What’s better than a trip to Walt Disney World to test out the newest roller coaster in Walt Disney World? Why, test driving a bevy of Chevy’s in the happiest place on Earth, that’s what! Recently, Disney hosted TravelingMom.com travel writers and SheBuysCars.com, for our annual retreat at Walt Disney World. While there, we were treated to some rides we won’t soon forget – the newest coaster in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and some test drives in a few of the latest model Chevrolet vehicles to hit the market.
My husband and I plan to trade in our current SUV soon, and we’re looking for something that won’t break the bank. Our family of four enjoys taking long road trips, and we often bring along the grandparents, so we need seating for at least six or seven, in case we pick up a stray. We’re also looking for comfort and space, since we’re tall, long-legged creatures. Since the Chevy Suburban gave us a bit of sticker shock, we were eager to test out the 2015 Tahoe 4WD LTZ as a possibility – could it be the hidden gem we’ve been mining for all along? In honor of the opening of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I’ve assigned a rating system for several of the features that are especially important to our family:
- Diamond: Exceeds expectations
- Ruby: Above Average
- Gold: Average
- Cubic Zirconia: Below Average
- Coal: Disappointing
So, let’s see how the 2015 Chevy Tahoe rates for my family!
SAFETY: The Hope Diamond The four-wheel-disc brakes with Duralife rotors performed well on the slick roads in Disney. Yes, it rains in Florida, and we drove this Tahoe in it. Hot roads followed by heavy rains means puddles and slick spots. That’s why the standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control comes in handy. Along with standards such as air bags, there is an available “Safety Alert Seat” that vibrates when there is a potential crash threat detected. So, if you begin crossing over that center line, expect to feel a little tingle in your caboose. Hope you don’t mind that sort of thing. I didn’t. The Tahoe also has excellent road visibility due to the expansive windows, larger side and rear-view mirrors, and the available “Side Blind Zone Alert.” The greatest safety feature of all is the new OnStar 4G LTE system with available Wi-Fi hotspot (I’ll explain the “4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot” feature under the “Other Important Amenities” section below.) With the OnStar feature, standard on every Chevrolet vehicle, you have access to roadside assistance 24/7 at the touch of a button. You can also use the OnStar Remote Link Key Fob Services smartphone app, which allows owners to lock or unlock doors, activate the horn and lights, and remotely start a properly equipped vehicle. OnStar Advisors currently respond to approximately 185,000 calls every day, and, in most cases, offers a faster roadside response than 911. This feature is not just about convenience, it’s about saving lives, and because the cargo I’m hauling is so precious, this is most important to me. Added bonus: many insurance companies love this feature, you can also save money on your insurance premiums! With all of these features, the Chevy Tahoe deserves top-rating on safety! SPACE: Solid Gold We struck gold with space. If the legs don’t fit, we have to quit! But, thankfully, there was plenty of leg room and head room in the driver and passenger seats, as well as in the two bucket seats in the second row. If we stopped here, I would have given it a Diamond rating, but the second row bucket seats did not move forward or backward to provide extra leg room for the third row, which seats up to three individuals. That makes the third row fine for kids, but not especially comfortable for adults, or in my case, boys that are sure to grow very tall, very quickly. In addition, the trunk space was minimal. There was a cute little hidden compartment in the trunk in which you could store a few extra items, but not much. Extended family vacations would definitely require a clam shell for the top of the vehicle.
So, I rate the Tahoe as “Solid Gold” on space. COMFORT: Diamond in the Rough The Tahoe has a lot of “get up and go” – with a 5.3 L V-8 VVT with Active Fuel Management and direct injection – believe it or not, this Mountain Mama cares about those things! I live in Appalachia and it’s important that I maintain my speed while climbing those hills. It has 355 Horsepower with 383 lb.-ft torque, and a towing capacity of 8,400 lbs. I can haul a boat, a horse trailer, or a camper back there! Even with all these macho features, I loved that riding in the Tahoe was a smooth experience, much like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which is the smoothest coaster I’ve ever ridden! In the Tahoe, other than being high up off the road, it didn’t feel at all like we were riding in a truck. The seats were plush and comfortable, and with the option of heated and cooled seats in the driver and passenger row, a heated steering wheel (!), and heated second row seats.
I also loved that the second row has bucket seats, which makes it possible to get back to that third row easily if needed. Not that I ever unbuckle to get back there to take care of a discontented child or anything. And it was quiet. I enjoyed being able to carry on a conversation with the others riding along with me without having to talk over the road and engine noises. Again, the back row seats left a little to be desired, and that’s why I give the Tahoe a comfort rating of “Diamond in the Rough,” rather than ranking it as high as “The Hope Diamond.” It’s still rates a Diamond, though! OTHER IMPORTANT AMENITIES: Ruby Several other features that I was impressed with include extra storage compartments available in the front seat, near the driver. To see more about those, check out my VIDEO for a short demonstration. This video also shows where the USB ports, DC outlets, etc… are located for your convenience. Speaking of connectivity, as I mentioned above, the “OnStar 4G LTE” rollout, not available yet, will equip many Chevrolet vehicles with a built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot! This will allow the passengers to connect multiple personal devices to high-speed, wireless internet. The availability date for the Tahoe will be announced soon.
The Tahoe I test-drove also sported the “Sun, Entertainment, Destination Package,” which costs an extra $3,255.00. This includes a power sunroof (which I love), the Cheverolet MyLink Audio System with an 8-inch color touch and navigation screen in the dash, rear-seat entertainment DVD player (mounted in the middle in front of the second-row seats, also visible from the third row), and an additional nine months access to XM Radio. Have you ever tried to convert your SUV from seating capacity to storage capacity for hauling boxes or large items around? We do it all the time, and it’s a hassle in our current (non-Chevy) SUV. You also have to have some rather large muscles to make it happen. But not in the Chevy Tahoe! It’s as simple as pushing a button! Love that feature!
If you have seven dwarfs in the vehicle, you need more and larger cup-holders! Can I get a “Heigh-Ho” here?! The size and lack of enough cup holders really deserve a lump of coal rating, but averaged in with the rest of the available amenities I’m looking for, the Tahoe still comes out way above average. Overall Experience: Ruby In conclusion, the 2015 Chevy Tahoe remains on our list of SUV’s to consider as our next family purchase. I have to admit, however, that the cost is a bit prohibitive for most families, including my own. For the price tag, $62,000 standard vehicle price and $68,635 for the one I test drove with the extra features, I would love for it to have a little more storage room for luggage, sports and recreational equipment, and I would also like more leg room in the third row of seats. The 2015 Chevy Suburban 4WD ½ Ton LTZ does offer this extra space, and is only about $3,000 more in total costs. So, we will look closely at both vehicles before making any decisions. However, if price is not a factor, and you are looking for comfort, safety, and fabulous “extras” in a family SUV, I recommend you give the Chevy Tahoe a look! Disclosure: I was hosted by Disney at the BoardWalk Resort for the TravelingMom retreat. Chevy provided the vehicles for us to test-drive, and a stipend to go toward our travel expenses. However, all opinions, as always, are entirely my own.