First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet
First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet
First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Gaspé, Quebec – Historically, large vehicles are not a popular segment for consumers in Canada. In the US, they love ‘em, but here, not so much. However, as vehicles across the board become bigger and fuel economy improves, the attributes of something like the Chevrolet Tahoe could become more attractive.

Indeed, once you get used to its plus-sized dimensions and realize that the Tahoe actually drives much like a smaller vehicle, well, all kinds of possibilities emerge!

Last updated in 2007 (an age ago in the automotive industry), the Tahoe is all new for 2015, featuring new body panels, chassis and interior, along with new safety technology and improved creature comforts. It’s also more fuel-efficient.

Arriving with a slightly lower base price over last year’s model, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $52,865 for the LS 4WD version, rising to $60,545 for the LT 4WD and $67,795 for the LTZ 4WD. Incidentally, you can buy an LS 2WD for $49,565 but 98 percent of buyers opt for 4WD models. I guess if you’re going to go big, you don’t skimp on the drivetrain!

And when I say big, we’re definitely talking full-size, here. The Tahoe weighs 2,533 kilograms (5,585 pounds) and the 4WD models can tow 3,765 kg (8,300 lbs) while the 2WD can tow a little more: 3,855 kg (8,500 lbs). It stands over six-feet tall (1,887 millimetres) and rides on standard 18-inch wheels (20 and 22-inch are available). It is actually a shortened version of the Chevrolet Suburban (which I guess you can also regard as a stretch Tahoe), but believe me: the Tahoe is not deficient in interior space or exterior presence.

Under the hood you’ll find a dedicated EcoTec3 5.3-litre V8 truck engine, which features variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and cylinder deactivation (goes from V8 to V4 mode when cruising) to optimize fuel economy. This engine makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque while consuming an estimated 15.1/10.4 L/100km of regular grade fuel, city/highway (4WD numbers). The automatic transmission is a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed, featuring TapShift control, Tow/Haul mode and Auto Grade Braking.

Underneath you’ll find a 98L fuel tank.

While the Tahoe chassis is related to that of Silverado pickup, it is significantly modified, according to Chevrolet executives. The suspension, fully boxed perimeter frame and exhaust system are different, while the redesigned and retuned hydraulic engine mounts and electric power steering are calibrated for a more compliant ride and refined handling.

First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe seating & cargo area. Click image to enlarge

The intent is to improve the ride quality, isolate driveline noise, reduce body shake over bumps and create a smoother, sharper driving experience for all occupants, according to Chevrolet. In other words, the Tahoe is not a pickup truck wearing different sheetmetal, and it’s designed and engineered not to drive like one.

Likewise, the exterior shares no panels or lighting elements with Chevrolet’s pickup trucks. The Tahoe has its own identity.

The interior is beyond spacious. The standard second and third row seats fold flat for a cavernous 2,681L cargo capacity (a power folding option is available for $1,920), and legroom, foot clearance under the seats along with entry and exit are all improved in comparison with the outgoing model. Seat design is all new, as is the eight-inch multifunction display, and optional $1,995 Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system.

The dashboard is tastefully trimmed with soft-touch vinyl, seats tailored in leather (LT and LTZ) and matte aluminum-look accents surround the display and ventilation ports. Depending on the trim level, the door panels may be supplemented with faux wood.

First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet First Drive: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe first drives chevrolet
2015 Chevrolet Tahoe gauges & passenger view. Click image to enlarge

New safety features include all the desirable modern technologies: Lane Departure Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind-Zone Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Crash Imminent Braking are all available, and the use of High Strength and Ultra High Strength steels enhances crashworthiness, especially side impact protection. Furthermore, the Tahoe features a front seat centre-mounted airbag to protect occupants in the event of a far-side impact.

We drove a fully-equipped LTZ model in beautiful Gaspé, Quebec, vacation country off the beaten track for those with a penchant for long road trips!

The LTZ arrives with GM’s next generation Magnetic Ride Control that provides an additional level of responsiveness to the suspension by instantly adapting to changing road surfaces. Our vehicle was also fitted with optional power running boards ($1,920) — open the door and they descend; close and they retract.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).