2019 Chevy Tahoe LT Review
I recently had the opportunity to drive a 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT for a day. While cruising around in this brand new, never rented before rental, and recording my observations while doing my normal day job, I came to a good many conclusions.
The Chevy Tahoe get a lot of things right,
but on the other hand, is not quite there. I'll explain more on all of that later.
The overall take away I got after driving this vehicle was, wow, very nice, this needs a review. Secondarily was the rental rate, $87 a day. The cost dictated that, yeah, I needed to write this thing up, if for no other reason than offsetting my cost with something positive and productive. I was paying the rental cost, not my job, thus I had to make this rental work for me. As a part time blogger I think in these terms, at times.
What do I know?
Why should I write a car, or SUV, review? Well, first off, because I can. 2nd, I want to, and 3rdly, I'm a car nut.
Years ago, maybe like 32 years back, I was talking to a guy who came into the pizza joint I was running. We got to talking about cars, and he stops and says, "You're kind of a car nut, huh?" I thought about it for a moment, and replied that, "no, not any more than any other red blooded American male is, I suppose." That man, I found out YEARS later was the famous race car driver/entrepreneur Steve Saleen. I had no idea of the lofty heights of car magic I was speaking with! His shop was just down the way, but never thought he might pop into this seedy joint. So, now, yes, I claim that moniker, proudly.
Oh, and fourthly, it's my website. So there. Credentials offered.
First Impressions Count - sort of
Approaching the SUV, the worker documenting the conditions of the Tahoe, I first noted that the Tahoe was big-ish. It was nice looking, although certainly not breath-taking. Hertz had offered me a Nissan Rogue, which is all well and fine, but I said no. I really didn't want to be teased with the "Soccer Mom Car" taunt, so I asked what else they had. Relief swept over me when they offered the new 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT. Ah, to be in this large, pretty vehicle!
I had noted that since the 4th generation Tahoe's came out in 2015, they sort of resembled a raised 1970's station wagon. Their belt line was high, and their greenhouse (windows) were vertically challenged. Short, in other words. Both the Suburbans and Tahoe's looked like they had been chopped. In fact, that's exactly what I thought when I saw the first of these when they were released. Chopped. Or shrunken, to increase gas mileage.
Once the rental worker was done documenting (I did not interact, I got a phone call) I opened the door and climbed in. Wow! Very nice! I am over 6 feet tall, so stepping in was not a big deal for me. In fact, I stopped over the built in step rail.
I was greeted with a mostly black leather interior, with faux, high gloss, wood trim. I'm sure the rental worker had instructions and what-not, but come on, I'm a car nut, I've driven pretty much everything. That which I could not figure out immediately, I'd get later. Start it up, pop it in gear, release the parking brake, and back to work I went.
In most cars, especially rentals, all you need to know are the basics. Where does the key go. How do you disengage the parking brake. How to adjust the seats and mirrors. It was almost like the Tahoe had been waiting for me, all the settings were perfect. Oh, opening the gas filler door is a treat I had to google, by the way. Helpful hint: simply push the door to open it. there are no fancy buttons to open it, and there's no true gas cap, either.
It was easy as pie, no big deal, to pull out into traffic, and I quickly noted that this was a pretty special SUV. I soon saw the 4x4 shifter, or knob, actually. Shortly thereafter I noted the XM Sirius stations on the large in dash display. Oh, sure, there were AM and FM stations too, but, siriusly, (haha), I knew the sound quality would rock with the satellite connection. That would have to wait, because I still had work to do.
Later I had a chance to check out the sound system. The satellite sound system sounded great, and the terrestrial stations sounded tinny and weak. Called that right off the bat.
To be honest, I did not use most of the cool gadgets the 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT is loaded with. And I mean that, LOADED. I hear, time and again, how the Yukon and Escalade are upscale Tahoe's, but I cannot not think of a single feature one could add to this Tahoe to make it any better, or more plush. It had:
- Comfortable leather seats and upscale materials
- Great and intuitive infotainment center
- Power Sunroof and slide open cover to a moon roof
- Satellite radio, GPS, and all that goes with that including apple Carplay, Android Auto, USB ports, etc.
