2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban… For when you need a proper family hauler

DSCN3883bBefore I start telling you all about the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs, I just wanted to mention, that the event for these vehicles had an extra special meaning for me, since the name of the invited media printed on my tag was “Automotive Affairs” – which is this blog.  This was the first time I had gotten an invite with my blog’s name on it, felt very special. Keep reading for the actual review:DSCN3187
The Gaspe Peninsula, located at the northern tip of Quebec, is one of the most historic, peaceful, and breathtakingly beautiful spots in all of Canada. It’s vast land and generally empty roads made it the ideal place to launch the 2015 versions of the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban SUVs.
For the Suburban, 2015 is a special year, as it will mark the 80th anniversary for this nameplate. First introduced in 1935, the Suburban is the oldest continuously available nameplate in the automotive business. In these last 80 years, 11 generations of the Suburban model have been sold, with the 12th generation model hitting the market now as a 2015 model.
The Chevrolet Tahoe has been with us for a much shorter period, first coming to market in 1992. What the Tahoe essentially has been is a shorter version of the Suburban. Chevrolet felt that there was a need in the market for a large SUV, that is not humongous, hence the Tahoe was born. It must have worked, because 22 years later, the Tahoe nameplate is still with us.
So what are these new, 2015 Tahoe and Suburban SUVs like?DSCN3179b
From a styling point of view, I think they are a big step in the right direction. In the past, the Tahoe and Suburban have both shared their front end with the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, on whose platform these vehicles are based on. For 2015, Chevrolet decided to give these SUVs their own front end. Not only does this give the Tahoe and Suburban their own personality, but I also think this is the more attractive front end (it’s no secret, I have not been a fan of the styling of the new Silverado). If I am to nit pick, I wish both the Tahoe and the Suburban had some slight variation in styling, so you could tell one from the other from the face alone. After all, these models have a different name – they are not called Suburban and Suburban XL – so a bit more styling variation could have helped matters. For now, the only way you can tell one apart from the other is by seeing their profile shot – where the Suburban is clearly larger than the Tahoe.
DSCN3183The difference in size does not mean one can hold more passengers than the other – both vehicles can hold a maximum of nine people. Where the Suburban offers more is in the legroom for the third row, and the trunk space is longer too.
Both the Tahoe and Suburban offers lots of comfort, and have all the conveniences life these days demands for, such as six USB ports and six power outlets to charge all the cell phones and iPad’s in your house. Also, the optional rear seat entertainment system now has a Blu-ray DVD player, a first for the industry.
Like many of General Motors models these days, there is a clever storage space hidden behind the infotainment screen on the dashboard. On the Tahoe and Suburban, this screen moves about electrically. However, on both the models I drove at the launch, the gears that drove the screen up and down made a grinding noise when coming down. I showed this to a GM engineer who was at the launch, and he said he will look into this. Often times at a launch, the vehicles we get to drive are pre-production units, but we were assured these units were taken from the production line. I hope this slight issue only affects a few units, and not every unit.
Apart from that, the quality of the fit and finish has certainly improved on the 2015 Tahoe and 2015 Suburban.
DSCN3126bSo has the powertrain. Currently, the only engine available on these models is a 5.3-litre, V8 that produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. To help save fuel, this motor features cylinder deactivation – so rather than running all eight cylinders, the motor shuts down four cylinders when cruising, while giving you all eight for when you need it. The system works very well, and there is even a display which shows you how many cylinders are being used, which would help you cut your fuel bill. However, what I loved the most was planting my foot into the carpet and let all the cylinders sing, Chevy V8s sure make great noises as you power down the road.
Speaking of power to the road, you can buy just a rear-wheel drive model (not many of those in Canada, as in the past only 2% of buyers picked this model) or an all-wheel drive model. Only one transmission is offered, which is a six-speed auto.
The Tahoe and Suburban are all for covering distances in comfort, and these new models surely do that well. They are also good for towing, as both of these models can handle pulling 9,000-lbs behind them.
These big SUVs might not be the ultimate handling machines when it comes to carving up a twisty road (and there were plenty of those in Gaspe), but their electronic power steering unit is a big improvement over their old hydraulic system.DSCN3121
All in all, the 2015 Tahoe and Suburban are great vehicles for the role they are designed for. They are priced well too. The 2WD base Tahoe is $49,565 – while the Suburban is $3,000 more. The 4WD Tahoe starts from $52,865, while the 4WD Suburban is $55,855.
While these vehicles are mostly popular in the Middle-East, if you have a big family, and you need a big vehicle to move them in, go try out the Tahoe and Suburban for yourself, they might just be the right fit for your lifestyle.

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