“Compared to the previous generation trucks, the new Tahoe and Yukon SUV’s offer a stronger frame with heavier towing capacities; a choice of two new more powerful V8 engines; new standard four wheel disc brakes; a new rear suspension; more safety features; and a redesigned, roomier interior with more features – in particular, a new third-row seat which brings total seating capacity up to nine passengers.”
Full-size power, roominess and towing capability
The full-size Chevrolet Tahoe sport-utility vehicle, and its twin the GMC Yukon, were completely redesigned for the 2000 model year. 2001 models will remain basically unchanged.
The new-generation Tahoe/Yukon is based on the recently-redesigned Silverado/Sierra pickup truck chassis. As before, both 4X2 and 4X4 models are offered, but unlike the last generation Tahoe/Yukon models, the new ones come only in a four-door bodystyle – the two door is no longer offered.
Compared to the previous trucks, the new Tahoe and Yukon SUV’s offer a stronger frame with heavier towing capacities; a choice of two new more powerful V8 engines; new standard four wheel disc brakes; a new rear suspension; more safety features; and a redesigned, roomier interior with more features – in particular, a new third-row seat which brings total seating capacity up to nine passengers.
Bigger and roomier
Compared to the 1999 Tahoe/Yukon, the new model is about the same length, but is 53 mm (2.1 in.) wider, and 46 mm (1.8 in.) taller. The wheelbase is 39 mm (1.5 in.) shorter, however the Tahoe’s wider, taller passenger compartment appears roomier than before, and a new 50/50 split third row seat, available as an option, brings total seating capacity to a maximum of nine.
The front row seats can be a 3-passenger 40/20/40 split front bench seat, or individual bucket seats with a centre console and a huge, centre storage bin. The front bucket seats include seatbelts integrated into the seats, and folding inside armrests. Second-row seats are 3-passenger 60/40 split bench seats with folding seatbacks. The optional third-row 3-passenger 50/50 split bench seat is very versatile. The seatbacks can fold flat or both sides can fold and tumble forwards. In addition, one or both sides can be removed completely from the truck. They have wheels for easier removal, and are light enough to be carried by an adult.
With the third row seats in place, there’s enough cargo space for a few grocery bags, but not much more. Unlike the longer Suburban, the Tahoe is not designed to carry nine passengers and all of their luggage. However, with one or both of the third-row split seats tumbled forwards, there is plenty of luggage space for six or seven passengers. The cargo area includes a cargo net at the rear and a concealed rear storage compartment near the wheelwell.
With the third row seats removed and the second row seats folded flat, the Tahoe offers a cargo floor that 2139 mm (84.2 in.) long and 1247 mm (49.1 in.) between the wheel housings. The rear door height is 916 mm (36.1 in.).
Tahoes offer a lift-up rear hatchback with a separate liftglass, or optional swing-out panel doors. The latter is preferred by trailer-towers because it allows the rear doors to be opened with the trailer in place. However, the hatchback is more convenient for general use because it allows unrestricted access from the sides, offers a ‘roof’ in the rain, and eliminates the division in the rear window which interferes with rear vision.
The large interior of a full-size SUV like the Tahoe is often slow to heat up on cold winter mornings or cool down on hot summer days, so GM engineers paid particular attention to quick warm-up/cool-down times. Improved ventilation and faster air recirculation are one of the notable, unseen benefits of the new Tahoe. Second row seats have their own heater ducts, and 3rd row seats have an auxilary heater on some models. An optional automatic climate control includes second row heat and fan controls. For cold winter mornings, electrically-heated front seats are also available.
The Tahoe’s sound system offers clear, sharp sound: a 125 watt, AM/FM/CD sound system with nine speakers, and optional second-row audio control and headphone jacks. 2nd row passengers can listen to one source (eg, radio) using headphones, while front-row passengers can listen to another (eg, CD). If you want a cassette player as well, it is positioned in the lower centre console area.
All Tahoes include standard front and side airbags, side-door guard beams, big outside rearview mirrors, anti-lock brakes, rear child safety locks, Passlock anti-theft system, and on 4X2 models, traction control.
Two new engines
As a vehicle that’s typically used for hauling cargo and towing boat or recreational trailers, the Tahoe comes standard with a powerful 275 horsepower 4.8 litre V8 engine with 290 ft.-lb. of torque at 4000 rpm. Optional is a 285 horsepower 5.3 litre V8 engine with 325 ft.-lb. of torque at 4000 rpm. These overhead valve engines replace the previous 255 horsepower 5.7 litre V8 which had 330 ft-lbs. of torque at 2800 rpm, and an available 6.5 litre turbo-diesel engines with even more torque. Still, maximum towing capacity has increased from 3175 kg (7000 lb.) to 3946 kg (8700 lb.) with the 5.3 litre V8; and maximum payload is now 773 kg (1,706 lb.).
Both V8 engines included a ‘limp-home’ mode which allows them to operate for a limited time even if all the coolant is lost.
As you might expect for a 5423 lb. truck, fuel consumption is poor. Transport Canada gives the 4X4 Tahoe a city rating of 17.1 l/100 km (17 mpg) and a highway rating of 12.6 l/100 km (22 mpg).
A heavy-duty four-speed automatic transmission with a column mounted shifter is standard equipment, and it includes a ‘tow-haul’ mode which locks out overdrive gear and holds each gear longer to improve engine cooling and efficiency when towing. All Tahoes come with a standard 7-wire harness and 130 amp alternator. A ‘weight-distributing’ platform hitch and heavy-duty 8-lead wiring harness with a 7-way connector and trailer brake control harness are available as an option.
