For a lot of family drivers big is better, and for the most part, in spite of the cost. That’s why truck-based sport utility vehicles such as the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban continue to sell well.
With a fair amount of time inside a big sports utility with children, I can understand exactly why the space is of great appeal to moms and dads. It’s simple: everybody is quite far away from everybody else.
Therefore, the appeal of the big utilities. They’ve all been redone in the past couple of years and are capable and modern vehicles.
Chevrolet’s Tahoe has great lines, which it obviously shares with its longer sibling, the Suburban. Surprisingly, the designers move your eye along the vehicle in such a way as it doesn’t seem to be related to the Silverado pickup truck.
Inside it is a bit different, but equally well thought out. The touchscreen and for that matter the entire instrument panel has a bit of a throw-back look to it. The dashboard is very analog. While the functions are quite up to date with current offerings, the use of buttons to control things is somehow comforting in this big, America suburban vehicle.
If does make sense when you remember this shares its DNA with pickups. Perhaps the greatest attraction to owning a vehicle such as this for families is that space is not an issue, or at least not very often.
I’m surprised that a semi-luxury sports utility such as this is missing some of the “nice” touches. I noticed, for instance, that the navigation system doesn’t include speed limits. Even though there’s a very nice heads-up display, which is one of those “nice” luxury touches, it would be even nicer if it portrayed the speed limit.
But the information that’s available on the instrument panel is varied and well presented. I also liked that on the top of the center console is a wireless phone charger that is out-of-the-way but usable. It is difficult not to be comfortable in the Tahoe because there is so much space and it is easily adjusted.
While the ride is that of a truck, it isn’t arduous. You do tend to wallow a bit, particular around town, but everything smoothens out on the highway where it is probably more important. But that wasn’t where I spend my time in the Tahoe.
In a week of suburban driving, to and fro and mostly under 50 mph, I averaged 11.8 mpg. That is neither good nor bad for a vehicle of this size. Having said that, probably the majority of miles put on a Tahoe are like mine were — to and from schools, shopping centers, work and play. Probably with a kid or three in the back well more than half the time. That’s the driving done by the great majority of people who buy these.
That’s also why the features available on the Tahoe are about the same as on a luxury car. It, in most trims, is a luxury-car replacement. When fully featured it costs about that much to buy, and obviously even more to operate.
The Tahoe comes in LS, LT and Premier trims, and with either two- or all-wheel drive. Only V-8 power is available. The base engine is the 5.3-liter V-8 generating 355 hp. and 383 lb.- ft. of peak torque. The EPA fuel rating is 15 mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway. On the Premier trim you can opt for the 6.2-liter engine which makes 420 hp. and 460 lb.- ft. of peak torque. The fuel mileage for this is 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
On the Tahoe even the standard features aren’t all that standard. Everybody gets a power liftgate and the top model’s version is hands-free. Fold down the second and third row and you get 94.7 cu. ft. of cargo space. When the cargo is passengers, they can be thrilled by the standard infotainment system with an eight-inch color touchscreen-controlled sound system.
It includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility the optional sound system with navigation is standard on Premier and available on LT. everybody also gets a Wi-Fi Hotspot and a trial data plan. For those with teenagers as any as seven USB ports and six charging outlets – including a 110-volt three-prong outlet — are seeded around the cabin.
Safety is well considered in a vehicle such as this. The Tahoe includes forward collision alert, safety alert seat, automatic high-beam control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning and low-speed forward automatic braking are standard on the upper two trims and a package option on the base model. I wouldn’t buy a vehicle that didn’t have these kinds of active safety capabilities. There is also a standard rear-vision camera, which most drivers would consider a necessity.
Let’s face it, people who are in the position to park one of these in their driveway probably aren’t looking for a stripped model. They’ve earned the right to afford one of these, and one would presume they are aware they are rewarding themselves to some degree.
I’m sure there are some good old boys somewhere who are driving a Tahoe with rubber mats, cloth seats and maybe a radio in it. I’m sure they put a lot of miles on them on roads that lead to where something has to be done.
But even with that Tahoe, Chevrolet says the base price is $49,195 plus a destination charge of $1,295. But if you go online and check most of the boxes, that price tops out at $76,600. I’d bet that most of the prices paid for this truck will be closer to this than to the entry price.
But that isn’t near as much a problem as it is a solution. Remember, the kids in back can’t touch each other.