By on April 9, 2008

x08ct_ta026.jpgTo evaluate the all-new 2008 Toyota Sequoia, I spent some quality time with comparable full-size SUVs from GM and FoMoCo. In back-to-back-to-back tests on the highways and byways of Denton County, Texas, I pitted the new Sequoia Platinum against the 2008 Ford Expedition King Ranch Edition and the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ "White Diamond" edition. Let's not beat around the Texan brush: the Tahoe outshines its competitors as the best all-around full-sized SUV. Here's why…

The Tahoe is a happy, jumbo-sized appliance. Its massive prow encapsulates the truck's clean, modern design. Although endlessly, relentlesly generic, the big Chevy's sheetmetal is handsome enough from any angle– without getting within two counties of ostentatious (or unpredictable). The $2,365 White Diamond treatment adds pearlescent sparkle to the Tahoe's paint job; the chrome grillwork shines through like a gleaming chain mail vest. 

x08ct_ta014.jpgThe Tahoe LTZ's cabin strikes the middle ground between Ford's sleek yet sumptuous King Ranch Edition leather cabin and Toyota's plasticized Hell. Okay, the Tahoe also puts its occupants in plasticized Hell. But the Chevy's dashboard is far less cluttered than ToMoCo's big rig, so the Tahoe seems significantly less cheap.

Speaking of not-so-divine retribution, adults condemned to the Tahoe's way back sit with their knees pressed into their chest and their feet wedged between the seats. Every time the Tahoe hits a bump, the seatbelt tensioner ratchets ever tighter, compressing the occupant's shoulder towards the short seatback. After twenty minutes in the third row, anyone who's not a pint-sized passenger will be calling Amnesty International.

In defense of the Tahoe's class-trailing interior packaging (or SUV packaging in general), try towing 8400 lbs. in a minivan. And while the Tahoe's heavy third row seats must be manhandled and removed to create a suitably cavernous load space, the four wheel-drive SUV can thusly carry a large, heavy load AND tow a boat AND retain plenty of off-road capability.  

x08ct_ta012.jpgBack up a second. When doing so, the Tahoe's Rearview Camera displays the image on the dash-mounted sat nav screen. At the same time, the Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist's yellow and red LED lights– mounted on the interior right-rear D-pillar– light-up and beep. Yes but– a driver watching the backup camera can't see the LED lights. And a driver looking at the warning lights over his shoulder (or, God forbid the rear-view mirror) isn't looking at the backup camera view. D'oh!  

Fast forward. GM's 5.3-liter Vortec V8 doesn't deliver the same knockout punch as Toyota's ridiculously lusty 5.7-liter mill. Still, with 320hp and 340 ft. lbs. underfoot, accelerative Tahoe drivers won't be left lingering for long. Not that I'd recommend it, but the 5840 lbs. truck will mountain-move from rest to sixty miles per hour in an entirely reasonable 8.7 seconds. More importantly, the Tahoe's four-speed automatic shifts crisply and predictably; a welcome change from the manic six-speeds found in the Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition.

At the GMT900 Tahoe's pre-Katrina launch, GM Car Czar Bob Lutz infamously pronounced that "rich people don't care about gas prices." Since then, GM's added Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system to their still profitable but no longer so very popular SUV. The non-hybrid 4×4 Tahoe delivers the best fuel efficiency of the troika tested: 14/19mpg. In combined driving, that's a 14 percent improvement over either the 4×2 Expedition or 4×4 Sequoia.

x08ct_ta02.jpgOn combined surfaces– neglected highways, pock-marked local roads, gravel, dirt, wherever– the Tahoe LTZ' Autoride makes Chevy drivers feel the most serene of all full-size SUV pilots. The Tahoe's trick suspension system reacts to body and wheel sensor input, triggering bi-state (nothing kinky, just two positions) variable air-assisted shock dampening. It delivers an outstandingly smooth, even luxurious ride.

Combined with a stiff, fully-boxed frame and a multi-link coil spring rear-end, Autoride also helps makes the White Diamond Tahoe the best handling truck of the bunch. As one of our writers pointed out previously, that's a bit like saying it's the world most flame retardant paper hat. But if you're going to drive a full-size SUV on a daily basis, you want the beast to handle safely and predictably, and stop with confidence and poise. That the Tahoe does.

