2007 Tahoe LS

These days, it takes a man to drive an SUV. Or, at the very least, a person with extremely
thick skin. Now, just wait a minute. Before the letters start to fly, please allow me to
explain myself. Gas prices have reached new heights — up to $3.50 a gallon for regular in
some spots (at the time this was written) — and there seems to be a growing disdain for
“gas guzzlers” like some SUVs. Most times, driving down the Interstate in a vehicle such as
the Chevrolet Tahoe will get you acquainted with a particular digit from the hands of
ignorant, irrational drivers. Until now. The redesigned 2007 Chevy Tahoe LS (LT1, LT2, LT3
and LTZ versions are also available) may appear to be a traditional moderate-gas-mileage
vehicle, but it sure doesn’t burn fuel the way others in its full-size class seem to. To
help with distance between fuel-ups, Chevy has employed what it calls “Active Fuel
Management,” a variable-cylinder system that actually switches from eight cylinders to four
when under light throttle in order to conserve fuel. Plus, the engine is compatible with
E85 Ethanol, which is a more environmentally friendly fuel. All told, Chevy claims mileages
of 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway — decent numbers that we won’t dispute based on our
16.3/21.8 findings. The Tahoe’s standard 5.3-liter Vortec 5300 V-8 brought us 9.4-second
0-60 mph times, and had no problem darting up the local 7 percent grade at 60 mph solo
(with more perk in reserve). The Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed auto transmission features a
tow/haul mode which alters shift timing to allow engine speed to climb higher before
shifting to the next gear, resulting in smooth shifts that keep the Tahoe out of the far
right lane and in the normal flow of traffic. Four-wheel ABS helps bring things to a stable
and controllable halt when necessary. At first glance, it’s easy to spot the differences
between the 2007 and previous Tahoe models. For starters, the body-colored grille sports
the large Chevy bowtie logo. Large 17-inch wheels, a raked windshield, integrated wheel
flares and a wraparound fascia designed to eliminate the bumper-to-body gap all add to the
Tahoe’s new look. A wider wheelbase and a smoother roofline also help with the aesthetics,
not to mention the aerodynamics. Aside from being eco-friendly, the new Tahoe is deceiving
in other ways. Despite its full-size SUV designation, the Tahoe scoots along with many of
the same handling characteristics as a conventional passenger car. It does so by utilizing
independent suspension with monotube shocks up front, and a multilink layout with coil
springs and monotubes out back. GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability-control system makes
sure things don’t spin out of control during aggressive maneuvers, such as quick lane
changes. For the 2007 Tahoe, Chevy’s engineers focused on keeping things quiet in the
cabin, and we can attest that the difference could be heard (or, not heard, for that
matter). A new, stiffer frame reduces vibrations in the cabin, and noise-reducing
components were used throughout, including headliner material and door seals. We found that
conversation could easily be held at a normal level within the Tahoe, and that was with the
standard eight-speaker AM/FM CD stereo providing some ambient tunes. Upon entering the
Tahoe, you’ll notice an immediate difference over many of the SUVs on the market today:
headroom and ample visibility. It seems like a simple enough concept, though many taller
drivers often find themselves behind the wheel of a mid- or full-size SUV, straining to see
the lights at a traffic signal. The luxury feel that begins on the Tahoe’s exterior is
continued within, beginning with attractive upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering
wheel, an easy-to-read instrument panel and a stereo/climate-control cluster surrounded by
a burl-wood-like finish. The Driver Information Center (DIC) in the instrument panel keeps
pilots abreast of key vehicle functions while on the road, including oil-change intervals,
hot coolant temps, door ajar, low oil pressure, low fuel, low washer fluid and more. The
tilt steering wheel features audio and cruise controls — another nod toward
user-friendliness and safety. The front seat sports a traditional 40/20/40 bench, with a
large, spacious fold-down console should you only have one or two passengers up front. The
rear seats are the standard cloth 60/40 bench variety with a fold-down center-console
armrest. The optional third row wasn’t included in our test vehicle, but if it were, I’d
likely be discussing the Lilliputian occupants that would be the only passengers able to
ride along with ample legroom. The spacious cargo bay easily gobbled up all the gear we
could muster, including chairs, an ice chest, duffel bags and the like. For quick access
when the area is stuffed to the gills, the Tahoe’s design enables users to open the rear
window without disturbing the leaning tower of cargo, a welcome convenience indeed. All
told, Chevy’s redesigned 2007 Tahoe LS is a capable tow vehicle with up to 6,200 pounds
capacity. It looks great, handles well and should have no problem doing double duty as a
daily driver. Just be on the lookout for those misinformed SUV-ophobes and their middle
fingers.

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