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2007 Chevy Tahoe 4WD - First Drive and Review

Posted in Project Vehicles on June 1, 2006
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Photographers: Courtesy of General Motors

While driving on gridlocked Los Angeles freeways, you get to look at a lot of rear axles, and it's sad to see new fullsize SUVs riding on wimpy independent rear ends. Luckily, the all-new '07 Chevy Tahoe will not be suffering from the affliction of IRS (Independent Rear Sissyfication) that infected the Ford Expedition. The General's new GMT900 platform includes a fully boxed, hydroformed frame and a new five-link suspension to keep the solid rear axle in place.

Yes, the front suspension will again be independent, but it now sports coilover shocks for improved handling and the steering has been improved with a rack-and-pinion setup. Plus, there is improved balance thanks to 3.2 inches added to the front track and 1 extra inch in the rear, and a stability control system with an on/off switch. The vented disc brakes are bigger, and thankfully, the feel has been dramatically improved with the elimination of the squishy pedal and the Psssssst sound that has plagued GM trucks for years.

The new coilover front suspension has available Autoride computer-controlled variable shocks (shown), which are standard on the LTZ.

Four-wheel-drive models will still be powered by a standard 5.3L/325ci overhead valve V-8, but it now has extra power and gets better gas mileage. That's right, the engine makes 25 more horsepower and 5 lb-ft of extra torque, (320/340), and GM says the 4WD models will get 21 mpg on the highway thanks to Displacement on Demand (which shuts down four cylinders whenever possible). The V-8 is hooked to the same four-speed 4L60-E auto transmission, and that will drive the familiar NVG246 transfer case that is now controlled with a twist knob on the dramatically improved dash.

One glance at the interior shows GM is ready for the competition. Not only does it look much nicer, but the materials feel better to the touch. Plus, available power-adjusting pedals welcome drivers of all sizes and heated rear seats with a power-folding function will be available. New head-curtain airbags for three rows of seats with a built-in rollover sensor are offered on all trims and standard on the LTZ. You can also order a power rear liftgate and a rearview camera that broadcasts to a navigation screen in the dash.

The exterior styling of the Tahoe is not dramatic or flashy, but it is functional, providing a best-in-class 0.363 coefficient of drag. The slick exterior and plenty of sound-dampening materials help produce a much quieter ride. Unfortunately, the new front air dam reduces the approach angle to just 17 degrees. A Z71 off-road package will debut later this year and will include a revised front end along with larger foglamps, bigger tow hook openings, and a "platinum chrome" skidplate.

PhotosView Slideshow
Year/Make/Model {{{2007 Chevrolet Tahoe}}} 4WD
Base Price $37,790
The 5.3L V-8 now makes 320 hp at 5,300 rpm and 340 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. It will periodically shut down four cylinders to help 4WD models achieve 21 mpg on the highway.
Type OHV V-8
Displacement (liters/ci) 5.3/325
Compression Ratio 9.9:1
Mfg.'s Horsepower 320 @ 5,{{{300}}} rpm
Mfg.'s Torque (lb-ft) 340 @ 4,{{{200}}} rpm
Fuel Req. (type)/Capacity Gasoline or E85/26 gallons
Type 4L60-E four-speed automatic
Axle Ratio (std/opt) 3.73/4.10
Transfer Case NVG246 (2WD, Auto, 4Lo, and 4Hi)
Front SLA, independent with coil spring-over shocks
Rear Live axle, five-link with coil springs
Type Power rack-and-pinion
Turns Lock-to-lock 3.0
Ratio 17.8:1
Turning Radius (feet) 39.0
Front 13.0x1.2-inch vented disc
Rear 13.5x0.787-inch vented disc
Stabilitrak with rollover protection and on/off switch (std), dual-stage front airbags with passenger sensor (std), rollover sensing curtains for all three rows (std LTZ)
Wheel Size 17x7.5 (std {{{LS}}}/LT), 18x8.0 (Z71), 20x8.5 (opt. LT/std. LTZ)
Tires P265/70R-17 AS BW Bridgestone
P265/70R-17 AS OWL Goodyear (opt)
P265/65R-18 OOR BW Bridgestone (Z71)
P275/55R-20 AS BW Bridgestone (opt LT/std LTZ)
Mfg. Estimate (city/highway mpg) 15/21
Base Curb Weight 5,537
GVWR 7,000
Payload 1,294
Max. Towing Capacity 7,700
Wheelbase (in) 116.0
Overall Length (in) 202.0
Overall Width (in) 79.0
Height (in) 76.9
Front Track (in) 68.2
Rear Track (in) 67.0
Min. Ground Clearance (in) 9.1
Max Cargo Volume (sq ft) 108.9
Approach/Departure Angles (deg) 17/22
Seating (persons) 7 (std)/9 (opt/std LTZ)

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