At the end of this test, we're left with three vehicles with three separate strengths. The Toyota Sequoia's engine is a gas (it is what it eats). In the King Ranch Edition Ford Expedition, Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome did decree. The White Diamond Chevy Tahoe LTZ offers the best mpgs, a business-like (if not class) cabin and the best day-to-day ride and handling. GM wins my Lone Star comparo.

x08ct_ta025.jpgWhile cratering SUV sales make this something of a booby prize, there's no denying that GM makes the best big rigs. If it could build competitively-priced cars with as much judgment and care, the company would end its time in the wilderness. We watch and hope.

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71 Comments on “2008 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 4×4 Review...”


  • avatar
    GS650G

    How about an offering from Dodge?

    GM interiors are getting better, they finally got a hint about what people will look at for 100K of driving. For me the interior of a vehicle is most important.

  • avatar
    BerettaGTZ

    It is pretty evident that nobody does full-sized trucks better than GM. I spent a few long road trips behind the wheel of a Yukon, and couldn’t agree more with your review. GM’s full-sized SUV’s are supremely comfortable, accomodating, and capable. My favorite feature was the Bose 5.1 Centerpoint surround system, which combined with the built-in DVD player made for a home theater experience better than my own living room. And the Yukon’s 380 hp 6.2L V8 with 6 speed will leave tire tracks all over the Sequoia and still get better gas mileage to boot.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    i’m sorry, but did you say $59,000?!
    i used to think i make good money.

  • avatar
    gimmeamanual

    I won’t buy one, but there’s no denying that these are some d@mn fine lookin’ trucks.

  • avatar

    Excellent comparison. I’m a packaging geek, so I have a hard time overlooking this aspect of the Tahoe. But you note this shortcoming, and explain why you’d pick the Tahoe anyway. Nicely done.

    I’d also like to point out that, of the three trucks tested, this was the only one with:
    –pushrods
    –live rear axle
    –four-speed automatic

    And it won anyway.

    On the reliability front, TrueDelta initially saw high repair rates for these, but once past the initial quality phase the repair rate appears to be about average. And GM’s full-size trucks certainly have a reputation for lasting forever.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    danms6

    Nice to hear the 4-speed auto shifts smoothly and delivers decent mileage. I was half expecting it to get docked for not matching their 6-speeds but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. That 5.3L Vortec is near-bulletproof too.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I have to admit, I find these a relatively handsome, uncluttered design. In this era of myriad styling affectations, often combined on the same vehicle, it is a relief. I am particularly glad that it isn’t festooned with the manic collection of geometric shapes that pass for light clusters on most vehicles.

    Pity GM gets it right on a vehicle so poorly suited to the times. Nevertheless this niche will exist for years to come so they may as well get it right.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Great review sir,though the last paragraph says it all.I’m looking at the used market right now the savings are incredible on a gently used Tahoe.
    At a 1.12$ a litre my wifes Jimmy averages 65$ a fill up.I can only imagine what the big Tahoe would drink.

  • avatar
    pb35

    The Tahoe is the official vehicle of my suburban Texas neighborhood. I can tell when one passes the house just by the exhaust note.

  • avatar
    FunkyD

    It is reviews like this that point out the true problem behind GM’s overall woes, and it has nothing (much) to do with it’s emphasis on trucks.

    Fact it, when GM *wants to*, it can build world-class products. The GMT900 series is second to none. My 2002 Avalanche has been bulletproof and the interior has held up well over the years (unlike some previous GM stuff). The Corvette still kicks serious booty and has gravitas in the sports car world. Even the oft-bashed GTO was h*** on wheels and there is still nothing else like it around right now (until the G8 GXP comes out)

    Problem is, this know-how doesn’t translate to the stuff that GM needs to build NOW. Why can’t the boffins that produced the killer LS2 engine come up with a decent hybrid? Why can’t a GMT900-class interior find it’s way in to the Malibu?

    For every good vehicle like the Tahoe, there’s a cliker like the Ion. Why guys? I want to root for GM, but they make it very difficult to sometimes.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Great review. Thanks to GM for not compromising this truck with IRS. Solid axles still have their place and this is it. It’s outstanding that it wins the ride and handling categories to boot.

    I still think that the 3rd row needs to be saved for the Suburban where it is indeed viable.

    I don’t think we’ll see a review in this series from Dodge as they do not make a 1/2 ton SUV and haven’t since the Ram Charger of yore.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Hard to believe that the live rear axled Tahoe rides better than the Expedition and Sequoia. I certainly didn’t notice the Escalade I recently drove riding any better than my Navigator.

