There was a time in American history when the Chevrolet Tahoe made at least a little bit of sense, a time when gas was cheap and everybody was employed and the nation was free of debt. The Tahoe arrived during the go-go Clinton years, essentially a Suburban with a couple of feet of wheelbase chopped out of it, and it was an instant hit as SUV-crazed consumers bought every single one General Motors could build.
Fast-forward nearly 20 years, and Chevrolet still moves about 65,000 Tahoes, double the number of any competitor. That’s not bad for a space-constrained SUV that consumes copious amounts of fuel and is priced at more than $40,000 before adding a single option (our LTZ test vehicle ran more than $57,000). Still, sales are off by about 15% this year, partially a function of high gas prices but also, almost certainly, because the current version of the Tahoe is entering its twilight years.
Given that this Chevy is the most popular full-size SUV, and that I hadn’t reviewed one in, like, forever, it was time to revisit the Tahoe. So I borrowed this LTZ model, painted Crystal Red Tintcoat and equipped with 2-wheel drive, and proceeded to scratch my head for a week trying to figure out why anyone might purchase this if they didn’t have an 8,500-lb. trailer to tow or 1,633 lbs. of people and junk to haul around. And even if they did, I wondered why they simply wouldn’t get the bigger and better Suburban.