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Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015

5.3L V-8 RWD
355hp @ 5,600RPM
2,408 kg
383 lb.-ft. @ 4,100RPM
10.1L/100 km

PERCE, PQ; To say the 2015 Suburban and Tahoe are important to Chevrolet is the understatement of the year.

Chevrolet accounts for 60 per cent of all GM vehicles sold in Canada. And of those Chevrolets, 60 per cent are trucks.

Chevrolet and GMC full-size SUVs represent 70 per cent of all Canadian sales in their segment.

So when it came to the 2015 versions of Chevrolet?s two full-size SUVs, there were several challenges, one of them being making these big trucks drive and feel like smaller ones.

The Tahoe and Suburban are full body-on-frame, 204 and 224 inches long respectively and both weighing in around 2.5 tons. They are as big as it gets.

To change the driving dynamics, hydraulic engine mounts were redesigned for more isolation and torque damping and there is now electric power steering. The former gives what Chevy calls a ?connected to the road? feeling while the latter really takes a lot of effort out of low-speed turning and parking.

The body is connected to the frame with new mounts to reduce body shake while the tires were designed for better ride quality but also improved stopping power and fuel economy. The body is also stiffer with front-end rigidity increased dramatically.

On the top trim models; Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) is now available. First debuted on the Corvette, the difference it makes is remarkable.

I drove both trucks in the Perce area of Quebec. With great, sweeping roads following the Gaspe coast, if you have not been before, make it a must on your travel destination list.

The first day I was in a Tahoe with MRC and it went where directed with no over-steering coming out of corners.

In the little villages dotting the way, there were more places to stop beside the water to take photos than I could count. Pulling up, turning around, you name it and the Tahoe was solid and easy to move around in tight places.

The next day I drove a mid-trim Suburban without MRC and noticed a difference right away.

It also handled and drove without feeling ponderous. If there ever was a way to drive across the country, this is it but I?d probably ante up for the MRC if I were buying either one.

One thing they do share is a vastly improved interior and exterior, which my driving companion, Doug Kenzie, Chevrolet Canada?s assistant brand manager, said was the top 2015 priority based on focus group responses.

On the outside, the styling is crisp with no body panels shared with the Silverado pickup on which Tahoe/Suburban are based. Projector style headlights are standard with brand specific hoods, grilles, fascias and fenders.

The biggest change is the doors that are inlaid into the body resulting in extremely tight shut lines giving the flanks an almost seamless look.

The cabins got a full makeover with a cockpit style front seating, impressive MyLink connectivity with up to 12 USB ports, a centre console that can swallow a desktop computer and, best of all, fold flat power third row seats with power liftgate. Standard seating is 2/2/3 but a second row bench is available.

There is more, like an eight-inch colour touch screen that raises to reveal a hidden storage cubbie, Blu-ray rear entertainment screen (two on Suburban) and the list goes on.

But the big news (pun intended) is the passenger and cargo volume. On the Suburban with the second and third row seats folded, there is 3,429 litres of space. With the third row folded there is 2,173 litres with 1,113 litres behind the rear seat. With the Tahoe it is 2,681/1,472/422 litres respectively.

Power comes from GM?s trusty, direct injection OHV 5.3-litre V8 with 355 hp and 383 lb/ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission. Both SUVs are available in rear- or four-wheel-drive with the 4WD versions by far the biggest sellers.

Fuel numbers for the Tahoe and Suburban 4WD models are 15.1/10.4L/100 km and 16.3/11.8L/100 km city/highway respectively. In the RWD models it is 14.9/10.1L/100 km for both.

Tahoe towing numbers are 3,900 kg (8,600 lb) in RWD and 3,810 kg (8,400 lb) in 4WD. Towing is slightly less with the Suburban due its greater weight at 3,765 kg (8,300 lb) in RWD and 3,628 (8,000 lb) in 4WD.

Tahoe and Suburban just may be the safest full-size SUVs on the road with a bevy of the latest electronic aids like Front Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Side Blind Zone Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Crash Imminent Braking.

And it?s backed up by OnStar, which sends out an automatic post crash alert while also turning off the fuel flow, unlocking all doors and activating the four-way flashers.

Tahoe and Suburban come in three trim levels ? LS, LT and LTZ ? with no sub-trims like 1LT and 2LT common on most other Chevrolet products.

Pricing for the 4WD Tahoes is (LS) $52,865, (LT) $60,545 and (LTZ) $67,795 and $55,855, $63,535 and $70,785 for the 4WD Suburbans. Starting price for the RWD Tahoe is $49,565 and $52,565 for the RWD Suburban.

During our two days with the trucks, several of the journalists there debated the merits of these large vehicles in a world were gasoline prices keep ramping up.

The consensus seemed to be that if you bought a Tahoe or Suburban and looked after it, 15 years of ownership and beyond is not unreasonable, negating buying a second or third vehicle over the same time frame. Parts are readily available with one western writer saying you can buy parts in some food stores. And at the end of ownership, there is always a healthy resale market for trucks like these.

And if you look at the sales numbers, Chevrolet has no problem selling them. In fact, the Suburban has been around for almost 80 years and the 2015 version marks its 12th generation.

There will always be buyers who need big towing power and room for a full hockey team and their gear, and this is what the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban do better than any other truck in the industry.

Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban 2015 at a glance

BODY STYLE: Full-size, body-on-frame SUV
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, rear-/four-wheel-drive with six-speed automatic transmission
ENGINE: 5.3-litre direct injection overhead valve V8 (355 hp, 383 lb/ft)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (Regular) Tahoe 4WD, 15.1/10.4L/100 km city/highway, RWD, 14.9/10.1L/100; Suburban 4WD, 16.3/11.8L/100 km, RWD, 14.9/10.1L/100 km for both.
CARGO CAPACITY: Tahoe, 2,681 litres second/third row seats folded, 1,472, third row folded, 422 litres behind back seat; Suburban, 3,429/2,173/1,113 litres
TOW RATING: Tahoe RWD, 3,900 kg (8,600 lb), 4WD, 3,810 kg (8,400 lb); Suburban RWD 3,765 kg (8,300 lb), 4WD 3,628 (8,000 lb)
PRICE: Tahoe 4WD, LS, $52,865, LT, $60,545 LTZ. $67,795; Suburban 4WD, LS, $55,855, LT, $63,535, LTZ $70,785

Chevrolet Suburban 2015

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  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015
  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015
  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015
  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015
  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban: Chevrolet reworks its full-size SUVs for 2015

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