Exterior Design *****
Someone in GM s design department(s) glimpsed the swan inside their ugly truckling and set it free. By adding gentle curves to the Tahoe s front, back and sides; sorting out the stance and sweating the details, they ve created an elegant yet powerful truck, whose balanced proportions make it look smaller than it is. As Papercutninja suggests, an MIB version would be killer.
Ye ole 5.8-liter V8 horses and torques in the low three hundreds, but the Tahoe weighs a ton. Make that three tons. The Vortec 5300 s grunt is only more-than-merely adequate, and you have to dig deep to get it. In other words, kicking out the jams means breaking out the plastic. Buy the smaller engine (Vortec 4800 available this spring) and you will grow old getting to the pumps.
Braking feel is far better than it was (i.e. it exists), but Car and Driver s crack testing squad reckon the new Tahoe s stopping distance is marginally longer. That s a bad bad thing.
Chevy ditched the old Tahoe s torture bar front suspension for coil-over-shock springs with elastometric bushings (sounds like something my grandmother used to wear), widened the track and bestowed five links upon the solid rear axle. More importantly, the new Tahoe s got wood. With its stiffer chassis, the SUV rides like a Cadillac STS: comfy around town (no more body shudders or crashes), plush at speed, nice and level through the corners and majorly floaty drifty over undulations.
You re much less likely to tip over and die than before.
Four-speed? C mon, really? You would ve thought GM s mission-critical hunt for more mileage would ve started somewhere near the old Tahoe s drivetrain, but no: same old iron, same old slushbox. That said, it all works well enough — until you get to the pumps. Did I mention I got 11 mpg? Maybe now would be a good time
BOSE s mountain-dwelling audio engineers are a bit too willing to put their name on low end gear for our tastes (demeaning the value of their imprimatur), but this nine-speaker subwoofed job is a winner. Killer tunes; absolutely massive: clear, loud, precise. Full XM and MP3 compatibility ice the cake. Our Tahoe didn t boast a video screen, but we ve seen the system in other models and it keeps the deck hands from mutiny just fine.
Just in case you re not guzzling enough gas getting from here to there, the Tahoe comes with a remote starter so you can burn fossil fuel standing still. Works for me. As does the fact that the climate control system senses the outside temperature and figures out whether to pre-heat or pre-cool your mobile crib. Safe. As is the rear camera (a necessity for this barge), heated washer fluid and door handle activated illuminated entry (so you can see who s hiding in the back before they cap yo ass).
If you re five-alive and leave the rear row at home, there s enough room for a weekend grocery run. Any more people, any more stuff, and it s a joke.
[by Robert Farago]