Chevrolet Tahoe Diesel: test drive…

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The current Chevrolet Tahoe seems like an evolution of the previous generation. It looks just fine. With a floating roof design, following a popular trend in SUV designs.
But I am not sure it looks better than the previous generation. It is very similar, and a few inches longer. 
So the rear end does look better (It always looked a bit too short ton the previous one)
The model I was driving for a week is a 2WD RST version with a total cost of $67 335. Including the Duramax diesel option for only $995. (A great deal and a “must-have” at such a low price)

The interior also seems very familiar. Sure, it does look different. But it also seems the same.  The A-pillars (with the handle on the passenger side) look exactly the same as before. And so does the giant console armrest.
Plastics are a bit better overall as well.
The 9 speaker Bose audio sounds really good. But not as great as many other systems in cheaper SUVs.

The seats are fine but not fantastic. They are very flat and pretty firm. And the flat heardest is just positioned too far back to provide any comfort.

The push-button transmission is a bit of a puzzler. With that weird little plastic part next to the “N”. It does make it easier to shift without looking at it, but the “-L+” is ridiculous. 

My test truck came loaded and it included the $350 Power sliding Console option. 
I have to admit it took me a while to find the switch to control it. Since it is not where you’d think (on the console somewhere, or even the dash) But on the ceiling next to the sunroof controls!
The rear captain chairs are even flatter than the front seats. But that space is extremely roomy.

The same goes for the 3rd-row seats. Where anyone under 6 feet will probably be quite comfortable.
The cargo space behind the 3rd row is also more than enough for almost any use.
This basically makes the longer Suburban redundant for almost anyone. Except for people who transport at least 6 people and their luggage every single day…

Once behind the wheel, things, again, look very familiar. The top photo is the new Tahoe while the bottom shows the one I drove back in 2016! (Actually a Suburban)
This is from the window sticker. Describing the “premium smooth ride suspension”. As standard equipement.
While it is not harsh, the suspension is not such a “smooth ride”. 
As far as I am concerned, the new independent suspension doesn’t affect the ride that much. As it is still trucky, with a few shakes and shutters unless the road is glassy smooth, something very typical of full-sized pick-up trucks. Which, of course, is not a problem for people buying a truck. But this is still far from being something you’d describe as a “premium smooth ride”.
With its rather numb steering, the Tahoe still mostly drives like a giant wonderbread loaf on wheels. 

This weirdly unmarked switch is the Drive Mode switch. And I could see no difference between “normal” and “sport”. It also includes a trailer mode. 
Driving around town is a bit awkward with the Tahoe. It is just too high and too big to maneuver easily. And visibility is actually a problem since the hood is so high and flat. I also noticed that turning left at an intersection was sometimes a challenge as well. Since the A-pillars are so thick, and the mirror is so huge. 
Both are actually blocking the view.

While the suspension is not that refined, the transmission is. Very much so. It is very quick to downshift and always seems in the right gear.
But the best part of the Tahoe is the amazing Duramax Diesel.
Yes, you do hear it a tiny bit at first. (But the V8 isn’t silent either) But it makes a very muted, sophisticated, and very pleasant sound.
And once underway, it is buttery smooth, and powerful. (Although take-offs can be a little slow around town.)
The 2WD Tahoe Diesel is rated a 21/28MPG. As usual, I couldn’t match the city rating and the best I got was just under 19MPG.
But I had no problem averaging over 30MPG on the freeway. Which is quite amazing. 
These are almost the same numbers I got from the much smaller 2.0 Liter Acura RDX. 

The new Tahoe is now almost as roomy as the Suburban was. And the availability of the amazing Duramax Diesel is a huge plus. (Especially for the low $995 asking price) I never thought I would be getting almost 32MPG in one of these. 
Another problem is the price. If you absolutely need to tow a huge trailer on a regular basis, I guess a huge truck is a way to go. 
But if you are looking for a comfortable 3 rows luxurious SUV, this isn’t it. Especially for $67 000.
The cheaper loaded Acura MDX I drove a few weeks ago does a much better job at mimicking a luxury car. (while still getting about the same MPG as the Tahoe Duramax)
And so does the much cheaper Chevrolet Traverse. And especially the (still cheaper) Buick Enclave.


Conversation 5 comments

  1. i'm super disappointed you didn't get a Denali Yukon… I can't wait for that write up…. haha

  2. Chevy sells 100K of these every non-pandemic year, with this year’s model going much faster in Q1 than in the most recent normal year of 2019. When it comes to pricing the market is always right and 100K sales a year means the pricing is spot on. As to the flat seats, the kinds of real Americans who buy these aren’t the skinny jeans set. Flat and wide is beautiful.

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