- 4 wheel drive
- Hill decent setting
- Push button Towing setting on the right column stalk
- Heat/cooled seats, did I mentions that they were comfortable, and leather?
- Ample storage
- Twin 1st and second row buckets seats, and 3rd row bench seat
- Morgue quite ride, except what passed at high speed by opposing traffic. That sound carries through the triple seals.
- and on and on...
Breaking all this down
Looking at photos of the Yukon and Escalade, I see NO appreciable difference! You see, at a $56,000 price for this particular ride, it better be pretty darned good. And it was.
Comfortable leather seats and upscale materials
1 - Very comfortable seats! Among the best I have ever ridden in.
2. - Although I spent only a couple minutes using the infotainment center, I found it simple and intuitive to use.
Looking at the Sky
3. - I have never been a fan of sunroofs. Or moon roofs, for that matter. I find them a distraction. However, I did slide back the moon roof cover for about 10 minutes, and close it back up. I did not open the sun roof, because it was cold out, and I could not figure out how to. I was driving, whattya want.
Music from the Sky
4. - Satellite radio, etc, this goes right there with line item 2.
Trundling Off road
5. - 4wd, I saw the toggle switch, and it will automatically shift into 4WD when needed, or you can manually engage it. It didn't, and I didn't. Auto lights too!
Coming Back down
6. - Hill decent assist, I did not use this. Besides, I would have been too terrified of damaging the thing going 4 wheeling anyway. Who takes a 56 grand rented wagon off road? Not this guy.
Pulling It along
7. - Push button towing setting - I did push this stalk in, and it took me a few seconds to figure out how to disengage it. I wasn't towing anything, sooo...
Keeping the Hiney comfortable
8. - Heated and cooled seats - I would have used this had I had more time with the Tahoe.
Putting it away
9. - The center console is huge, and the behind the infotainment screen looks neat, but I could not figure out how to open it. Cubbies and such abound, but the rear, behind the 3rd row bench seat holds almost nothing.
2nd class 1st Class Seating
10. - 2nd row buckets, very cool!
Did You Just Whisper?
11. - and that ride, wow, whoosh quite, for the most part! And, by the way, the 4wd version definitely rides higher than a Chevy Silverado. I like that.
12. - And on and on...it has a "Wow Factor." Everyone that saw me in it wanted to know more.
The Drive - Part II
How many of these gadgets did I use? This thing was dressed to the 9's, so I'm a little ashamed to say, almost none. Impressive at it was, I was more focused on driving. I wish more people were, too. You see, all these bells and whistles can be near as much a distraction as using ones cell phone. The 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT has tons of gadgets that can distract, so stay disciplined!
What I did note is that the 5.3 liter V8, while quiet and smooth as melted butter most of the time, gets a little jittery at times. At first I had no idea what was under the hood, and why would I care? It's a rental. but on my way home the first day I got curious. After all, what car freak DOESN'T want to know what is powering his steed? I started guessing, 4 banger turbo, hit the gas, no. A V6 then, because at times the engine seemed a little rough, and the gas mileage hovered around 20 mpg, with a high of 26.
Soon I started toggling through the settings, changing the dash display. It was not all that dissimilar to doing so in our 2016 Sonata, to be honest.
Boom, the display showed that the V8 that went into V4 mode when not under load. "Ah", I thought, "That explains the occasional roughness, and the mileage! But it does not address the...
Odd 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT Hood Shake
Bear in mind, this is a brand new vehicle. I'm the first person to enjoy some mileage behind the wheel. Also, bear in mind that I mentioned distractions. The single most distracting thing about driving the otherwise awesome to drive 2019 Chevy Tahoe LT was a 1 foot round patch of hood sheet metal, right in my line of sight, that constantly shook. It was like watching one of those videos where some guy has water atop a subwoofer. I could not keep my eyes off it!
