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2012 Chevrolet Tahoe

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2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.6

America's favorite full-size SUV, the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe, continues to impress with its power, its capabilities and its reputation for reliability and owner satisfaction. Slightly shorter than the big Suburban, the 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV can still seat up to nine passengers, although there is considerably less cargo space behind the Tahoe's third-row seat than the Suburban's. Delivering EPA highway fuel economy figures in the low 20-mpg range (something unheard of in a full-size SUV just 10 years ago), and offering the only full-size hybrid SUV in the segment, the 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV is about as efficient as a 5,900-pound vehicle is going to get. And, with its only real competition being the Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia, Dodge Durango, and Nissan Armanda, the 2012 Tahoe shouldn't have too much trouble growing its fan base and holding onto its title.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the feel of a big, heavy vehicle and you have the need to transport hordes of kids plus the camper trailer to put them in, the 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV makes a great choice. Not as long (or expensive) as a Suburban, the Tahoe's smaller size makes it a bit easier to park, and its E85-compatible V8 engine gives greater flexibility come fill-up time.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't have the need to tow more than 6,500 pounds, you can get 8-passenger seating and better fuel economy (and maneuverability) in the Chevy Traverse. Also, the Tahoe's rear-most seats must be removed and stored to form a level load floor, which may prove an inconvenience for many.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV gains a new navigation radio as well as adds trailer sway control and hill start assist to its standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control. The LTZ trim gains a heated steering wheel, side blind zone alert and heated and cooling front seats, while the LT trim gains heated front seats.

Driving the Tahoe
Driving Impressions

Chevrolet has pushed the 2012 Tahoe SUV's full-size body-on-frame platform to limits of what such a design can do, and the results are quite impressive. The fully-boxed frame creates a...

... more rigid chassis, which in turn helps improve handling and reduces interior rattles. The coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering result in a surprisingly maneuverable and tractable vehicle. We also give high marks to the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control system because it is potentially life-saving technology that can significantly reduce single-vehicle accidents. With 320 horses on tap, the Tahoe's 5.3-liter V8 is more than capable of moving the fully-loaded vehicle without bogging down, and the Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation seamlessly switches among 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder operation as needed for improved fuel economy. So good is this technology that the 2WD Tahoe earns an estimated 21 mpg on the highway.

Smooth, Quiet Ride
With its boxed frame, high-tech suspension and precise steering system - plus additional sound dampening - the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe offers a luxury-car-like ride.

Active Fuel Management
Helping you have your cake and eat it too; the 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV's Active Fuel Management system, which cuts the operation of four cylinders when they are unneeded, enhances fuel economy.

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Details
Interior

The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe may be GM's least-expensive SUV, but its interior sure didn't get the memo. While it's true there are more hard plastic surfaces than we'd care for, given the Tahoe's vast interior expanse it's kind of hard to avoid. We like the seat sew patterns, the soft leather seating option and the elegant dash with its blue-backlit controls and white-backlit instruments with glowing red indicator needles. Accessing the Tahoe's third-row seats is made simple, either via the pass-through walkway between the available captain's chair seats, or by activating the power release fold-and-tumble mechanism on the second-row seats. Heated second-row seats are also available, as well as driver aides, such as sonar-based rear parking assist, rearview camera parking assist and a touch-screen-operated navigation system.

Exterior

With its somewhat conservative but stylish slab sides, the brightest spot on the 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV is its expressive twin-port split grille separated by a big gold Chevy "bow-tie" badge. The power-bulge hood and big wheel and tire combo (up to 20 inches in diameter) give the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV a substantial road presence, an attitude that becomes particularly CIA-like when covered in gloss black paint. The Tahoe's flush headlamps, smooth wrap-around bumper and lower air dam, and steeply-raked windshield all contribute to its low 0.363 coefficient of drag, a number that lets this big rolling brick of a vehicle slip through the wind almost like a streamlined jet.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Chevy Tahoe SUV is available in four trim levels - LS, LT, LTZ and Hybrid. Even the LS model includes dual-zone manual air conditioning, anti-lock brakes (ABS), cruise control, front seat-mounted side- and head-curtain airbags and front-seat thorax side airbags, 6-way power driver's seat, StabiliTrak stability control system, OnStar, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, third-row seat and tire-pressure monitoring system. The LT group adds tri-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starter, leather seats, Bose 9-speaker audio system with 6-disc CD changer and MP3 capability, ultrasonic rear parking assist, heavy-duty locking rear differential and universal garage-door opener. Stepping up to the LTZ trim adds 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, heated and cooled 12-way memory front seats, a heated steering wheel, 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system, heated second-row seats with power release, locking rear differential, power liftgate, power folding mirrors and Autoride rear air-assisted load-leveling.

Optional Equipment

The four trim levels should allow you to get the equipment level you need, but the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV can also be "optioned up" in a wide variety of ways. Among key options are an engine-block heater, rear-seat entertainment center with DVD player, Z71 Off-Road Package, Bose premium 9-speaker sound system (LS), Side Blind Zone Alert System, 20-inch chrome wheels, rearview camera system and a navigation system and radio that includes CD, MP3 and XM NavTraffic compatibility. A choice of 2- and 4-wheel-drive models and a variety of axle ratios are also offered.

