PRE-owned: 1995-1999 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon

Feb 19, 2010
It was one of those ideas whose time had come, yet once it happened, everybody asked, "Why did it take so long?" While the Suburban literally and figuratively fills a big spot in the SUV marketplace, not everyone wants or needs a rig that large. So GM whacked nearly two feet out of the Sub's overall length, took away the third-row seat, and created the Tahoe/Yukon twins for '95. Available in 1500 Series (1/2-ton) form only, they proved an ideal package for buyers who needed or wanted V-8 power and four-wheel drive in a slightly smaller package. The originals were replaced by all-new versions after the '99 model year, and though the current platform offers some advances, the earlier ones are plentiful in the marketplace and remain popular.
Photo 2/3   |   1995 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe
GM's 5.7L V-8/four-speed automatic combination is ultra-tough and good for long miles, though we recommend a '96-or-later model. They have the port fuel-injected Vortec spec engine, rated at 250 hp, as opposed to the throttle-body-equipped 200-hp '95; a 2WD version also bowed in '96. Those who tow a trailer might consider a rear-disc-brake upgrade, as the standard, drums-only rears are adequate at best for heavy loads. Those needing room for six or more still must look elsewhere. Otherwise, these trucks are well-equipped and long lived.
Photo 3/3   |   1995 1999 Gmc Yukon
Want more lux? Consider the first-generation GMC Yukon Denali, sold from '98 to 2000. It has lots of leather, real wood trim, a plethora of power goodies, upgraded tunes, and unique sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward. Cadillac liked it so well it ripped off the package to create the first Escalade in '99. Whatever the badge, they're much the same underneath.
1995-1999 Chevrolet Tahoe/GMC Yukon
Body type 4-door, 5-pass SUV
Drivetrain Front engine, 2WD or 4WD
Airbag Dual front
Base curb weight, lb 4780
Base engine '95: 5.7L/200-hp ; V-8, '97: 5.7L/250-hp V-8
Optional engines None
Brakes, f/r Disc/drum, ABS
Price range, whlsl/ret $18,900/$25,835 ('98 Tahoe 4x4) (per Kelley Blue Book)
EPA mpg, city/hwy 14/17
Recalls 2: Steering box ('98); brake rotors ('98)
NHTSA frontal-imp rating, drv/pass 4 stars/3 stars
• Good reliability
• Sturdy V-8 powertrain
• Reasonable Value
• Five-seater only
• Rear drum brakes
• Heavy on gas
A comprehensive test drive is more than a spin around the block. Make sure you:
• Inspect the vehicle in daylight, not at night. Look for rust or wavy body panels that might signify previous accident damage
• Check all fluid levels; dirty oil may mean neglect
• Start up from cold; listen for noises and look for exhaust smoke
• Make sure it fits you; adjust seat, mirrors, belts, wheel
• While the engine warms up, test all the controls: audio system, HVAC, lights, cruise-control, etc. Make note of anything that's inoperative
• Drive at least 10 miles at various speeds on a variety of roads. If the owner insists on "just a block or two," he might be hiding something
• Pay attention to any problems: abnormal engine noise, a front-end needing alignment, a slipping transmission, grinding brakes. None of these means you should automatically pass on the vehicle, but you need to identify potential problem areas, either for repair or price negotiation
• If you still like what you see/ drove, consider spending a few bucks to have a professional mechanic check it out further.
Time invested up front will minimize heartache later on.
- OF



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