2012 Chevrolet Tahoe
$38,755 - $56,075MSRP / Window Sticker Price
|MPG||15 City / 21 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd auto w/OD|
|Power||320 @ 5400 rpm|
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2012 Chevrolet Tahoe
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe offers good towing capabilities and can haul up to nine passengers or two passengers and a mountain of cargo or anything in between.
Inside, the first two rows offer legroom and head room comparable to most sedans but more shoulder and hip room because of Tahoe's six-and-a-half foot width. Fold the second row of seats and remove the third row and the Tahoe offers nearly 109 cubic feet of cargo space.
Towing capacity is up to 8,500 pounds. Based on a platform similar to the Suburban and Silverado models, the Tahoe makes a stable rig for pulling trailers.
With its rigid chassis, the Tahoe feels taut for its size, steering is precise and responsive, and the brakes are capable and smooth. The ride quality is generally smooth, even with the available 20-inch wheels. At highway speeds, we found the Tahoe quiet and comfortable.
Engine choices are a pair of 5.3-liter V8s that feature GM's Active Fuel Management to save gas; you can't even feel the switch between four and eight cylinders, which generally occurs with your foot off the gas or steady-state cruising. The major difference between the two engines is that one has a cast-iron block and the other an aluminum block; each delivers 320 horsepower, is matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission, and provides all the power and performance most customers will need. The engines are also E85-compatible, which means they will run on 85-percent ethanol fuel. EPA fuel economy ratings (on gasoline) are 15/21 mpg City/Highway.
The Tahoe Hybrid has a 6.0-liter V8 of 332 horsepower and a two-mode hybrid system, and works seamlessly. It offers drastically improved urban fuel economy and slightly more power compared to other models, but tows less, weighs more and costs more. The Hybrid model provides an answer for those who spend the week in city traffic but want to tow up to 6,200 pounds and bring the family on the weekend. EPA ratings for the Hybrid are 20/23 mpg City/Highway.
The available Autotrac four-wheel drive can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. It comes in handy for rugged terrain and serious snow and ice, but it's also handy for yanking a boat up a slippery boat ramp or pulling a trailer out of a silty, sandy parking area, those momentary needs that can be so crucial.
Changes for 2012 are relatively minor. A new hard-drive navigation system, integrated into an AM/FM/XM/CD stereo, includes a USB port, time-shift recording capability, and the hardware for SiriusXM Weather Service. The standard StabiliTrak stability control system now includes electronic trailer sway control and hill start assist. Mid-range LT models get heated seats as standard equipment; and flagship LTZ’s get a heated as well as leather-wrapped steering wheel, and side blind zone alert. All 2012 Tahoe models benefit from seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the driver and front-seat passenger. The current-generation Tahoe was launched as a 2007 model.
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe comes in LS, LT, LTZ, and Hybrid trim levels. All those are available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or Autotrac four-wheel drive (4WD).
Tahoe LS ($38,755) and LS 4WD ($42,815) come with cloth upholstery; tri-zone manual climate control with rear controls; six-way power front bucket seats with console (a split front bench is available for a $250 credit); 60/40 split-folding second-row bench seat; 50/50 split-fold third row; tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls; cruise control; Bluetooth; intermittent wipers front/rear; power locks, windows and heated mirrors; remote keyless entry; side assist steps; AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack and USB port; XM satellite radio; automatic headlights; theft-deterrent system; luggage rack side and center rails; front recovery hooks (on 4WD); color-matched door handles; trailer hitch platform with seven-wire harness; six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service; and P265/70R17 tires on alloy wheels.
Tahoe LT ($43,905) and LT 4WD ($46,755) get leather; 9-speaker Bose sound system with rear headphone jacks and audio controls; fog lamps; heated front seats; heated outside mirrors; three-zone automatic climate control; adjustable pedals; park assist; automatic locking rear differential; and remote start. A Luxury package for LT ($1,575) adds auto-dimming inside and driver mirrors, power folding and heated exterior mirrors with turn signals and reverse-tilt, heated first- and second-row seats, HomeLink, and a power liftgate. Also available is the new HDD navigation ($2,500).
Tahoe LTZ ($52,970) and LTZ 4WD ($56,075) upgrade to 12-way power perforated leather front seats, heated and cooled; heated second-row bucket seats; driver memory system; Autoride suspension; power liftgate; power-folding heated reverse-tilt mirrors; auto-dimming inside and driver's side mirrors; chrome trim; Bose Centerpoint audio system; new HDD navigation; rear-view camera; XM NavTraffic; and 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with 275/55R20 tires. A heated steering wheel and Side Blind Zone alert are also new for 2012.
