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Preview: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban / Tahoe

Big family haulers get a compete overhaul

GM?s SUV sisters are quieter, better looking and more fuel-efficient than outgoing models

Emily Atkins Special to the Star

GASPE, QUE.?The nine car writers aboard the little Beechcraft charter plane didn?t actually applaud ? we are far too cool for that ? but there were a couple of barely audible sighs of relief as we settled onto the tarmac after a particularly exciting landing.

Our pilot?s deft flying was executed through wild cross winds at Gasp?, a lovely and remote area where the St. Lawrence River becomes the Gulf of St. Lawrence, north of New Brunswick and just a skip across the water from Newfoundland.

The Gasp? region is named for the Micmac word Gespeg, which translates to ?end of lands?. This is the place where European history begins for mainland Canada ? Jacques Cartier landed here in 1534.

Like Cartier, we are here to explore, but as guests of GM at the Canadian launch of the 2015 SUV family of Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe. Fortunately, the SUVs proved much smoother than our landing.

This marks the 80th year for the Suburban, GM?s venerable people hauler. The big SUV is in its 12th generation, and it has received a facelift and overhaul that make it appear much younger than its years.

The 2015 Suburban and Tahoe get a fresh powertrain, body styling and safety features, along with a raft of optional goodies.

The target market for the Suburban is dual-income families with kids ? busy, self-sufficient people with incomes over $80,000. That?s in keeping with the nine-seater SUV?s base price of $52,555.

The Suburban?s most obvious attribute is its ability to bend the time-space continuum and swallow up everything you?d possibly want to load into it.

But far from being a black hole, its interior is light and loaded with clever options, such as power controls for all the seats operated from just inside the rear tailgate. No need for the long walk around to the rear doors to fold them down ? and with a vehicle 5.7 metres long, that is a long walk.

The smaller Tahoe (only 5.2 metres) is the segment sales leader for GM, appealing more to a male demographic, in the 40 to 50 age range, who are likely to use the SUV as a commuter vehicle.

Its truck-like performance and mid-size capacity make it appeal to those who would drive it to work during the week and haul family and toys around on weekends. Pricing for the Tahoe starts at $49,565.

Both the vehicles have definite family cred, with an emphasis on connectivity and in-car entertainment options.

The Suburban has optional drop-down video screens in both rear rows with a DVD player. This is surely advantageous to keep the kiddies entertained, but be sure to retract the screens before moving around in the rear seats ? they can deliver an eye-watering blow to the head.

Both SUVs offer multiple USB ports and power outlets, including a three-pronged 110-volt outlet.

We tested both vehicles over winding, hilly roads that showed off the beauty of the Gasp? and the SUVs? capabilities in equal measure.

They share a 5.3-L V-8 engine, rated at 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, with a six-speed automatic transmission, and both will run the motor on either eight cylinders or four, depending how heavy your foot is on the gas pedal.

Cruising on the highway, the engine operates in this efficiency mode until you need to open it up for passing or climbing hills. It?s a great feature that GM says will be complemented by stop-start technology in the next model year.

Both SUVs return fuel economy numbers of 14.9 L/100 km city and 10.1 highway (for the 2WD), which GM notes represent a 9-per-cent improvement for the highway and 7-per-cent for the city over the previous models.

These SUVs are massive, but handle with aplomb at highway and city speeds, using electric power steering and bigger brakes than before.

The Tahoe?s ride was a little unusual at first, feeling both hard and floaty at the same time, perhaps a function of the vehicle?s fast-responding active suspension (the same one installed in the Chevy Corvette).

Both have excellent visibility, especially the Suburban, with its expansive side windows. The new structural improvements and body design mean tighter closing doors and quieter cabins, and this promise was borne out in our test drive.

Both SUVs are crisp in looks and drivability, deliver good fuel economy and appear to offer all the toys families are looking for.

Transportation for freelance writer Emily Atkins was provided by the manufacturer. Email: wheels@thestar.ca.

2015 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe
Like the 2015 Cevrolet Suburban, the Tahoe's truck-like performance and mid-size capacity appeal to those who drive it to work during the week and haul family and toys around on weekends.
Price: Suburban: $52,555, Tahoe: $49,565
Engine: 5.3-L V-8 engine
Power/Torque: 355 hp/383 lb.-ft.
Fuel Consumption L/100 km: 14.9 city and 10.1 highway
What?s Best: Spacious, comfortable and competent.
What?s Worst: Looks are improved, but still boxy.
What?s Interesting: Popularity with thieves has meant big improvements in security technology.


  • Preview: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban / Tahoe MAILMASTER __Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story On 2014-06-24, at 4:44 PM, Toronto Star, Wheels wrote: From: e atkins [mailto:eatkins@rogers.com] Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 12:22 PM To: McDonald, Norris; Toronto Star, Wheels Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story Hi Norris, Here's my Suburban/Tahoe story. And four pictures. Copy below and attached. Thanks, Emily For Norris McDonald, Toronto Star Wheels IMG_0114.JPG IMG_0105.JPG IMG_0115.JPG IMG_0111.JPG
  • Preview: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban / Tahoe MAILMASTER __Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story On 2014-06-24, at 4:44 PM, Toronto Star, Wheels wrote: From: e atkins [mailto:eatkins@rogers.com] Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 12:22 PM To: McDonald, Norris; Toronto Star, Wheels Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story Hi Norris, Here's my Suburban/Tahoe story. And four pictures. Copy below and attached. Thanks, Emily For Norris McDonald, Toronto Star Wheels IMG_0114.JPG IMG_0105.JPG IMG_0115.JPG IMG_0111.JPG
  • Preview: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban / Tahoe MAILMASTER __Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story On 2014-06-24, at 4:44 PM, Toronto Star, Wheels wrote: From: e atkins [mailto:eatkins@rogers.com] Sent: Sunday, June 22, 2014 12:22 PM To: McDonald, Norris; Toronto Star, Wheels Subject: Suburban/Tahoe story Hi Norris, Here's my Suburban/Tahoe story. And four pictures. Copy below and attached. Thanks, Emily For Norris McDonald, Toronto Star Wheels IMG_0114.JPG IMG_0105.JPG IMG_0115.JPG IMG_0111.JPG

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