    Do you know if your Expy King Rancher had the same four corner air suspension as the ‘gator?

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Just wondering how come TTAC is reviewing a lot of trucks,SUV and CUV?

    I think it is the best time to Market energy efficient cars or cars that are more reliable and the same time exciting to drive without scratching your head if your car will reach the next gas station on a gallon of gas.

    Remember gas is going up and up and away.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Very good review. These are great trucks. I have often wondered why GM can’t put the same effort into their cars. The Malibu indicates that they are starting to do just that but why so long? From a reliability standpoint these trucks last a long time. We have a contractor in our family and he buys GM trucks exclusively (no cars, though) because they are dependable and easily eclipse 200K with just basic care.
    BTW, William C., just what is a “chain mail vest” that you mention in the review?

  • avatar
    JJ

    So…

    Tell me, as a European, what is the difference between this the Yukon and the Sclade that makes the latter worth so much more and appear in rap videos.

    Seems to me it’s just a poorly badge engineered vehicle with a 10000 dollar premium…

  • avatar
    N85523

    JJ,

    You’ve pretty much got it right. The Cadillac has a more powerful standard engine, a very nice interior (for a truck) and is all-wheel-drive versus four-wheel-drive. It should be a bit more expensive, but the buyers are really paying for the badge.

  • avatar
    factotum

    What good is a backup camera when towing? How are the side mirrors? Useful when the sonar and camera are useless?

  • avatar
    Buick61

    William C Montgomery:

    At the GMT900 Tahoe’s pre-Katrina launch, GM Car Czar Bob Lutz infamously pronounced that “rich people don’t care about gas prices.” Since then, GM’s added Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation system to their still profitable but no longer so very popular SUV.

    “Since then?” The GMT900s have had Active Fuel Management from the start, so even at the “pre-Katrina” launch, that feature was present and accounted for.

  • avatar
    Orian

    I like the looks of the exterior (especially considering they did not add the Griswald Family Truckster head lights ala the new Silverado) and the interior looks nice except the center stack. The center stack looks like they rushed to finish it with all that fake wood surrounding it.

    Other that the one spot on the center console I think it is a fine SUV. As someone mentioned above it is a shame GM can’t do all of their vehicles this well (or like the new Malibu).

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    golden2husky :
    April 9th, 2008 at 10:14 am
    I have often wondered why GM can’t put the same effort into their cars. The Malibu indicates that they are starting to do just that but why so long?
    Last year, and probably this year too, the best selling vehicle in America wasn’t a car. In fact, the best selling sedan in America- the Camry- comes behind two trucks.

    If you can sell (~)half again as many Sierrados as Toyota sells Camry’s, why bother investing in a sedan platform? Why bother competing with the Camry at all when you can sell more trucks plus make more money on each sale?

    Everybody has 20/20 hindsight, so now that gas is $3.50/gallon we’re all super smart and realize that sedans are the future.

    But…. 3 or 4 or 5 years ago, when gas was still insanely cheap, why would the domestics bother spending money they didn’t have in order to sell 300k low-margin sedans when they could simply crank out another 600k high-margin trucks/SUVs and sell enopugh Malibu’s and Cavaliers to fleets to meet CAFE standards?

    I’m not defending GM- the writing has been on the wall for a very long time and their “management” team is a bad joke- but it’s very easy to second guess decisions made in 2002 when you have information only available since 2007.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    But…. 3 or 4 or 5 years ago, when gas was still insanely cheap, why would the domestics bother spending money they didn’t have in order to sell 300k low-margin sedans when they could simply crank out another 600k high-margin trucks/SUVs and sell enopugh Malibu’s and Cavaliers to fleets to meet CAFE standards?

    Would you consider anyone smart who waited until age 64 to start planning their retirement at age 65?

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    What good is a backup camera when towing? How are the side mirrors? Useful when the sonar and camera are useless?

    Backup cameras are really helpful for hitching.

    As equipped the side mirrors on my tester were power adjustable, power foldable, auto-dimming (driver’s side), have turn signal indicators, and curb-tilt so you cans see what’s behind you when in reverse. They did not, however telescope out. Drivers intent on pulling large RV trailers would probably need to invest in some aftermarket mirrors.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    BTW, William C., just what is a “chain mail vest” that you mention in the review?

    Haven’t you seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies?

