- The Washington Times - Friday, April 21, 2000

MODEL: Chevrolet Tahoe Limited
VEHICLE TYPE: Four-door SUV
PRICE-AS-TESTED: $35,625
MILEAGE: 14 city, 18 highway

Although Chevy is introducing a new body style for its Tahoe/ Suburban, it will continue cranking out a 2000 model of the current version as well. Both body styles will be produced and sold during the next year. It all has to do with capacity and the timetables for converting plants from the old to the new. In any event, the current body style won't disappear from showroom floors just yet. Despite the imminent departure of the current Tahoe, Chevy has created a couple of unique trim packages for it. The Z71 is a 4x4 model, while the Limited is 2-wheel drive. Chevy supplied a Limited for a weeklong adventure into northern Georgia.
The Limited is strictly an appearance package. Setting it apart from mainstream Tahoes on the outside are its onyx black exterior, unique ground effects and polished aluminum wheels. Inside, two-toned custom leather seating surfaces round out the Limited's offerings. While this may be focusing on the sizzle rather than the steak, the Limited is a strikingly handsome vehicle. Although, as sinister as the Limited's wrapper may be, it covers a traditional two-wheel drive Tahoe.
Standard power for both the Z71 and Limited is derived from the time-tested 5700 V-8. Displacing 5.7-liters, it is good for 255 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of peak torque. This is sufficient pulling capacity to tow about 7,000 pounds. A bit vocal, the 5700 operates flawlessly. Mated to it is the durable 4L60 4-speed automatic transmission. This is a solid marriage resulting in smooth shifts and outstanding acceleration.
Reaching 60 miles-per-hour from a standing stop requires just over 11 seconds. Not bad for a truck weighing in at more than 4,000 pounds.
What Tahoe is about is size. Stretching out nearly a foot and a half longer than the Blazer, the four-door Tahoe can carry a lot of people and their stuff. The rear cargo area is nothing short of huge and can be expanded by folding down the 60/40 split rear seat. While the more massive Suburban can be tough to negotiate through crowded parking lots, the Tahoe is much more manageable. This is a big sport utility vehicle, but still quite well suited to city driving.
Ride quality is good for a truck, but make no mistake, this is a truck. Its length and weight give Tahoe a well-rooted feel. It is, however, designed for hauling and towing. The suspension is fairly taut and really rough surfaces cause some disturbance in the passenger compartment. It leans a bit when cornering at speed. Over all, though, the Tahoe provides a comfortable, well-insulated over-the-road experience.
A higher step-up than normal makes mounting and dismounting more of an exercise. The door openings are wide and there are grab handles to aid the climb inside. Once inside, passengers find a cabin roomy and inviting. The seats are wide and nicely shaped. The rich smell of leather fills the cabin. The current dashboard with its easy to see gauges, simple controls and abundance of cup holders is still used in this Tahoe.
There is nothing here that should confuse a new owner. Operation of all systems is straight forward. Noise levels are relatively low and visibility, particularly to the front, is exceptional.
Whenever a model changeover occurs, there is always a percentage of the current owners and intenders who prefer the outgoing body style. Despite the fact the new Tahoe body style is quite similar to the current one, some loyalty to the current iteration will probably persist. In such cases, the Tahoe Limited preserves the current styling, but does offer a unique package setting it apart from the Tahoe mainstream.
Base price of the Tahoe Limited is $33,929. Standard features not already mentioned include dual air bags, front/rear air conditioning, rear cargo shade, cruise control, rear-window defogger, self-dimming rearview mirror with electronic compass/outside temperature gauge, power windows/ door locks, power adjustable driver's seat, AM/FM stereo/cassette, leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, rear window washer/wiper, daytime running lamps, fog lamps, power dual outboard mirrors and remote keyless entry.
My test Limited also had the Comfort and Security Package ($1,047) with heated front seats, power adjustable front passenger seat, cargo mat, self-dimming/ heated outboard mirrors and programmable transmitter. Adding the $650 destination charge brought the total price as tested to $35,626.

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