Tahoe Hybrid ($51,970) and Hybrid 4WD ($54,775) are equipped between the LT and LTZ. The Hybrid does not have roof rails, fog lamps, tow hooks, or a separate glass opening on the liftgate. Hybrid mechanicals are warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. Hybrid models come with the HDD navigation/audio system with rearview camera, locking rear differential, and P265/65R18 low-rolling resistance tires on alloy wheels. The Hybrid uses a 6.0-liter V8 gas engine, rated at 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque, and an electric drive system contained within the transmission.
Options include polished aluminum 20-inch wheels ($1,795); audio system upgrades; moonroof ($995); retractable side steps ($1,095); trailer brake controller ($200); rear-seat DVD entertainment ($1,395); second-row bucket seats ($590); skid plate package ($150); and engine block heater ($75). Tahoes that come with second-row buckets can be ordered with a 60/40 second-row bench at no charge, and larger wheels can often be downsized to standard 17-inch at no cost for bad roads, tire chains, and so on.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags; seat-mounted side-impact airbags for driver and front-seat passenger; full-coverage head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover sensors; four-wheel antilock brakes; StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, trailer sway control and hill start assist; LATCH child safety seat anchors; OnStar; and a tire pressure monitor. Optional safety features include Side Blind Zone alert, rearview cameras, and rear park assist; all are useful and we recommend the cameras particularly to help the driver spot small children and other people when backing up. We also recommend wearing your seat belt.
The Chevrolet Tahoe features a crisp design with curved edges, fully wrapped front fascia that eliminates air-grabbing gaps, doors that wrap over the rocker panels, and a steeply raked windshield.
One result of the streamlined body is optimal fuel economy, according to GM. Automotive engineers judge wind-cheating aerodynamics by a factor known as the coefficient of drag: The lower the number, the easier air flows over it. The Tahoe has a Cd of 0.36. The Hybrid is even more slippery, with a Cd of 0.34. However, total drag also includes frontal area, and the Tahoe's substantial frontal profile means it isn't as low-drag as a much smaller vehicle with a slightly higher Cd.
Up front, the Tahoe features a clean interpretation of Chevrolet's two-tier front grille with a central bowtie logo. Tow hook openings flank the license plate frame and they are, on cars so equipped, flanked by fog lights. The sides of the Tahoe have little ornamentation, yielding a smooth design. Windows aren't shrunk in the name of style and offer a decent view; unlike the Suburban the rear side windows do not roll all the way down. And at the rear, the liftgate has separate opening glass to offer easier loading of small items and the bumper top is ribbed for safer roof loading.
The smooth appearance doesn't mean the Tahoe looks soft. Built on a wide frame, this is a commanding vehicle with a strong stance. A bulging hood enhances its visual strength. Further boosting the muscular look are standard 17-inch wheels, with 18s and 20s available.
The Tahoe LTZ can be distinguished by its standard chrome accents on the door handles and grille inserts.
The Hybrid model has several distinct characteristics. To offset the added weight of the hybrid system (the Hybrid Tahoe weighs about 250 pounds more than a standard Tahoe) and reduce drag, the front end features an aluminum hood and front bumper beam, a lowered air dam, and a slightly larger grille opening to offset the blocked off fog light and tow hook openings and smaller lower air inlets. Along the sides, the running boards are tapered front and rear for improved aerodynamics and the wheel flares are slightly reshaped. At the back, the rear side pillars, roof spoiler and center high-mounted stoplight have a unique shape, the tailgate is made of aluminum and has fixed glass, and LED tail lights. The wheels are more aero efficient and the tires have lower rolling resistance. The spare tire and jack have been replaced by a tire inflation kit. Hybrids also carry H logos with a printed-circuit board-like center. Thankfully, the substantial Hybrid wallpaper that ran along the doors of earlier models was stripped off for 2011 and remains off for 2012.
The Chevy Tahoe instrument panel and center stack are cleanly designed and easy to use. The gauge cluster is attractive and informative, dominated by the large, easy-to-read tachometer and speedometer in black with blue-green numbers; the tachometer scale ends where redline would otherwise be marked. Oil pressure, voltage and water temperature gauges are standard, providing data many other vehicles leave to warning lights.
While largely plastic, the cabin materials are finished well and fit together with tight tolerances. With the available leather upholstery, the look is upscale; we find the lighter colors look more luxurious, the black very businesslike. Small items storage space is abundant, with a large center console, map pockets in the doors, a big glovebox and a handy tray below the center stack.
The Hybrid gets a modified instrument panel. The tachometer has an AutoStop position between 0 and 1000 rpm to show when the gasoline engine is off but the car is still on, the oil pressure gauge moves to the voltmeter position, and an Economy gauge goes top left. In theory this gauge is to give a quick-glance indication of how efficiently you're driving, but unlike the others that swing right to show more the Economy gauge swings right when you're using the most fuel, not getting the best economy. It also doesn't always agree with the screen.
Hybrids have navigation as standard, in part so you can use the screen (if desired) to watch power flow amongst the gas engine, battery pack and electric motors. When you lift off the gas to coast or slow the center screen shows the battery being charged but the Economy gauge stays planted in its default center position. Only when the brake pedal is pressed does the Economy gauge needle move left and the screen shows battery charge. The screen display could be distracting, so just keep the Economy gauge from swinging right and you'll be efficient.
