History of the Tahoe Z71
Where the 2022 Tahoe Z71 began. While the Tahoe name didn’t appear until the mid-90’s, it traces its roots back to the longest running vehicle name in automotive history, the Suburban. Technically the Tahoe evolved from the K5 blazer (itself being a 2 door version of the Suburban) and was originally available in both 2-door and 4-door variants. Today it is approaching 30 years of continuous production and is more refined than ever.
One thing the Americans do much better in full-size body on frame SUVs is interior layout. When compared to the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia the 2022 Tahoe Z71 has a more usable and occupant friendly cabin.
Up front, the seats are very roomy and comfortable. The layout of the buttons and dials for the audio and climate control are easy to see and easy to use. Having buttons and levers for the transmission is a little out of the normal, but very simple.
The middle row captains chairs are also very comfortable and spacious. There is more than enough leg room, even for those taller passengers. Adding to the comfort is a 3rd climate zone for the middle and rear seats and seat heaters in the second row.
Moving to the third row there is still a decent amount of space. With the seats properly set, 6-foot tall adults can fit comfortably in all three rows at the same time. Sitting three wide in the rear seat will be a little tight though.
For charging devices in the Tahoe Z71 there are 2 USB ports, a 12 volt outlet, and a wireless charging pad up front. In the middle row There are two more USB-C ports and a 120-volt outlet for the middle row and 2 additional USB-C ports in the third row. In the cargo area there is a single 120-volt outlet.
2022 Tahoe Z71 Exterior
The Z71 has some unique features that set it apart from the rest of the lineup. Z71 trims include blacked out features, like the grill, badges, roof rails, mirror accents, and wheels. Up front are a set of red tow hooks. Between those two tow hooks is a faux skid plate (this one is plastic), with the real skid plates starting just below that.
20-inch painted aluminum wheels are wrapped in 33-inch tall 275/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler Trailrunner AT tires. These tires are about right for the Tahoe Z71, they are aggressive enough for unpaved routes while not being so aggressive they make lots of road noise and flex too much while cornering.
Three exterior items that don’t make much sense for an off-road package are the standard running boards, 20” wheels, and the faux skid plate up front.
Chevy designed the Tahoe to have as few compromises as possible. It has great on-road characteristics while remaining capable off-pavement. It also has good towing capacity to get a camping trailer way out on BLM land or to put the boat in the water without getting stuck on the launch ramp.
On the road
GM’s use of the Magneride shocks makes the Tahoe Z71 perform admirably on road. There is a minimal amount of body lean in the corners for a vehicle this size. Along with that there is very little brake drive. Whether hitting a pothole while driving around town or cruising at high speeds on the freeway, the Tahoe Z71 is very smooth and controlled.
The shocks are filled with a magnetic fluid. When no magnetic force is applied the fluid has very low viscosity. However, it can become very viscous when a high magnetic force is applied. GM can effectively control the damping rate by infinitely varying the amount of magnetic charge placed on the shocks.
Parking and driving the Tahoe in tight spaces is easy with the surround view camera system. Yes the vehicle is a little large and might be a tight fit in many parking stalls. It feels smaller than it is, which does help a little.
Steering feel is ok, but it’s not a sports car. While it does remain flat in the corners for its size, there are SUVs like the Mercedes GLS and Durango SRT or SRT Hellcat that handle better. The big difference is that the Tahoe remains smooth, while the others mentioned are very stiff and even harsh in many cases.
There are a few surprisingly off-road capable vehicles in the full size SUV segment. The Tahoe Z71 is one of those vehicles. The air suspension gives it a nice ground clearance advantage when needed and the magnetic shocks do an excellent job of keeping everything under control.
For high speed dirt driving the Tahoe Z71 is at least on par with the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro. It is very smooth over large bumps and dips and never really topped or bottomed out hard.
For more technical terrain the E-LSD in the rear does really well, except in 4WD low. We aren’t sure why it isn’t as aggressive in 4WD low as it is even in 2WD, but it had us missing the G80. In 2WD the E-LSD essentially locks the rear differential and does so very quickly. In 4WD low a lot of wheel spin is needed before it more fully engages. While not as good as the selectable e-locker equipped Ford Expedition, the Tahoe Z71 was still able to climb the hard line on our steep hill test with ease.
The 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Z71 starts at $60,300. Our tester was equipped with the Z71 Off-Road Package, which includes the Luxury Package, Driver Alert Package, and Off-Road capability Package for $5,985. It also had the Off-Road Performance Package that includes the 6.2-liter V8 for $2,615. Along with those options were a few other convenience and entertainment items. There were two $50 credits, one for the lack of a start/stop system, and the other for the lack of a steering column lock. Both of which can be retrofitted by a dealer for free, when they can get the parts.
The total of all the options was $11,215, adding in the destination charge and a Z71 Off-Road package discount brought the total to $72,710.
The 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 is a full size SUV that makes no compromises. Well except for fuel economy. It has plenty of room inside, an adequate towing capacity of 8,100 pounds, good power and torque, smooth ride on road, very little lean in the corners and minimal brake dive, good off-road ride and capability, and a price that lines up with the rest of the class. When shopping for a full size SUV be sure to take a look at the Tahoe Z71!
Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.
Matt lives in the Utah mountains and often posts cool off-roading videos to his Instagram and YouTube channel.