console arm rest, a decently sized glove box, and door pockets.
Second-row seats fold flat to extend load space—though the gap between them might cause some loading problems. There is sufficient pass-through room even for adults to reach the third-row seat—but why would they? This low-lying seat is strictly for kids. Two cup holders are built into the left sidewall; one cup holder and an open storage cubby is built into the right side. Good flat-floored rear cargo space turns great with the middle and rear seats folded, and it’s a snap to drop or raise the latter by push button.
The Tahoe LTZ arguably is pricey enough at this point, but CG’s test example didn’t stop there. It added a package with a power sunroof, navigation, rear-seat entertainment system, and extended satellite-radio subscription; adaptive cruise control; trailering package with the numerically higher axle, trailer-brake controller, and 2-speed transfer case (in place of the standard single-speed case); and a theft-deterrent system. With delivery, those drove the total to $68,340. That’s pretty extreme—but fortunately it’s not an extreme to which a Tahoe buyer must go to have a comfortable, capable, and family friendly sport-utility.