Big space and big capabilities have made the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe America’s favorite full-size SUV. 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. Delivering EPA highway fuel-economy figures in the low 20-mpg range, and including in its lineup (along with its sibling, the GMC Yukon) the only hybrid in the segment, for its size the Chevy Tahoe is about as efficient as can reasonably be expected. But, unless you will actually use the Tahoe’s towing capacity and off-road capabilities, a large unit-construction crossover, such as the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango or Chevy’s own Traverse, is a much more efficient, and more sensible, alternative.
If you like the look and feel of a big, heavy truck and you have to transport hordes of kids plus the camper trailer to put them in, the 2013 Chevy Tahoe SUV makes a great choice.
The Chevy Tahoe has no major changes for 2013. It just gets a higher-capacity battery and a couple of new exterior colors, and the grade braking function, which uses engine compression to help slow the vehicle when going down hills, now works in the normal transmission mode instead of only in the Tow/Haul setting.
Chevrolet has pushed the Tahoe’s full-size body-on-frame platform to the limits of what such a design can manage, but the results are impressive. The fully-boxed frame results in a rigid chassis that helps improve handling and reduce interior noise. The coil-over-shock front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering contribute to a surprisingly maneuverable and tractable vehicle. We also give high marks to the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control because it’s a meaningful safety aid that can reduce single-vehicle accidents. With 320 horsepower, the Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V8 is more than capable of moving the fully-loaded vehicle easily and responsively, and the Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation seamlessly switches between 4- or 8-cylinder operation as needed for improved fuel economy without compromising performance.
SMOOTH, QUIET RIDE
With its boxed frame, high-tech suspension and precise steering – plus generous sound dampening – the 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe offers a luxury-car-like riding and driving experience.