- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2006

The best-selling full-size SUV just got better. The Chevrolet Tahoe has been the best-selling full-size SUV since 2001, accounting for 26 percent of all full-size registrations. The entire market segment for the largest-size SUVs average 750,000 units in annual sales.

The 2007 Tahoe is the first of General Motors next-generation full-size SUVs to be introduced. The new Tahoes began to appear at Chevrolet dealers in January.

The new Tahoe delivered on the main objectives outlined by General Motors engineers. Since the current Tahoe is the fuel-economy leader in the full-size SUV segment, the plan was to break through the 20-mile-per-gallon barrier in EPA unadjusted combined fuel economy. Several factors contributed to the success of 20.5 miles per gallon in two-wheel drive models and 20.1 mpg in four-wheel-drive versions. The new Active Fuel Management Gen IV small-block V-8 engine offers more power than comparable powertrains in previous models, while delivering better fuel economy. The AFM system allows the eight-cylinder engine to operate on four cylinders when less throttle is required.

This Vortec 5.3-liter engine with 320 horsepower and 335 foot-pounds of torque provides power and economy in one package.

Adding to the quest for better fuel mileage, a redesigned body allows the 2007 Tahoe the ability to slip through the wind with a best-in-class 0.363 coefficient of drag. When cd is lowered, fuel economy on the highway is enhanced. A more steeply raked windshield, at 57 degrees versus the previous 50 degrees, and a smoother roofline improve the aerodynamics of the Tahoe.

Tighter body gaps and full wrap-around-smooth front fascias eliminate the conventional bumper-to-body gap, enhancing aerodynamics. Little things such as the elimination of the external lip on the fuel filler door and the addition of the radio antenna in the glass, thus removing the gas-robbing mast aerial, all helped to move fuel economy north of 29 mpg.

Weight, another fuel economy factor, was removed inside and from the chassis. Seat belts have been moved from “belt in seat” locations, to the door pillars, thus allowing front seats to be constructed in a lighter, thinner configuration. The use of aluminum lower control arms in the front suspension accounted for a 10 pound per side weight savings.

In addition to a redesigned, smoother exterior for the next-generation Chevrolet Tahoe, the interior offers an important story. Customers have been clear in requiring three rows of seats in full-size SUVs. The problem has been reaching the last row easily.

The 2007 Tahoe is the first-in-segment to offer power-release fold-and-tumble second-row seats.

These seats eliminate the sometimes cumbersome task of manually flipping forward the second-row seats in order to get to the back.

The second-row seats are power operated from a switch at the second door-pillar location, as well as from the front roof console, for easy operation by the driver.

Spacious, is the feeling one gets inside the new Tahoe. The instrument panel has been moved down and forward 6 inches to allow for better visibility and a more wide-open inside environment.

Premium materials such as woven fabric is used to cover many interior surfaces, including door pillars.

This adds a feeling of luxury not experienced in previous models.

Passenger seating can be configured to accommodate nine, with cup holders and storage available throughout.

Features include, first- and second-row heated seats and a remote vehicle starting system that starts the thaw and warming process before you enter your Tahoe in the morning.

Safety inside is enhanced with dual-stage driver’s front air bag.

Standard dual-stage outboard-front passenger air bag, and available roof-mounted head curtain side air bags for all seating rows all add to the safety story.

Now available is the ultrasonic rear parking assist and rearview camera system that should greatly aid the backing-up process.

Power-articulating running boards will be available later in the model year to further help with ingress and egress. The remote power lift gate allows entry to the rear of the vehicle without putting packages down.

Interior refinements continue with interior gaps reduced to 0.5-1.0 millimeters. Improved seat closeouts result in no exposed seat hardware, saving fingers from scrapes when adjusting seat positions or removing third-row seats.

Seats have longer fore and aft travel and the seats recline 20 degrees for a more comfortable riding position, and have sculpted back panels to allow better knee room for passengers behind you.

Tahoe has three body styles, the LS, LT and LTZ. The popular Z71 off-road package will be available later in the model year.

This all adds up to the claim that the redesigned 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe is the best yet.

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