The touch-screen navigation/audio systems work well and easily; we never had to consult the owner's manual to get what we wanted. If you're subscribed you get XM radio and real-time traffic data as well, and non-navi cars have options with OnStar. The switchgear is clearly labeled and arranged, the rotary light and drive switches both default to automatic, and the rear wiper switch is cleanly integrated onto the turn signal stalk.
The spacious interior of the Tahoe can be enjoyed from any of the three rows of seats. The driver sits up high with a good view of the road; steering wheel/seat/pedal/instrument placement is such that the eye is drawn to right of center. With tilt wheel, power seat (with manual backrest adjustment on some) and available adjustable pedals most drivers should find a proper, safe driving position. Roof pillars are narrower than on a Hummer but they are still substantial; taller drivers mentioned the top of the left windshield pillar and shorter drivers the pillar behind the right side door and the third-row seat which should be left folded when not occupied.
Front and second row leg and headroom is (for the most part) a couple of inches better than in Chevrolet's shorter-outside Malibu and Impala sedans, but it’s the Tahoe’s roughly ten inches more in hip and shoulder room that makes three-across in the second row a realistic proposition. It's worth noting that the Hybrid's lighter-weight front seats are also thinner; they don't feel any less comfortable than the standard seats but they add more than an inch to rear seat knee room and we'd like to see them standard everywhere.
A yank on the second-row seat lever (or push on the optional button) flips the seat up for access to the third row. We sat in the third-row seats and found that short-to-average adults fit, though they will likely feel insulted if kept back there more than 10 or 15 minutes. The Tahoe's rear suspension design means there is no foot well behind the second row; the seats sit on the cargo deck like very well upholstered beach chairs.
Like the second-row bench, the third-row seats have three seatbelts but no center headrests. They are split 50/50; the backrests fold down, the whole seat can be folded up against the second row, or they can be pulled back and lifted out. Unlike most of the competition big loads in the Tahoe require leaving the third row out of the truck somewhere.
With the third row out and second row folded Tahoe has full-size cargo space of 108.9 cubic feet, 60.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 16.9 cubic feet behind the third row. The load height is about the same height as a typical pickup bed.
The Tahoe rides quite well for a big, heavy utility and drives much less like a truck than you might expect. We won't say it drives like a car, at least any car less than 10 years old because those have also advanced.
The Tahoe uses independent front suspension and five-link rear suspension with coil springs at both ends. There is noticeable body roll, some pitching on frost heaved interstates and nose-dive under heavy braking, but these characteristics are expected in a truck and do a good job of communicating how hard you're pushing it while maintaining stability. Multiple suspension tuning choices are offered, with a smooth ride setup standard on most, Autoride providing real-time damping and self-leveling rear on the LTZ, and the Z71 package for off-road use. The Z71 is firm and set up more toward speed over rough terrain than softness for ultimate articulation, and the Autoride proves useful on variable road surfaces or when towing; do remember automatic leveling on the truck is not a substitute for a proper weight-distributing hitch.
We prefer the smaller-diameter wheels over the 20-inch wheels. The ride was comfortable but not at all soft or spongy with the taller tires on the 17-inch wheels, and a truck with 20s got us along a winding road only slightly faster than 18s and that difference is easily attributed to the 20-inch tire being more performance oriented. The 20-inch wheels might look nice, but they come with tires with nearly three inches less sidewall area and thus provide much less cushion for absorbing bumps along the way. We recommend you try the 20s before you buy.
The Tahoe's steering is among the best in big, truck-based utilities, nicely weighted and void of free play and any wander. Three-ton trucks more than six feet tall don't change direction like cars and if you approach a corner too fast the Tahoe understeers and scrubs off speed; the predictability and consistency are ideal for the average Tahoe driver.
The 5.3-liter V8 and its 6-speed automatic are plenty for the Tahoe, and the 6-speed lets the engine use its four-cylinder mode to best advantage; it takes fuel to make power and move the Tahoe down the road, regardless of the number of cylinders being used.
The transmission will make the right gear decisions, and it has a tow-/haul mode for use pulling a substantial trailer. It also offers a manual mode via a shift button on the stalk but you must first move the lever to the M position. Engaging tow/haul mode changes the one-touch lane-change signal from three blinks to six, a useful feature.
Maximum tow capacity is listed at 8,500 pounds, but that's assuming you go alone in an empty truck. If you plan on bringing friends, gear and any trailer more than 6,500 pounds, we recommend checking into a Suburban.
It sounds oxymoronic but driving the Tahoe Hybrid is both different and the same. You don't do anything different to drive it, and the gas-electric drive system controls everything automatically. Turning the key always switches it on but doesn't always start the gas engine like you're used to; that happens more often at temperature extremes and ours more when we chose Reverse than when we went to Drive.