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Do you know if your Expy King Rancher had the same four corner air suspension as the ‘gator?

    The Expedition Kind Ranch edition that I tested was equipped with the optional air suspension rear load leveling system.

  • avatar
    ctoan

    The Tahoe is the shorter version of the Suburban, right? Is the third-row packaging better in those? I remember being in an Excursion and being impressed by the fact that it’s basically a passenger van inside — so much as I hate to admit it.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Please tell me the White Diamond package gets you something else for your $2,365 than just a fancy paint job.

    I mean, twenty three hundred bucks for nice paint?

  • avatar

    ctoan : The Tahoe is the shorter version of the Suburban, right? Is the third-row packaging better in those?

    There’s more 3rd row space in the Suburban because of the longer wheelbase: in addition to the 2-3 row seat pitch being larger, the floorpan also allows more footroom.

    The crux of the live rear axle is that it is difficult to package around: you need clearance for axle/propshaft movement, which restricts your cabin size. The benefit the Expedition (IRS) brings is a fixed propshaft and diff, allowing a deeper footwell in the cabin for more 3rd row space (and the trick fold-and-stow seats)

    The Excursion is just plain freakin huge – no compromises made there (nor excuses).

  • avatar
    86er

    BEAT

    Just wondering how come TTAC is reviewing a lot of trucks,SUV and CUV?

    Even though FoMoCo nabbed The Truth about Trucks (not to say the site content is similar, just a glib point), nonetheless I applaud this.

    These vehicles make up about 50% of the market and TTAC would be remiss not to cover these vehicles.

    Michael Karesh

    On the reliability front, TrueDelta initially saw high repair rates for these, but once past the initial quality phase the repair rate appears to be about average. And GM’s full-size trucks certainly have a reputation for lasting forever.

    MK doesn’t have to necessarily answer this, lest he divulge any of his “trade secrets”, but I wonder if some of this had to do with the rush on the GMT-900 platform. Have the 08′s performed better than comparable 07′s?

    William C. Montgomery

    On combined surfaces– neglected highways, pock-marked local roads, gravel, dirt, wherever– the Tahoe LTZ’ Autoride makes Chevy drivers feel the most serene of all full-size SUV pilots. The Tahoe’s trick suspension system reacts to body and wheel sensor input, triggering bi-state (nothing kinky, just two positions) variable air-assisted shock dampening. It delivers an outstandingly smooth, even luxurious ride.

    Let this statement end the debate for posterity as to where a good share of the traditional American sedan customers parked their dollars for the last 10-15 years.

  • avatar

    Nice review, Bill! I can see the Tahoe handling better than the rest, even with a live axle. I like GM’s steering, roll control and off the line punch. And we all know live axles need less attention for those who tow heavy stuff frequently.

    Still, that 3rd row is worst in class and once you try power fold rear seats (flat-fold with IRS below it) there is no turning back. That’s what makes SUVs so desirable. I still think GM should have spent the $$$ for an IRS, considering the packaging improvements.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice review. Compared to a lot of CUVs, this actually makes some kind of sense as long as you need the towing and passenger capacity. I am no fan of SUVs but this is no worse in gas costs than a Mazda CX-7 which can neither tow nor carry more than 4.5 passengers in comfort.

    Let’s say you drive 10,000 miles a year and premium gas is 3.45 and standard 3.25 then the equation is as follows:

    CX-7 – 10,000/17Mpg = 588 Gal * 3.45 = $2,028.60
    Tahoe – 10,000/14Mpg – 714 Gal * 3.25 = $2,320.50

    If you’re going to pay this kind of cash on gas then you may as well get some practicality for your money.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Very nice review, though if towing isn’t a priority I’d go with the Mazda CX-9 (now THAT is a sharp looking CUV). It’s nice that, in this comparison anyway, pushrods/live axle/4 speeds beat the advanced stuff. I was more expecting the Sequoia AND the Expedition to crank out better MPG figures but it shows that Active Fuel Management does have its benefits. Personally, I’d go with the Toyota but not before giving the Tahoe a very close look.

  • avatar
    peoplewatching04

    I like the Tahoes/Suburbans that I’ve seen at auto shows, etc. But we have a Suburban as a company vehicle that I can’t say the same for. It has noticeable panel gaps and shoddy interior quality (certain interior parts have fallen off) and this is only after about 10k. This particular Suburban has also had transmission problems. I realize that all cars are different, but this one is through our fleet discount. Do you think that GM’s quality varies depending on whether or not the vehicle is sold on a fleet discount?

