With preparations underway for an upcoming next-generation model, the Chevrolet Tahoe receives only minor changes for 2006. The catalytic converters have been relocated, a tire pressure monitoring system is standard, there’s a manual-adjust parking brake system, OnStar and satellite radio antennae have been combined into a single unit, and a flexible-fuel V8 is available.
The Tahoe can be considered the “baby brother” to the full-size Suburban; the two share the same platform and 5.3-litre V8 engine (a 4.8-litre V8 available in the U.S. market is not sold in Canada). There are two trim lines, the LS and LT, both available in rear- or all-wheel-drive. The LS comes with six-passenger seating, the LT with five; both can be optioned with a third-row, three-passenger flip-and-fold seat.
The LS includes fog lights, rear washer/wiper, privacy glass, heated mirrors, roof rack side rails, 16-inch aluminum wheels, variable intermittent wipers, tri-zone manual climate control, rear auxiliary heater, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, cloth interior, 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with six-way power driver adjuster, 60/40 split folding bench seat, CD/cassette player, self-levelling rear shock absorbers, keyless entry and OnStar.
The LT adds power foldaway mirrors with reverse tilt, driver’s side auto-dimming, integrated turn signals and puddle lights, roof rack cross bars, 17-inch aluminum wheels, electronic tri-zone climate control, floor console, HomeLink garage door opener, cargo net and cover, personalization feature, leather interior with 10-way power driver and passenger heated seats, driver position memory, and six-CD stereo with second-row audio controls and headphone jacks.
The Tahoe offers considerable flexibility; the second row of seats fold forward to create a flat floor, and an optional third-row bench seat turns it into a nine-passenger vehicle, although that last row is very tight for adults. The optional third row also has a 50/50 split, for extra cargo/passenger configurations. Several add-ons are available to turn the Tahoe into a pricey but well-equipped vehicle, including rear electronic climate control, power folding mirrors, Bose sound system and rear-seat DVD.
Poised between the front-wheel-drive Equinox and the massive Suburban, the Tahoe represents a viable rear-wheel alternative, although it’s a $17,420 move up from the Equinox. At the other end of the scale, it’s an additional $4,205 to jump up to the Suburban, but depending on your needs, and the fact that you’re already hovering around fifty grand, the extra space, including a far more viable third-row seat, may be worth the price.
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