2015 Chevy Tahoe – the 1000 Mile, 25 MPG Test Drive

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A few weeks ago, the wife and I decided to pack up the family and drive across three states to visit the Ohio part of the framily. It would be a little over 500 miles each way, so what we need was something big. Roomy. Something with good mileage, too, since we buy our own gas after the cars get dropped off. A real “family truckster” sort of vehicle.

“I have just the thing,” said the man from GM. “I can have a new Tahoe to you by Friday.”

I was a bit surprised by the suggestion, and said so. “It’ll surprise you, I think,” was what the man said. So, fine- I figured I’d put GM’s claimed fuel-economy figures to the test, see how that whole “V4/V8” switch worked in practice (with the dreadful Cadillac V4-6-8 still looming large in my childhood memories), and see how the whole, big, flex-fuel mess drove with a few gallons of Ohio-grown corn juice filling its belly.

So, here it is: the official 1000 mile test drive of the all-new 2015 Chevy Tahoe. Enjoy!

 

2015 Chevy Tahoe | Fuel Economy


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This is what you want, so I’m going to get right to it: I averaged just under 24 MPG during the week that I had the Tahoe- and it blew me away. Over the course of the week, the Tahoe averaged just under 24 MPG according to the trip computer. And, across two tanks of gas, I didn’t see any reason to doubt the SUVs’ own figures.

That said, you should also know that the trip computer in the new 2014 Chevy Tahoe can be set to read fuel economy averages for 50-mile increments.

On our way across I-80, we found the 2014 Chevy Tahoe’s “V4 sweet spot” (shown, as photographed by my wife in the passenger seat). At a touch over 65 MPH, the big Tahoe is still in V4 mode, humming along, and easily clearing 25 MPG. 25.7 was the best we saw over 50 miles, but we got two more readings over 25 MPG (25.3 and 25.5) in the big Tahoe. We would have seen more, too, if we hadn’t had a barely 2-month old baby in the back demanding frequent stops for diaper-changing, nursing, and/or general fussiness.

On E85, the non-optimized, non-turbocharged V8 in the 2014 Chevy Tahoe suffered a bit, but still gave back 22.4 MPG during one 50 mile stint, which really upset the wife.

“That’s what my Hyundai gets on this trip!” she said.

It was true. The last time we made the Chicago, IL-Oberlin, OH drive in her 2011 Hyundai Tucson Limited (which she bought before I met her), her trip computer reported precisely 22.4 MPG on 87 octane Shell gasoline. “What’s the point of even having that thing if you can have something baller that gets better mileage?”

It’s true, kids: Doctor Maggie says “baller”. Also “hella”, though not as often. Despite that, however, she had a point. The Tahoe had a lot more “presence” than her Tucson. The new Chevy Tahoe is nicer, faster, quieter, roomier, and burns less gas. Still, it’s not perfect.

 

2015 Chevy Tahoe | Inside (Bad Stuff)


Our 2015 Chevy Tahoe LTZ tester presented one of the greatest visual illusions in human history. It’s not David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear (he said, dating himself terribly), but it’s at least as good as David Blaine’s levitation trick. That’s because, despite being massive on the outside, the Tahoe doesn’t actually have a ton of room on the inside.

Upon opening the hatch of the new Chevy Tahoe, you’re greeted with a small parcel shelf just behind the 3rd row bench. It’s small- tiny, even, and even the smallest of Chicco’s KeyFit 30 strollers (shown) won’t fit with the hatch down, forcing you to put down the rear seats (shown), relegating you to a “mere” 5 passengers before you’ve even put any luggage in the thing.

Even without luggage, though, the rear seat in the 2015 Chevy Tahoe is almost totally useless. Adults can’t possibly be comfortable sitting on a pad literally inches off the floor, and several of our friends (including Neil Switzer, who is clearly an escaped zoo gorilla one of the largest human beings I know) put that – comically! – to the test. As such the Tahoe LTZ should be considered a very spacious, very capable 4-seater, then, and I’d strongly recommend getting one of the “lesser” trim levels of Tahoe (which come with a 3-passenger bench in the middle row) if you plan on moving people around.

 

2015 Chevy Tahoe | Inside (Good Stuff)


The latest version of GM’s OnStar is the gold standard of infotainment systems, as far as I’m concerned. The voice recognition worked great, regardless of who was talking. The Pandora app worked great, and allowed me to upvote and downvote songs from the screen (you’d be surprised how many other systems won’t let you do that). Awesome.

Like those in the Buick Regal I tested earlier this year, the new Chevy Tahoe LTZ’s seats were supportive and fit me perfectly. Mile after mile, all over Ohio and Illinois, I was comfy and happy. Also awesome was the air-conditioning system built into the seats, which were a terrific response to the old “For that price, the car had better ____ __!” refrain (which I heard, twice, while showing off my tester’s $61,000 as-tested sticker).

Even the wood and contrast-color stitching on the leather looked great. No complaints.

 

2015 Chevy Tahoe | Final Thoughts


How do you complain about a full-size, V8-powered flex-fuel SUV that makes 355 HP (over 110 HP more than the hottest 5.0 pushrod V8 Mustangs did a generation ago), 380+ lb-ft of torque (some 40 more lb-ft than Ferrari’s F340 supercar), and still manages to haul you, your family, and a cubic meter of baby crap across 3 states at more than 25 MPG? You don’t, is the answer.

Sure, there are cheaper SUVs out there. There are more expensive ones, too, however- and none of the cheaper ones give you the same capabilities as the new Chevy Tahoe. If price is your issue, however, skip the LTZ and opt for the $15,000 cheaper, still nicely-appointed LS model.

As for the wife, a week in the Tahoe managed to convince her of something I couldn’t: the Hyundai was a huge mistake. More on that another time, though. This is Chevy’s moment, and it’s time for the Chevy Truck guys to pat themselves on the back for their big SUV’s terrific, 25.7 MPG performance. Nice job, guys. Really, very well done.

 

 

Original content from Gas 2.

 

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.