2007 Chevrolet Tahoe LSView Vehicle Profile
Beefy SUVs shed their trucky style
You don’t have to be Tony Soprano to appreciate the fact that sport utility vehicles are displacing the black Lincolns and Cadillacs that were fixtures at red-carpet premieres and mobster funerals.
SUVs make good livery vehicles. They’re big and heavy, so they exude safety; they’re tall, providing a commanding view and four-wheel-drive makes them somewhat impervious to bad weather.
So when it came time to retool its next generation of full-size SUVs, General Motors sweat the details to make its 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon more refined and luxurious and mask their “truckiness.”
Imbuing a corpulent body-on-frame truck with poise and comportment is no easy feat.
Engineers started with a fully boxed frame with 49 per cent better torsional stiffness that made up the GMT 900 chassis, which would also underpin the General’s new full-size pickups. The coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering provided a planted ride and good path control. A five-link rear suspension kept the rear axle in line.
Cabin materials were vastly improved, with softer plastics and almost imperceptible gaps conveying careful assembly. Buyers had a few seating configurations to choose from, with room for up to nine. The second-row bench was broad enough for three children’s seats; optional was a pair of captain’s chairs. The third-row seats really were for kids since they’re mounted very close the floor; adults will find their knees almost at chest level.
“My 10-year-old won’t even sit back there. He says it feels as though his feet are up on a stool. Very uncomfortable,” one owner posted online.
There’s scant cargo space behind the third-row seats if they’re occupied (buyers wanting it all should look at the extended Suburban). The split bench folded down but couldn’t disappear in the floor; instead, each half could be unlatched and lifted out He-Man style.
A 295 hp 4.8 L V8 was standard on base models, while a 320 hp 5.3 L V8 was a popular upgrade. It featured Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation, turning it into a four banger during steady-state cruising. The sole transmission was a four-speed automatic.
The upscale Yukon Denali used the same all-aluminum 6.2 L pushrod V8 that propelled the Cadillac Escalade, good for 380 hp and 415 lb.-ft. of torque, directed through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Models offered standard rear-wheel drive or optional full-time four-wheel drive, which could be left engaged on dry pavement and included low-range gearing.
The Tahoe Hybrid debuted for 2009, using a dual displacement 3.0/6.0 L V8 and two 80-hp electric motors. In terms of fuel efficiency, it was no Toyota Prius.
The six-speed automatic transmission migrated to lesser Tahoes and Yukons for the 2009 model year, replacing the aging four-speed unit. The 5.3 L V8 was the only available motor in the slightly refreshed 2010 models.
ON THE ROAD
A 2007 Tahoe LTZ with the 5.3 L engine could accelerate to 96 km/h in 8.5 seconds — a good half-second slower than a four-cylinder Honda Accord. Weight, of course, was the elephant in the room: at 2.65 tonnes, the Tahoe was hobbled by its mass.
Fuel economy, not surprisingly, bore the brunt of it. Owners talk of dismal mileage, usually not much more than 16 m.p.g. around town and low 20s on the highway, despite the trick cylinder deactivation and tall gearing.
Drivers revel in the truck’s comfortable ride, library silence and tactile refinement. Engineers had successfully mitigated its trucky ways, and presented a vehicle that really could pinch business from limousine makers.
WHAT OWNERS REPORTED
There are plenty of happy Tahoe and Yukon owners, presumably those possessing a company fuel card. These trucks drive sweetly, tow with vigour and can accommodate most families’ needs inside.
Built in Wisconsin and Texas, the Tahoe/Yukon twins show better build quality than their predecessors, but there are reports of disquieting lapses.
The 5.3 L V8 is reputed to consume oil, or if it isn’t burning it, it may leak from an oil pressure sensor, funny enough. The four-speed automatic transmission was prone to failure, with rebuilding sometimes required more than once.
Intermittent electrical problems stumped drivers and even technicians; sometimes every system would shut down completely, then turn back on later and start normally. One solution may be an ECM update for the battery rundown protection.
Other complaints point to cracked dashboards, broken and peeling door handles and steering wheels, malfunctioning door locks, frequent discharged batteries and broken wipers.
We would like to know about your ownership experience with these models: Subaru Forester, Suzuki Swift+ and Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2007-11 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
WHAT’S BEST: Handsome cabin, great tow vehicle, commands respect
WHAT’S WORST: Poor third-row seats, oil burner, no friend of the Earth
TYPICAL GTA PRICES: 2007 — $22,000; 2010 — $41,000
Used Chevrolet Tahoe All Used Vehicles
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