2013 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ Review By John Heilig


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2013 Chevrolet Tahoe


The Auto Page
By John Heilig

Model: 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LTZ
Engine: 5.3-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 320 hp @ 5,400 rpm/335 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual shifter on gear lever
Wheelbase: 116.0 in.
Length x Width x Height: 202.0 x 79.0 x 76.7 in.
Tires: P275/55R20
Cargo capacity: 16.9/60.3/108.9 cu. ft. (All seats up/3rd row down/2nd row down)
Economy: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway/11.5 mpg test
Fuel tank: 29.0 gal.
Curb wt: 5,567 lbs.
Sticker: $60,505 (includes $995 destination charge and $3,620 in options)

Bottom line: The Tahoe is an old-style full-size SUV, with all the attributes one would expect, as well as the occasional drawbacks. If you can live with poor fuel economy and challenges in occasional tight parking spots, but you want power, size, cargo capacity and luxury, then the Tahoe might just fill the bill.

My first experience with the Chevrolet Tahoe was about 15 years ago, when Chevrolet graciously allowed me to drive one from Salt Lake City up to Yellowstone National Park and back. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Tahoe on that trip. The SUV showed that it could handle Interstates as well as dirt roads and the winding roads of Yellowstone.

This most recent experience was less dramatic, but equally fulfilling. This time we only drove the Tahoe on more local roads and Interstates. But the virtues of the Tahoe still shone through.

You can't complain about a vehicle that offers a very comfortable ride, even if it is build on a truck platform. There's comfortable seating for all passengers, even in the third row, which seems soo far back. In addition, there's a load of cargo capacity. Most three-row SUVs suffer in the cargo area when the third row is up. Sure, there's plenty of capacity when that third row is either eliminated (as in the Tahoe) or folded out of the way. But even with the third row up, there are 16.9 cubic feet of capacity, about what you'd expect in a full-size sedan. That explodes to 60.3 cubic feet with the third row removed and 108.9 cubic feet with the second row out of the way.

Rear assist, which consists of a back-up camera and side blind alert (that lets you know if there's something behind you that's out of view) are a necessity in a vehicle of this size. You can get away without them in smaller vehicles, but not in the Tahoe.

Legroom for the second and third row passengers is very good, another surprise. So the Tahoe is a true seven-seater. Of course, you should expect this from a vehicle with a 116- inch wheelbase and an overall length of 202 inches.

Senior citizens will appreciate the running boards that assist entry, as well as the abundance of assist handles, including one on the A-pillar for the front passenger, two over the rear doors and two more on the B-pillars.

One problem we encountered, though, was with the second row seat belts. The receiver drops to a "hidden" position when you unhook the belt, making it difficult to click it the next time. The 5.3-liter V8 engine delivers 320 horsepower, more than enough for the 5,567-pound Tahoe. On the down side, though, the economy is bad. We averaged only 11.5 mpg in our test. You can almost see the dollars flowing out the exhaust. But as they say, if you can afford the sticker, you don't have to worry about the fuel economy.

There's a 6-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capability. The problem is, the manual shifter is a button on the shift lever. It's real inconvenient, even if it does add to the flexibility of the Tahoe, especially off road.

Speaking of off road, there are several options for engaging four wheel drive. To start with, there's automatic, in which the Tahoe decides when to go from rear-wheel to four wheel drive. Manual options include 2-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive high and 4-wheel drive low, for serious off-roading. These are controlled with a knob on the dash.

For that sticker, though, you get as much luxury as you get power and room. All the seating surfaces are leather, as is the heated steering wheel. The second row buckets are identical to the fronts, while the third row bench is raised slightly to give passengers back there a view out the front window.

The audio system gives you a host of options, with AM, FM, Sirius XM, CD, etc. The USB connection is inside a huge center.

Technophiles will be thrilled by the number of 12-volt outlets in the Tahoe. There are two at the base of the center stack one at the rear of the center console, and one inside the console. While we didn't have the opportunity to tour my favorite National Park in the Chevrolet Tahoe, we did have a chance to drive it under more normal conditions. It still proved its mettle, and showed why it is so popular among consumers.

(c) 2013 The Auto Page Syndicate

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