They Came and Took My Beautiful Tahoe Away

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!

chevy tahoe

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.

chevy tahoe interior

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.

tahoe cargo space

(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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24 thoughts on “They Came and Took My Beautiful Tahoe Away

  1. My mother in law drives a Traverse and it’s surprisingly spacious! Hers doesn’t have a third row, though – so it’d difficult with 3 car seats shoved in the back. Hopefully if I can convince my oldest to grow a couple inches in the next year we’ll be down one seat (and I’m totally looking forward to that day!)

    1. I’m almost down to one seat. My middle child turns 8 this December, and then she technically no longer requires one, although she likes it so much that I expect she’ll continue to use it.

  2. I so want another minivan, even though my boys are 11 and 9. Right now I drive a Saturn Vue, which I love, but there is not enough storage space in it when we go on vacation.

  3. We had a Tahoe as one of our rental cars on family vacation last week- it was ENORMOUS. I’m glad I didn’t have to drive it because I don’t think I can handle that much car. But riding in it was great since it was so roomy.

    As for car recommendations- I seriously L-O-V-E my Mazda CX-9. Pretty much every thing about it is great. It has a third row, incredibly easy to clean fabric, and lots of amenities. And we only paid $23k for a brand spankin’ new one that hadn’t even been test driven by anyone other than us. We got the basic model and we bought at the right time, so we got a great deal. You could obviously spend more than that if you wanted a more souped-up version. I checked the blue book value the other day and it’s currently $5K MORE than we paid- over a year later! woot. Anyway- it’s awesome and you should keep it in mind when thinking about your next car.

  4. We have finally made the decision to say good-bye to my Acadia. 🙁 Already approved for a car loan so the shopping now begins. We still need a decent amount of space in the back for the trips and the dog, etc; however I need to downsize just a bit. That being said, the GMC Acadia is by far the best car I’ve owned. Spacious, drives smoothly, and the On-Star is wonderful. I would recommend it for any family.

  5. We paid $17,000 for our second-hand Dodge Grand Caravan and we LOVE it. We have 4 kids ages 0-9 so we are packed in tight (that middle seat in the 3rd row could hardly qualify as a seat). But the back has plenty of space for storage and a roof rack may come in handy some day. It also has stow and go but we avoid it since my kids are crazy messy and would end up dropping something in there, never to be seen again. But that also may be handy for the future. The back row folds flat and I can fold 2/3, 1/3 or all of it. I can even stash the middle seats into the stow and go area. Tons of space if I ever need to haul something large!
    It’s one of the best purchases we’ve ever made.
    One day we might need to upgrade to a conversion van if we ever want to haul our kids’ friends around but for now it’s what we’ve always wanted.

    1. I have the older Sienna (now it’s like 3 models ago) and the seats do not stow. I really, really want that feature next time.

  6. We just got rid of our Toyota minivan a few months ago. It came down to choosing between the Acadia, and a Toyota Sequoia. I love them both. I have three kids, and we needed a third row seat, and enough cargo space. I ended up choosing the Sequoia, and I love it. Toyota has never let us down, and we thought it would be more reliable than Chevy. It’s comfy, and there is way more cargo space than a lot of the other larger SUVs. We just got home home from a 2,000 mile trip with all the kids – I’d recommend it. Good luck!

  7. I am soooo ready to evict my Toyota minivan. The Traverse is on my radar but not hubbys. I also really want to look at the Subaru Tribeca. We really want something all wheel drive since our neck of the woods is snowy in the winter. We are only in the dream phase of a new car, but once my 9 year old hits that magic number in height and my hubby’s truck is paid off we are going to bite the bullet. I am very interested in hearing what you decide on in the end. I realize that you said you are only looking, but you never know, right?

  8. The Traverse replaced the Trailblazer, which is what I have. With a third row you probably won’t have any space in the back. Just based on my experience. But I do wish they had kept the Trailblazer because I LOVE mine and it will definitely be driven into the ground.

  9. Thank you for that review because we have been wondering the SAME thing – what will our next vehicle be. Our previous vehicle was a Tahoe – we liked it but that particular year was known for having serious problems right around the 80k mark. So, we traded it b4 we got to that point, which sucks cuz I hate car shopping.

    Our current vehicle is a Denali and while I sure do love it, there are a few things I really don’t like about it. (for instance, as big as the that dumb thing is there is NO leg room, front or back). And the passenger seats reclines back maybe 30 degrees at best.

