Besides being a dependable full-size sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Chevrolet Tahoe is well known, at least in the United States, as a popular vehicle for government use. A number of larger police vehicles as well as emergency medical and fire vehicles have been Chevrolet Tahoes.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is another member of the popular family of full-size SUVs produced by General Motors, along with the Suburban, the Escalade, and the GMC version of the Tahoe, the Yukon. Original models of the Tahoe were two-door models but the line quickly expanded to include four-door models.
The Tahoe is built with a pickup truck chassis while retaining the flexibility of an SUV, a characteristic that GM takes particular pride in touting. While the Chevrolet Tahoe is a bit shorter than the Suburban, the Tahoe is still a full-size model with plenty of power and cargo space. This SUV originally came with a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission with a six-cylinder, small-block V-8, Turbo Diesel, or Turbo Detroit Diesel, V-8 engine, while today's models are all six-speed automatics with 4.8-liter, 5.3-liter, or 6.2-liter V-8 engines.
The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe comes in three trim levels, the LS, the LT and the LTZ. There is also a hybrid model. The Tahoe seats eight, although it can be expanded to nine with an optional 40/20/40 front bench seat. With the second row captain's chairs option, seating drops to seven.
The Tahoe also comes equipped with a 5.3-liter, V-8 engine that produces 320 horsepower with 335 lb-ft of torque. It comes as either rear wheel or all-wheel drive with a six-speed automatic transmission. With all seats in place, the Tahoe only offers 16.9 cu. ft. of cargo space, but when seats are moved to maximize cargo space, that number expands to a respectable 108.9 cu. ft. The Tahoe can accelerate from zero to 60 in under 9 seconds and has an estimated fuel economy of 15/21 mpg city/highway.
In 1992, the SUV that used the GMT400 platform had several names, none of which happened to be Tahoe. The first model came out under the GMC brand as the GMC Yukon, while the model that would actually become the Tahoe was known as the Blazer, and would become the Tahoe in 1995. It featured a 5.7-liter, V-8 engine with an available 6.5-liter, Turbo Detroit Diesel, V-8 engine.
In 2000, the Tahoe upgraded its platform, but for that year, Tahoe fans could still buy the old version thanks to the plant in Arlington, Texas. The Tahoe Limited had rear wheel drive, a stylized monochromatic exterior, and the high-performance "police package" which was characterized by a lower to the ground chassis. The Tahoe Z71 was an all-wheel drive model which was otherwise similar to the Limited, although with different exterior color options.
The next generation of Chevrolet Tahoe saw an upgrade to the GMT800 platform. Another notable change for this new Chevrolet Tahoe was a switch to only the automatic transmission available from earlier models which could feature either a manual or automatic transmission. The four-speed automatic in this Tahoe was linked to either a 4.8-liter or 5.3-liter V-8. This generation of Tahoe also saw the introduction of the trademark "StabiliTrak" electronic stability control, which first rolled out in Chevrolet Tahoes in 2003. Other entertainment upgrades for this model included XM radio, Bose stereo and a DVD entertainment system.
The existing Chevrolet Tahoe, which first appeared in 2007, has an even newer upgraded platform, the GMT900. The current Tahoe was designed to have a more upscale appearance, both interior and exterior, which seems to be a strategy generated to maintain interest in the Tahoe despite a move towards smaller SUVs for many families. It was this model that was featured on "The Apprentice" and was subject to controversy. This model features a 4.8-liter, Vortec V-8 engine providing 295 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque or a 5.3-liter, Vortec V-8 engine with 320 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque. As of 2009, the Tahoe LTZ (along with its counterpart, the Yukon Denali), offers a 6.2-liter, Vortec V-8 engine which provides 395 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Although its exterior styling has changed over the years, the Tahoe has remained generally true to its SUV body on pickup truck frame roots. The current Tahoe offers a flex-fuel engine and there is also currently a hybrid model for energy-conscious consumers.