2020 Tahoe New Car Test Drive
Despite all the technological advances in modern vehicles, there's still something to be said for the traditional methods when it comes to hauling a full load of people and cargo. Built on a separate truck platform, the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV that beats most current crossovers in towing capacity and off-road prowess. Powertrains also are reminiscent of the past, including strong V-8 engine options.
The Tahoe contains an appealing set of features and can be customized with options, but the antiquated design is showing its age. As a result, a redesigned Tahoe is expected for the 2021 model year, which means the 2020 model is largely unchanged. Several option packages have been revised, and one body color has been dropped, but nothing else is new.
The Tahoe comes standard with a 5.3-liter V-8 that yields a respectable 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The V-8 mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission and either rear-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive. With Premier trim, a 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic can be substituted. Generating 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, the bigger V-8 comes in an RST Performance Package.
A Tahoe is thirsty, though cylinder deactivation which can shut down half of the cylinders helps on long highway trips.
With the 5.3-liter V-8 and RWD, the Tahoe is EPA-rated at 15 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined. 4WD lowers efficiency to 15/21/17 mpg. The 6.2-liter V-8 is rated at 14/23/17 mpg with RWD, while all-wheel drive reduces the highway figure by one mpg. The 5.3-liter engine runs on regular gasoline, but the bigger V-8 needs premium.
Active safety technology is available, but optional rather than standard. The LT and Premier trim levels include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warnings, active lane control, automatic high-beam headlights, and a seat-buzzing driver alert system. Premier models also get blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change alert.
Crash test results are incomplete, but those that have been undertaken are troubling. The NHTSA gave the Tahoe only a four-star overall safety rating and a mere three-star rollover prevention rating. The IIHS hasn't tested the Tahoe.
The Chevy Tahoe is available in three trim levels: LS, LT, and Premier. Prices include a $1,295 destination charge.
The base LS starts at $49,295 and comes with cloth upholstery, power front seats, three-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, Bluetooth, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Upgrading to the $54,295 LT trim adds leather upholstery, a Bose nine-speaker audio system, and a power tailgate. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlights. Several option packages are available, including a Luxury group and RST Edition. Off-roaders can add a Z71 package that includes all-terrain tires, hill-descent control, skid plates, and special suspension components.
The top-rung Premier costs $63,995 and brings such luxury features as heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, navigation, wireless charging, blind-spot monitors, simulated wood trim, and a magnetically-damped suspension. For about $5,500, the 6.2-liter V-8 can be substituted for the 5.3-liter.