At very low speeds in the Hybrid propulsion is by electric power only, and you have to watch for people walking out in front of you in parking lots since there is only tire noise. The system will do 30 mph on electric power alone in ideal circumstances but in most cases the gas engine is on by 10 mph. The system usually shuts off the gas engine when the vehicle is stationary and the majority of the time your foot is on the accelerator pedal it is a combination of the gas engine and electric motors powering you.
If you step on the pedal hard as you might to get across a busy street there is a moment, some fraction of a second, before the gas engine starts and the system delivers its full 367 pound-feet of torque, so you should try that in the open a couple of times to know exactly how the truck will respond. There's enough power to get the Hybrid (and a 4,000-6,000 pound trailer) going easily, though it may sound odd at first as the gas engine goes to a certain rpm and stays there while the truck catches up with it.
The Hybrid system uses an Atkinson-cycle 6.0-liter V8 engine and dual electric motor/generators inside a transmission with four conventional gears because in certain high-load conditions those are the most efficient; the 300-volt battery pack is beneath the second-row seat so it uses no cargo space.
That battery pack is charged by the motor/generators when the gas engine runs and when you are moving with your foot off the pedal, such as descents and approaching stop signs. Energy that would normally be turned into heat by the brakes is used to recharge the battery pack which is why the Hybrid's fuel economy advantage is primarily in the city.
Although the nav-screen display shows the battery being charged when your foot is off the accelerator pedal, the Economy gauge does swing to the charge side until the brake pedal is pressed, and it doesn't go far right until the pedal is pressed hard. This makes the brake pedal a bit touchy in maneuvering and makes most drivers stop with more lurch because energy being recaptured for charging decreases with speed so the brakes have to take over. This is typical behavior of hybrids and practice will eventually smooth things but it's difficult to match a non-hybrid Tahoe for braking smoothness.
We found that manually downshifting to control speed on long descents did not appreciably increase the charge rate like we expected it to; gas engine compression helped but needing the brakes at all surprised us. The battery could have been at full charge (unlikely after the climb up the hill) but we never noticed battery charge level on the screen. We also found that if you got on the brakes hard there was a momentary delay before the needle-swing to heavy charge rate so the brakes would smell at the bottom of a tight, winding hill. In comparison, a standard gas-engine Tahoe where we could use the tap shifter and extra gears for ideal control didn't have smelly brakes at the bottom of the hill.
We don't think the standard Tahoe's 250-pound weight advantage over the Hybrid made the difference there, but it probably played some part in the Hybrid feeling a bit more ponderous than the standard Tahoe. The Hybrid's low rolling resistance tires didn't handle any less competently than other same-size all-purpose tires, although they feel like 20-inchers on some sharp, small impacts (like lane-divider dots) and we suspect they run higher pressure than the standard Tahoe. The Hybrid uses a 42-volt motor to drive the steering pump and while steering feel is as good as a regular Tahoe we like that this keeps up better in repeated maneuvering, like trail rides or backing a trailer, and that the Hybrid's engine compartment is very clean and uncluttered.
On level urban highways our 4WD Hybrid's trip computer showed 20.3 mpg; around town without any gridlock or jams, it showed 16.5; and in a mixed, relaxed drive it recorded 19.8 mpg (the gas pump and GPS backed up these numbers). When we drove a similarly-equipped non-hybrid 5.3-liter with the 6-speed automatic in the same places, conditions, speeds and times, it bettered the Hybrid on the highway at 21.2 mpg, did 13.3 around town and the mixed route at 17.7.
The Hybrid is ideal for people who spend all week plodding around in a city but take the family and a 4,500-pound trailer out on a weekend. Without the city use the standard Tahoe will serve as well, and if you don't tow a trailer a minivan or larger crossover will have more room, drive more comfortably, offer the higher seating position, be just as safe, and get better mileage. Given our test results and the fact that the Hybrid has a slightly smaller fuel tank, long-distance cruising range might be better on a non-Hybrid.
The Chevrolet Tahoe offers cargo space, passenger accommodations, and towing capacity. It's a full-size truck and handles like one, offers the versatility of real low-range four-wheel drive, while delivering a good ride and a pleasant interior. The Hybrid model gets decent mileage in the city and the standard version is a better highway-cruiser value.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent G.R. Whale reported from Los Angeles, with Kirk Bell in Chicago and Larry Edsall in Phoenix.
