$17,886 - $26,523

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe was new.


Performance: 8.2

Reviewers praise the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe’s good maneuverability and powerful V8 engine, saying it’s one of the better performers in its class. Most say that for a large SUV, it’s easy to drive both around town and on the highway. Good fuel economy for a large SUV is also a strong point. However, unless you need the Tahoe’s truck-based muscles for heavy-duty activities like towing, reviewers say you should stick with a crossover, which will get better fuel economy and more car-like performance.

  • "Tahoe's powertrain is a model of smoothness and refinement.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Smooth ride quality, quiet inside, and strong engines, but this is not a great choice for an everyday vehicle unless heavy towing is a frequent activity.” -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe comes with a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. In both two- and four-wheel drive trims, the Tahoe gets 15/21 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. That’s fairly good for a large SUV. By comparison, the Ford Expedition gets only 13/18 mpg city/highway in four-wheel drive trim. However, for even better fuel economy, check out the Tahoe’s corporate siblings, the GMC Yukon Hybrid and the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid.

When paired with two-wheel drive, the Tahoe can tow a maximum of 8,500 pounds, while four-wheel drive models can tow up to 8,200 pounds. Test drivers say that the Tahoe’s V8 provides plenty of power, and that its transmission is especially smooth.

  • "Considering the … Chevrolet Tahoe weighs more than 3 tons when a few average-size passengers are aboard, its acceleration is downright energetic.” -- Edmunds
  • "With 320 horses on tap, the Tahoe's 5.3-liter V8 is more than capable of moving the fully-loaded vehicle without bogging down, and the Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation seamlessly switches among 4-, 6- or 8-cylinder operation as needed for improved fuel economy.” -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Conventional Tahoes have fine power from any speed. The transmission shifts smoothly. There's no difference in acceleration when using E85 ethanol.” -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Reviewers agree that the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe shines while cruising at speed on the highway, but they don’t agree on its around-town handling. A few say that the steering is accurate, but another says it’s not very responsive. Whatever test drivers’ feelings are about the steering, all agree that the Tahoe has a pretty good turning radius for such a large SUV.

  • "Alert reactions to steering. These are tall, heavy vehicles, so they never feel nimble. But there's no excessive body lean in turns with the base suspension, and even less with Autoride (on the LTZ trim). Low-speed maneuverability is aided by a relatively tight turning circle. The brakes feel strong, but some testers want better pedal modulation.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's also adept as a highway cruiser, swallowing up the miles with a compliant and cushioned ride. There's a penalty to be paid, however: lackadaisical steering response and somewhat disconnected handling dynamics as speeds increase. The Tahoe's tight 39-foot turning circle does make it reasonably maneuverable in town.” -- Edmunds
  • "When the vehicle is running at full highway speeds, the Tahoe proves to be both comfortable, and stable, as well as quiet.” -- Automobile.com

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