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Quick Test: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe LT

Brian Vance
Feb 28, 2008
Photographers: Brian Vance
Photo 2/5   |   suv Comparison chevy Tahoe LT Side View
The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe is one of the youngest fullsize SUVs on the market, second only to the all-new Toyota Sequoia. Take the transmission. Paired with a 5.3-liter V-8 whose 320 horsepower, the Tahoe's four-speed proved its Achilles heel at the dragstrip, delivering a weak 0-to-60 time (8.3 seconds) and a slow quarter-mile trap speed (85.6 mph). The Chevy's four-speed struggled on mountain roads, as well, its tall ratios making it difficult to find the ideal gear. Notes editor at large Arthur St. Antoine, "Where you particularly miss the extra cog is rolling briskly downhill, where second is too low and third is too high." Manual mode? Not offered. Note to Chevy: Install the Cadillac Escalade's Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed or, at the very least, its nifty gear-lever-mounted manual-shift buttons.
In addition to the four-speed, the Tahoe also sports an old-school live axle, a feature that behooves off-road maneuvers but tends to degenerate on-road motions. Add in steering that was judged too light and not particularly communicative -- a "Twirl-O-Matic" feel, according to St. Antoine -- and the Chevy's chassis was downgraded further. Per Truck Trend editor Mark Williams, "It's the most fun to take to the back country and romp around in, but compared to other family-friendly haulers, it just doesn't keep up." Further, by eliminating the possibility of a flat floor, the live axle compromises interior efficiency, forcing Chevy to utilize removable third-row seats rather than fold-flat units like the others. Not only is it burdensome to take out those heavy seats, but it's also a burden to sit in them, as they offer little legroom. And if you need to tote gear with a full passenger load, the Tahoe offers only 16.9 cubic feet behind the third row.
Photo 3/5   |   suv Comparison chevy Tahoe LT Interior
Of course, it's not like the Chevy is without merits. Despite the Z71 package, the Tahoe provided an impressively compliant highway ride as well as a surprisingly hushed cockpit, even at near-tripledigit speeds. Moreover, the interior, while comparatively Spartan and monotone, does offer comfortable front bucket seats and ample front headroom. Plus, with Active Fuel Management that switches between V-8 and V-4 power, the Tahoe, at 13.4 mpg, gets reasonable fuel economy.
If you're looking for a solid off-road toy that's still laudable on-road, or a cavernous five-seat sport/ute that can swallow seven in a pinch, the Tahoe won't disappoint. But if you're looking for more from a three-row full-size SUV, like a higher tow rating than 6200 pounds, there are better options.
Photo 4/5   |   suv Comparison chevy Tahoe LT Engine
Photo 5/5   |   suv Comparison chevy Tahoe LT Rear View

2008 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD LT
Drivetrain layout Front engine, 4WD
Engine type 90 Vv-8, iron block/alum heads
Valvetrain OHV, 2 valves/cyl
Displacement 325.0 cu in/5328 cc
Compression ratio 9.9:1
Power (SAE net) 320 hp @ 5200 rpm*
Torque (SAE net) 340 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm*
Weight to power 17.9 lb/hp
Transmission 4-speed automatic
Axle/final-drive ratios 3.73:1/2.61:1/2.72:1
Suspension, front; rear Control arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar; live axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Steering ratio 17.8:1
Turns lock-to-lock 3
Brakes, f;r 13.0-in vented disc: 13.5-in disc, ABS
Wheels 8.0 x 18 in, cast aluminum
Tires, f;r 265/65R18 112S M+S, Bridgestone Dueler A/T
Wheelbase 116.0 in
Track, f/r 68.2/67.0 in
Length x width x height 202.0 x 79.0 x 77.0 in
Ground clearance 9.0 in
Apprch/ deapart angle 17.0/21.9 deg
Turning circle 39.0 ft
Curb weight 5715 lb
Weight dist., f/r 52/48 %
Seating capacity 7
Headroom, f/r 41.1/38.5/38.2 in
Legroom, f/r 41.3/39.0/25.4 in
Shoulder room, f/r 65.3/65.3/57.9 in
Cargo volume 108.0/60.3/16.9 cu ft
Acceleration to mph
0-30 2.8 sec
0-40 4.1
0-50 5.9
0-60 8.3
0-70 10.6
0-80 13.4
0-90 18.2
Passing, 45-65 mph 4.5 sec
Quarter mile 16.1 sec @ 85.6 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 140 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.71 g (avg)
MT figure eight 30.0 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)
Top-gear revs @ 60 mph 1700 rpm
Base price $40,460
Price as tested $45,310
Stability/traction control Yes/yes
Airbags Dual front, front side, f/m/r curtain
Basic warranty 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance 5 yrs/100,000 miles
Fuel capacity 26.0 gal
EPA city/hwy econ 14/19 (gas) 11/14 (E85) lb/mile
CO2 emissions 1.22 (gas) 1.12 (E85) lb/mile
MT fuel economy 13.4 mpg (gas)
Recommended fuel Regular of E85



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