The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe is a shorter version of the Chevrolet Suburban and one of the industry’s best-selling full-size SUVs. With its solid build and roomy interior, the truck-based Tahoe can comfortably carry up to nine passengers on and off the road. While it's towing capacity isn’t quite as impressive as that offered by its larger Suburban sibling, it can still handle most heavy loads. With available four-wheel drive, it's also well-equipped for most weather conditions.
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe comes in three trim levels: a base LS, slightly more upscale LT, and off-road-oriented Z71. A 4.8-liter V-8 comes standard on base and Z71 models, while the LT gets a more powerful 5.3-liter V-8. Both engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. With its pair of V-8s, its gas mileage is predictably on low side; however, its EPA ratings are about average for a large SUV.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 4.8-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Tahoe LS, Chevrolet Tahoe LT, Chevrolet Tahoe Z71
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe introduces a multitude of upgrades. Notable new features include tri-zone climate control, a driver’s information system, and a redesigned console and instrument control. For the first time, options include adjustable pedals, second-row captain’s chairs, satellite radio, a DVD-based entertainment system, a premium Bose audio system, and, for the LT, a StabiliTrak stability control system.
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe features a truck-like front end, extended flat roofline, and deep-tinted privacy glass. Standard features on the base LS include 16-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare tire, all-season tires, variable intermittent windshield wipers, privacy glass, a roof rack, a rear defogger, running boards, rear barn doors, and trailer wiring. The LT gains power-adjustable heated side mirrors with puddle lamps and integrated turn signals as well as a number of interior upgrades. The Z71 adds a sport-tuned suspension, while available exterior options for all models include a sunroof and towing package. It has a wheelbase of 116 inches and a ground clearance of 8.4 inches and measures 196.9 inches in length, which is 22 inches shorter than the Suburban.
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe is utilitarian but spacious with seating for six occupants as standard. It can add a 50/50-split third-row bench seat to increase seating capacity to nine. Buyers can also opt for second-row bucket seats in place of the standard bench seat. Base LT and Z71 models come standard with cloth upholstery, a 40/20/40-split bench front seat, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a split-folding rear seat back, a folding center armrest with storage, a front console with storage, a leather tilt-adjustable steering wheel, remote-operated power locks, power mirrors, one-touch power windows, retained accessory power, rear ventilation ducts, tri-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, front and cargo 12-volt power outlets, a cargo light, front and rear floor mats, an external temperature display, a compass, and an eight-speaker sound system with single-disc CD player.
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT models replace the tri-zone air-conditioning with tri-zone automatic climate control and add adjustable pedals and eight-way adjustable heated leather front seats. Options available on most models include leather upholstery, second-row captain’s chairs, satellite radio, a premium Bose audio system, and General Motors’ OnStar communication system. Front occupants receive 40.7 inches of headroom, 41.2 inches of legroom, and 61.4 inches of hip room, while second-row passengers are given 39.4 inches of headroom, 38.6 inches of legroom, and 61.3 inches of hip room. Cargo capacity is 63.6 cubic feet with all seats in place and 104.6 cubic feet with the second-row folded and the third-row removed.
Performance & Handling
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS models are powered by a 4.3-liter V-8 producing 275 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque, while LT models get a 5.3-liter V-8 good for 285 horses and 325 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox offered. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 7700 pounds, and in spite of its truck-like build, it offers a controlled and stable ride on and off the pavement. Opting for the Z71’s sport-tuned suspension helps smooth rough terrain.
The 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS comes with standard dual-stage airbags, passenger-side occupant-sensing airbag deactivation, child seat anchors, anti-lock brakes, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, daytime running lights, and dusk-sensing headlamps. Traction control, stability control, and side curtain airbags are optional, and the LT adds an available StabiliTrak stability control system. While the rear bench seat features a center three-point seat belt, the front center seat is only available with a lap belt.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Tahoe LS: 13/17 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Tahoe LS (4WD): 12/16 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Tahoe LT: 13/16 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Tahoe LT (4WD): 12/16 mpg city/highway
- Powerful engines
- Seating for nine
- Spacious cabin
- Long options list
You Won't Like
- Low-quality cabin materials
- Questionable build quality
- Stingy gas mileage
Best-selling SUV boasts spacious accommodations and new upgrades.
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