I recently returned from Austin, which is the capital of the state of Texas and a place where people drive vehicles the size of congressional districts. I am hardly exaggerating this. Everyone has a massive truck, a massive SUV, or a massive truck and a massive SUV.
But no vehicle seems to be more common in Texas, at least in suburban areas in the state, than the Chevrolet Tahoe. Not just the Tahoe, of course, as there’s some variation: you’ll also see the Chevrolet Suburban, the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade. Eagle-eyed readers will point out that these are, in fact, the same vehicles, just badged differently and equipped differently, and they’re correct. And it’s not uncommon to walk down a street in any of Texas’s four major cities — Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, or Houston — and see a half-dozen of them, peppered throughout driveways.
Car enthusiasts will notice this phenomenon almost immediately upon arriving in Texas, because the landscape here looks very unlike other major cities. Trucks, trucks everywhere, sure, but also these massive GM SUVs. Yes, some people have Land Cruisers and LX 570s, and you see the occasional Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia and Dodge Durango. But the Tahoe, the Suburban, the Escalade and the Yukon — those are the cars people are driving in the cities and the suburbs.
I posted about this phenomenon on Twitter, where I shot a video of one block I walked down where there were six visible Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban/Escalade models and not a single other vehicle in sight. I figured this would prompt some comments saying I was wrong, and Texas isn’t all like this, which is what usually happens when you make generalizations about an area. But that didn’t happen. Instead, a bunch of Texans chimed in and told me I was right. And one guy linked me to an article in Texas Monthly that proclaimed the Chevy Suburban “the national car of Texas.”
I was surprised by all this, because I’ve mostly known the Suburban as a formerly popular vehicle that’s now usually relegated to rental fleets for when big families travel and need a big SUV. Not so in Texas, apparently, as these things are alive and well and on basically every block. It’s truly a sight to behold.