    A crossover has always been of interest to me, but I’m just not sure I can do the whole not-an-suv-but-almost-an-suv after all these years.

    1. Yeah, the crossover is becoming the new minivan. But with the economy the way it is and all my back-to-nature eating kind of spilling over into other areas of our life, I can’t justify a gas guzzling SUV just for the coolness factor (which is why I’d be getting one, as I have already determined that it has less cargo room and worse gas mileage than the crossovers.) And minivans are out, so a crossover it is. I may look at that Mazda that someone suggested, and I know the Acadia is nice.

      1. I totally understand!!!! If I drove – like at all, ever (hahaha) I would have to rethink an SUV. But 3000 miles a year is about all the more my vehicle sees.

        Crossovers are not as popular here at all. Big Ford trucks and SUVs are all the rave. Some families have BOTH (I’m like OMG, suck gas much?)

  10. I drove a Ford Freestyle (now Taurus, early crossover model) before getting the giant van. I loved it! It was the right size for our family because we don’t take long road trips at this stage. We all fit in the car and our stuff fit in the back for the weekend trips we took. I liked feeling like I was in a sportier car. I would have loved to get a Traverse but we knew getting a big van was more practical for us.

  11. We were lucky enough to receive a hand-me-down GMC Yukon XL (XL meaning there’s extra cargo space in the way back) as a gift from my parents. It has 2 bucket seats in the middle row and a third seat that will fold down. Like ‘your’ Tahoe, though, the 3rd row seat doesn’t lie flush with the floor so it really doesn’t allow for that much more cargo space. Since it’s the XL, though, I’ve already got plenty of cargo space whether the 3rd row is up or down. We have loved my car and wouldn’t trade it for anything, especially considering we’d actually have to pay for it! I think it would easily handle a family of five – we have 2 children but usually have more than that when we’re driving around town/ carpooling anyway.

    Good luck car-hunting! I don’t envy you.

    1. Nikki and Jo-Lynne,

      I have the Chevy suburban and love it! It has plenty of room for cargo and the many teenagers I am constantly towing.. It is a large vehicle but its gas mileage is pretty good. I have a model that switches down to 4 cylinders on the highway..to help with the gas mileage issue. You can’t go wrong with the comfort and we have had great success with the quality of our vehicle. Good Luck in your search Jo-Lynne.

  12. I have the traverse and we LOVE it! we are also a family of five and it fits us perfect..even with a friend or two in tow. Love how the seats fold flat with the back…and its nice they are split so you can still use one of the seats in the third row. Plus its just fun to drive!(and I promise i dont work for chevy 🙂 )

  13. Didn’t you love it? My husband drives a Yukon (GMC’s Tahoe), and loves it, so when we decided to get a new vehicle for the arrival of our second child, we looked at the Tahoe, the Suburban, and the minivan. I wasn’t sold on the minivans at all. What sold me on the Suburban was not only the 3rd row (with plenty of room in back with it installed), but the remote start feature. I love that I can start my car with my keys from inside the house on a hot or cold day 10 minutes before I need to leave, and it’s nice and toasty or cool for my kiddos. Love it!!

  14. I don’t have a family of 5 … yet. Ahem. But I do drive a Sequoia and looooooove it. It has lots of room and I think that it’s a bit sportier (if that’s possible in a large SUV) than some of the American SUVs. We looked at the Tahoe and Suburban before buying the Sequoia and I just did not find GM cars to be a good value – they seemed a bit overpriced to me.

  15. My hubby sells Chevys so I am a bit biased. I have been waiting for my Yukon to die for years. It currently has over 260,000 miles on it. We have 2 kids and a 3rd on the way and our Yukon doesn’t have a 3rd row so we are looking at getting something with more room and better gas miles. I love the Tahoe Hybrid and the Traverse. But I didn’t think of the cargo room so I will have to take a look at both of them again next time I am at the dealership. Hope you have fun looking!

  16. Here’s what we do: we are a three (older) car family. My husband and I each have a smallish car that we drive day to day (his an 04 Matrix and mine an 04 Malibu Maxx) and then we use our 99 Suburban for trips, hauling extra kids, avoiding delivery fees, and very bad weather driving. I love HAVING the flexibility of a Suburban whenever I need it, but also not having to drive/park it every day. We bought our Burb brand new back when we were double income, but there are plenty of inexpensive but good used ones out there.

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