For 2007, the Chevrolet Tahoe is all-new: there are new engines, a stronger chassis, a redesigned exterior with wraparound fascias, and an enhanced interior with improved seats.

Built on GM’s redesigned full-sized SUV platform, it can be considered a “baby brother” to the Suburban. The Tahoe comes with a choice of 4.8-litre V8 or 5.3-litre V8 in 2WD models; 4WD models get a flexible-fuel 5.3-litre that’s compatible with E85 (85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent gasoline), although that fuel is still difficult to find. The 5.3-litre engines also have Active Fuel Management, which deactivates half the cylinders under light load for improved fuel economy; the 5.3 records better numbers than the smaller-displacement V8. Trim lines are the LS, LT and LTZ (available only in 4WD); there is also a Z71 Off-Road appearance package, which includes larger recovery hook openings, larger fog lamps, unique grille and 18-inch wheels.

Features on the LS include 17-inch aluminum wheels, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, deep-tinted glass, heated mirrors, roof rack side rails, variable intermittent wipers, rear wiper with fixed delay, tri-zone manual climate control, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, cruise control, trailer package, OnStar, tire pressure monitor, 40/20/40 front bench with six-way driver’s seat adjuster, and CD/MP3 player with eight speakers.

The LT adds colour-keyed door handles, fog lights, roof rack crossbars, front bucket seats with six-way power driver’s adjuster, centre console, cargo cover, and second-row audio controls.

The LTZ adds leather interior, power liftgate, power folding mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming feature, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated washers, rain-sensing wipers, automatic tri-zone climate control, garage door opener, remote starter, automatic rear level control suspension, curtain airbags, rear parking assist, second-row outboard heated seats, third-row 50/50 split bench seat, and premium Bose stereo system with six-CD/MP3 player, nine speakers and subwoofer.

The improvements to the Tahoe are impressive: this is one of GM’s best interiors, mated to a vehicle with an exceptionally smooth ride and good handling for its size. The optional third-row seating has flat cushions and no footwell, which means that adults won’t be too happy back there; unless you regularly haul a crowd, opt for the two-row seating, which gives you more cargo space (the third row can be removed to accommodate more cargo, but must be stored outside the vehicle). Several options can be added, including rear-seat DVD, touch-screen navigation and rearview camera, which can send the price-tag northward very quickly, especially on the LTZ, which is already $12,550 over the LT 4WD model.

Within Chevrolet’s line-up, the Tahoe slots between the front-drive Equinox and the Suburban; it’s also sold as the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade, although its base price is less than either one of those.

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