Subscribe to the Free

Road Test: 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe

Timing Is Everything

Todd Lassa
May 5, 2006
Photographers: David Freers
General Motors must be hoping history doesn't repeat with the launch of its all-new do-or-die group of 2007 GMT900 SUVs. When Gas Crisis I sucker-punched the Big Three in 1973, GM's U.S. market share was more than 43 percent, most of it based on big, full-size V-8 cars. (GM's market share is now in the mid-20s). Some 33 years later, General Motors says its big sport/utilities sell nearly 750,000 units annually, with 6.5 million owners, and that it owns 62 percent of the segment. So with GM profits far below expectations, the GMT900s were pulled forward, rushed to market six months early, arriving just in time for Hurricane Katrina to mess with our oil supply, driving gas prices (at one point) up to $3.50 per gallon.
Against this backdrop, even the most optimistic GM insiders must be concerned that the troubled giant's future hinges largely on the success of the big Chevrolet Tahoe, Suburban, and Avalanche; GMC Yukon, Denali, and the XL versions; and Cadillac Escalade, ESV, and EXT in 2006. The 116-inch-wheelbase Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade launch within weeks of each other in the first quarter; the others, the larger 130-inch-wheelbase models, launch in the second quarter.
Photo 2/10   |   163 0602 04z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Badge
The good news is the GMT900s are vast improvements over the aging 800s. Precise, responsive rack-and-pinion steering with the best feel and feedback in the segment, plus pushrod V-8s with variable valve timing and fuel-saving Displacement on Demand cylinder shutoff, distinguish the GM models over other big SUVs. The automaker expects combined EPA fuel mileage of 20.5 mpg for its 5.3-liter V-8 rear-drive models, and 20.1 mpg for 4x4s. A two-phase hybrid will be available in 2007.
Photo 3/10   |   163 0602 05z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Dash
Fit and finish is excellent on the new models. Small, tight panel gaps and one-piece front fascias eliminate the big, gaping openings endemic to GM products. The new interiors are improved, with GM's new chrome-ringed dials and quality switchgear, good leathers, and no more mouse-fur headliners. The Cadillacs, at least (and we expect the GMC Denalis) should have real-wood accents (like Mercedes, BMW, and Audi) beyond simple steering-wheel details. Most important, though, the interiors equal those of the competition. A power-operated flip-and-fold second row is optional, and power hideaway runningboards will be available several months after launch.
The styling is smart and modern, with steeply raked windshields, taut sheetmetal over widened front and rear tracks, and a claimed drag coefficient of 0.36--all part of GM's quest to stretch every possible gallon of fuel. Cadillacs will feature rectangular ventiports in the front fenders. The GMCs have bulbous-looking grilles and bugeye-like rectangular headlamps that work less successfully. Expect the 2007 GMC pickups to have more differentiation from the SUVs, including stronger grilles, when they launch next fall. The Chevy Tahoe and Suburban styling look the best and will remind old-timers of the organically styled 1973 Chevy trucks.
Which brings us back to the near future. Do we think the GMT900s will do well? Without a doubt, these trucks are the new state of the art for large sport/utilities. They'll likely increase GM's market share in the segment and require Ford and Toyota to take a hard look at their current midmodel redesigns. But will the segment retain its size in light of the changing external forces? That remains to be seen.
Photo 4/10   |   163 0602 07z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Wheel
17-inch standard, except
18-inch standard, Escalade and Denali
20-inch optional on Chevy and GMC
22-inch optional on Escalade
New Features
More interior space
Fully boxed frame with hydro-formed front section

Photo 5/10   |   163 0602 08z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Air Bag System
Front coil-over shocks
Rack-and-pinion steering
Larger four-wheel disc brakes
Side curtain airbags for all three rows
Standard StabiliTrak with rollover mitigation
Optional rear-camera system
6.2-liter aluminum block, VVT, 400 horsepower (Cadillac only), 380 horsepower (GMC Denali only)
6.0-liter aluminum block with Displacement on Demand, VVT, 355 horsepower
6.0-liter heavy-duty iron block, VVT, 350 horsepower
5.3-liter aluminum block with DOD and E85 capability, 320 horsepower
5.3-liter iron block with DOD, 320 horsepower
4.8-liter iron block, 290 horsepower
Photo 6/10   |   163 0602 10z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Engine
Photo 7/10   |   163 0602 11z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Engine

Photo 8/10   |   163 0602 12z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Transmission
Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed with two overdrive gears, tap-up/down capability, 6.2-liter V-8 only
Improved 4L60-E four-speed automatic, all other engines

Photo 9/10   |   163 0602 09z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Head Light
Photo 10/10   |   163 0602 06z 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Rear Seats
2007 Chevrolet Tahoe
Location of final assembly Janesville, Wisconsin
Body style 4-door, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-pass
EPA size class Full-size SUV
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Airbags Dual front, side
Base engine 90o V-8, cast iron-block, alum heads
Bore x stroke, in 3.78 x 3.27
Displacement, ci/L 293/4.8
Compression ratio 9.2:1
Valve gear OHV, 2 valves/cyl
Fuel induction Sequential
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm 290 @ 5400
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm 290 @ 4000
Opt engine 90o V-8, cast-iron block, alum heads
Bore x stroke, in 3.78 x 3.62
Displacement, ci/L 325/5.3
Compression ratio 9.9:1
Valve gear OHV, 2 valves/cyl
Fuel induction Sequential, DOD
SAE horsepower, hp @ rpm 320 @ 5300
SAE torque, lb-ft @ rpm 340 @ 4200
Transmission 4L60-E 4-speed automatic
1st 3.06:1
2nd 1.63:1
3rd 1.00:1
4th 0.70:1
Reverse 2.29:1
Axle ratio 3.73:1
Final-drive ratio 2.61:1
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded
Wheelbase, in 116.0
Length, in 202.0
Width, in 79.0
Height, in 77.0
Track, f/r, in 68.2/67.0
Headroom, f/m/r, in 40.3/38.5/38.2
Legroom, f/m/r, in 41.3/39.0/25.4
Shoulder room, f/m/r, in 65.3/65.3/61.7
Hiproom, f/m/r, in 64.4/60.6/49.1
Behind front seats, cu ft 108.9
Behind 2nd row, cu ft 60.3
Behind 3rd row, cu ft 16.9
Ground clearance, in 9.0
Approach/departure angle, deg 17.0/21.0
Base curb weight, lb 5550
Max payload capacity, lb 1750
Max GVWR, lb 7300
Max GCWR, lb 15,000
Towing capacity, lb 7700
Fuel capacity, gal 26.0
Construction Ladder frame
Suspension, f/r IFS, coilover shock, autoride damp/live axle, 5-link
Steering type Power-assist rack-and-pinion
Ratio 17.8:1
Turns, lock to lock 3.0
Turning circle, ft 39.0
Brakes, f/r 13.0-in vented disc/13.5-in disc; 4WABS
Wheels 18 x 8.0-in alum (Z71)
Tires 265/65R18 Bridgestone OOR
Base price $35,000 (est)
Fully loaded price $44,000 (est)


Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: