General Motors has fast-tracked its all-new, full-size sport/utility range to get these large-volume vehicles to dealers more quickly than originally planned, staving off continued competition from fresher vehicles and entering a market complicated by increased fuel prices. The new trucks replace the longest-running models in their respective segments, giving GM its time to shine, touting much-needed improvements across the board.

The Chevrolet Tahoe leads the public charge, showing the new levels of packaging refinement, evolved exterior shape, significantly improved interior, and upgraded powertrains that will be exhibited by its brethren. Along with the Tahoe, the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade will be available in the first quarter of 2006, followed the next quarter by the Chevy Suburban, Chevy Avalanche, GMC Yukon, Yukon XL Denali, Cadillac Escalade ESV, and Escalade EXT.

The new SUV platform will be offered in two wheelbases (116 and 130 inches), three body styles, and 12 different models. While the portfolio may resemble the 2005 lineup, there will be more product differentiation with the upcoming vehicles. The Cadillacs, for example, will now have unique doors in order to better carry a distinctive front-fender design down the side of the vehicle.

Despite that it has topped the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey for five years, the Tahoe trailed competitors in driving dynamics and interior execution. No surprise, these shortcomings were specifically addressed with the redesign. As with all 2007 full-size GM SUVs, the Tahoe benefits from a stiffer, fully boxed frame with a coil-over-shock front suspension and increased front/rear track width. This combination lays the foundation for more sure-footed on- and off-road performance. Attention to noise and vibration with the chassis speaks to efforts to quiet the cabin.

The interior benefits from underhood measures to reduce NVH, such as a quiet-tuned alternator and acoustically engineered engine cover, as well as aerodynamic enhancements to minimize wind noise. The interior itself features a noise-reducing headliner, door seals, and gap-filling foam.