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Is the 2015 Chevy Tahoe Good Enough?

By John Rosevear - Sep 15, 2013 at 10:00AM

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GM showed off the all-new Tahoe and its siblings this past week. Will the new SUVs be good enough for GM to hold its lead?

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 (GM 2.65%) 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.

Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of General Motors. You can connect with him on Twitter at @jrosevear. The Motley Fool recommends General Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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