The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe is, hands down, the best affordable, large SUV on the market. It offers comfortable space for as many as nine passengers, can tow with some of the most capable trucks out there, and gets surprisingly good mileage considering its size (15 city and 21 highway).
Selling in an MRSP range of $37,980 to $54,570, the Tahoe’s main competitors in terms of seating are the Ford Flex and the Chevrolet Traverse. For towing and off-road chops, the Toyota Sequoia is worth a look, but it starts for $2,000 more. Simply put, the Tahoe just does what it does too well. One look at the inviting, comfortable interior and one time around the block in a vehicle this massive that handles so lightly in traffic, and you’ll likely be sold.
There are three trims: the base LS, LT, and LTZ. Under the hood you’ll find a 5.3-liter V8 producing 320 hp with 335 lb. ft. of torque. With active fuel management that shuts down four of the cylinders to save on fuel when possible, the Tahoe make an effort at running efficiently. The six speed transmission helps out as well, but neither of these measures cuts down on the Tahoe’s performance or acceleration. Transmission shifts are smooth and even the big 4WD versions lop off zero to 60 in about 8.6 seconds. On the 2WD variants maximum towing sits at 8,500 lbs. The 4WD can handle 8,200.
The Tahoe’s sleek, aerodynamic look with pleasingly angular accents makes for an attractive SUV. The headlights and taillights are elegant and compliment the rounded lines that run from the body to the bumper. In general reviewers are king to the cabin, with some going so far as to call it stunning. Of course, the third row seats are panned, which is not unusual in a large SUV. It’s also inconvenient that the last row has to be taken out to increase the cargo capacity rather than folding.
Standard features on the base include dual-zone climate control, CD capable stereo with a three-month satellite radio subscription, MP3 capability, and an auxiliary input jack. Optional extras include Bluetooth, adjustable pedals, a power tailgate, and a rear view camera. In terms of esthetics, there are more soft surfaces for 2011, and tighter gaps, which not only enhance the feel, but improve noise dampening. Interior features in wood are set against brushed metal, which makes for a better appearance throughout the cabin. As for hauling, when both rows of seats are down, the cargo volume is 108.9 cubic feet, but with the third row up, it falls to 16.9.
The 2011 Tahoe has not been crash tested by the federal government, but the 2010 picked up five stars for frontal crash tests, and three for rollover. There were no side impact tests. All the expected safety systems are in place including extensive airbags for all three rows, as well as stability and traction control. This model year sees a wider, lower stance for the Tahoe, which gives it more stable handling and further increases its safety profile.
There’s just really not any way to go wrong with the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe if you have a need to carry a lot of people in good comfort with commendable efforts toward fuel economy. Essentially this one is, what it is, a great big affordable SUV that isn’t pretending to be anything it’s not. With good hauling, a terrific cabin, and excellent performance and handling, the Tahoe is about as good as you can get in this genre.