|Model Line Overview|
|Model lineup:||Chevrolet Tahoe LS 2WD ($38,755), LS 4WD ($42,815); LT 2WD ($43,905), LT 4WD ($46,755); LTZ 2WD ($52,970), LTZ 4WD ($56,075); Hybrid 2WD ($51,970), Hybrid 4WD ($54,775)|
|Engines:||320-hp 5.3-liter V8; 332-hp 6.0-liter hybrid V8|
|Transmissions:||6-speed automatic; Electrically Variable Transmission with four fixed gears|
|Safety equipment (standard):||dual-stage front airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, full-coverage head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover sensors; tire-pressure monitor, LATCH child safety seat anchors; four-wheel antilock brakes; traction control; electronic stability control with rollover mitigation, trailer sway control and hill start assist; OnStar 9.0|
|Safety equipment (optional):||rear park assist, rear-view camera, integrated trailer brake control, blind zone alert|
|Basic warranty:||3 years/36,000 miles|
|Assembled in:||Arlington, Texas|
|Specifications As Tested|
|Model tested (MSPR):||Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4WD ($46,755)|
|Standard equipment:||leather upholstery (vinyl third row); three-zone climate control; power front bucket seats; front center console; split-folding second-row bench seat; tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls; adjustable pedals; cruise control; intermittent wipers front/rear; power locks, mirrors and windows; remote keyless entry; heated outside mirrors; side assist steps; AM/FM/CD audio; XM satellite radio; Bluetooth; automatic headlights; theft-deterrent system; trailer hitch platform with seven-wire harness; six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service; fog lamps; P265/70R17 tires on alloy wheels; remote start|
|Options as tested (MSPR):||Sun, Entertainment & Destinations Package ($4,935) includes power sunroof, premium stereo with DVD player and DVD-based navigation, rear-seat entertainment system, additional 9 months of XM radio and NavTraffic service, interior auto-dimming rearview mirror, and rearview camera|
|Gas guzzler tax:||N/A|
|Price as tested (MSPR):||$52685|
|Engine:||5.3-liter ohv V8|
|Horsepower (lb.-ft @ rpm):||320 @ 5400|
|Torque (lb.-ft @ rpm):||335 @ 4000|
|EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:||15/21 mpg|
|Track, f/r:||68.2/67.0 in.|
|Turning circle:||39.0 ft.|
|Head/hip/leg room, f:||41.1/64.4/41.3 in.|
|Head/hip/leg room, m:||39.2/60.6/39.0 in.|
|Head/hip/leg room, r:||39.7/49.1/25.6 in.|
|Cargo volume:||108.9 cu. ft.|
|Towing capacity:||8200 Lbs.|
|Suspension, f:||independent, coil springs, anti-sway bar|
|Suspension, r:||five-link, coil springs, anti-sway bar|
|Ground clearance:||9.0 in.|
|Curb weigth:||5567 lbs.|
|Brakes, f/r:||vented disc/vented disc with ABS|
|Fuel capacity:||26.0 gal.|
|Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle. All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSPR) effective as of June 6, 2012.Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges. N/A: Information not available or not applicable. Manufacturer Info Sources: 800-222-1020 - www.chevrolet.com|
2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Review
Three rows of seating, cavernous cargo capacity, hitch-free V8 performance, capable ride and handling characteristics, and admirable attention to detail have the 2012 Chevy Tahoe lineup riding high again.The Bad
A less-than-comfortable, not to mention unwieldy, third-row seat, along with the lack of a telescoping steering wheel, tepid mileage figures with the conventional trims and a somewhat disappointing dashboard and control layout continue to haunt the big 2012 Tahoe SUV.
The CarGurus View
The 2012 incarnation of Chevy’s Tahoe remains fit for hauling lots of people, cargo and trailer tonnage. It won’t, except in its Hybrid edition, help the fuel budget much, but it will, especially in its 4-wheel-drive configurations, get to that favorite fishing spot or up a snowy mountain road. If a large crossover just won’t cut it, then by all means give this king-size ute a try.
At a Glance
Dedicated SUV-ers and those needing lots of passenger accommodations and cargo room ought to find the 2012 Tahoe to their liking. A dwindling demand for full-size, truck-like SUVs, however, keeps the folks at GM busy updating their 3 heaviest sport utes (Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon) to conform with modern demands for comfort, efficiency, utility, safety and performance. As a result, in a far cry from its burdensome beginnings, Chevy’s 7- to 9-passenger Tahoe, still in its third generation, boasts better fuel economy, a tolerably compliant ride, a less raucous cabin and even a few fairly athletic moves.
Anyhow, Chevy’s hefty ute comes in 4 trim levels, the base LS, midlevel LT, high-end LTZ and the frugal Hybrid, in addition to Fleet trims. All trims sport 108.9 cubic feet of total cargo area, 3 rows of seating (with an accompanying plethora of configurations) and either conventional or hybrid V8 powerplants that each offer better-than-adequate towing capacities. Then there’s the veritable cornucopia of features and add-ons. Traditionally, this big ute is delivered in a rear-wheel drive (RWD) configuration, but all trims remain available with on-demand four-wheel drive (4WD).