The Tahoe’s AutoTrac four-wheel-drive system offers a push-button electronic selection of 2WD, 4WD HI (part-time 4WD), 4WD LO, and Auto 4WD (full-time 4WD). The latter can be engaged permanently and won’t harm the drivetrain when driving on dry pavement.
Power steering is standard, and on 4X4 models it includes variable-assist. A new 5-link rear suspension with coil springs is designed to offer a smoother ride with fewer vibrations than previous Tahoes, and four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS are standard equipment.
Though it’s big and heavy (2460 kg/5423 lb.), the full-size Tahoe is very easy to drive. Positive points include a responsive, quiet engine (I had a 5.3 litre V8), smooth automatic transmission, quiet cabin, excellent outward visibility, stable handling and smooth ride, and easy-to-see controls. Even though it has a 213 mm (8.4 in.) ground clearance, the Tahoe’s substantial width and long wheelbase endow it with stable and sure-footed handling and a pleasant, ride – not at all like the choppy ride you find in many compact and mid-sized SUV’s. Its turning circle of 11.7 metres (38.3 ft.) is fairly large, but not uncommon for a full-size, 4WD SUV.
The Tahoe’s tall height also offers excellent visibility fore and aft, although the right rear head restraint impedes vision when lane-changing to the right. The Tahoe accelerates briskly from a standing start, and offers plenty of freeway merging and highway passing performance. At highway cruising speeds, the V8 engine loafs along and is very quiet. However, I found that bringing those 5423 lbs. to a sudden stop required quite a bit of brake pedal effort, and required more care than in a typical passenger car.
The Tahoe’s door openings are wide, and getting in requires a modest step-up into the cabin. The front bucket seats are wide and comfortable with a built-in folding armrest – this is handy for long drives because it allows your right arm to rest while still holding onto the steering wheel. The driving position is excellent, and the power height-adjustable seat can be moved to the right position for each driver. Two cupholders in the lower console are easy to reach without interfering with other controls, and there are two 12 volt power points behind a cover on the lower dash area, as well as one in the cargo area.
Rear passengers that want to enter the third row seat must pull up the right-side seat cushion of the second row seat and fold down the backrest. They then have to climb over the folded seatback. This is not very easy or convenient.
The rear hatchback on my test vehicle had a large pull-type handle on the outside to open it, and a leather strap on the inside to close it. The door is easy to open, but requires some effort to close.
Standard and optional equipment
Tahoes come in base, LS and LT trim levels ranging in price from $32,265 for a base 4X2 model to over $50,000 for an LT 4X4 model. Base 4X4 models, which start at $35,675, include the 4.8 litre V8, 4-speed automatic transmission, AutoTrac 4WD system, 16 inch tires, front and side airbags, AM/FM radio, intermittent wipers, power door locks, 40/20/40 split front bench seat, 60/40 split second row bench, tilt steering, electronic traction assist, and four wheel disc brakes with ABS.
Tahoe LS models add a standard 5.3 litre V8 engine, alloy wheels, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD player with nine speakers, remote keyless entry, power windows, deep tinted glass, cargo net, rear defogger, compass and temperature display, upgraded cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, roof rack, and power heated mirrors. The 2000 Tahoe LS 4X4 is priced at $42,135.
Top-of-the-line Tahoe LT models add standard automatic climate control (deleted when you order a sunroof), OnStar satellite emergency assistance system, HomeLink garage door opener, leather upholstery and 6-way power driver’s seat, rear heater, CD changer, and rear audio controls. The Tahoe LT is priced at $50,185.
Over and above these features, you can order a third-row seat, power sunroof, rear glass liftgate, and front tow hooks. My fully-equipped 2000 Tahoe LT test vehicle came to $53,090 plus $960 freight for a total of $54,040.
Detailed 2000 manufacturers suggested retail prices are as follows:
Tahoe (2WD) $32,265, Tahoe LS (2WD) $38,725, Tahoe LT (2WD) $46,775, Tahoe (4×4) $35,675, Tahoe LS (4×4) $42,135, Tahoe LT (4×4) $50,185.
Some prices for 2001 Tahoe models have been announced. Tahoe 2WD starts at $31,715, and 2001 Tahoe 4WD start at $35,010.
|2000 Chevrolet Tahoe LT|
|Base price||(LT) $50,185|
|Price as tested||$53,090|
|Type||4-door, 8-passenger, full-size SUV|
|Layout||longitudinal front engine/2WD/AutoTrac 4WD|
|Engine||5.3 litre OHV V8|
|Horsepower||285 hp @ 5200 rpm|
|Torque||325 lb.-ft.@ 4000 rpm|
|Trailer towing capacity||3946 kg (8700 lb.)|
|Curb weight||2460 kg (5423 lb.)|
|Wheelbase||2946 mm (116.0 in.)|
|Length||5052 mm (198.9 in.)|
|Width||2004 mm ( 78.9 in.)|
|Height||1951 mm ( 76.7 in.)|
|Cargo Volume||behind 3rd seat 462 litres (16.3 cu.ft.)|
|behind front seat 2962 litres (104.6 cu.ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 17.1 l/100 km (17 mpg)|
|Hwy: 12.6 l/100 km (22 mpg)|
|Warranty||3 yrs/60,000 km|