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Is the 2015 Chevy Tahoe Good Enough?

GM took the wraps off of the all-new 2015 Chevy Tahoe this week. Photo credit: General Motors.

Well, folks, here it is: The all-new 2015 Chevy Tahoe.

General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) took the wraps off of the new 2015 Tahoe and Suburban -- and their GMC siblings -- at two eparate events this past Thursday.

Like GM's new Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, the new Tahoe and its siblings look to be evolutionary designs, rather than revolutionary. Sure, it's all new, but if you saw one, you'd know from half a mile away that it was a Tahoe, wouldn't you?

And that leads to the big question: Did GM do enough to update its big beasts?

Like the pickups, a lot of improvements under the new skin
The new Tahoe and its siblings -- the Chevy Suburban, the GMC Yukon, and the Cadillac Escalade, which will be revealed in a few weeks -- are all built on the platform that underpins GM's all-new pickups, so they should benefit from the improved ride and handling we've seen in the new Silverado and Sierra.

The new 2015 Chevy Suburban. Photo credit: General Motors.

Interestingly, GM isn't offering V6 engines in its big SUVs this time around. The standard power plant is a new 5.3-liter V8 that -- as in the pickups -- comes with a whole bunch of advanced fuel-saving technology. (As GM has been pointing out in its ads, the new Silverado with the 5.3 gets slightly better fuel economy than Ford's EcoBoost V6-equipped F-150.) A 6.2-liter V8 is offered in the Denali versions of the Yukon and Yukon XL.

Inside, the dash and interior have received a solid upgrade, providing more evidence that GM has finally figured out that interior quality is crucial in all models nowadays.

The 2015 Suburban's interior is a nice step up from the outgoing model's. Photo credit: General Motors.

In all models, the second- and third-row seats now fold flat. And there's a long list of available convenience and safety features, including high-tech options such as radar collision-warning systems and GM's adaptive cruise control.

As you'd expect, things get a little more deluxe in the GMC versions, the Yukon and the long-wheelbase Yukon XL. In Denali trim, the Yukon is quite striking -- bringing some of the "bling" that used to be reserved for Cadillac's Escalade.

The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali. Photo credit: General Motors.

As I said, both versions of the Yukon Denali come with a new 6.2-liter V8 making 420 horsepower, as well as plenty of deluxe trim and a long list of safety and convenience features.

The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali's interior. Photo credit: General Motors.

So will these new SUVs be enough to get the job done?

Even now, these big SUVs are big business for GM
Let's be clear about this: America's SUV craze may be largely a thing of the past, but these are still very important products for General Motors.

It's no secret that GM's pickups are a huge business -- perhaps the company's most important product line. But the Tahoe and Suburban, along with the Yukons and the Escalades, are a big business all by themselves.

GM Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann, who presented the new Chevys to the media in New York on Thursday, noted that if just these SUVs were broken out as a separate business, that business would be a member of the Fortune 400.

Americans still buy about a quarter-million full-sized SUVs every year, and the Tahoe and its corporate siblings have a 74% share of that market. That doesn't add up to the kind of sales numbers GM gets with its full-sized pickups, but it's still a lot of vehicles.

And these are seriously profitable vehicles, too: According to Edmunds, the average transaction price on the full-sized Chevy and GMC SUVs is more than $52,000 – big bucks. And a lot of those bucks represent profit for GM.

The verdict: Again, GM looks to have delivered
Critics panned the first photos of GM's pickups, because the vehicles didn't look all that different from the old models. But after reviewers got to drive them, a lot of improvements became apparent. Now, the new pickups are selling very quickly.

I suspect it'll be the same kind of thing for these new SUVs when they start arriving at dealers early next year. They're not revolutionary, but big SUV buyers mostly aren't looking for "revolutionary"; they're looking for "better."

And I think "better" is what GM is bringing to market here. What do you think? Do these new SUVs look like winners? Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 10:42 AM, NostromoSurLaMer wrote:

    Certainly these are destined to be winners. The core demographic will embrace these as never before. The upswing in the economy has smiled on the folks that prefer a full-sized SUV to perform their dailies with the room to spare.

    I'm expecting an uptick in fuel mileage in the range of 7% for these new models. Surely, the Tahoe will see 24 MPG lightly loaded travelling the Interstates going point-to-point on trips over 50 miles. Around town, moving the considerable mass of the vehicle up to 35 MPH will likely prohibit the efficiency from topping 15 MPG. But, these vehicles fill a niche that still sees them in demand and fuel efficiency is lower on the list of priorities than moving people and gear in spacious comfort. I have a '13 Tahoe, purchased in April of this year, that I intend to keep through this time next year. When the dealer has a broad selection of these '15s in LTZ trim with a selection of top options I'll be moving into the new body-style.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 12:12 PM, stevebroad wrote:

    Do you have the terrible problem of "engine power reduced" fixed. I have a 2007 Tahoe TLZ extremely annoying. I hope every GM owner that has this problem will post here so maybe you will provide a fix.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 2:15 PM, Nohurry1 wrote:

    Unless Ram or Ford offer something more enticing or at least exciting, I can't see how GM loses this segment in sales anytime soon. Sadly, I'm not impressed by the latest round of GM full-size trucks and SUV's because even after reading reviews, these new ones simply seem too outdated. Sure, the engines are finally decent as compared to competition, but the subtle changes only bring GM into the realm of Ford, not truly surpassing it overall and that's why I think Ford trucks will still win their segment until next year, when they completely dominate it with the new models.

    I can say the Expedition is nicer than GM's stuff, but I still don't want one. I do, conversely, want an F-150 and not a GM pickup. I like the RAM more too, but it's just not quite there overall, even with its good engine.

    Ultimately, Ford will take their V8 engines into the Direct Injection phase next and they will surely overwhelm the OHV offerings from GM because OHC engines just can. Coupled with perhaps their lightest overall full size pickup in 20yrs or more, fuel economy will increase and people will notice in a major way.

    After all, when your 5.3L is essentially equal to your competitions 5L while you're using all the tech advances you're aware of and when it really still can't outperform the V6 offering(TT 3.5L), you may catch some flack. When your goal becomes bragging about a 1mpg hwy fuel economy advantage, you've lost. Dodge already offers better than the new GM and Ford is next. The heaviest truck on the market is soon to be lightest and it already competes well, without DI in the V8's, which they are indeed already prepped for. This might get ugly.

    2014 GM = on par with 2013 Ford and Ram in trucks. Not really better. Bad news for GM, but NEVER in the SUV segment! They own this one. GM, good luck on the rest.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 5:03 PM, iefbr14 wrote:

    These vehicles may look foolish or even socially irresponsible to the urban elites who write stories about them, but a lot of people have big families, haul horse or camping trailers, etc. You can't do that with the kind of green cars the elites insist we drive. And there are also lots of affluent people who simply don't care if it costs $200 to fill the gas tank once a week; they spend more than that on meals out. There is, and will remain, a market for this segment.

  • Report this Comment On September 15, 2013, at 9:08 PM, LungsOfSteel wrote:

    I buy what suits me. You folks who know more about balance sheets than cars make me laugh.

  • Report this Comment On September 17, 2013, at 11:57 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    @LungsOfSteel: I know quite a bit about both, but investing is our focus at the Fool, so I write about the business angles. Stick around, you might find it interesting.

    John Rosevear

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