"...Come Mister Tallyman,
TALLY ME BANANA...
Daylight come and me wanna Tahoe..."
INTRO: Is this bizarro-world where all is backwards?
The 2015 Tahoe is vastly improved over the outgoing trucks in every single meaningful way. These four videos shot near Lake Lanier, Georgia last week are a testament to how smitten I was with the new Tahoe's handling, chassis rigidity and quietness, interior overhaul and even the exterior style upgrade.
But as we will outline below, there is some curious switching in the big SUV game. The Chevy's interior is vastly superior to the Lexus GX460, but the Lexus costs *much, much* less.
This video embed is set up as a playlist - so should continue through all four videos for a total of about 15-minutes.
In terms of major achievements for the new Tahoe, let's break things down into four major categories:
The Tahoe is as cool as it ever was outside. Even with relatively tame styling updates, the new Tahoe does in fact look pretty new and fresh on the road. The blocky figure of all Tahoes past is still a major factor in the truck's style, but it also looks lower and wider than ever before. This is no small thing: the truck always seemed pretty wide!
But elegance now graces some of the surfaces where utility was king before, including some tasteful hood sculpting, the new nose design and its LED slash under the projector low-beams, and a careful approach to the new LED brake lights out back.
For someone new to the planet, the new Tahoe might not actually look that fresh due to its shared proportions and key styling elements, like the pillar layout and the rear-drive stance.
But for the rest of us -- eerily familiar with the Tahoe's nose, tail and profile after years on the roads, this truck really is visibly new and much more contemporary.
This is the single biggest improvement area, without a doubt.
The cabin keeps the old Tahoe's relaxed driving area and huge central armrest, but supplements it with a new and far better power-adjustable steering column. This one now telescopes out toward you as well as hums up and down in its axis to find a comfy position.
Your hands are always near the wheel now, whereas the previous flump-down manual tilt control often left drivers awkwardly huddled over the wheel in order to reach the pedals.
The front of the Tahoe now has four extra inches of legroom - which is a huge gain. It cements the Tahoe and its siblings as one of the most accommodating vehicles for those people taller than about 6'3". Or wider.
The new seats are much, much improved, but still feel a bit short in the lateral support and squab length tallies. But they are generally much better overall for long-distance comfort, and the short seat base is far less pronounced than before. It is also better than many other cars tested back-to-back, including the bar-stool perch of the Dodge Journey Crossroads.
Infotainment and refinement are the next big improvement sectors - with both so much better than it is hard to even compare this new truck with its predecessors.
Smooth moves are still easy and simple in the Tahoe, which has a pretty quick and fun steering rack versus the very-slow helm of the Lexus GX460 we tested right afterward.
Infotainment via the touchscreen MyLink and knob-based climate also feels 20 years beyond the Lexus, which felt just like most Lexus models from the 1990s with its silver-sheen buttons. Except now, there are not enough buttons in the Lexus, with many basic controls like fan speed buried in the washed-out touchscreen menu.
The Tahoe is far better on this tally, with low and shrouded controls all falling to hand and very intuitive to operate.
In back, a real revolution in easy of use via the power-fold third row that hums up and down easily at the push of a button. The second rows also power-tumble to make way for a middle cargo area or to make it much easier to enter the third row seat.
The rear windows also finally roll all the way down into the doors, which is a nice surprise versus the gun-slit offered by older Tahoes to back-seat passengers.
This video demo's the folding seat operation.
POWERTRAIN AND DRIVING IMPRESSIONS
The Tahoe comes standard with the latest 5.3-liter V8 and six-speed automatic, which are worlds better than this truck has ever enjoyed before. Keep the good: like the engine note plus a modest exhaust burble in back, but ditch the rough shifts and sluggishness on anything but full throttle.
The Tahoe's steering is also remarkably pure and true, offering little resistance or effort when chucking the big truck around -- while also being pretty rewarding with feel. A good combination that did not seem much gritter in 4-High or 4-Auto than it was in 2WD mode.
Big improvements all around, mostly to road comfort and noise isolation. A bit of pitter-patter over bumps was pretty noticeable with an empty rear compartment and just me on board, however.
So, what is the Tahoe's biggest demerit? That is easy: the price.
This LTZ 4WD model carries a $68,000 as-tested price, which dropped my jaw. Especially versus the Lexus GX460 and its tested price of $55,000.
Very expensive, the new Tahoe is. And this truck only had a few limited options like the Blu-ray player in back, the trailer pack, and climate-controlled seats in front. This took the base price from $62,000 up to $68,000.
SUMMARY SCORES and OBSERVATIONS
A $68,000 price for a lavish seven-seater is fine, but the options list is much longer than that! I would prefer the 22-inch optional wheels for an extra $3,000, plus some kind of suspension upgrade if available. (Stay tuned for configurator buyers guide coming soon.)
At these prices, it might make more sense to sign up for the fancier service experience of a GMC or Cadillac dealer.
FINAL SUMMARY: 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Scores a 92% (A- Grade)
Looks fresh now, but might not seem very 'new' in a year or so
Quality, easy-of-use and refinement to go the long haul
Love the switchable 4WD that will actually be useful versus almost all FWD-based crossovers and their under-30MPH AWD setups. V8 torque and engine note always nice.
Yes, it is vastly superior to many trucks out there. But this pricing also eclipses the BMW X5 and heads firmly into Audi Q7 territory, where conditions and buyer demands are much rougher on the work-a-day Chevy versus the Denali and Escalade. Then again, saying Tahoe and Q7 or X5 and Cayenne in the same sentence, without a smirk, is 100-percent new.
'Come Mister Tallyman,
TALLY ME BANANA...
Daylight come and me wanna Tahoe!'
EXTERIOR GALLERY ONE