The interior design is much improved over the outgoing model, with tighter panel fit and more car-like presentation. The net effect is to feel more upscale, and the available equipment roster reflects this premium turn. Standout features include power-release fold-and-tumble second-row seat, remote vehicle starting system, first- and second-row heated seats, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, rearview camera system, touch-screen navigation system, power-articulating running boards, and DVD rear-seat entertainment system with larger, 8-inch screen.
The Tahoe exterior reflects a more modest evolution, with softer lines and the new Chevrolet face seen in a large Chevy gold Bow Tie, centered on a twin-port horizontal grille and flanked by jewel-like headlamps. The front fascia apron gives the new Tahoe a distinctly sporty visage that eliminates the traditional crude truck bumper on previous models, while maintaining clear familial cues with the TrailBlazer. The Tahoe comes standard with 17-inch wheels and 20-inchers are available. Available later in 2006, the Z71 trim uses a specifically designed three-piece fascia with a protective, platinum chrome skidplate. It has larger tow hook openings; more prominent foglamps; and specific grille texture and platinum chrome grille trim. Eighteen-inch wheels and tires also are part of the package.
Motivating this sharpened SUV is a revised family of seven engines that see power and fuel economy increase over '05. The base Gen IV small-block 4.8L V-8 produces a prodigious 290 hp, and that's just the beginning. The 5.3L V-8s boast Displacement On Demand cylinder-deactivation technology, giving the 320-hp engines the ability to achieve a 20.5 mpg combined EPA rating, based on preliminary tests. The 6.0L heavy-duty engines boast 350- and 355-hp, with the top aluminum-block 6.2L touting variable-valve timing ranging from 380 to 400 horsepower, dependent on application. The engines are teamed with automatic transmissions, including a new 6L80 six-speed gearbox. Tow ratings will range from 7200 lbs to 9800 lbs, on long-wheelbase models.
Beyond the strengthened structure, the Tahoe boasts a range of safety improvements, including the standard Stabilitrak stability control system, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, OnStar, tire-pressure monitor system, daytime running lights, and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Additional available equipment includes roof-mounted head curtain side airbags, remote vehicle starting system, power-adjustable pedals, automatic windshield wipers, and heated windshield wiper fluid reservoir.
On sale early 2006, the 2007 Tahoe will be built at the Arlington Assembly Plant, in Arlington, Texas. Other full-size models will be introduced at auto shows through the season.