As Chevrolet and GMC dealerships are starting to take delivery of the fourth-generation Tahoe and Yukon, the third generation makes its inevitable way into the classified ads and used vehicle lots. This is a good thing because the Tahoe/Yukon has always been a popular choice, bringing old-school, body-on-frame pulling power and generous accommodation to the full-size SUV-loving crowd.
With each incarnation coming on stream, the driving experience has improved. Comfort, noise levels, and chassis composure all made changes for the better in Generation Three. Build quality and interior materials also saw an uptick. The Tahoe/Yukon doesn't go in for high-concept design, though. Instead, there's a straight-down-the-line, get-on-with-the-job air about it.
Just as the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra pickup trucks that provide the platform are sisters, the Tahoe and Yukon are essentially the same vehicle. Differences add up to not much more than the badge. The upside is that if there isn't a Tahoe for sale that fits the bill in terms of price, condition, and locale, there just might be a Yukon. Either way, there's seating for up to nine, although third-row space is somewhat cramped. And those rearmost seats don't fold flat into the floor when load space is the preferred option. They have to be removed—they're not light—and stowed somewhere. Total cargo area is a generous 109 cubic feet. Maximum towing capacity is 8,500 pounds in rear-drive versions. Two flavors of all-wheel-drive system were offered: straightforward and tarmac-friendly, or more specialized with a low-range transfer case. Trim levels in ascending order of equipment for the Tahoe are LS, LT, and LTZ, and for the Yukon are SLE, SLT, and Denali. The LS starts with a decent amount of standard equipment that includes separate driver/front passenger climate controls. Trailer Sway Control became available in 2012. The main engine is a 5.3-liter V-8 developing 320 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque. It's EPA rated at 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway. From 2007, it gained a flex-fuel capability where it could run on E85. This is backed by a either a four-speed automatic in earlier models or a six-speed automatic transmission starting with the 2009 model year. GM also offered a 6.2-liter V-8 (395 hp/415 lb-ft in the Tahoe LTZ and 403 hp/417 lb-ft in the Yukon Denali), but that wasn't a big seller. Neither was the thirsty 4.8-liter V-8 (making 295 hp and 305 lb-ft for 14 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, linked to a four-speed auto transmission) found in LS models only. A hybrid version of the Tahoe surfaced in 2009 with a 6.0-liter V-8 and fuel figures of 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and a towing capacity of 6,000 pounds.
The Tahoe had a mid-cycle styling refresh for the 2010 model year; the Yukon saw some changes for 2012, including the discontinuation of the SLE and SLT trims.
Problems are a varied smorgasbord including dodgy wiring and suspect brakes, but one of the most common issues seems to be cracks in the dashboards. The 5.3-liter V-8 engines have a bit of a reputation for burning oil, so the standard advice of getting a specialist to look over any possible purchase is worth re-emphasizing. Recalls have also centered on a range of headaches, such as rear-axle cross pins, steering shaft bolts, rear brake caliper bolts, and electrical foibles. A 2009 Tahoe LT with rear-wheel drive in good condition is valued at $25,779. A 2009 Ford Expedition Limited with similar mileage and equipment fetches $26,573, while a comparable 2009 Toyota Sequoia Limited is a much pricier $31,829.
|2006-2013 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon|
|Body type:||4-door SUV|
|Drivetrain:||Front engine, RWD/4WD|
|Engine:||4.8/295-hp OHV V-8; 5.3/320-hp OHV V-8; 6.2/403-hp OHV V-8 (2005 on) Brakes, f/r: Disc, disc, ABS|
|Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB):||$8,969/$10,909 (2006, RWD LS 4.8 V-8), $44,080/$46,570 (2013, 4WD Denali 6.2 V-8)|
|Airbags:||Driver, front passenger, side curtain|
|Recalls:||Too many to list; see motortrend.com|
|NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/fr pass:||five stars/five stars|