As seems traditional, a notable downside to the Tahoe’s ilk includes a frustratingly cramped and unwieldy third-row seat that must be removed to take real advantage of its sizeable cargo area. Also, according to a number of reviews, both professional and consumer, this king-size ute starts out pricy and with add-ons can get into astronomical figures. Finally, conventionally powered Tahoes, though better than before, aren’t exactly the most fuel-efficient vehicles out there. Many feel, therefore, that it may not be the most value-laden full-size ute on the market. On the plus side, according to most reviews, the Tahoe Hybrid offers clss-leading fuel efficiency.
Toyota’s imposing Sequoia represents the Tahoe’s most direct competition, but Ford’s well-wrought Expedition, as well as GM’s own GMC Yukon also line up against Chevy’s full-size ute. Those who expect to tote more passengers than payload, however, might be well-advised to look into a large crossover, like the Chevy Traverse or the Ford Flex, leaving the less fuel efficient and more agility-challenged Tahoe and its ilk to the classically demanding towing and hauling duties.
A full-sized sport ute like the 2012 Tahoe obviously demands some hefty power output, thus its standard E85 ethanol-capable (FFV) 5.3-liter V8 engine and 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This potent drivetrain throws down 320 hp at 5,400 rpm and 335 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, good enough for this beefy brute to tow some 5,500 pounds of trailer with the standard hitch or 8,500 pounds with the available heavy-duty towing package. Variable valve timing (VVT), along with cylinder de-activation at highway speeds, keeps estimated mileage at a tepid 15 mpg city/21 highway in both RWD and 4WD trim variations.
The available on-demand 4WD system, meanwhile, touts electronic hi-lo gear selection and auto-locking hubs, with owners offered a choice of a single-speed (no low-range gear) or a 2-speed transfer case in LS and LT trims. The LTZ, as befits its elevated status, is delivered only with the 2-speed version. In any case this likeable system sends power to all 4 wheels all the time, with the low-range gearing in the 2-speed transfer case allowing a sizable increase in torque when the going gets especially tough. Be advised, by the way, that neither system is designed for dedicated rock climbing.
The Tahoe Hybrid is delivered with a 6.0-liter VVT hybrid V8 engine and 2-mode electric powertrain system. All this is managed by a unique 4-speed automatic transmission that interfaces with the gasoline V8 and the pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors to adapt seamlessly from all-gas to part-gas/part-electric power, depending on conditions. Putting out a combined 379 hp, the hybrid powerplant uses the gasoline-burning V8 to crank out 332 hp at 5,100 rpm and 367 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm with the regenerative braking system throwing in a big assist in keeping the electric motors charged. When this miserly Hybrid is kept under 30 mph—in city traffic, for example—electric power alone can carry the load for short distances.
When properly equipped, the Tahoe Hybrid can tow up to 6,200 pounds with RWD and up to 5,900 pounds with 4WD. Meantime, gas mileage is an impressive 20/23 in both RWD and 4WD trims, while the Hybrid’s available 4WD system is offered only with the 2-speed transfer case.
Reviewers find the conventional V8 powerplant to be more than adequate in powering the Tahoe’s hefty bulk, with a RWD trim tested from 0-60 in 8.5 seconds, about average for the breed. The 6-speed shiftable automatic performs flawlessly at any speed, while this peppy drivetrain loses next to nothing, performance-wise, burning E85 ethanol fuel. All in all, reviewers note the conventional V8 to be a standard for performance and refinement.
The Hybrid trim, meantime, performs, according to reviews, much like its gas-powered siblings. Tests have a RWD Tahoe Hybrid scooting from 0-60 in 8.2 seconds, which isn’t bad at all for a battery-laden full-size sport ute. About the only difference between the fully gas-powered trims and their Hybrid kinfolk that’s worth reviewer comment is a slight surge that’s felt and heard when the Hybrid shifts from electric to gas operation.
Ride & Handling
Chevy’s king-sized ute, although sitting on a truck-based frame, still boasts a reasonably compliant ride, according to most reviews. With the standard 17-inch alloy wheels found standard on the LS and LT, reviewers note that bumps and dips are well damped, while the 18- and 20-inch wheels that are standard aboard the Hybrid and LTZ respectively remain a bit less forgiving. All 2012 Tahoe trims are equipped with an independent front suspension, bolstered by a short and long arm front setup, multi-link rear end and stabilizer bars fore and aft.
Alas, nearly all reviewers find that, without a hefty payload aboard or a sizeable trailer behind, drivers can expect a bit of float over peaks and valleys on the highway. Alas the LTZ, boasting the variable-shock-damping and load-leveling Autoride system as standard equipment, manages only marginal improvement in overall ride comfort, according to a number of reviews.
Steering is noted by a majority of reviews to be tolerably alert for such a ponderous vehicle, with little appreciable body lean in corners, while a relatively tight turning radius means that parking and maneuvering in traffic offer less of a challenge than might be expected. Virtually all reviewers agree, however, that the Tahoe, designed as it is for towing and hauling, offers little in the way of pure driving excitement.
