Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is its towing capacity. Properly equipped, the truck-based Tahoe can pull up to 8,500 pounds with rear-wheel drive and 8,300 pounds with available four-wheel drive. That puts the full-size SUV in a league with its pickup brethren while offering room for up to nine passengers.
The new Tahoe is powered by a 5.8-liter V-8 that boasts 355 horsepower (hp) at 383 pound-feet (lbs.-ft.) of torque. GM engineers refined the engine to deliver maximum fuel efficiency, and the results are impressive for the segment: Paired with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, the Tahoe burns a combined 18 miles per gallon for both rear-wheel drive (16 city, 23 highway) and four-wheel drive configurations (16/22).
The interior remains spacious and crowd-friendly. Fleet buyers can reduce the seating to seven passengers by opting for second-row captain’s chairs or increase it to nine with an available front-seat bench. The removable third row has been replaced by a bench that disappears into the cargo floor. The second and third rows can be folded down with the push of a button.
The Tahoe’s command center was rebuilt around a standard 4.2-inch touchscreen display (an 8-inch screen is optional) and the controls and instrument cluster were upgraded, along with the upholstery.
Three trim levels include standard equipment such as power front seats, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity and options such as a power liftgate, driver memory settings and a host of assistive safety systems.
Critics have praised the Tahoe’s quiet ride while deducting points for delayed gas-pedal reaction; most likely a symptom of the fuel-economy refinements. The exterior offers little departure from the tanklike fascia and sheet metal that decorated the 2014 model. It’s tough, bold and intimidating.
The 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe is available now. Prices start at $45,595 for the base LS and top out at $62,000 for the tricked-out LTZ. Fleet buyers who covet the Tahoe’s passenger and cargo capacity but don’t need the towing power would be wise to look down the Chevy line.
The 2014 Traverse is a large crossover SUV that seats eight and offers a carlike driving experience — and a maximum 116.3 cubic feet of cargo space, several suitcases more than the Tahoe’s 94.7 cubic feet — for about $10,000 less.