The Chevrolet Tahoe is a three-row large sport utility vehicle that’s about as comfortable as it gets. We loved the ability to toss skies, snowboards, luggage and sundry equipment in the back, protected from the continually falling snow.
“There’s a lot of room, it’s comfortable for back-seat passengers, and there is good visibility all around,” said Samuel Lippke, an expert snowboarder and Long Beach, Calif., photographer.
It’s also nice that you can lock gear inside the vehicle when stopping for a coffee or meal. It’s a hassle to secure items in the bed of a pickup truck.
Our test vehicle was a Tahoe LT with four-wheel drive and optional Z71 Midnight Edition package. It is powered by a 5.3-liter V-8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The powertrain is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The sticker price for this configuration is about $65,000.
Out on the road, one quirk quickly stood out. Chevrolet uses what we call a butt buzzer to alert drivers of errant driving. Instead of a beep or chime, the lane-departure warning system gives the driver a quick buzz from the seat if the vehicle starts to wander. Some of our test drivers would rather hear an alert. But others thought this was a subtle way to alert the driver. It saves the embarrassment of letting all the passengers know too.
We would have liked to have seen adaptive cruise control. That’s a feature that seems especially handy when you are about to jump into a vehicle for a long drive home after an exhausting day on the slopes. But it’s available only on a higher-trim Tahoe model.
The SUV tied the Ford as the thirstiest vehicle in the group. It has an Environmental Protection Agency rating of 16 mpg in city driving, 22 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg overall. We paid $2.55 a gallon at most of our gas stops. At that rate, it will cost owners about $14.17 to drive the Tahoe 100 miles in a mix of traffic and roads.
The 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels equipped with Duratrac blackwall tires worked really well, especially in the sections of roadway where the snow was building up. This was the best wheel and tire combination in the group.
The roof rails were easily accessible thanks to running boards on the side of the truck.
We would have liked to have seen a bit more from the Tahoe in driving quality. It’s a hulking SUV and it felt that way. The Ford F-150 also is a giant vehicle but felt more composed on the highway.
But driving in temperatures in the low teens and below, on six to eight inches of ice packed over pavement and in a snowstorm provided only minimal hurdles for the Tahoe.
“It could handle anything on the road: mud, snow, deep snow, whatever,” said Steve Isbell, an avid snowboarder and surfer and father of two small children who is a partner at a Costa Mesa, Calif., law firm.
The Tahoe is the oldest of the vehicles in the group we tested, last redesigned in 2014. A new version is in the works, probably as a 2020 model.