Finally, brakes on this hefty SUV feel reasonably strong and true to most reviewers, with one test finding the Tahoe coming to a stop from 60 mph in 132 feet, noted as about the norm in these heavy haulers. A few reviews do, however, mention some issues with pedal modulation.
Cabin & Comfort
Though not quite so well-endowed as its Yukon or Escalade cousins, the 2012 Tahoe still offers more than the usual complement of creature comforts and conveniences. The base LS, for instance, comes with a roof rack, as well as a trailer hitch and wiring, step running boards and heated power-adjustable outside mirrors. Inside, expect premium cloth upholstery, standard front bucket seats with a 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, remote power door locks and power windows, as well as cruise control and tilt-wheel steering. Dual-zone air conditioning complements simulated alloy cabin accents and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, with OnStar voice directions and hands-free calling provided free for 6 months. Finally, entertainment is provided via a single-CD player with 6 speakers, separate rear audio, satellite radio and a USB port, with Bluetooth technology bolstering hands-free communications.
The LT and Hybrid trims add heated 6-way power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, rear parking sensors and tri-zone climate control, not to mention upgraded cabin trim accents and floor mats in front and rear. Additionally, these midlevel trims boast 9 Bose premium speakers, including a subwoofer.
In keeping with its princely status, the Tahoe LTZ boasts a rear power liftgate, heated steering wheel, premium leather upholstery, reclining second-row captain’s chairs, reverse-tilt mirrors, a universal remote garage door opener and a rear-view camera. Cabin trim is further upgraded with simulated wood and simulated alloy accents in this flagship trim, with an extra speaker added as well. Finally, the LTZ sports standard hard-drive-based navigation with dash-mounted display and real-time traffic.
Both the rear-view camera and the navigation suite are each standard aboard the Hybrid, which also sports a unique dashboard-mounted power-flow display.
The base LS offers the available Convenience Package and/or the Texas and All Star packages, which sport many items that come standard with higher trims. Additionally, the LS remains the single trim available with front bench seating for 9-passenger capacity. All non-Hybrid trims, meanwhile, are eligible for an available heavy-duty trailer-towing package, as well as remote engine start that can be part of a package or added as a standalone option. The Z71 Off-Road package, with specially tuned shocks and springs, all-terrain tires, skid plates and unique front and rear fascias can be delivered in the LT and LTZ packages, as can upsized and upgraded wheels. Finally, the Sun, Entertainment and Destination package is available to the LT, Hybrid and LTZ trims, and boasts a power sunroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment, both of which are additionally available as standalone options.
Reviewers are impressed with the Tahoe’s cabin room and overall ambiance, as well as many (but not all) comfort and convenience features found aboard. Generous head- and legroom in the first and second rows is, unfortunately, somewhat compromised by the cramped third-row bench seat. The 108 cubic feet of cargo room is generous, but cannot be fully utilized unless the third-row seats, which don’t fold quite flat, are removed, a frustrating and muscle-straining endeavor. Additionally, this big ute’s ride height can, according to many reviewers, result in awkward entry and exit, despite standard step running boards. Finally, the rear-view camera that’s standard in the Hybrid and LTZ is found by a majority of reviewers to be a useful item, but a distorted display renders it less than practical.
Of course, its hearty size keeps the 2012 Tahoe out of harm’s way in the majority of driving conditions, but this family-oriented sport ute nonetheless carries standard 4-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, as well as traction and stability control. Dual front side-mounted airbags, meantime, are complemented by 3-row head curtain airbags, while daytime running lights and dusk-sensing headlights are standard across the lineup. All trims additionally boast a standard post-collision safety system, remote antitheft alarm and OnStar emergency services, including emergency communications and stolen vehicle tracking. Additionally, the LT and higher trims toss in standard front-fog/driving lights, with the Hybrid and the flagship LTZ sporting standard turn-signal-integrated mirrors. Finally, the LTZ is delivered with a standard blind-spot warning system.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Tahoe lineup its second-best 4 stars for overall safety. A third-best 3 stars for rollover protection is offset by the Administration’s best 5-star rating for front and side impact worthiness.
Curiously, Chevy’s full-size sport ute remains untested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for 2012.
What Owners Think
The major complaint folks have with the 2012 Chevy Tahoe is that pesky third-row seat. Owners gripe that it doesn’t fold flat enough to take full advantage of the cavernous cargo area, it can be a major pain to remove and to reinstall, and it remains far too cramped for the comfort of average-size adults. Additionally, some rattles and a less than silky ride, especially on the larger tires, leave a number of owners a bit disappointed, as does the plethora of hard plastic cabin surfaces. Finally, as far as driving comfort is concerned, more owners would rather the presently unavailable telescoping steering wheel than the power-adjustable pedals that come standard with the Hybrid and LTZ trims.
