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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe Overview

Tough Enough

Chevrolet must be doing something right with the Tahoe. Last year, it was the best-selling full-sized SUV in the country, beating out all other competition both foreign and domestic.

If you are not familiar with the Tahoe, the simplest description we can offer is that it's a shortened version of the legendary Chevrolet Suburban. Though it has all the creature comforts, power and even seating capacity of its big brother, the Tahoe loses about 22-inches of its rear quarters, which means that while it can seat up to 9 people it does not have the extra cargo capacity afforded by the Suburban. That's not to say that the Tahoe can't hold cargo, it's just that to match the Suburban, you will have to remove the third-row seat.

There are two trim levels within the Tahoe line: the LS and LT. The LS comes standard with a 4.8-liter V8 engine that makes 275 horsepower and 290 lbs.-ft. of torque. If that's not enough to move you, there is the optional 5.3-liter V8 that makes just ten more horsepower but has 325 lbs.-ft. of torque; abundant torque is what you need if towing a heavy load is part of your normal routine. The larger V8 is standard on the LT model and both LS and LT can be ordered with either 2- or 4- wheel drive. When equipped with the larger V8, the 2WD Tahoe is tow rated at 7700 lbs.; the 4WD is rated at 8100 lbs. Both V8 engines have excellent power-to-weight ratios and provide the Tahoe with plenty of muscle to get up and go; they also achieve a pretty respectable fuel rating. On the open highway, our 4WD LT returned an average of 18 miles per gallon.

Thanks to improvements made last year, the Tahoe enjoys a much more tactile relationship with the road. Both steering response and the feel of the brake pedal have been greatly improved compared to that of the prior generation. New this year is the electrically-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals that can be moved up to three inches in either a forward or rearward direction. These re-engineered systems bolster the driver's feeling of being connected to the road, which in turn engenders an added feeling of confidence and security. Tahoes equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 have the option of GM's StabiliTrak system that greatly aids the driver in keeping control of the vehicle during almost all emergency situations.

The Tahoe's suspension, engine and braking improvements—along with the new stability and traction control options—deliver to the driver a feeling of complete control. The Tahoe now feels very composed on the road; it's easier to navigate and handles particularly well for its size-even when executing quick lane changes. You'll also appreciate the excellent visibility afforded by the Tahoe's large glass area.

The Tahoe's substantial size translates into substantial space for passengers and cargo. With seating for up to 9 people, the Tahoe can certainly carry its fair share of passengers. Remove the third-row seat and the Tahoe can still carry 6 people, while providing up to 63.6 cubic feet of cargo room for their luggage. New this year is a set of optional second-row captain's chairs; the captain's chairs can also be removed should you need your Tahoe to pull double duty as a pickup truck. With all of its seats removed, the Tahoe touts an impressive 104.6 cubic feet of cargo volume.

Chevy has reworked the Tahoe's interior so that it offers more ways to please those who don't get the privilege of driving. For the rear seat passengers, there is new infotainment system option that includes a DVD player with a flip-down video screen and remote headsets. Other options include a Bose audio system, XM satellite radio and an upgraded version of the OnStar system. In the area of creature comforts, you can opt for a tri-zone air conditioning system that allows the driver, passenger and rear seat passengers to choose their own temperature settings. On the safety front, you can now order optional dual front side-impact airbags.

A standard Tahoe LS 2WD with no additional equipment starts at $34,261 while a fully-loaded Tahoe LT can easily exceed the $45K mark. To be fair, even the base model comes very well equipped and includes power windows and door locks, front and rear manual air conditioning, six-way power driver and passenger seat, automatic day/night mirror, AM/FM stereo with CD, fog lights, 16-inch wheels and enough cup holders to start your own coffee house.

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