I did read a few articles prior to writing mine, mostly for confirmation of my observations, and you know what? The Tahoe's hood is aluminum! This is to save weight. And, apparently, to distract me and others into fatal crashes. I am an idiot, and I will stare at that danged thing until the cows come home!
Now the Bad
I've already touched on some of the bad, such as the lack of space behind the 3rd row bench seat, the hood spot shimmy, etc. By the way, when you open the (auto opening and closing) lift gate, or rear hatch, if you will, you will note that there is a storage doo-dad right at the bottom of the floor. I suppose this is to store knick-knacks in that you don't want the world seeing. It's only maybe 56 inched deep by the full width, so I guess Chevy figured folks would carry their rifles back there? Or maybe 1 golf club? Weird. All I know is this close-able box impinges on the already scarce stowage back there. Not to worry, drop the split bench seat and you have gobs of storage!
Now you see them
Now you don't
Seeing some of the buttons is also goofy. You would think that since they obviously spent a fair amount of time on the ergonomics, that burying the windshield wiper controls on the left stalk totally hidden behind the steering wheel would have been corrected. It wasn't. Had I driven into a squall, I would have been simply fumbling blind to clear the windshield.
The 2019 Tahoe LT Wallows like a 1978 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Raise up the Caddy, and you'd basically have this Tahoe! Land yacht, in other words. I read one review that said the Tahoe is jittery over rough roads. I did not find that to be so, it took on rough roads like a champ. But I did find that is has excessive bounce and wallow. It remains solidly planted, but bobs way too much for a $56000 ride. Better dampers, GM! Stat!
'Bout time, am I right? I've been prattling around all this time...
All the reviews I read rated the 2019 Ford Expedition higher than the Chevy Tahoe LT, and cited the lack of cargo space as the biggest issue. The Ford Expedition is also WAY more expensive than the 2nd place full sized SUV, the Tahoe.
See this article: https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/chevrolet-tahoe-vs-ford-expedition
In most the rankings, the Ford takes 1st place, the Tahoe, 2nd, the Nissan Armada, 3rd, and the Toyota Sequoia last. I'm not listing the Dodge Durango with these, as it is not in the same class, and, well, it's a freakin' Dodge. I have a Dodge Ram 4x4, and I have only two words about Chrysler products: Never Again.
The Tahoe bests the Yukon and the Escalade as well, even though they share so much, which is, to me, unfathomable.
The Tahoe has V8 power (the Expedition does not) and even if it does throttle down to a V4 on occasion, the satisfaction of a healthy V8 under foot is immensely satisfying. I would take the Tahoe LT over the Expedition any day, and twice on Sunday. I just cannot reconcile spending $56,000, or more, on ANY vehicle.
How I Came to Drive the Chevrolet Tahoe LT
I drive for about half of each day on my Monday through Friday day job. I drive a company Ford Transit Connect for work. The work van is fully wrapped, ie, it has the company name and logo on it. It's a great little vehicle. I'm lucky to drive it. The challenges with this little beast are that
- It has over 100k miles on it, and things break.
- I'm constantly cut off in traffic because it is slow, and hard to see around.
- It's noisy.
I've had the Transit Connect in the shop a number of times since the beginning of the year for various maladies. When the Connect broke down prior, I rented a 2018 Toyota Corolla for a couple days. This time, when the brakes started grinding out of nowhere - coasting at 20 mph on the freeway - I knew I'd be in a rental again. I took the vehicle down to Pep Boys for brakes (it was close by) and was ready to walk to the local Enterprise Rent A Car. The Pep Boys I went to just happened to have a Hertz Rent-A-Car in their lobby, so it all worked out. Yes, $87 per day for a rental is a lot (it isn't, really, I'm just cheap), it was worth every penny to drive this big ol' SUV. I was sad to have to give it back.