With each passing model year the field of fullsize SUVs has grown smaller as many automakers have chosen to go to a large crossover utility platform. Not so at GM. Chevrolet has redesigned the 2015 Tahoe inside and out looking to make the model more functional and refined while also keeping the vehicle relevant for consumers wants and needs.
What most fullsize, frame-based SUV buyers want is a sturdy platform with multiple rows of seating and cargo flexibility while also being able to tow a boat or camper or other variety of single or dual axle trailer. They don’t want to give up power or stability on the road and that is where the GM sport utes really hold their own well.
During my recent week with the new 2015 Chevy Tahoe in LTZ trim I discovered the general public is just as quick to praise the new looks as it is to condemn it. I heard every descriptor from upscale to downright ugly. For me personally I am somewhere in between because I really liked the last model design believing it was Bowtie’s best.
Regardless of how one feels about the aesthetics, the new ride is quieter, more comfortable, more powerful, more efficient and offers a full array of modern, state-of-the-art amenities, most notably I would say is the upgrade of the third row seating from afterthought bolt-in to integrated and fully functional thanks to new power, fold-flat design and operation.
Nearly every area of the Tahoe got attention from designers and engineers from the inlaid door design and low profile roof rails to the powerful new next-generation engines under the hood that offer significant upgrades in power, performance and fuel efficiency.
Ride and handling is vastly improved thanks to attention to front and rear suspension design and components along with structural enhancements including wider rear track, more high strength steel and new shear-style body mounts not to mention a third-generation magnetic ride control on LTZ models such as our tester that includes new dual-electric coil design for even faster response to changing road conditions.
Under the hood of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is the new Ecotec3 5.3-liter V-8 engine with Active Fuel Management and direct injection for nearly 10 percent better mileage along with power up to 355 horses and 383 lb. ft. of torque. The engine is backed by six-speed Hydra-Matic automatic gearbox with TapShift control, tow/haul mode and auto grade braking. Fuel economy for this 2WD model is 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway and the fuel tank has a capacity of 26 gallons.
Other mechanical highlights of the new Tahoe are electric power assisted steering, four wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors, front and rear stabilizer bars, all-speed traction control, fully automatic locking rear differential and trailering equipment with a max trailer tow rating of 8,600 pounds. Wheel and tire sizes range from 18- to 22-inches with our tester arriving with 20-inch polished aluminum wheels.
Chevy’s “360 degrees of safety” on the new Tahoe include side blind zone alert, lane change alert, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, crash imminent braking and – my personal favorite – GM’s safety alert seat. This is all in addition to the usual safety technology found in new vehicles these days as well as the automaker’s unique front-seat center air bag.
A total interior makeover puts the new Tahoe into a higher class of style and comfort and this LTZ package on the test unit provided by Chevrolet really puts things over the top for a non-luxury branded vehicle. Leather everywhere, heated and cooled front seats, front and second row bucket seats, keyless start, remote vehicle start, power adjustable pedals and power running boards, heated steering wheel – the list goes on and on.
On the technology front the 2015 Tahoe offers 8-inch color touch screen display with multiple USB ports and navigation along with the usual entertainment offerings and new MyLink enhances infotainment to the next level to include new OnStar and 4G LTE with built-in WiFi hotspot availability.
All of these upgrades do come with a price however as this fully loaded 2WD LTZ Chevy Tahoe arrived at our destination to the tune of 66 grand and change. Yes, $66,885 for a Chevy Tahoe (a recent 2015 GMC Sierra Denali 2500HD 4WD pickup was only 64 grand WITH the Duramax powertrain).
So at that price, one has to ask, “Is this the best Tahoe ever?” Yes. It is the most advanced, has the best ride and handling, is the most powerful and delivers the best fuel economy and if you can get used to the new styling you will most likely fall in love with it. And yes, they do make the more reasonably priced LS and LT models for 2015.