- MSRP: $40,405
- MPG City: 15
- MPG Hwy: 21
- Seating Capacity: 9
- Rating: 8.3
The Tahoe is essentially a smaller version of the Suburban and makes for a good compromise between ruggedness and luxury. These days, full-size SUVs like the Tahoe are not as popular as they used to be except among those drivers who often need to tow things or those who regularly transport 7 or more passengers. While some drivers find it over-sized and gas-hungry, its excellent ride, wealth of interior features and exceptional towing capacity make it one of the best large SUVs for the money available. The 2013 Tahoe shares its excellent platform with a few other GM vehicles, namely the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade. It is a platform that has held up well despite its age. The Tahoe’s basic design has not undergone a major change for over five years. The result of this is that some drivers may feel that some aspects of it are a little dated, especially the interior.
Pros and Cons
- Fuel economy is good for a large SUV
- Interior materials and design are appealing
- V8 engine provides great performance
- Handling and ride are impressive for the class
- Cargo space and third row aren’t very versatile
- Third row is both difficult to remove and uncomfortable for adults
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options
The Chevy Tahoe’s exterior styling is understated with a somewhat-rounded, standard SUV design. This low-key look is one of the reasons it has managed to withstand the test of time as well as it has. It comes in three trims, the LS, the LT and the LTZ. Drivers get to choose between three arrangements for their seating in that they can opt for the standard eight-seat configuration, captain’s seats in the second row or a front row bench seat. With the second row captain’s seats, the passenger-count drops to seven, whereas with the bench seat, it goes up to nine.
- Trim: LS
- Passenger Capacity: 8 (9 optional)
- Passenger Doors: 4
- Transmission: 6-spd automatic w/OD
- Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
- MPG: 15 City / 21 Hwy
- Engine: Gas/Ethanol V8 5.3L/323
- Horsepower: 320 @ 5400
- Torque: 335 @ 4000 5.3L/323
LS is the base trim and comes with:
- Removable third row seating
- 6 way adjustable power front seats
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Voice activated navigation control
- Heated front seats
- Tri-zone climate control (manual).
- Six-speaker sound system
- Audio and USB ports
- Satellite radio
- Rearview camera system (optional)
- Rear parking assist (optional)
- Remote ignition (optional)
Next is the LT, which comes with most of the features available on the base trim as well as:
- Leather seats
- Fog lamps
- Nine speaker sound system
- Tri-zone climate control (automatic)
- Power lift gate (optional)
- Second row captain’s seats (optional)
With the Z71 off-road package, the LT gets special shocks and springs, 18 inch alloy wheels and all terrain tires.
The LTZ is the luxury package and comes with 20 inch wheels and a special air suspension along with these interior features:
- Captain’s chairs
- Power second row seats
- Navigation system
- 10 speaker sound system
- Heated steering wheel
- Power retractable steps (optional)
- Blind spot warning system (optional)
Both LT and LTZ drivers can opt for a sunroof and a rear-seat entertainment system.
“The 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe deserves strong consideration if you’re shopping for a large, traditional SUV with impressive towing capacity. But for pure passenger use, a large crossover might work out better.”
“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.”
– Kelley Blue Book
“Tahoe (and by extension, the GMC Yukon) shines for powertrain performance, ergonomics, and overall refinement. It lags its rivals in 3rd-row seat accommodations and cargo flexibility. Still, its positive attributes far outweigh those negatives.”
– Consumer Guide
Performance and Powertrain
The 320 horsepower comes from a 5.3 liter V8. Drivers can opt for a two-wheel drive Tahoe or a four-wheel drive trim. The ride of the base models is not quite as nice as that of the LTZ trims due to the latter’s upgraded suspension. The gas mileage is decent as it provides 15 mpg when driving in the city and 21 mpg for highway driving. The towing capacity of the two-wheel drive version is 6,200 lbs while the four-wheel drive hybrid Tahoe can tow 5,900 lbs. The gas mileage for both two and four-wheel drive hybrids versions of the vehicle is 20 in the city and 23 on the highway.
The Tahoe’s interior is as straightforward and simple as the body’s styling. The seats are wide and comfortable, especially when compared to contemporary SUVs and crossovers. All elements of the Tahoe’s cabin are good quality and are simple, yet tastefully designed. Among the strengths of this three row SUV are its maximum (optional) seating capacity of nine. With the third row removed, there is 109 cubic feet of cargo space and with it in there is 17 cubic feet. It should be noted that the third row bench is notorious among reviewers and test-drivers for being heavy and difficult to move and uncomfortable to sit in.
Antilock disc brakes, front seat side and side-curtain airbags and remote door unlocking are standard on all models. The Tahoe’s size and mass helps provide safety for passengers and it been rated five stars for its ability to withstand front and side impacts.
With its flexible suspension and powerful V8 engine, the Tahoe provides a comfortable ride even when full of passengers and cargo. The Tahoe is also deceptively easy to maneuver despite its size and is relatively easy to handle on city streets. It takes its tight turns with almost no body-roll compared to other SUVs in its category. It also handles rough road surfaces well, allowing those within it to travel in comfort by transferring little of the road surface to the cabin. In tests, it got to 60 MPH in 8.5 seconds which is an average result for an SUV in the Tahoe’s class. It can easily summon more than enough power to pass other vehicles. The Tahoe provides decent city driving and above average off-road abilities for a vehicle of its size. It is perfect for large families with things to tow.