On the plus side, owners willing to pay the hefty MSRP for the Tahoe Hybrid enjoy its midsize-sedan-like gas mileage, while virtually all owners are impressed by this big ute’s styling, cabin room and cornucopia of creature comforts, whether in conventional or Hybrid form. Ride comfort is a pleasant surprise for a number of owners, while adequate handling characteristics, 4WD utility and the conventional Tahoe’s hefty towing capabilities round out the more notable advantages that owners appreciate in this well-wrought SUV.
Reviews tahoe 2012 chevrolet
Clean Retail Price
The MT clean retail price reflects a reasonable asking price by a dealership for a fully reconditioned vehicle (clean title history, no defects, minimal wear) with average mileage.
|5-Year Cost to Own / Rating|
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|$42,815||Coming Soon||Coming Soon / N.A.|
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|$51,970||Coming Soon||Coming Soon / N.A.|
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|$56,075||Coming Soon||Coming Soon / N.A.|
Chevrolet Tahoe Expert Review
The Tahoe is the mighty Suburban's slightly shorter brother. It's an evolution of the full-size two-door Blazer. The four-door Tahoe gained popularity during the 1990s SUV craze as a slightly cheaper and smaller alternative to the Suburban. It commanded more money than most other Chevys excluding the Corvette. Properly-configured, it can carry up to nine passengers in three rows , but cargo capacity is much less than the Suburban. Cargo room increases significantly when the third row seats are removed.
The 5.3-liter V-8 is the sole engine option, and is exclusively fitted to a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive models have an iron block with aluminum heads and four-wheel-drive models come with an all-aluminum version which is optional on rear-wheel-drive models. A new Tahoe is expected around the 2014 model year.
Engines: 5.3L V-8, 6.0L V-8 with hybrid electric motor
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Models: LS, LT, LTZ, Hybrid
Not many changes to the 2012 Tahoe. It gains an 80 gigabyte hard drive for its optional touch-screen navigation system. Thirty of those gigs can be used to record or time-shift content from the radio. StabiliTrak electronic stability control now includes trailer sway control and hill-start assist. Last year the 1LS gained two headphone jacks, Bluetooth, floor console with storage area, wood grain interior trim, luggage rack center rails, body color door handles and mirror caps, and premium cloth front bucket seats are standard. The 1LTZ 4WD added standard chrome recovery hooks and two-speed transfer case. An integrated brake controller also came packaged with the optional trailer towing package last year.
The Tahoe is a large SUV -dwarfed only by its Suburban stable mate, Cadillac Escalade ESV, GMC Yukon XL/Denali, and Ford Expedition EL. It rides on a 116-inch wheelbase and is 202 inches long overall, giving it a 14-inch shorter wheelbase and 22 inch shorter overall length than its Suburban sibling. The LTZ model can be had with 20-inch chrome wheels. There are no changes to the body for 2012. Last year it gained three new paint colors: Mocha Steel Metallic, Steel Green Metallic and Ice Blue Metallic.
The Tahoe offers plenty of space for passengers but its shorter length reduces its cargo capacity compared to the 20-inch longer Suburban. With the third-row removed the Tahoe has plenty of room for five passengers and their gear. An 80 gigabyte hard drive for its optional touch-screen navigation system is new for 2012. The 1LS trim level comes with rear audio controls and two rear headphone jacks, Bluetooth, wood grain appearance trim and premium-cloth seats. Front seats are bucket, but a 40/20/40 split-bench seat is optional on 1LS. Gauges feature LED backlighting withchrome accents that can also be found on the vents. A power-release fold-and-tumble second row seat, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, first- and second-row heated seats, and ultrasonic rear parking assist with rearview camera are available. A rear seat DVD entertainment system with eight-inch screen is optional.
The Tahoe offers a refined ride quality and decent handling for suck a large body-on-frame SUV. It also has good steering feel and feedback. Tahoes can be had with either and iron-block or all-aluminum 5.3-liter V-8. Both engines are rated 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The 5.3-liter returns the same fuel economy fitted with either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Tahoe's lighter weight and shorter size makes it more fuel efficient and more maneuverable than the larger Tahoe.
The Tahoe comes with StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation standard to help reduce the risk of a rollover. In the event of a rollover the roof-mounted head curtain airbags stay inflated longer to protect occupants until the vehicle comes to a stop. It also comes with driver and front passenger airbags. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and safety belt pretensioners with rear-impact deploy capability are standard. An Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist and backup camera are optional and help reduce smacking into things while backing up. Blind spot alert is also available.
LS, LT, LTZ: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
Hybrid: 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Interior space
- Torquey V-8
- Good hybrid efficiency
- E85 fuel flexibility
- Cargo space with third row up
- No flush folding third row
- Fuel economy (except hybrid)
- Showing its age
- It's still big
A more efficient and maneuverable Suburban.
- Ford Expedition
- Toyota Sequoia
- GMC Yukon
- Nissan Armada
Yul is all in the kitchen. Go get dressed. I will come now. - I said and started to climb.
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