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    I’m glad the Tahoe has the best mpgs among the group, even with that 4-speed tranny, but if they could fit it with a nice 6-speed transmission and bring it the rest of the way into the 21st century, the mileage would be even better.

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    Chevy NAILED the design of these trucks as well. The Avalanche, Tahoe, and ‘Burban all are stunning trucks. BY FAR the best looking SUVs on the road.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    The first time i see praise for GM, is a good direction.
    Except high fuel price kybosh the needed sales.
    Hope they’ll heed to buyers wish.

    Sometimes more speed is becoming a nusance, it will keep shifting up and down every few secs.
    To the one who need to show off his newest possession is fun, to the seasoned driver is PITA.

  • avatar
    Mj0lnir

    whatdoiknow1 :
    April 9th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Would you consider anyone smart who waited until age 64 to start planning their retirement at age 65?

    No, but I thought I made it clear that I think GM execs are idiots.

    They failed to develop a business plan that contemplated a sudden, sharp rise in fuel prices and they’re paying the price. Their business plan only made sense if fuel cost stayed where it was or dropped, and I’m guessing that failing to plan for any other occurence is a symptom of their general ineptitude.

    If they were capable of doing otherwise we wouldn’t have the deathwatch.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    whatdoiknow…out of topic

    I think people who start saving for his retirement at age of 65 are smarter.
    Because they know they will still be working until they die.

    It means Americans will never retire except if you are Bill Gates and Bill 0′Riley.

    A million dollars in the bank now a days is worth less. it is only good in paying for gas,mortgages medical bills and other expenses but luxury living in Florida is another million dollar to save. 65 years of saving will not add up to a million in 65 years.

    Sorry to say We will be working until we run out of breath. retire at the age of 65.

    Your choice if your pocket can afford it.

  • avatar
    menno

    And so what if GM makes the best dinosaur?

    In other news, oil prices kept an up upward trend today, as I watched prices go to $107, $108, $109, now $111 per barrel – that, just today.

    And locally, yesterday, gas prices (which were already above national high averages locally) went from $3.33 a gallon to $3.49 – just in time for the drive-home commute.

    Locally, the Chevrolet dealer has 98 Silverados, 10 Tahoes, 13 Suburbans and 7 Avalanches out of 269 vehicles on the lot, which is 47.5% Gas-Hogosaurus-Americanus and 52.5% General-Messup-Other-Crapus.

    This, in a town of 16,000 people 150 miles from a city and 20 miles from an interstate.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    All the Tahoeburban needs is the new 4.5L small block diesel with a 5 or 6 speed and it would be the clear class leader.

    You would get 10-12k of towing capibility, better MPG and more range between fill-ups.

    Viva la Oil Burner!

  • avatar
    Rizo

    Thanks for the nice review.

    What I would like to have seen is the entire 800 words dedicated to the Tahoe review followed by a comparison review of the 3 trucks.

    It’s both good for us readers (more content) and good for TTAC (more advertising revenue) :)

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    Interesting. Every other review I have seen has put the Fords even or ahead of the Tahoe and the first reviews (including head-to-heads) of the Sequoia have basically indicated it stomps the stuffing out of both.
    Actual test mpg for the Toy has been better for the Toy also (as opposed to the EPA geusstimate).
    That squares with the mpg with the pickups also, every, and I do mean every, test I have seen that recorded same day, same route milage on the PUs had the Toy 5.7 ahead of the Chevy whether it had the 5.3 or 6.0.
    William, did you actually record your milage or just go with the EPA? Did you drive the same or did the Toys power seduce you.

    I don’t really give a rip about trucks, but I’m curious.

    Bunter

  • avatar

    The 4-speed is being dropped next year for the 6-speed. The Tahoe will also offer the top-dog 6.2L V8 on LTZ models.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I’m wondering if not having an IRS actually helps the handling. It’s probably easier to engineer with less variables. Plus you have to wonder about the long term longevity of the IRS axles. 200K on a live axle is nothing. 200K on CV joints could be expensive, sometimes simpler is better.
    Using the Sequoias power requires sitting in the Sequoia, yikes! I’ll pass

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    William, did you actually record your milage or just go with the EPA? Did you drive the same or did the Toys power seduce you.

