2006 Tahoe New Car Test Drive
The Chevy Tahoe, North America's best-selling full-size SUV, is the right size for a lot of SUV buyers. It can haul more cargo than a Chevy TrailBlazer or Ford Explorer yet it's easier to manuever than a Chevy Suburban, important in crowded parking lots, underground garages, or when parallel parking, plus it'll fit in more garages.
Tahoe can carry five passengers and their gear at the same time. Third-row seats are available to increase its capacity to seven passengers, or up to nine if you order bench seats throughout. Pulling a trailer is no problem when equipped with the optional 5.3-liter V8.
On the road, Tahoe is smooth and stable. It really is like a rock. It has plenty of power and its brakes work well.The cabin is comfortable and familiar, friendly and functional.Turn off the highway and the Tahoe handles gravel, rugged two-tracks, mud, and snow. In any kind of driving, it's a good choice for someone who needs real carrying capacity.
Audio systems with touch-screen navigation are now available. XM Satellite Radio delivers music, radio, sports, and other programming coast to coast. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system with wireless headphones keeps the kids busy.
Safety features include Hydroboost brakes, which maintain power assist even if the engine stalls or is turned off. A tire-pressure monitor comes standard and has been improved for 2005. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Dynamic Brake Proportioning come standard. StabiliTrak electronic stability control and traction control are available as options. Dual frontal air bags are standard; front side-impact air bags are optional. LATCH child safety-seat anchors are provided.
Improvements for 2005 include a quieter, higher-capacity electric cooling fan; a higher-capacity alternator; and aerodynamic enhancements that promise slightly improved fuel economy on some models. Generation 6 OnStar with better hands-free capability is now standard on all Tahoes. And the tire monitor now tells you not only that a tire is low on air, it tells you which tire.
Chevy Tahoe comes in LS and LT trim with a choice of two V8 engines with rear-wheel-drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). A Z71 off-road package is available with 2WD or 4WD. All Tahoes come with a four-speed automatic transmission.
The standard engine is a 4.8-liter V8 called the Vortec 4800. The larger, 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 is optional on LS, standard with LT and Z71. The Vortec 5300 is rated 295 horsepower, 10 more than the Vortec 4800. More important is the difference in torque: The 4800 develops 295 pound-feet of torque vs. 330 pound-feet for the 5300, both at 4000 rpm. Torque is the force that propels you away from intersections and it is especially important for towing or hauling weighty stuff, like people.
Tahoe LS ($34,750) comes standard with a 40/20/40 split bench front seat with six-way power for the driver, a 60/40 split folding middle bench seat, fog lamps, assist steps, heated power outside mirrors, tri-zone manual climate control, OnStar, and a rear window defogger. Aluminum wheels come standard, with P265/70R16 all-season tires. Tahoe LS is available with 4WD ($37,550). The 5.3-liter V8 is optional ($800).
A Preferred Equipment Group ($1,835) adds bucket seats with upgraded cloth upholstery, a floor console, a Bose nine-speaker audio system with rear controls and headphone jacks and, on 4WD models, a 3.73:1 axle ratio (which improves acceleration and towing at the expense of fuel economy, relative to the standard 3.23:1 ratio).
The LT Group ($6,770) adds the 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V8; 17-inch aluminum wheels; leather seating surfaces; six-way power front bucket seats with heat and memory; floor console; power adjustable pedals; a third-row, 50/50 split bench seat; tri-zone automatic climate control; the Bose sound system plus XM satellite radio: steering-wheel-mounted audio and driver-information controls; power heated outside mirrors with turn signals and ground illumination: a Homelink universal transmitter for opening your garage door; a trailer hitch platform and seven-lead wiring connector; external transmission oil cooler; various cargo-compartment accessories.
Z71 ($5,315) is a premium off-road package available this year on 2WD as well as 4WD models that also includes the 5.3-liter V8. Z71 includes an off-road suspension with gas shocks and off-road jounce bumpers; heavy-duty locking rear differential; 3.73 rear axle ratio; skid plates for the oil pan, differentials, and transfer case; high-capacity air cleaner; removable front air dam; tubular assist steps; painted front bumper; panted rear step bumper with pad; color-keyed grille and door handles; round fog lamps; roof rack with cross rails; dark gray lower rocker moldings; wheel flares; trailer package; and P265/70R17 on/off-road tires on 17-inch cast and machined aluminum wheels. Z71 also includes many of the same comfort and convenience items as the LT: the Driver Information Center; Bose nine-speaker stereo with rear audio controls, dual headphone jacks, and steering-wheel controls; power heated mirrors with turn signals and ground illumination; leather seating surfaces; power adjustable pedals; and six-way power front bucket seats.