While the decision made by several automakers to re-envision their lineups around the ever-increasing popularity of SUV offerings might be primarily inspired by fuel-efficient crossovers, the continuing appeal of certain full-size SUVs would be hard to argue. Embracing the idea of versatility, in nearly all its forms, provides such offerings as ample seating, storage, and a utilitarian can-do-it-ness. While still allowing creature comforts and tech-centric upgrade options to further enhance the experience, as a whole. Needless to say, the 2019 Chevy Tahoe is a near-perfect example. Just check the numbers. The Tahoe has stood as the best-selling full-size SUV in America for the last three decades and, today, we’re going to dig a little deeper to gain a better understanding of ‘why.’ But first, we’re going to look at some numbers.
Few readers will need a reminder that, back in 2010, we were beginning to take our earliest steps out of a global recession. Crossovers had started to assert their dominance. They were created for practicality, combined with their accessible price points, and operational affordability. And over at Chevy, this trend felt most tangible in the increasing popularity of the Equinox (first released for 2005), the easy-to-skip-over-footnote that was the HHR, and the upstart appeal of the Traverse (served up for 2009). To put their popularity into perspective, the Equinox would move around 149,979 units domestically in 2010 with the Traverse sales coming in at approximately 106,744 vehicles sold.
And while it’s impressive that the increasingly more mature Tahoe still managed to sell 75,675 units stateside that year, there’s more. What’s more interesting is that 2010 would represent a low-point in Tahoe sales for the next decade. In fact, aside from 2013, sales would never drop below the 80,000 mark – rising as high at 104,153 in 2018 (while tracking even higher for 2019). That upward trend speaks to the Tahoe’s continued relevance since the Tahoe continues to prove popular in an increasingly saturated segment – one that’s “essentially” trending away from it.
Continuing some of the points noted above, the fourth-gen Tahoe has been celebrated for bringing the best of both worlds. This is, of course, when it comes to combining a capable three-row SUV with countless options for upgrading both tech and safety systems. Hell, it even serves up a more modest two-row variant (in the form of the Tahoe Custom) for those interested in a reduced footprint. But we digress.
Aesthetically, the 2019 Chevy Tahoe is a near-perfect depiction of the classic SUV made modern. With few changes made, it’s largely a carry-over offering. But that distinction might be best described as a great example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ It conveys an unapologetic sense of toughness, remains on-brand while having a distinct identity all its own, and delivers a spacious luxury-inspired cabin experience. Seating up to nine people, the Tahoe also provides the convenience of 94.7 cubic feet of storage, making it ideal for the rigors of busy lives (in whatever form those lives take). Chevy then wraps it in an acoustic-laminated windshield and triple-sealed doors for that peace and quiet we all ask for.
The 2019 Tahoe can be configured as 2WD or 4WD and comes served up in three trim levels (LS, LT, and Premier) each of which arrived powered by a 5.3-liter EcoTec V8, paired with either a 6 or 10-speed automatic transmission. And thanks to that V8 powertrain, the Tahoe delivers Best-in-Class fuel economy at 22 mpg. But it also can produce 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque when paired to that 6-speed, or 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, when paired to the 10-speed. There are added capabilities to be explored in terms of towing capacity (up to 8500 LBS) meaning that, as a ‘work-horse,’ the Tahoe’s certainly is a responsive go-getter.
And it’s no slouch with it comes to infotainment and connective technology, either. Of course, Chevy stands as a stateside leader when it comes to the latter, with the near-standardization of 4G LTE Wi-Fi and the efficacy of the myChevrolet app. Factor in up to seven USB ports, a 110-volt three-prong outlet, compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a touchscreen interface as large as 8-inches diagonal and the option of a rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray, and the cabin experience of the Tahoe can be configured for almost every need. There’s even the convenience of a heads-up display, which speaks to Chevy’s appreciable respect for safety.
But what about Safety? As trite as it may sound, safety suites including advanced safety and assistive features are ‘all the rage’ right now. The extent as to which any vehicle is well-equipped in this regard has become a significant influence on its appeal and, in no way, is the Tahoe exempt. Active safety features like Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Forward Collision Alert provide ample assurance. There is even the availability of Safety Alert Seats, which allow you to receive alerts through silent seat vibrations, as opposed to audible alarms.
Depending on the unique demands of your lifestyle, the Tahoe also comes with a number of enticing packages worth exploring. These include the racing-inspired RST, the Z71 Off-Road Package, and the Max Trailering Package. If you’re looking for luxury-centric packages, look for the (aptly-named) Luxury, Texas Edition, and LT Signature Package – and Midnight special editions, they will not disappoint. No matter what your needs and wants are in terms of performance, and aesthetics, there’s a Tahoe for you.
And it’s worth noting that the Tahoe also stands out in several areas throughout the life of ownership. On the front end, it has been recognized by J.D. Power and Associates as their 2019 pick for ‘Highest Ranked Large SUV in Initial Quality.’ For the layperson, this means that the Tahoe is less likely to experience problems in the first 90-days of ownership than other large SUVs. Along with the life of ownership, the Tahoe has been recognized by Kelley Blue Book for its 5-Year Cost-to-Own Value. And on the backend, the Tahoe has been recognized across the industry for offering superior resale value. Needless to say, it’s all-too-easy to appreciate the appeal of the Tahoe when you can feel it in your wallet.
But the Tahoe doesn’t come cheap. And while a starting MSRP of $48,000 might prove a deterrent for some, at least, in this case, it’s an example of ‘you get what you pay for.’ As part of America’s best-selling family of full-size SUVs, the Tahoe makes a big, impactful impression, regardless of which trim level one chooses.
Go Big (or Go Home)
Big in stature. Big in spaciousness. Big on luxury. Big on performance. Big on Safety. If size matters, the Tahoe ticks almost every box. It proves, with minimal effort, why it endures as a favorite mainstay of the full-size SUV segment. It also makes us eager to see what’s in store for the upcoming fifth-gen Tahoe that will make its debut in 2021.
Big things …we’re sure.