    All mileages quoted in the article are EPA prognostications. I did not drive the same. I was seduced. Sure, I gave the Ford and Chevy the gas to be thorough. But the 5.7L begged to be thrashed. It speaks in a come-hither contralto rasp that must be obeyed (Kathleen Turner, eat your heart out). I can’t understand how anyone could drive that without constantly charging around. Of course, the downside is that you have to actually steer the floppy beast. And feed it.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    another stupid truck!

    Have you no shame?

    It looks like a hippo in drag.

    Can we get on with it please? Or is TTAC to be a reliquary of sorry ass early 21st century damn the torpedoes full speed ahead automotive technology?

    there are apparantly more men upset about the size of their members than Harley can satisfy.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    As you said, “it’s the world’s most fire resistant paper hat”. High praise indeed. Just tell me, who in their right mind would pay $60,000 US for this unmitigated example of a, of a, of a….what is it anyway? What does it do? How is it value for money?
    Oh I forgot, this thing IS for the ‘I don’t care how much gas costs’ crowd. Well, it’s one fine example of a fossil-fuel to carbon converter. Great job GM!

  • avatar

    I really don’t get the “hate on the big suv for its pointlessness” stance. Is it that hard to believe that a family would be in need of a vehicle that can seat everyone and tow a boat/camper/trailer? What other vehicle can do this? Does it not make more sense to buy one Tahoe instead of a pick-up and a minivan? Granted the White Diamond nonsense is superfluous, but were not talking about a $200k supercar here…

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Haven’t you seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies?

    No.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Andy Carter :

    would make sense if there was ever, ever, ever more than ONE person in these huge things. EVER.

    But alas no. So quit with the santimonius “but i use it for its intended purpose” nonsense, Say you like it because it is big and brassy and its for men with small weenies and move forward. That’s the truth anyway. Fess up!!!

  • avatar
    p00ch

    jerseydevil

    Is it therefore safe to say that minivan drivers are the best endowed?

  • avatar

    jerseydevil

    Is it therefore safe to say that minivan drivers are the best endowed?

    Absolutely.

  • avatar
    doktorno

    We must have driven different vehicles. I have had a 1999 and 2002 Suburban and now own a 2007 Denali. The four speed transmission was ok with the 5.7L in the ’99 as it actually had torque. With the redesign in 2001 the 5.3L engine has less torque at lower RPMs and has to spin to make adequate power. On the interstate the four speed is programmed to constantly head for fourth gear with overdrive to improve fuel economy. On any mild hill the 5.3L cannot handle highway speeds so it downshifts to third gear and a screaming 3,000 rpm. Annoying on the highway. This car truly needs a modern transmission.

    My 2007 Denali XL with the sunroof and no navigation was $43k out the door. Comes with a 6.2L variable valve timing aluminum engine, six speed tranny, and at around 80mph I can get 17 mpg in a full time 4wd vehicle.

    Of course, if you do not drive it for seven days the vehicle’s computers will completely drain the battery, 3.3 days if I leave my Valentine One on…

  • avatar
    beetlebug

    Sorry, no IRS? I mean, why not just have flints instead of a cig lighter in it.

  • avatar
    Axel

    i’m sorry, but did you say $59,000?!
    i used to think i make good money.

    No kidding. What can one get in a luxury sports wagon for 59 large, and exactly why would I choose a pig of a full-sized SUV instead?

  • avatar
    davey49

    beetlebug- I’m pretty sure no cars come with cig lighters anymore.
    Sometimes the old way is better.
    Axel- because a “luxury sports wagon” is an even cheesier idea than paying $59K for a Tahoe.
    You can buy a decently equipped Tahoe for under $45K, under $40K if you’re OK with cloth seats and a “luxury sports wagon” still won’t tow a 30 foot RV.

  • avatar
    IronEagle

    Andy has won the thread. Nice.

    GS650G yeah there was the 90′s Ram Charger from Mexico.

    The closest thing we will see from Dodge in a 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton SUV is the Ram Megacab. That had developement work done to the ride/body mounts etc to make it more like an SUV. Standard ABS with 14 inch discs, heavy duty 3/4 ton frame but with softer ride tuning etc.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    Well, it’s good to know one of these monstrosities can actually do Real Truck Things, like tow competantly and handle rough terrain, without making its occupants weep. I mean, I can’t imagine any possible scenario where I’d NEED one, (let alone generate the disposable income for that massive sticker price, plus gas), but it’s good to know they exist.

