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2011 Chevrolet Tahoe: Making Space!

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On: Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 4:54PM | By: Mary McRae

2011 Chevrolet Tahoe: Making Space!

The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe remains much as before, and that, no doubt, is just fine with a sizable number of folks who’ve grown to value its combination of truck toughness and surprisingly refined practicality. The Chevy Tahoe provides room for up to nine passengers or two passengers and a whole lot of cargo or anything in between, good towing capabilities, and a gas mileage making other large SUVs jealous.

In addition to a Hybrid version, the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe is available in three trim levels: LS, LT, and LTZ. The base Tahoe LS comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone manual heating and cooling, eight-passenger seating with front power-adjustable bucket seats and center floor console. Also standard are Bluetooth, OnStar, and a six-speaker sound system with CD and rear audio controls, satellite radio, an auxiliary input jack and an iPod/USB interface. Also available is an optional Convenience package which includes power-adjustable pedals, remote engine start, rear parking assist and a rearview camera system with mirror display.

The LT models include most available LS equipment plus front fog lamps, a locking rear differential, tri-zone automatic climate control, eight-passenger leather-trimmed seating and nine-speaker Bose audio. Options available on the LT model that are not available on the LS are second-row captain’s chairs, power folding mirrors and a power rear lift gate.

LTZ-trimmed Tahoes include the LT Luxury package content with seven-passenger seating as standard equipment and adds 20-inch wheels, a suspension system with active damping, outside mirrors with integrated turn signals and ground-illuminating lights, perforated leather-trimmed seating with more adjustments, heated and ventilated front seats, power flip-and-fold second row seats, a navigation system with real-time traffic and a 10-speaker Bose surround sound audio system. LTZ options include power-retractable assist steps, a blind spot warning system and several features also available on other Tahoe models including a sunroof, rear-seat entertainment, a trailering package and a variety of 20 and 22-inch wheels.

The Hybrid is outfitted between the LT and LTZ. The Hybrid does not have roof rails, fog lamps, tow hooks, or a separate glass-opening on the lift gate. Hybrid mechanicals are warranted for eight years or 100,000 miles. Hybrid models come with a navigation system with a rearview camera, and locking rear differential. The Hybrid uses a 6.0-liter V8 gas engine, rated at 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque, and an electric drive system contained within the transmission.

Every 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe is equipped with a 5.3-liter V8 generating 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission transmits power through the rear wheels on 2WD models or all four wheels on 4WD models. The 4WD Tahoe is offered with a choice of either a traditional two-speed transfer case or a single-speed unit without low-range gearing. The available Auto trac four-wheel drive can be left engaged on dry roadways and includes low-range gearing. It comes in handy for rugged terrain and serious snow and ice, yet it's also handy for pulling a boat up a slippery boat ramp or dragging a trailer out from a silty, sandy parking area, those momentary needs that can be so crucial.

The Chevrolet Tahoe showcases a crisp design with curved edges, fully wrapped front fascia that eliminates air-grabbing gaps, doors that wrap over the rocker panels, and a steeply raked windshield. The windows aren't reduced in the name of style and offer a decent view. And at the rear, the lift gate has separate opening glass to offer easier loading of small items and the bumper top is ribbed for safer roof loading. The smooth appearance does not mean the Tahoe looks soft. Built on a wide frame, this is a commanding vehicle with a robust stance.

Inside, the Chevrolet Tahoe offers leg and head space similar to other sedans; however, there is more shoulder and hip room due to Tahoe's wide build. The spacious interior of the Tahoe can be enjoyed from any of the three rows of seats. The driver sits up high with a good view of the road. We sat in the third-row seats and found that short-to-average adults fit, though they will likely feel insulted if kept back there more than 10 or 15 minutes.

If you take the third row out and fold the second row the Tahoe has full-size cargo space of 108.9 cubic feet, 60.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 16.9 cubic feet behind the third row. The load height is about the same height as a typical pickup bed.

The Tahoe rides quite well for a big, heavy utility and drives much less like a truck than its predecessor. The Tahoe's steering is among the best in big, truck-based utilities, nicely weighted and void of free play and any wander. The transmission will make the right gear decisions, and it has a tow-/haul mode for use pulling a substantial trailer. Engaging tow/haul mode changes the one-touch lane-change signal from three blinks to six, a useful feature.

In addition to being spacious the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe also boast impressive safety features which include dual-stage front airbags; full-coverage head-protecting curtain side airbags with rollover sensors; four-wheel antilock brakes; Stabili-Trak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation; LATCH child safety seat anchors; OnStar; and a tire pressure monitor. Optional safety features include rearview cameras and rear park assist, both of which are highly recommended to help the driver spot small children and people when backing up. In government crash testing, the Tahoe received the top five-star rating for both frontal and side-impact protection.

When comparing SUVs, most reviewers say it's difficult to beat the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe. It’s cozy and attractive interior is a reviewer favorite, and many say the Tahoe is surprisingly light on its feet for a large SUV. The 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe offers lots of cargo space, comfortable passenger accommodations, excellent safety and good towing capacity.

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