Under the Hood

Chevrolet has simplified the Tahoe's engine choices to just two: A 5.3-liter V8 with your choice of aluminum or cast-iron block. Both engines feature variable valve timing and can run on E85 (a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol). They offer significant power and torque with very little penalty in fuel economy. When running on E85, however, fuel economy drops measurably, although both horsepower and torque see a modest increase. The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid has a 6.0-liter V8 attached to a 2-mode electric motor/generator transmission.


5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel, iron block
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, gasoline), 11/16 (2WD, E85), 15/21 (4WD, gasoline), 11/16 (4WD, E85)

5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel, aluminum block
320 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
326 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (2WD, gasoline), 11/16 (2WD, E85), 15/21 (4WD, gasoline), 11/16 (4WD, E85)

6.0-liter V8 Hybrid
332 horsepower @ 5,100 rpm
367 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/23

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2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 549 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Best Vehicle I ever bought

By on Saturday, July 23, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great drive, a lot of room"

Cons: "no issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

2012 Tahoe LT

"2012 Chevy Tahoe LT, DVD, Sunroof. The vehicle runs great. There is a small dent on the front passenger door and the inner door trim is pulling apart at the handle. I will either sell it as is or fix the trim and dent before selling. Depends on the offer."

2012 Tahoe LT

No Nonsense Truck!

By on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Simple to service and affordable to run"

Cons: "Poor plastics on the inside"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my 2013 Mocha Steel Metallic Chevy Tahoe LTZ 4x4 in August 2013 and I have enjoyed every moment of it ever since. Its a simple workhorse with solid construction. The engine is a gem on the highway, never runs out of breath and is always unstressed with good passing power. The transmission is a bit moody and tends to hunt for gears sometimes but that can be corrected with the M mode. Brake rotors and pads last really long and have good bite with minimal fade on hilly sections. Interiors are not the best in quality but the the robust mechanicals more than make up for that deficiency. My only wish was if they gave it elockers in the rear axle and not the mechanical locker which locks with a bang. And by the way the exterior styling still looks way better than the fancy pants 2016 Land Cruisers, Durangos etc."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Beautiful car "Iceberg Blue" rare color

By on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Heated seat BACKS--awesome for cold sore back"

Cons: "Need to take back seats in&out"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I use this car to haul supplies for horses. The square design and parking assist make it easier to maneuver in & out of the tightest spots over rough terrain than the more round, space ship shape Lexus RX I previously owned (where all that curvi-linear makes it impossible to know where you are within 4 inches like the Tahoe.) This is a beauty of a car, the LTS with every upgrade from wheels to sound to off white interior and has the rare Iceberg Blue exterior color. What is not to adore about it all? It is pure muscle, having the super-cooling engine and tow package to boot, so hauls horses around nimbly. It has flex-fuel, so technically you can put whatever grade fuel in the tank that you want. But since I own and care about this car, I only use 92 octane fuel...and it responds like a bolt of lightning to the gas peddle when needed. Tho I have the upgraded sound system, it tends to get buried in the depths of the cab and full sound is not always great. But you have about 5 options to choose from on the sound menu about how you can hear the music: concert hall, etc. It is a truck, and all trucks shake apart and get little noises over time; no big for me, still a quiet ride with the big, soft tires. The trunk lift has become squeaky, and I have a recall notice to fix it, so off to the dealer. If you have a very tall torso, it doesn't allow all that much extra head space for you (just let the seat back into a more recline/less upright position) tho the car interior space is just huge otherwise (I can fit 12 bales of horse shavings in it without removing seats. I have camped out in it easily with two people (seats out). I get many offers to buy it because of the unusual color and loaded package. Punched leather seats---gorgeous. I have the split second row configuration in seating. It is okay for getting in and out of the "way back" area, but your dog never has a bench to lie on or your kid a place to fall asleep more comfortably in their harness, so I would think hard about which config you buy. Overall, love my car. Love my car. LOVE my car."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

07 Chevy Tahoe- just the car for the winter

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 128,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"2007 Chevy Tahoe, 4x4, black exterior/interior, LT model, 20" tires,DVD, Bose speakers,captains chairs in middle row, 3rd row bench seat,leather,no mechanical issues"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Large vehicle, incredibly reliable

By on Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Love every variation of it's 4 wheel drive, AWD, 4WD Hi or Low, 2WD. We have owned this 2007 since new, and it has been mechanically flawless, nothing but standard maintenance - oil, tires, battery. It's actually a fine ride, tows my 5,500lb boat with ease. My wife is only 5ft 2inches but she loves the height and handling. Only two negatives for us - it was supposed to get 21mpg - dreamsville by GM, more like 13mpg. And, third row of seats weight a ton, don't stow very well, and are hard to move in and out. It also holds it's value well."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

reliable transportation that looks good too

By on Monday, December 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "handles all weather with no worries"

Cons: "not the best on fuel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My wife and I love this vehicle and for that matter so does our 15 year old son. This car has been a hassle free dependable SUV. All my friends like it too. I highly recommend this vehicle."

15 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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