The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe hit the market in response to increasing demand for full-size four-door SUVs. While it's not enormous, it provides more space for people and cargo, not to mention better trailer-towing ability than popular compact SUVs. Originally introduced in 1995 as a two-door vehicle, the Tahoe’s four-door version arrived later in the year. Shoppers who were frustrated with the lack of interior space and limited hauling capabilities of compact SUVs have clamored to the Tahoe. Not only is it spacious, it is shorter than other full-size trucks and should fit in most normal sized garages.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.5-liter V-6, 5.7-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Tahoe
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe’s new 5.7-liter, V-8 engine adds an additional 50 horsepower and more torque. Significant improvements also are made to the backseat heating ducts and enhancements to the automatic transmissions. The 60/40 split bench seat has a revised folded armrest with a compartment for storage. Meanwhile, the new P-metric tires that have been added to this year’s Tahoe make for a much quieter ride, and daytime running lights are new to the 1996 model. A new neutral interior color and two new exterior paint colors are now available, and a two-wheel-drive two-door Chevrolet Tahoe is added to the lineup.
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe may resemble a Suburban at first glance, but the Tahoe is shorter by 20 inches. The two-door models ride a wheelbase of 111.5 inches, while the four-door versions are built on a 117.5-inch wheelbase. The four-door trims are longer in length, approaching 200 inches, but shorter in width and height than the two-door models. Two-wheel-drive Tahoe models have 15-inch tires, while the four-wheel-drive models come standard with 16-inch tires. A full-size spare tire comes standard with each trim. Furthermore, both versions are sturdy and can tow up to 7000 pounds.
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe has a brand new interior with softer shapes that create a much more welcoming vibe than previous models. The ergonomic enhancements significantly boosted its level of comfort. There is even an optional mini work station built into the console with a pivoting writing area, storage compartments, and cup holders. The standard two-door Tahoe can seat five occupants with an optional added seat, and the four-door version can seat six occupants with the option of removing one seat for additional storage space. The front and back seats should reasonably seat three people across. Particularly tall passengers may feel the lack of legroom in the back seat.
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe can carry more than 1600 pounds in its spacious interior. Interior space in the front of the vehicle is plentiful and practically identical to that of a full size pickup truck. In front of the driver are a new airbag and a redesigned and very practical instrument panel. Also abundant is cargo space. A two-door Tahoe offers 100 cubic feet of cargo space, even with a full size spare tire inside the cargo area. The four-door model has an externally mounted spare tire to reduce clutter in the cargo area. This brings the total cargo capacity up to 123 cubic feet.
Performance & Handling
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe is a delightful ride on highways. The new Vortec 5700 engine produces more power at any engine speed. The Vortec V-8 responds eagerly and immediately when the accelerator is pressed for a quick vehicle pass on the highway or while towing a full trailer uphill. The best thing about this power boost is the added refinement, which has cut down vehicle noise, reduced emissions, and has enhanced the vehicle’s overall durability.
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe has a wide body that may require a period of adjustment, particularly for anyone who's previously driven a compact SUV. It may feel more like a truck when turning suddenly onto smaller roads. Overall, this sizable piece of machinery is rather easy to maneuver and control.
The 1996 Chevrolet Tahoe receives a four star rating from the NHTSA for driver-side frontal crash test performance. The passenger-side frontal crash test performance was rated with three stars. This is likely due to the lack of a passenger side airbag.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Tahoe two-wheel drive: 14/17 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Tahoe four-wheel drive: 13/17 mpg city/highway
- Extensive space
- Comfort of a Cadillac
You Won't Like
- Gas guzzler
- Brake pad life
- Rear windows
Cadillac comfort in an SUV.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Expedition
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Chevy Suburban