The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe is the slightly shorter version of the hulking Chevy Suburban. Like its larger sibling, the Tahoe (and upscale GMC Yukon sibling), is both a people mover and cargo hauler, able to carry a driver and up to eight passengers and tow up to 8500 pounds when properly equipped. Unlike the Suburban, interior space is a bit tighter in the Tahoe even with second- and third-row bench seats so consumers hauling a lot of people regularly may want to look at the larger SUV. However, the Chevrolet Tahoe works especially well with fewer passenger, with a near luxurious ride and (almost) decent fuel economy in this segment with the hybrid engine. For the Tahoe Hybrid, it's been estimated to take nearly two decades to recover the premium cost of the hybrid powertrain versus the price of a base LS model.
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe, like most GM pickup trucks and SUVs, is offered in numerous configurations. The SUV is offered with two engines, four models (LS, LT, LTZ, and Hybrid) and two-wheel or four-wheel drive. All models are well-equipped. Options available include navigation, 20-inch wheels, and an engine block heater. The Chevy Tahoe was revamped back in 2007 and updates have been incremental since then.
Body style: SUV
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8 and electric motor
Transmission: six-speed automatic
Models: LS, LT, LTZ, Hybrid
General Motors has made few changes to the Chevrolet Tahoe since building the SUV on a new chassis in late 2005 for the 2007 model year. For 2011, GM added several new colors and an integrated trailer-brake controller to the optional towing package. Several models received additional standard equipment like 20-inch wheels for the Tahoe LTZ. For the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe the navigation system switches to an available 80 gig hard-drive version, and electronic trailer sway control and hill-start assist to the StabiliTrak stability control system. A heated steering wheel is also new this year.
For model year 2007, GM updated the Chevrolet Tahoe with a new front grille, upper and lower bumper designs, and revamped headlights. The designs were not only meant to give the SUV a more contemporary look, but separate it from the more upscale GMC Yukon sibling as well.
GM added four new colors -- Mocha Steel Metallic, Steel Green Metallic, and Ice Blue Metallic--for the 2011 Chevy Tahoe. Otherwise, the SUV carries over into the new model year with little change, exterior-wise.
Like the Chevrolet Suburban, the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe has an easy-to-see and use instrument cluster, climate controls, and infotainment system. Interior materials are on par with the competition and, like the Suburban, interior space is also one of the Tahoe's strengths. However, to maximize cargo space behind the second row, the heavy third row must be removed, a dated idea that GM should abandon for the next redesign. There's not a lot of cargo space behind the third row, either, although if you fold and/or remove all the seats, cargo capacity maxes out at 109 cubic feet of useable space.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe can move quickly for a vehicle of this size, especially with the hybrid engine which, like all hybrid engines, offers near instantaneous pulling power (torque). That torque is also the main reason the Chevy Tahoe, like the larger Suburban, can haul huge loads. Yet the Tahoe is also a street and highway cruiser, with the SUV's ride relaxed and quiet, almost luxurious, with little engine, road, and wind noise. Suspension and the sheer size of the Chevrolet Tahoe absorb most road imperfections, and the light steering makes it (relatively) easy to navigate streets and parking lots.
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe comes equipped with antilock brakes, tire pressure monitoring system, and GM's StabiliTrak as standard. Inside, airbags protect both driver and front passenger and head curtain airbags with three-row rollover protection are also standard. Safety features that are optional for certain models and trims include blind zone alert and a rear parking assist camera.
EPA Fuel Economy
Chevrolet Tahoe LS, LT, LTZ: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid: 20 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Interior room
- Maneuverability (for a large SUV)
You Won't Like
- Fuel economy
- Dated design
- Hybrid value
Chevy Suburban light
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Expedition
- Toyota Sequoia
- Nissan Armada
- GMC Yukon