Chevy Tahoe still useful in crossover world

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2013 Chevrolet Tahoe

For those who love Cadillac’s blinged-out Escalade but hate the steep price may I turn your attention to the Chevrolet Tahoe, the basis for Caddy’s beast.

The Tahoe is the same size as the Escalade with the same towing capacity but loses many of the Caddy’s amenities. That’s not totally bad because you can equip the Tahoe much like the Escalade but not pay as high a price penalty. You will also be able to burn regular gas.

You’ll still burn much regular gas. The Tahoe gets 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway. That’s an average of 17 mpg which isn’t bad considering this thing weighs two tons.

People who buy full size SUVs don’t really worry about gas mileage. If you have a boat, horse trailer, small house or any number of other heavy things to tow, smaller, crossover vehicles don’t make the grade. A pickup could, but that may limit your ability to haul people in comfort. So, as rare as full size SUVs are, there is still a need.

The Tahoe is nicely finished and is still handsome after all these years. The big, wide body isn’t fancy but it has clean lines. The body colored bumpers and side molding make the behemoth look smaller.

The interior is like most GM products these days – upscale. The dash is familiar in a good way. Buttons feel good and are laid out logically. I think the wood trim is fake but it’s at least realistic.

The front seats are big and comfy as are the second row seats. Five folks will be very happy with the room. Third row passengers will not complain much, but the space is tighter and the seat does not fold flat into the floor making storage a little awkward.

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Tahoe has clean, handsome lines

The Tahoe’s best feature is the silky 5.3-liter V8. It makes its power effortlessly. The 320 horsepower and 335 pounds-feet of torque allow the Tahoe to tow nearly anything you can throw at it. You can take it out in the woods if you opt for the Z71 package and four wheel drive.

You can also use this, as most people will, a station wagon. This is a cool people hauler that’s also safe. It has government crash rating ranging from three to five stars.

When I said the Tahoe is less expensive than a Escalade it is, but it is not cheap. My LTZ (top model) started at $53,295. Optional packages included sun and entertainment, heavy duty tow, trailer brake controller and crystal red paint which totaled $3,260.

Add destination charges and the as-tested price was $57,100. That’s right in the ballpark with other big SUVs. If you don’t need all this equipment you can select another trim line. Whichever you choose, you will get a good deal.

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