MO­TOR­ING

The ver­dict is clear. Chevy’s Ta­hoe looks likely to con­tinue its dom­i­na­tion of the full-size SUV seg­ment, says wheels’ Im­ran Ma­lik

Friday - - Contents -

Chevy’s Ta­hoe is big, brawny – and here to rule the full-size SUV mar­ket.

The Ta­hoe has been ever so pop­u­lar since it was in­tro­duced in the mid-Nineties with those want­ing a full-size SUV – but one that was also more man­age­able in ev­ery­day driv­ing sit­u­a­tions than the larger Subur­ban.

Sit­ting above the three-row Tra­verse in the lineup, it hits the sweet spot what with its abil­ity to ac­com­mo­date seven adults and, when in LTZ guise, of­fers ex­cep­tional lev­els of com­fort and tech­nol­ogy. This 2017 model re­tains that win­ning for­mula and along with two new pre­mium metal­lic ex­te­rior colours it throws in front ac­tive aero shut­ters de­signed to im­prove aero­dy­nam­ics, and some ex­tra safety fea­tures (it also has a scarcely be­liev­able num­ber of USB ports) which all go a long way in mak­ing for a bril­liant fam­ily hauler. This doesn’t just ferry the fam­ily around in pure bliss and am­ple wig­gle room – well, in at least two out of the three rows (those at the very back have 600mm of legroom while sec­ond row oc­cu­pants have 930mm – but kids will love it there). it’s also backed by a brawny and rich-sound­ing 5.3-litre V8 which spells good news for grown-ups when they find them­selves alone with this hand­some Chevro­let. Nail­ing the throt­tle will sure in­duce a large grin.

The Ta­hoe, named af­ter the rugged and scenic area sur­round­ing Lake Ta­hoe in the western US, is de­serv­ing of the moniker; the bold ex­te­rior of this all-rounder – which you won’t con­fuse for any­thing else but a Chevy thanks to a golden bowtie on the grille that’s al­most as big as the num­ber plate – com­bines at­trac­tive and rugged fea­tures, just like the lake, very nicely. It’s still based on the Sil­ver­ado but now looks more sim­i­lar to the pick-up than ever (check out the front end of both)

and fea­tures sharp-edged styling, sculpted flanks, and LED-ac­cented head­lights that blend into the chrome grille. This cur­rent gen­er­a­tion model was redesigned in 2015 and in spite of the up­right and boxy body, it still looks fresh and mod­ern to­day. It stands tall and has a com­mand­ing aura about it; our LTZ tester got lots of ad­di­tional bright­work on the body, which added to its strik­ing looks, as did the 20in chrome al­loys. Some of the fea­tures in this top spec in­clude an up­graded sus­pen­sion, ven­ti­lated front seats, power-fold­ing sec­ond row seats, nav­i­ga­tion and a Bose sound sys­tem with ten speak­ers. It also packs a rather un­nec­es­sary piece of tech for our re­gion – a heated steer­ing wheel, which you’ll never use, of course – while, op­tion­ally, you can spec a blind spot warn­ing sys­tem, which does come in handy. With the im­mense ride height of the Ta­hoe, you some­times strug­gle to tell if there’s an­other ve­hi­cle on your left or right but with this sys­tem alert­ing you of any ob­jects in close prox­im­ity you should, hope­fully, avoid any fender ben­ders.

Also new for 2017 are some tech­nol­ogy ad­vances that give this SUV an added layer of safety and pas­sen­ger com­fort. The En­hanced Driver Alert pack­age (avail­able on the LS, and stan­dard on the LT and LTZ) now in­cludes Low Speed For­ward Au­to­matic brak­ing, and com­ple­ments the ex­ist­ing suite of col­li­sion avoid­ance fea­tures and se­cu­rity func­tions, such as Lane Keep as­sist, For­ward Col­li­sion Alert and Safety Alert Seat, while the afore­men­tioned ac­tive aero shut­ters don’t just as­sist aero­dy­nam­ics, they also help cool the pow­er­train by open­ing au­to­mat­i­cally when need be. And speak­ing of pow­er­trains, the 5.3-litre pro­duces a healthy 355 horse­power and 519Nm of torque – and it sounds fab un­der full throt­tle too. With di­rect in­jec­tion, cylin­der de­ac­ti­va­tion, con­tin­u­ously vari­able valve tim­ing and an ad­vanced com­bus­tion sys­tem, it of­fers a claimed 10.2 litres per 100km on the high­way – that’s al­most 10 per cent more ef­fi­cient than the pre­vi­ous model. The big V8 is mated to a six-speed au­to­matic (with TapShift con­trol, Tow/Haul mode and Auto Grade Brak­ing) and on the move the Ta­hoe de­liv­ers a quiet and con­trolled ride but you have to push down rather hard on the brakes to bring it to a halt. With an up­dated coil-over-shock in­de­pen­dent front sus­pen­sion and five-link coil-spring sus­pen­sion de­sign at the back the ride is good but it rolls, as you’d ex­pect a ve­hi­cle of this size, in the corners in spite of the Mag­netic Ride Con­trol. It

The TA­HOE, named af­ter a rugged and scenic area sur­round­ing Lake Ta­hoe in the US, is DE­SERV­ING of the moniker; the bold ex­te­rior com­bines at­trac­tive and rugged fea­tures, just like the lake, very nicely.

also strug­gles to hide its truck-based un­der­pin­nings when pre­sented with rougher roads with the chas­sis shud­der­ing a tad.

In spite of that, this is a ter­rific ve­hi­cle that the en­tire fam­ily will no doubt en­joy – and that isn’t just be­cause with 8 USB ports every­one’s mo­bile phones can be hooked up or charged. No, with a com­fort­able and loaded cabin, good looks and ro­bust per­for­mance to boot, it isn’t a won­der that the Ta­hoe is one of the favourite full-size SUVs on the mar­ket to­day. If you are shop­ping for a large SUV and need it to be a jack of all trades, you could do a lot worse than this Chevy.

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Big and brawny, Chevy’s Ta­hoe packs a punch in the per­for­mance as well as the style de­part­ment

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