2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

2007 Chevrolet Tahoe - GM bucks the trend.


Continue riding past this article if you think that large SUVs are immoral.

This hardly seems like the time for financially troubled General Motors to introduce a new full-size SUV such as the Chevrolet Tahoe, with high gasoline prices and a move toward smaller SUVs and crossover vehicles.

However, the Tahoe was designed several years ago, when it seemed nobody could build enough large SUVS. And the market for such vehicles is far from dead, with many folks needing their roominess and towing abilities.

General Motors hopes, with tightly crossed fingers, to score big with its profitable, redesigned large sport-utility vehicles, starting with the quiet, comfortable, refined Tahoe, which looks better than its predecessors, inside and out.

The first thing many might notice is that the new Tahoe is built as if it came from Toyota, with tight body fits and such. Take it out for a spin on rough roads, and you'll hear no squeaks or rattles.

The Tahoe was the top-selling full-size SUV last year, with sales of 152,305 units, although high fuel prices partly caused that number to drop from 186,181 units in 2004.

GM also has made no secret of the fact that its early 2007 full-size trucks would be significantly redesigned, which led some potential buyers to hold off for the 2007 versions. The early 2007 Tahoe will be followed later this year by other GM full-size 2007 SUVs, including the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade.

The Tahoe has LS, LT and LTZ trim levels, with the high-volume LT trim level offered with LT-1, LT-2 and LT-3 equipment. It's available with rear- or four-wheel drive.

List prices range from $33,115 to $37,665. All Tahoes are pretty well equipped, but options can cause prices to quickly escalate.

New and revised features include an optional power fold-and-tumble second-row seat, rear-seat entertainment system, XM satellite radio, ultrasonic rear parking assist and a remote starting system to warm up the Tahoe before winter driving.

Safety items include optional curtain side air bags with rollover protection.

The driving feel is far more precise, thanks partly to a revised suspension. The old sloppy steering is gone, although the new rack-and-pinion steering has a bit of an on-center soft spot. Handling and maneuverability are good, and redesigned anti-lock brakes and antiskid/traction control are standard.

The ride is smooth, and GM's Autoride suspension, which automatically adjusts firmness based on road and driving conditions, is standard for the LTZ, but not for other Tahoe models.

Wheel sizes range from 17 inches to an extra-large 20 inches.

The quiet cockpit is a long-overdue home room; the old Tahoe's haphazard placement of marginal knobs and switches has given way to a dashboard with logically placed controls -- although some sound-system controls are too small.

The new Tahoe looks sportier, with a more chiseled and aggressive-looking body. It sits on a stiffer new frame and chassis. It's about five inches longer and about one-half inch higher, with wider tracks for a lower center of gravity and a more hunkered-down look.

A third-row seat is standard in the LTZ and optional for the LS and LT. That seat provides enough head and leg room for two 6-footers, although it had flat cushions and thus was nowhere near as comfortable as the first- and second-row seats. It calls for above-average agility to reach the third seat, although you can get second-row seats that power fold to provide easier access to the third seat.

Total seating capacity is nine, although five or six is a more realistic -- not to mention comfortable -- limit.

Extra effort is needed to get in or out of this high vehicle, and my test Tahoe's running boards were too narrow to provide much entry/exist assistance. (Power running boards will be offered later in the model year.) Once inside, the view is commanding. A lower dashboard tends to make front-seat occupants feel as if they're sitting higher than they actually are.

There's hardly any cargo space behind the third-row seat in its upright position. That heavy seat folds forward or is removable for impressive cargo room. The rear hatch with separate-opening glass is wide, but has a rather high opening.

Acceleration is strong with the 5.3-liter V-8. It generates gobs of torque and 320 horsepower, up from 295 for the 2006 version. (A lower-cost Tahoe with a 4.8-liter V-8 will be offered later with only the rear-drive setup.)

The 5.3 V-8 works with a four-speed automatic transmission that is responsive, but the Tahoe lacks the more modern six-speed automatic promised for the 2007 Escalade.

Chevy says estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg in the city and 22 on highways with rear-wheel drive and 15 and 21 with four-wheel drive. But those are optimistic EPA numbers, so I wouldn't hold my breath trying to get the in-town figures.

On the other hand, those numbers aren't bad for a big, powerful SUV that weighs approximately 5,500 pounds. Fuel economy is slightly better than that delivered by the 2006 Tahoe, thanks to a more aerodynamic body and a gas-saving four-cylinder cutoff feature when cruising.

Anyway, nobody who buys a full-size SUV for large-job muscle expects more than mediocre economy. The Tahoe provides lots of other benefits. 


PRICES: $33,115-$37,665

LIKES: Powerful. Roomy. Handsome. Good roadability. Comfortable. Quiet. Refined.

DISLIKES: High step-in. Scant cargo room with third seat in place. Only a four-speed automatic transmission.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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