Car Review: Tahoe offers more muscle

Jan. 22—There's plenty of space inside the 2023 Chevy Tahoe and what it lacks in standard driver technology it makes up for in available muscle. It's also one of the few SUVs that will seat nine in its base model with bench seats and a third row 60/40 split.

One can also skip the passengers and use the colossal 123 cubic feet for lots of cargo.

Our mid-range RST trim tester for the week was one of six available, ranging in price from $54,000 to $85,000 depending on your penchant for speed and luxury. Ten-speed automatic transmissions are mated to each and, while rear-wheel drive is standard on all, the top-of-the-line Z71 adds four-wheel drive for adventurous travel on and off road.

We were impressed with Tahoe's road manners. For a full-size SUV, it easily handled pavement imperfections smoothing out potholes while delivering precise steering and firm braking. We experienced minimal body roll in cornering maneuvers. GM's StabiliTrak system takes traction control to the next level on wet pavement. It continuously monitors road conditions and instantly applies brake pressure and engine thrust to keep the SUV on its intended path.

Engine choices include a pair of V8s — 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter — as well as a turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline six for vastly improved fuel efficiency. Our four-wheel drive tester recorded 14/18 city-highway miles per gallon compared with EPA's testing of 21/28 for the diesel.

While our RST drive package delivered powerful acceleration, Tahoe has a new Performance Edition for police vehicles and motorsports enthusiasts. It develops more horsepower than the regular 6.2-liter V8 with suspension and chassis enhancements as well as performance induction and exhaust systems.

While only base models can accommodate nine, all others seat seven comfortably including spacious room for third row adults. Low flooring makes it easier to enter and exit the vehicle and assists loading and unloading cargo.

Interior amenities are decent; however, we noticed some hard plastics, diminishing its appeal especially when compared to some rivals. On the flipside, the Tahoe's infotainment system worked well and we appreciated redundant buttons and knobs for key features including audio and climate controls.

Our tester included available ($1,995) rear seat entertainment with dual rear seat mounted 12.6-inch touch screens including headphones and separate remotes. Nice touch for long trips.

You won't have trouble locating Tahoe's robust frame in a crowded mall lot, but exiting the parking stall can be tricky with multi-point turns. The Tahoe includes standard driver-assist features including forward collision warning and emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure assist and warning and automatic high beam headlights.

Unfortunately, many popular driver assistance features fall in the optional category in most trim levels including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, rear cross traffic alert, reverse collision warning, reverse automatic emergency braking, rear pedestrian detection, surround view parking system and Super Cruise autonomous driving. Check out the Ford Expedition credentials while shopping in this segment. The Expedition improves fuel consumption and has a higher towing capacity. The Tahoe is mostly unchanged from the 2022 model.

Contact independent automotive columnist Len Ingrassia at