    Wait, I got one: In the coming Zombie Armageddon I’ll be sure to snag one of these. Those undead suckers ain’t gettin’ MY brain!

  • avatar
    Bunter1

    William C.- Thanks for the response on my questions. Appreciate the candor.

    With respect,

    Bunter

  • avatar
    frontline

    My 2007 Denali XL was 44,000 w/every option except Nav.

  • avatar
    Axel

    davey49Axel- because a “luxury sports wagon” is an even cheesier idea than paying $59K for a Tahoe.

    Perhaps, but if your goal is a vehicle that can carry four people in comfort and has a decent amount of cargo capacity (what attracts most people to behemoth SUVs in the first place), your $59K gets you a hell of a lot more quality, refinement, comfort, handling, and performance.

    Spending $59K on a vehicle is dumb in and of itself, but if someone gave me $59K to buy a car, I wouldn’t blow it on a freakin’ Tahoe.

    davey49
    You can buy a decently equipped Tahoe for under $45K, under $40K if you’re OK with cloth seats and a “luxury sports wagon” still won’t tow a 30 foot RV.

    Even better: why not rent a vehicle to tow your 30-foot RV when the need arises? How often are you towing the RV? A couple of week-long vacations per year? Does that justify a $1000-1500/mo car payment, and suffering through miserable gas mileage when not using it for its supposed purpose?

    If you are retired and always have the RV on the road, you probably could do with a Silverado for under $30K, since you don’t have kids to schlep around.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Is it really THAT hard to fathom someone having a need for a large SUV on a day to day basis? For a number of years there were 8 people in my family who all lived at home and if it weren’t for the Chevy Astro (which seated 8 and still had enough room for all our stuff, even on two-week vacations), which is no longer produced, this kind of vehicle would likely have suited my family’s needs quite nicely. But I don’t think my dad would have gone for 4 wheel drive or some of the other options. Regardless, there are a lot of people out there who actually DO need vehicles like this.

  • avatar
    Axel

    For a number of years there were 8 people in my family who all lived at home…

    Ok, yeah, yeah, assuming a family needs to have 6 kids (no disrespecting certain religious sects), and needs to have a boat, and/or needs to own an RV rather than do tent camping, then you could argue that said family needs a large SUV.

    However…

    A) There’s no need to spend $59K. You could probably get by with one of these unless your boat/camper is truly, epically massive. A passenger van can probably accommodate all but the most Vatican-compliant clans. It’s just not “cool.”

    B) 99.9% of the people who buy these aren’t 8-person families with boats. 99.9% of people who buy these could get something safer (for themselves and others), more comfortable, better accelerating, better handing, less thirsty, and better quality, for less money, getting all the “utility” they really, actually need. That’s half of the tragedy of the SUV craze. The other half is that a lot of the vehicles that families actually need (say, Accord and Camry wagons) were pushed out of the North American market thanks to the SUV craze.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Axel:

    I don’t want to get into a religious debate here, but I will just say that it’s not about NEEDING to have a lot of kids but accepting the children God blesses you with. Besides, I can’t imagine growing up in a family with only one or two kids; that must be really boring.

    I agree with you, though, there are a lot of people out there who buy these and don’t really need them and those people disgust me. On the other hand, there are others out there who see this as a car that they wouldn’t mind driving and they can utilize it to its potential on a regular basis. Although, if they’re buying it to schlep kids, tow, and haul gear/luggage they’d probably skip the Diamond Edition, or whatever it’s called. I know I would.

  • avatar
    Axel

    I don’t want to get into a religious debate here, but I will just say that it’s not about NEEDING to have a lot of kids but accepting the children God blesses you with. Besides, I can’t imagine growing up in a family with only one or two kids; that must be really boring.

    I totally respect those who believe in allowing God to bless them with however many children He chooses to bless them with. I do think, however, that those who choose to have, say, more than three kids should also take special care to lessen the per-child ecological/resource footprint, and instill conservationist values in those children so they carry them into adulthood.

    I take exception to those who just CONSUME on massive scales, as if it is their God-given right to take whatever this earth has to offer, without any regard to how their actions increase the misery of others. And if one finds he needs a full-size SUV, it might be time to step back and ask if he needs to have a massive boat or RV, or all the other trappings that make such a vehicle “necessary.”

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    Axel-

    Gotchya.

