I knew it would be a short-lived relationship, but I do love cars, and since we are the types to buy a reliable automobile and drive it into the ground, I don’t get to play around with new cars very often. So when my friend Robin suggested applying for the Chevy Roadtrip to BlogHer program, I eagerly jumped on the bandwagon.
Chevy did not ask me to write a review, but I thought I’d share my impressions anyway. We are sort of in the market for a new car, meaning that my car has well over 100,000 miles on it and drives like a buckboard on the highway and I’m just waiting for it to die so I can justify replacing it. Besides that, it’s fun to dream. And also, did I mention, I like cars? So my husband and I have been talking a lot lately about what our next vehicle purchase will be.
I know one thing: it will NOT be another minivan. I loved having a minivan when my kids were babies, but I’m over it. I’m ready for something with a little more style, something that’s fun to drive. But of course it will need to be large enough to accommodate our growing family of five. And by growing, I mean growing in size as is related to age, not number, ahem.
When I signed up for the Chevy Roadtrippers program, I didn’t know what kind of car they would give us, but I assumed, incorrectly, that since we would be driving into Manhattan, they would probably give us a smaller car — perhaps the new electric Volt.
Imagine my surprise when I heard we’d be driving the Tahoe. And not just the Tahoe — the Hybrid version of the Tahoe. SWEET!
It’s a handsome vehicle, for sure. I have admired the Tahoe ever since they came out with the current body style back in 2007, and it looked awfully purty perched in my driveway. I was thrilled to try the Hybrid model because I’ve never driven a Hybrid before, and I’m intrigued by them. We briefly considered the Toyota Prius before my husband replaced his gas-guzzling Dodge Ram pick-up truck with a sensible Honda Accord last winter. (I’d have chosen the Prius, but it wasn’t my decision to make.)
I was a bit intimidated at the prospect of driving the Tahoe in the Big Apple. It’s an imposing vehicle, no doubt about it, and I have to say that I did feel rather conspicuous driving it. Also, the braking took some getting used to, as in, I almost ran over a pedestrian in New York City because it wasn’t as responsive as I was expecting. (Although, in my defense, I think he wanted to be hit. Only in NYC, right?)
Compared to my rickety aging minivan, the Tahoe drove like butter. The ride was incredibly smooth and almost silent, especially when driving in Hybrid mode. I love sitting up high, and I love the roominess inside the cabin. And it was actually quite easy to maneuver, if you can believe it. I actually managed to drive through the city without taking out a side mirror or a fender, so pat me on the back.
My only complaint would be the surprising lack of cargo room for a vehicle so large. With the third row seats in place, there was almost no cargo room at all behind them — barely room to line up a single row of groceries. And with the third row seats flipped up (they do not sink into the floor as they do in some minivans and crossover vehicles) there was certainly more room, but we were still hard pressed to fit all of our BlogHer luggage inside.
(On the way home, our copious bags of swag were stuffed all around poor Mindi in the second row.)
If I were considering the Tahoe for our family use, we would need that third row anyway, so flipping it up wouldn’t be an option. We would probably do what we do with our minivan and take half of the third row out entirely (it’s in two parts.) But even with a luggage rack on top and a seat out, I don’t see how it could provide enough room for us and our paraphernalia for our 2-week vacations to Maine. I guess that’s why people with large families often opt for the Suburban (or a minivan.)
The Tahoe Hybrid will also set you back a good chunk of change. The MSRP “starts” at $50,000, and the list price on our borrowed vehicle was $56,000. I know, YIKES. Of course, you get 22 MPG as compared with about 13 for a non-Hybrid Tahoe, so there’s that.
On the plus side, I absolutely loved the OnStar service. I get so frustrated typing an address into my GPS device. Either I misspell it and have to go back and correct, or even once I get it typed in correctly, it doesn’t find what I need, or worse, it takes me to the wrong location (that happened to me just last week.)
With OnStar, you speak to a live person and then download the directions to the Navigation system on the dash. You can verify exactly where you’re going, and there are no typos. It’s so much safer than trying to type and drive, not that I would ever do such a thing. Of course, you pay a premium for this service — $299 a year. But honestly? I think it’s worth it.
To wrap it up, I don’t think we will be considering a Tahoe for our next car. It was certainly fun to drive for a week, but we have our sights set on a crossover vehicle of some sort. The Chevy Traverse is on our radar, as well as a few others. My neighbor has the Traverse, and I took a peek inside the other day after driving the Tahoe and was surprised to see considerably more cargo room behind the third row seats. Plus, the third row seats fold flat into the floor. With those features as well as a starting MSRP of $29,000 and 24 MPH on the highway, it’s definitely a worthy contender.
What about you? I’d love to hear from other families of five. Do you have a car you love? Tell me about it.
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