The Chevy Tahoe Z-71 won our prestigious Four Wheeler of the Year award for the year 2000 and was eagerly accepted into our fleet of long-term test vehicles. Since then, weve racked up the miles on this luxurious SUV, testing its capabilities throughout the desert wilderness, mountain trails, and crowded freeways of Southern California. What have we learned so far? The Z-71 is one powerful, fast, plush, and trail-worthy 4x4. Will it reign superior in its class? Only time will tell, but for now it has certainly met our expectations, and then some.
Since we are who we are, our Chevy Tahoe has spent its fair share of time in the dirt. Off-road, the Z-71 package makes all the difference in the world. The package allows the vehicle to sit nearly three inches taller than it would without this option, which proves quite beneficial on the trail. The new coil-link rear suspension allows for plenty of flex and articulation in moderate terrain. Furthermore, the skidplates and usable tow hooks are a real plus in a world filled with wimpy SUVs.
This is one quick ride. The 285hp 5.3L V-8 moves this rig along rather nicely. Naturally, the first thing we noticed was its amazingly smooth highway ride and its handling prowess. The Z-71 handles the small bumps and dips in the road with ease and has no problems negotiating the twisty mountain roads and canyons of the Golden State. The best part? You experience it all in a plush, roomy, and comfortable interior thats usually found only in higher-priced SUVs.
Chevy 5.3L V-8
The venerable 5.7L (350cid) V-8 may be missed by a lot of folks, but the new 5.3L (327cid) Vortec may prove to be an even more popular engine. The 5.3L mill produces 285 hp at 5,200 rpm and 325 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Whats better yet is the entire Vortec family remains pushrod V-8s.