    When I’ve got 12 kids (they’re cheaper by the dozen, you know) I’ll make sure to keep my house as “green” as fits my philosophical views.

  • avatar
    Ma Bagnole

    Great piece Bill,
    This is the kind of article that relates well to the readership. The last two years has seen TTAC struggle with what they were saying to who? Insider personalities definitely have a tremendous affect on the industry, but it is much more complex than his last sound byte, indeed these guys are very good at manipulating all of us.
    I loved my Tahoe, just couldn’t justify a near 6,000 pound vehicle for my wife and I to run around in.
    It is easy to find fault with GM. Their response time is never fast enough for the critics. They are turning, and while there are yet more difficult actions to be taken, will make it. Ford is also spinning the wheel and Chrysler probably won’t make the cut.
    Just my take,
    Jack

  • avatar
    JoeEgo

    I take exception to those who just CONSUME on massive scales, as if it is their God-given right to take whatever this earth has to offer, without any regard to how their actions increase the misery of others.

    What? I’m not entirely clear on how all this misery is generated. Somebody made this car. Hell, LOTS of people designed, marketed, produced, and processed this car. I bet they’re just crying every time one drives off the lot.

    People want to buy these things. People can buy these things. CAFE standards are a fine idea but as long as the average allows for them, people will still buy Tahoes and Sequoias and Expeditions. They’ll still buy Astons and Ferraris and Porches and BMWs.

    This country makes money on a massive scale. Discounting basic survival, that still leaves a lot of money for massive consumption. Maybe you’re the kind of person who likes swimming through a pool of your own cash a la Scrooge McDuck? The rest of us prefer to spend and invest our money according to our desires.

  • avatar
    JEM

    “I take exception to those who just CONSUME on massive scales, as if it is their God-given right to take whatever this earth has to offer, without any regard to how their actions increase the misery of others.”

    The Earth offers very little but what we make of it. And without the inclination to consume, there’d be no incentive to make anything – tennis rackets or Tahoes or Gulfstreams. And we are far better off for our having developed the ability to make.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    William C Montgomery:
    Its massive prow encapsulates the truck’s clean, modern design. Although endlessly, relentlesly generic, the big Chevy’s sheetmetal is handsome enough from any angle– without getting within two counties of ostentatious (or unpredictable).

    If styling circa 1995 is modern and clean, then so be it. To me, the Tahoe’s styling looks woefully dated. Clean, but very dated. The Sequoia by far is the more modern looking of the two, and even the Expedition is slightly more modern-looking than the Tahoe.

    William C Montgomery:
    And while the Tahoe’s heavy third row seats must be manhandled and removed to create a suitably cavernous load space, the four wheel-drive SUV can thusly carry a large, heavy load AND tow a boat AND retain plenty of off-road capability.

    The Sequoia can tow *more* than the Tahoe AND has more interior space to carry more stuff and more people AND still retains great off-road capability AND has a much more powerful powertrain combination (6 speed + 5.7L) with comparable fuel economy to the Tahoe’s 5.3L + 4 speed AND the Sequoia has a more accomodating and comfortable third row that also has fold flat seats.

    I respectfully fail to see how the Tahoe is the best out of the crop of SUVs you mentioned and disagree with your conclusions.

    I would gladly do a “take two” or counter-point review, if I had the time.

  • avatar
    prosumer

    When I’ve got 12 kids (they’re cheaper by the dozen, you know) I’ll make sure to keep my house as “green” as fits my philosophical views.

    This was a hilarious exchange! I have a co-worker with a family of 7 and they have one of those huge Chevy vans and one econo-box. Probably the best combination they could go with as far as carbon footprint. It’s a 3500 so it can out tow the Tahoe and riding in the very back is lots of fun over speed bumps!

    Regardless, there are a lot of people out there who actually DO need vehicles like this.

    No one, not anyone, nobody needs a Tahoe. Give me a break. I’d think with 8 children you’d learn the difference between need and want.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    prosumer,

    I have a co-worker with a family of 7 and they have one of those huge Chevy vans and one econo-box. Probably the best combination they could go with as far as carbon footprint. It’s a 3500 so it can out tow the Tahoe and riding in the very back is lots of fun over speed bumps!

    I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when that 7th kid comes along and my family outgrows a minivan (you can still get one with 8 seats, right?). But, as much as it pains me to say this, I guess I’ve been proven wrong by both you and Axel. No one really does need a Tahoe.


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