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Redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Aims to Stay Ahead of the Pack

By: Jeff Youngs, 9/13/2013
General Motors dominates the full-size SUV market, commanding 74% of all sales in the segment, and the Chevy Tahoe is the best-selling individual model among large sport utility vehicles. Now, for the 2015 model year, the Tahoe is completely redesigned, and Chevrolet has taken numerous steps to help ensure that it remains at the top of the sales chart.

Starting with the exterior, the new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe features exclusive body panels, sharing none with Chevy's new full-size Silverado 1500 pickup truck. It does, however, have the same inlaid door design approach as the Silverado in order to improve aerodynamics and to help quiet the SUV's cabin.

An aluminum hood and tailgate contribute to the Tahoe's approximate 120-pound weight loss for 2015. Projector-beam headlights are standard for the new Tahoe, and the top LTZ trim level includes HID headlights with LED running lights. A set of 18-inch aluminum wheels comes standard, with 20- and 22-inch designs available.

Inside, Chevrolet says the new 2015 Tahoe boasts "premium materials and enhanced ergonomics." A bench-style front seat is standard, giving the SUV 9-passenger capacity. Bucket-style front seats divided by a center console sized and shaped to hold a laptop or tablet computer are available, and they come with a new front-center air bag that is designed to protect the driver and front passenger from opposite-side impact forces in a crash. A new conversation mirror provides the driver with a view of all occupants, which is helpful for mediating sibling rivalries.

The 2015 Chevy Tahoe's second-row seat offers more leg room and easier entry and exit, according to Chevrolet. Current Tahoe owners will be pleased to learn that the SUV's third-row seat no longer needs to be removed from the vehicle to achieve a flat load floor and maximum cargo capacity. In the new Tahoe, both the second- and third-row seats fold flat. As an option, Tahoe buyers can specify power-folding seats.

This convenience, especially because the Tahoe retains a solid rear axle suspension, comes at a cost to cargo space. The old Tahoe offers 16.9 cu. ft. of volume behind the third-row seat, while the new one provides 15.3 cu. ft.. Remove the third-row seats from the old Tahoe, and there is 60.3 cu. ft. of space for carrying cargo. The new one gives owners 51.7 cu. ft. with the third-row seats folded down. Maximum cargo space is 94.7 cu. ft. in the new 2015 Tahoe, while the old 2014 Tahoe provides 108.9 cu. ft. That loss of maximum volume is greater than the size of a Chevy Malibu's trunk.

From a technology standpoint, the new Tahoe sees several improvements. It is offered with next-generation Chevrolet MyLink technology with an 8-inch color touch screen that has a locked, hidden storage bin on the other side. Buyers can specify up to 6 USB ports and 6 power outlets, including a 110-volt 3-prong outlet. Keyless passive entry with push-button starting is available, along with an optional rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray DVD player.

In addition to the new front-center air bag mentioned previously, new safety technologies are also available with the 2015 Tahoe. A reversing camera and rear park-assist sensors return, enhanced with available front park-assist sensors and a rear cross-traffic alert system. The new Tahoe is also offered with adaptive cruise control with forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning, Lane Change Assist, side blind-zone alert, and Safety Alert Seat technologies.

OnStar telematics is standard, and includes a free 6-month trial subscription to numerous services including Automatic Crash Response, Crisis Assist, and Emergency Services. OnStar also has a Stolen Vehicle Slowdown and Assistance feature, and the new Tahoe can be equipped with optional sensors that can detect window break-in, glass breakage, vertical movement, and interior movement designed to trigger the vehicle's alarm and defeat key control systems in order to make it difficult to start or move the SUV.

The new 2015 Tahoe is equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine generating an estimated 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and an estimated 383 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,100 rpm. It is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that includes TapShift manual gear selection, powertrain grade braking, and a tow/haul mode. Maximum towing capacity for the 2015 Chevy Tahoe measures 8,500 pounds with 2-wheel drive (2WD), the same as last year. The Tahoe 4WD model's tow rating increases to 8,300 pounds, a 100-pound gain over the 2014 model.

This new V-8 is the same EcoTec3 engine that's installed in the redesigned 2014 Chevy Silverado. It is equipped with direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and Active Fuel Management technology. Active Fuel Management operates the engine in 4-cylinder mode under low-load driving conditions in order to conserve fuel, and for the 2015 Tahoe, Chevrolet expects the engine to operate in that mode on a more frequent basis than did the previous model.

As this article is written, fuel-economy estimates for the 2015 Tahoe are not available. In GM's full-size trucks, this engine delivers between 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

In addition to the new engine, the redesigned Tahoe is built on a stronger, fully boxed frame. The suspension retains the solid rear axle of the previous model, but adopts the splayed shock absorber design from the new Silverado. Revised tuning, combined with a wider rear track, wider standard wheels, and a new speed-sensing electric steering system are designed to improve the Tahoe's ride and handling. A Magnetic Ride Control suspension is optional for the Tahoe LTZ.

Chevrolet has also improved the new Tahoe's braking system. In addition to what the company promises is improved pedal feel, the 4-wheel ventilated-disc system employs Duralife brake rotors, which are designed to last twice as long while reducing vibration.

Additional details about the redesigned 2015 Chevy Tahoe will be revealed closer to the SUV's arrival in showrooms. Built in Texas, the new Tahoe goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014.

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