While it has some undeniable strengths, the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe's old-school truck-based design results in a Total Car Score that's slightly below average in the Large SUV & Crossover category.
Topping the list of pros is the Tahoe's muscular V8 engine and healthy 8,500-pound towing capacity. The comfortable interior, with seating for up to nine passengers, is another selling point, as is the surprisingly refined ride quality.
As far as the cons go, reviewers were quick to point out that the Tahoe's sheer size adversely affects handling, maneuverability and fuel economy, making a large car-based crossover a better choice for most buyers. The cramped third-row seat — which must be yanked out and left behind to maximize cargo capacity — is another negative.
Given the fact that it may soon be replaced by a new, more fuel-efficient model or just dropped entirely, the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe returns with just a couple of changes, including an upgraded navigation system and a standard heated steering wheel on top-of-the-line models.
The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe is a fullsize eight-passenger SUV that's offered in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ.
There's just one engine available, a 5.3-liter V8 that puts out 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. The rest of the drivetrain details include a standard six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. There are also two different four-wheel drive systems available, including one with a traditional low-range transfer case.
Standard features on the entry-level LS model include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated outside mirrors, deep-tinted rear privacy glass, a roof rack, keyless entry, three-zone manual climate control, cloth upholstery, power front seats, a 60/40-split second-row and 50/50-split removable third-row seats, plus Bluetooth, OnStar and a CD stereo with satellite radio, rear seat audio controls and six speakers.
The mid-range LT trim level adds fog lights, three-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, driver's seat memory settings and a premium Bose audio system with nine speakers.
The top-of-the-line LTZ gets all that plus 20-inch alloy wheels, an air suspension, power-folding outside mirrors, a power liftgate, perforated leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a navigation system and an upgraded Bose audio system with 10 speakers and digital music storage.
Major options include second-row captain’s chairs that reduce passenger capacity to seven, or a front bench seat that ups the passenger count to nine. An available Z71 Off-Road package bundles 18-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires, a beefed-up suspension, skid plates and distinctive bodywork. LTZ models can also be had with power retractable running boards and a blind spot warning system. A sunroof, rear-seat video entertainment system, trailering package and 20- and 22-inch alloy wheels are also available.
EPA fuel economy estimates for all 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe models are 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined.
With the proper equipment, the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
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