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2013 Chevrolet Tahoe

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2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.5

Big space and big capabilities have made the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe America's favorite full-size SUV. Properly equipped, the brawny body-on-frame vehicle, based on a truck-type construction, can seat up to nine passengers, tow 8,500 pounds and manage well off-road. That keeps the Tahoe at the head of its class, which includes the Ford Expedition, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada. Delivering EPA highway fuel-economy figures in the low 20-mpg range, and including in its lineup (along with its sibling, the GMC Yukon) the only hybrid in the segment, for its size the Chevy Tahoe is about as efficient as can reasonably be expected. But, unless you will actually use the Tahoe's towing capacity and off-road capabilities, a large unit-construction crossover, such as the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango or Chevy's own Traverse, is a much more efficient, and more sensible, alternative.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the look and feel of a big, heavy truck and you have to transport hordes of kids plus the camper trailer to put them in, the 2013 Chevy Tahoe SUV makes a great choice.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you don't have to tow more than 6,500 pounds, you can get 8-passenger seating, better fuel economy and easier handling in a unit-construction crossover such as the Chevy Traverse.

What's New for 2013

The Chevy Tahoe has no major changes for 2013. It just gets a higher-capacity battery and a couple of new exterior colors, and the grade braking function, which uses engine compression to help slow the vehicle when going down hills, now works in the normal transmission mode instead of only in the Tow/Haul setting.

Driving the Tahoe
Driving Impressions

Chevrolet has pushed the Tahoe's full-size body-on-frame platform to the limits of what such a design can manage, but the results are impressive. The fully-boxed frame results in a rigid...

... chassis that helps improve handling and reduce interior noise. The coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering contribute to a surprisingly maneuverable and tractable vehicle. We also give high marks to the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control because it's a meaningful safety aid that can reduce single-vehicle accidents. With 320 horsepower, the Tahoe's 5.3-liter V8 is more than capable of moving the fully-loaded vehicle easily and responsively, and the Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation seamlessly switches between 4- or 8-cylinder operation as needed for improved fuel economy without compromising performance.

SMOOTH, QUIET RIDE
With its boxed frame, high-tech suspension and precise steering - plus generous sound dampening - the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe offers a luxury-car-like riding and driving experience.

ACTIVE FUEL MANAGEMENT
Helping you have your cake and eat it too, this system smoothly drops out four cylinders when they are unneeded, enhancing fuel efficiency.

2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Details
Interior

Inside the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe, we see more hard plastic surfaces than we'd prefer but that's probably inevitable given the vehicle's vast interior expanse. We like the seat sew patterns, the soft leather seating option and the elegant dash with its blue-backlit controls and white-backlit instruments. Accessing the Tahoe's third-row seats is made simple, either by activating the power release fold-and-tumble mechanism on the standard second-row bench seat or via the walkway between the optional captain's chairs. We also appreciate the available heated-seat feature for the second row and the excellent touch-screen-operated navigation system.

Exterior

Conservative but nicely-sculpted sheet metal is set off by the Tahoe's expressive Chevrolet-family face, consisting of twin horizontal grille sections separated by a big Chevy bow-tie badge. The power-bulge hood and big wheels and tires (up to 20-inchers) give the Tahoe a substantial road presence, an attitude that becomes particularly CIA-like when it's finished in black. The Tahoe's flush headlamps, smooth wrap-around bumper, 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 with relative ease.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Chevy Tahoe includes boatloads of standard features. Even the base LS model offers dual-zone (manual) air conditioning, 6-way power driver's seat, StabiliTrak stability control, OnStar, Bluetooth, tire-pressure monitoring and airbags everywhere: Front and side for the front seats and head-curtain bags for all rows. The LT group adds tri-zone automatic air conditioning, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, Bose 9-speaker audio system and ultrasonic rear parking assist. Stepping up to the LTZ trim adds 20-inch aluminum wheels, heated and cooled 12-way memory front seats, 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system and Autoride rear air-assisted load-leveling.

Optional Equipment

Beyond the three trim packages, the Chevrolet Tahoe can also be optioned up to a great degree. Among key options are an engine-block heater, rear-seat entertainment center with DVD player, Z71 Off-Road Package, Side Blind Zone Alert System, 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 and trailering packages are also offered.

Under the Hood

The Tahoe's sole engine offering is a strong, smooth and sophisticated 5.3-liter V8. In the interest of performance with efficiency, it employs variable valve timing, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation that cuts off four cylinders when they aren't needed) and Flex Fuel capability. When running on E85 (85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline), fuel economy suffers by about 25 percent but power and torque increase slightly. To save weight, aluminum cylinder heads are used, and the engine block is either aluminum or cast iron depending on other equipment ordered. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic. The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid uses a 6.0-liter V8 working with a 2-mode electric motor/generator.

5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel
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 mpg (2WD and 4WD, gasoline), 11/16 mpg (2WD and 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 mpg

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