Year after year, the Chevrolet Tahoe proves itself both as a consummate people-mover and as a capable workhorse in the large utility category. It can seat up to nine people and tow 8,500 pounds. There are very few offerings that can claim those two things together.
The 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe earns its traditional SUV credentials from its sturdy body-on-frame construction and all-terrain prowess. What's more, the Tahoe offers a superb expanse of cargo space and a comfortable, content-rich cabin for large broods to enjoy.
What's New for 2014?
Although the Tahoe is based on Chevrolet's full-size Silverado pickup, which is all-new for 2014, the Tahoe carries over largely unchanged. A redesigned Tahoe is expected for the 2015 model year. The Tahoe's only revisions include a newly standard Convenience Package on the LS model and the cancellation of the unpopular Tahoe Hybrid.
What We Like
9-passenger capacity; refined and powerful engine; truck-like capability; plush ride; well-crafted interior
What We Don't
Less maneuverable than most large crossovers; limited space in the third row; too big for tight city driving
The 2014 Tahoe is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 producing 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque. That engine is offered in 2- and 4-wheel-drive guise, with either drivetrain using a 6-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds, while fuel economy ratings are 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway in both 2- and 4-wheel-drive setups.
While the Tahoe Hybrid won't be returning for 2014, you may still find some 2013 models on dealer lots. That model is propelled by a 6-liter V8 in combination with a 2-mode electric drive system. Total output is 332 hp and 367 lb-ft of torque, while the Environmental Protection Agency estimates its fuel economy at 20 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe is offered in three trim levels: a base-level LS, a mid-level LT and an upscale LTZ. All three include eight seats as standard, though optional second-row bench seats can bring that number down to seven.
The Tahoe LS ($42,500) includes tri-zone climate controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, satellite radio, dual power front seats and a USB port for music. A newly standard convenience package includes a rearview camera, a remote starter, power adjustable pedals and park assist.
The mid-level Tahoe LT ($47,000) adds several upscale features. They include tri-zone automatic climate control, leather and an upgraded Bose sound system. A locking differential and fog lamps are also included for drivers who may encounter rough roads. Options include a sunroof, a rear DVD player, heated front- and second-row seats, a power lift gate and a Z71 off-road package.
Topping the Tahoe range is the luxury-oriented LTZ model ($55,500). Standard features include 20-in alloy wheels, air suspension, heated and ventilated front seats, a navigation system and a heated steering wheel. As on the LT, the LTZ offers an optional sunroof and rear DVD player. Other options include power retractable running boards and a blind spot monitoring system.
Occupant protection comes from six airbags and OnStar telematics, while LTZ models offer a blind spot monitoring system. The Tahoe also comes equipped with ABS and stability control with newly added trailer sway control and hill start assist.
The Tahoe received an overall 4-star rating in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests. That rating combines a 5-star front- and side-impact score with a 3-star rollover score, owning to the Tahoe's tall proportions.
Behind the Wheel
The Tahoe's engine delivers power in a strong but smooth manner. It feels refined, even under harder acceleration.
Sharing the same architecture as the venerable Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the Tahoe is extremely capable. But this utility vehicle benefits from a more yielding rear suspension that makes for a plusher ride for carting the family. The LTZ model's Autoride suspension with load-leveling calms the ride even further. And specific sound-deadening characteristics shield the Tahoe's cabin from wind, road and engine noise.
As for handling, the Tahoe drives like a truck. It's not as maneuverable or carlike as many large crossovers that benefit from unibody construction. The Tahoe also exhibits noticeable body roll in corners. Its large size is apparent from behind the wheel and must be managed accordingly.
The Tahoe's wheel size ranges from 17 inches to the Trailering package's 22 inches. For those who want a trail-ready performer, there's a Z71 off-road package that brings a resprung suspension, beefier shocks, skid plates and special all-terrain wheels and tires.
Other Cars to Consider
Toyota Sequoia -- The Sequoia and the Tahoe are very comparable in both performance and functionality.
Ford Expedition -- The Expedition is less capable than the Tahoe in towing capacity. Its third-row seat, however, is more sensibly designed, as it allows a fold-away feature.
Nissan Armada -- The Armada falls short of the Tahoe with less overall cargo space and a more truck-like ride.
Our choice of Tahoe is the well-equipped LTZ model with 4-wheel drive. If you're going to shell out for a big SUV, you're going to want it to have all the bells and whistles that make it the ultimate family hauler. Its price premium is justified by all that it has to offer. And 4-wheel drive is a no-brainer when opting for a truck-based SUV. If you have kids, we suggest adding optional DVD entertainment to this formula.