By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 9.3
The 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe will likely continue to dominate the full-size SUV market, thanks to its combination of style, interior space and technology. With new technology and features designed to keep it on top, the 2017 Tahoe is the best the Tahoe has ever been. As a family hauler it offers seats for up to nine passengers, besting any minivan you can buy. It can also tow a boat, and it offers genuine off-road capability. However, it's not cheap, even compared to its competition. The new Nissan Armada offers similar capabilities and costs thousands less, and the same is true of the Ford Expedition. And if you don't need to tow or go off-road, any number of large 8-passenger crossover SUVs will deliver better fuel economy.
The 2017 Chevy Tahoe is powerful, safe, comfortable, and looks great to boot. It's loaded with high-tech features, making it a pleasure to live with the big fella, whether you're just picking the kids up from school, or towing your boat to the lake for a weekend of fun.
The Tahoe's benefits come with a cost; in this case, a literal one as it's not cheap. It's also big, and that V8 engine painfully reminds you of the good ol' days when gas was cheap, and filling it frequently wasn't such a bite in the wallet.
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Teen Driver is now standard, helping encourage young drivers to stay safe. The LTZ trim changes its name to Premier, and a new Rear Seat Reminder function will help keep you aware of someone left in the back seat. Other highlights include new aero shutters that close to enhance highway fuel economy.
The idea of a big truck-based SUV may seem antiquated, but the 2017 Tahoe is no dinosaur. Chevy pulled out all the stops in technology, style and performance, and the...
... result pushes the limits of what is possible with this type of architecture. Take the available Magnetic Ride Control (MRC), which continually adjusts the shocks to help maintain a comfortable and level ride, regardless of road conditions. The Tahoe uses a solid rear axle, but this old-school technology is hardly noticeable thanks to nicely controlled lean and roll, and with its good ride. There's no getting around the Tahoe's bulk, but the responsive steering at least doesn't remind you that you're driving a truck, and it's commendably light at low speeds. The 5.3-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic transmission work well together, but we think GM's 8-speed automatic would likely improve fuel economy, which tends to linger in the mid- to high teens.
A Cadillac badge would not look out of place on the steering wheel of the 2017 Chevy Tahoe Premier. That's how nice it is inside, and that's no exaggeration. From design, to materials, to execution, it's one of the nicest interiors GM has ever produced.
FOLD FLAT THIRD ROW
For years the Tahoe required you to remove the 3rd-row seats to maximize cargo space. Now they fold flat, and what's more, GM has also incorporated a hidden storage compartment in the cargo area to keep your valuables from prying eyes.
We already mentioned design -- it's terrific -- so let's stick to how it works. The comfortable seat adjusts multiple ways, making it easy to find a sweet spot. The materials are overwhelmingly upscale, and the controls are all easy to find and figure out. While the column-mount gearshift lever is old-school, it lets GM offer a front bench for up to 9-passenger seating, a rarity these days. The second row isn't quite as well thought-out, and adults will wish it adjusted fore and back, not just for seatback angle. The third row is strictly for kids, and small ones at that.
You immediately know it's a Chevy, with the big bow tie on the grille, and you immediately know it's a big truck. But you'd be forgiven if you didn't realize the Tahoe was still based on Chevy's full-size Silverado, as they share zero body panels. The styling differences are stark, and the days when the Tahoe was just an enclosed Silverado are long gone. We like the sharp-edged styling, sculpted flanks, and cool LED-accented headlights. The Tahoe looks wider than its GMC Yukon cousin thanks to the wide grille that blends into the headlights. Shorter drivers will love the available power running boards.
There's only one engine available for the 2017 Tahoe: a 5.3-liter V8 engine connected to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Opt for the basic LS and you still get a nicely equipped SUV. There are cloth seats, a 6-speaker audio system that includes Bluetooth streaming plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors. There's also Teen Driver, which helps you monitor and set limits on your younger driver's activities. Along with airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control, the Tahoe comes standard with a full suite of OnStar automatic crash response and other safety features.
You can snuggle with your sweetie as you drive the 2017 Tahoe LS thanks to the available front bench seat. The mid-level LT can be equipped with almost everything available on the higher-level Premier thanks to the LT's Luxury Package, which adds leather seating and more. It's good to know, because the Premier comes only with seats for seven, while the LT can still seat up to eight. Premier-only features include adaptive cruise control, a rear-seat entertainment system that includes HDMI and an additional USB port. And of course, 4-wheel drive with a low range is available on all models.
The 5.3-liter 355-horsepower V8 engine under the hood of every 2017 Chevy Tahoe -- 2-wheel and 4-wheel drive (2WD, 4WD) -- is a familiar beast to Chevy fans. With high-tech fuel injection that enhances both fuel economy and power, it also features GM's Active Cylinder Management, which imperceptibly shuts off half of the cylinders under steady cruise to help preserve fuel. The only transmission available is a 6-speed automatic, and while it's certainly smooth and seamless, we do wish GM would offer the excellent 8-speed that's available in some Silverado models. Also available on all 4WD Tahoe models is a proper low-range for real off-road duty. Some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel economy numbers, due to changes in EPA testing.
355 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg (2WD), 16/22 mpg (4WD)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
A rear-wheel-drive 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LS has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $48,400, including the $1,195 destination charge. An LT comes in at about $53,500, while the Premier starts at about $63,200 for all the leather and chrome glitz you can handle this side of a Cadillac Escalade. If you want 4-wheel drive (4WD) on your Tahoe, add another $3,000. That's quite a bit more than the new Nissan Armada, and even more than the Ford Expedition and Toyota Tundra. However, you get a lot more refinement in the Tahoe than in any of those. Resale is another consideration; the Tahoe beats the Ford and Nissan, but generally isn't quite up to the Sequoia's. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Tahoe.