To commemorate Autotrader’s 20th Anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most-searched new cars on the site and compared the current versions to their 20-year-old former selves. Ironically, the only passenger cars to make the list are two high-performance coupes, with not a single sedan or hatchback making the cut.
Number 9: Chevrolet Tahoe
As full-size SUVs go, the Chevrolet Tahoe is tough to beat. Not as long as the Suburban, the Tahoe can still accommodate up to nine passengers, and its slightly shorter stature makes it easier to maneuver and park. The Tahoe also comes out on top when compared to older SUVs like the Ford Explorer and Toyota Land Cruiser, neither of which can match the Tahoe’s sophisticated interior layout or technological advances such as Magnetic Ride Control and low-speed forward-collision warning. However, the Tahoe is not perfect in every aspect. For example, its rear seats do fold flat, but not flush to the floor. When it comes to towing, the Tahoe beats the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada, but not the Ford Expedition. The Tahoe is also more expensive than some comparably sized competitors.
Keeping things simple, Chevrolet offers the Tahoe in just three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. All three are powered by the same 5.3-liter V8 good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. The Tahoe is tow-rated up to 8,600 pounds when equipped with the Max Trailering package. Fuel economy is on par with that of other full-size SUVs, rated by the EPA at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. The base LS comes fairly well-equipped, offering power windows, air conditioning and cloth seating, but also some unexpected bonuses like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The LT sweetens the deal with a power rear lift gate, a locking rear differential, a 9-speaker Bose sound system, lane-departure warning and low-speed forward-collision alert. The top-of-the-line Premier brings an upgraded Bose Centerpoint sound system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-folding third-row seat plus rear cross-traffic alert and side blind spot monitoring.
1997 Chevrolet Tahoe
1997 saw Bill Clinton begin his second term as President of the United States, “The English Patient” win the Oscar for best film, and NASA’s Pathfinder probe land safely on Mars. On the automotive front, the Chevrolet Tahoe was nearing the end of its first-generation model run. Back then, the Tahoe was offered in 2- or 4-door body styles, with the 2-door model also offering a 6.5-liter turbodiesel engine. The standard engine was Chevy’s 5.7-liter V8. At the North American International Auto Show, Chevrolet teased the public with a Tahoe SS concept SUV, but it never came to be. The Tahoe sold well, offering buyers a smaller and less-expensive version of the popular Suburban but with better off-road abilities. 1997 also saw Ford launch its answer to the Tahoe, with the debut of the Expedition SUV.
Other Notable Accomplishments at GM in 1997
In 1997, GM leased 660 of its Gen 1 EV1 electric vehicles, a car the company would later take back and order destroyed. Also at GM, the second-generation Buick Century, Pontiac Grand Prix and Buick Regal were launched, while the Oldsmobile Cutlass and Chevrolet Malibu had their platforms merged with an extended version of GM’s N-body shared with the Oldsmobile Achieva, Pontiac Grand Am and Buick Skylark.
Read more about the 10 most-searched new cars on Autotrader: