I enjoy writing these blogs because I get to mix fact with my personal opinion. And in my opinion, the Chevrolet TAHOE and Chevrolet SUBURBAN are two of the most popular vehicles Chevrolet has built in recent years. Even with gasoline prices starting to rise, the efficiency of Active Fuel Management, Variable Valve Timing, and 6-speed transmission make the Tahoe and even Suburban a very logical choice for families and individuals who need the spacious size and cavernous capabilities of an SUV.
Folks who come to our dealership either wish they could afford one, or they actually buy one. With the incentives General Motors is pumping into sales to stimulate the economy, many folks who start out as “Tahoe wishers” happily end up “buyers” of a new Tahoe or Suburban.
Because of the outstanding safety features, you can add peace of mind to the equation of utility and efficiency. For instance, Stabilitrak continuously compares your steering wheel inputs with the path the Tahoe or Suburban is following. If you over-steer to avoid someone who pulls out in front of you, StabiliTrak will apply outside front brake and reduce the engine torque to “keep the tail behind the nose” and all four wheels on the ground to minimize rollover tendencies.
But if the Tahoe cannot avoid a rollover because you slip too close to the shoulder of the road, rollover sensors will deploy all airbags and keep you cradled in a cushion of air until the vehicle stops rolling and comes to rest. This prevents occupants from banging around against metal. Crash sensors will notify ONSTAR to send emergency help right away. In a crash, OnStar will ask if you are O.K. If you respond they will follow your instructions; if you do not respond, OnStar will send emergency help right to your vehicle.
OnStar, will remind you of maintenance that is due and will notify you if mechanical problems are detected that require immediate attention. OnStar also provides ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE should you blow a tire or run out of gas, and OnStar always knows where you are. You won’t have to try and explain your location.
OnStar’s HANDS-FREE CALLING let’s you make and receive phone calls via satellite without using your cell phone minutes. If your Tahoe is stolen, OnStar will locate it, shut it down, and send the cops right to its location. If you lock your keys in the vehicle, OnStar can unlock it for you. Amazing technology! Talk about VALUE!
Even more amazing though is that many folks think all these features should cost little or nothing. They are not as concerned with VALUE as they are PRICE. Surely you have stood on a car dealership lot and watched people walk around a new car or truck. They peek through the windows, pull on the door handles to look inside, and sometimes even crouch down to look under the front or rear (for what I’m sure I don’t know…but they act like it’s important).
Eventually they work their way to the sticker and find the “price”. Then…they react like a hand grenade just blew up in their face. They stand straight up so fast you can hear their spine pop two blocks away…they fall back three or four steps…gasp for air…clutch their chest and say, “Oh my gosh, I could buy a HOUSE for that much money!” Occasionally, “Oh my gosh” is replaced by other expletives not suited for the tender ears of a car salesman.
“Why are these things so stinkin’ expensive?” they growl. I respond, “Well, how much do you think it SHOULD cost? Tell ya what, let’s take it apart, and put it back together using only the parts that give you the price you think it should be sold for.
‘First, let’s see, how ’bout we do away with all four doors. After all, just the die on which the door is stamped during production costs about $40,000. On a 4-door vehicle every door is different. So each door has to be designed separately, engineered separately, and manufactured separately…four different dies to stamp out four different doors on the Tahoe. Of course, none of the doors of a Tahoe will fit ANY door position on a Malibu…or any other model. Gosh, designing can be expensive. But hey, we’re determined to get the price down, right? Right!
‘Now, actually we have saved much more than we bargained for by leaving the doors off. Without doors we have no side airbags or head-curtain airbags or quick-deploy airbag mechanisms. And anyway, if the doors aren’t there, we won’t be hitting our head on them if someone crashes into the side of our Tahoe. Oops, we might hit our head on the front of THEIR car…or SEMI! Forgot about that. Oh well, price…price…price…gotta keep thinking about price. We’re out to save big money here.
‘Wow! Another expensive item we don’t really need: STABILITRAK. If we roll the vehicle, who cares? It’s just that much more money we have saved to spend on the medical bills. While we’re in the hospital being fed baby food, we won’t be needing those HEATED and POWERED SEATS either. Won’t need CLIMATE CONTROL or BOSE ENTERTAINMENT or HEATED and POWERED MIRRORS. Nope, when we’re in the hospital and in traction, all we need is someone to reach as far down the body cast as possible to scratch that intolerable itch.
‘No doors, no StabiliTrak, no roll sensors, no side airbags or head-curtain airbags, no convenience features. What else? Oh yeah, 4-wheel drive, we won’t need 4-wheel drive. And if we never backup in reverse, we won’t need backup sensors or rearview camera. Brother we have saved LOTS of money!”
A couple of weeks before writing this epistle, a gentleman came into our dealership and said he wanted to buy a new truck or SUV, and he didn’t care about anything but the BACK-UP SENSORS. He HAD to have BACK-UP SENSORS and REARVIEW CAMERA. That morning he had crawled into his pickup and started to let up on the brake to back out of his driveway. But he noticed a young couple in his rearview mirror staring at the back of his truck as they drove past his house.
Something seemed strange. He put his truck in park, got out and walked to the tailgate. His granddaughter had wedged her plastic tricycle under his rear bumper and was trying to pull it free. He said he started crying when he realized that he would have backed over her if he had not seen those people driving by. He said BACK-UP SENSORS and REARVIEW CAMERA would have told him she was there even if those folks had not caught his attention.
By the way, while we are saving money cheap-tricking our Tahoe, I’d like you to tell me WHAT A LIFE IS WORTH!
Now, don’t kid yourself…POLICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT will not be purchasing our “dirt-cheap version” of the Tahoe or Suburban. It’s just for the price-conscious (or “price-without-conscience”). Police and law enforcement will only buy the real deal meal. You may not know it, but Chevrolet produces a version of the 4WD Tahoe called the “Special Service Vehicle” (SSV), tailored to the needs of law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS crews for all purposes except high-speed pursuits.
The 2WD version is called the PPV (Police Pursuit Vehicle). It has a lowered center of gravity for high-speed work. IT IS THE ONLY SUV IN THE UNITED STATES APPROVED FOR POLICE PURSUIT TODAY! It clips along at 130+ miles-per-hour (WITH all the doors on, of course)! When you watch all those criminal investigation shows on TV and they are driving Tahoes and Suburbans, it’s not Hollywood hype…it’s reality-based fact! Even with all the armor plating and bulletproof glass and roll-flat tires and stuff they won’t tell the public about…the big motor under the hood moves the Tahoe and Suburban at just under the speed of Mach.
General Motors has invested heavily in low-emissions technology and fuel conservation. GM was the first to employ cylinder deactivation in 1981. The concept was called “Displacement-on-Demand”, and is now called “Active Fuel Management”. It allows the Engine Control Module to shut down half of the cylinders on a V8 motor when the vehicle is cruising at a steady speed under low load conditions, changing the 8-cylinder motor to a 4-cylinder. This results in reduced emissions and a 5.5% to 7.5% increase in gas mileage. Those cylinders are reactivated instantly, returning to 8-cylinder mode if you increase speed or load.
Thanks to Active Fuel Management, the Tahoe and Suburban average 21 MPG on the highway. That’s AVERAGE. If you live at sea-level on flat ground and drive mostly on interstate highways you’ll get closer to 25 MPG. Outstanding for an SUV that does everything: It will transport a family to church on Sunday and then hustle a SWAT team chasing bad guys during the week.
I could write on and on about crumple zones under the hood that absorb front-end impact; about how the engine and transmission scoot down under you instead of back in your lap during a front-end impact; about how the hood latches at the rear to prevent guillotining through the windshield during a front-end impact; about high-strength steel used in safety cage construction to protect you during impact from ANY direction; about soft steel used for both strength and soundproofing throughout the vehicle.
Bottom line? No other SUV today surpasses the Tahoe and Suburban in exceeding standards of safety, economy, efficiency, and excellence. Don’t believe me? Drive one. In my opinion General Motors is the Best of the Best, and Chevrolet is the Best of General Motors, and the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban set the standard of excellence for SUVs today.