It was back in the early 90’s when the SUV started to become a mainstream vehicle for everyday use.
Before then it was just simply a truck, an alternative to having the open bed pickup truck or an off-roader that was more for recreation than the practicality of everyday use.
Most of the newcomers to this segment concentrated more on the sports aspect rather than utility and the SUV’s started to shrink leaving only a few originals making full-sized SUV’s – Chevrolet being one of them.
Over the years most of the manufacturers moved out of the full-size SUV market all together, leaving only a few originals and a few new comers in the marketplace.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that sales numbers have been dwindling, in fact full-size trucks sales have been creeping up over the last few years.
The Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ tested here is certainly full-sized, more utility than sports and far more practical if you have large equipment or trailers to lug around.
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This Tahoe is large and heavy, and to make sure it gets around it comes with a suitably large engine.
The Ecotec 5.3-litre V8 engine pushes out a hefty 355 hp and a more respectable 383 lb/ft of torque.
Don’t let the 5.3-litre or the V8 numbers put you off, this engine comes with some clever engineering in the form of Active Fuel Management (AFM). This gives the engine the ability to shut down four cylinders when not needed - especially when highway cruising.
The fuel savings are very noticeable when you look at the difference between city (15.2 L/100km) and highway (10.8 L/100km) fuel economy numbers. The engine is matched up well to a six-speed automatic transmission.
This particular Tahoe LTZ came with 4WD with a locking rear differential and Magnetic Ride Control Suspension.
The Tahoe is built on the same platform as the Silverado pickup, but the rear leaf spring suspension has been replaced with a double wishbone and coil springs set up. This makes for a far more refined ride, especially for the passengers in the third row.
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The interior cabin is vast and is even more enhanced with the bucket seats in the second row.
This Tahoe came with the optional coco and mahogany leather seating this added to the already high quality fit and finish. All controls are easily accessed from the drivers seat and the large digital dial cluster is easily read.
The upgraded eight-inch centre mounted infotainment has a trick up its sleeve as it can be raised allowing for an ample ‘secret’ storage space.
One small thing that made a big impression with me was the radio, especially the SiriusXM’s ability to show what music was playing in the other stored stations without the need to channel surf.
The interior becomes even more spacious when the electrically controlled third row is folded down.
Externally the Tahoe is well proportioned and enhanced with a chrome grill and High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights.
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The optional 22-inch six-spoke chrome wheels added to the road presence filling the wheel wells nicely. The over all length of the vehicle is complimented with the optional running boards.
The Tahoe’s handling is dramatically different from the trucks of old.
Acceleration, for such a big truck, is smooth and surprisingly quiet with the transmission shifting through the gears with ease.
Once up at highway speeds the truck handles admirably. The Magnetic Ride Control Suspension makes the ride far more comfortable that I would normally expect from a truck.
This Premium trim level came with a plethora of optional safety enhancements including lane departure warning and blind-spot detection systems that cleverly alerted me by means of a vibration through the drivers seat.
Going into corners the steering is precise and the body remains upright with very little noticeable body roll.
Braking was far crisper than I was expecting for such a heavy vehicle and it came to a full stop more quickly than I had been anticipating.
The 2017 Tahoe goes to prove that when you need a full-sized truck you don’t have to give up on luxury or comfort.
The towing capacity of this truck as well as the masses of interior space make it a true utility vehicle, especially for those that need that bit more interior space and towing capacity for work pleasure or more than likely both!
2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4WD
Six-passenger full-sized SUV
Six-speed automatic transmission, 4WD with locking rear differential
Ecotec 5.3-litre V8 (355 hp, 383 lb/ft of torque)
(Regular) 15.2/10.8/100 km (city/highway)
2,681 litres (Max)
3,810 kg (8,400 lb)
(Base) $54,295; as tested $82,675 (Premium Edition)