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2003 Chevy Tahoe

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San Francisco: Back in the days before car and truck ads were everywhere, rock icons seldom gave permission for their work to be featured in an advertisement. Sometime in the last decade or so, all that changed. Look no further than rock icon stalwart Bob Seger and his now infamous "Like a Rock" slogan that Chevrolet has been using to tout its pickup trucks for some time now.

We vividly remember the controversy Bob had to endure for "selling out" one of his more recent hits to help Chevy sell more product. But somehow he came through it all and lives on, much like Chevy trucks and their stone-hardened image. Taking all that into consideration, we got to drive around in a 2003 Tahoe, in 2-wheel-drive, non-luxurious form…after having a week with an super-luxury Escalade in our grip. What a difference a week makes!

The funny thing we found about the Tahoe is that it is every bit of a contender against other SUVs in its class, even though it was without the one attribute that most SUVs sing louder than any other…four-wheel drive and the ability to traverse terrain that no mere car can ever hope to handle.

That said we find it more appealing to us in rear wheel drive form because of the gain in gas mileage, albeit a small gain (15/19 city/highway for RWD and 14/17 for 4WD). Also, the RWD model is a bit lighter and seems more nimble (read tighter turning circle) than its 4WD sibling. And, we have to mention the widely known fact that most SUV owners DO NOT take their rigs off road. Ever. Nor do they really plan on it.

Alas, it is now that we must look at the basic form of SUV…the RWD model. The truth of the matter is that the Tahoe we drove, with a really cool shade of red paint called Redfire Metallic, was all that plus a bag of gourmet chips too.

Like we mentioned before, the best part of driving an SUV sans 4WD is its tighter turning circle. We noticed this most in our smallish parking lot at the humble abode. We were able to get around and into the tight parking spaces much easier than other large SUVs we’ve recently tested. Call it a testament to greater turning ability.

We also noticed, though not as much, a different sort of ride characteristic with the RWD Tahoe. It was smooth, not jarring like some four-by-fours can be. It was close to Cadillac standards…and in a Chevy of all places! Inside, the Tahoe was generic General Motors big SUV. The dash and center stack is the same as in all the other full-size trucks, well thought out and executed.

The seat story was that of the rearmost third row…while actually functional for adults, it seemed superfluous on a Tahoe. Behind the seat was little room for parcels or groceries or luggage. Getting the seats out was easy, if you don’t mind lifting 40 pounds out of your SUV every time you need to haul something bigger than a breadbox. At least the seats had rollers and fit easily into place afterward.

On the price front, our test Tahoe was on the expensive side, in our opinion, for a 2WD truck. The base price, which included four-wheel ABS-equipped disc brakes, power and heated outside mirrors, power windows and locks, cruise control, CD radio, load-leveling shocks and a lot of upgraded safety features over last year, was $33,506.00. Still, not a bad price for what you get.

The as-tested price, however, reached astronomical proportions for a Chevy (remember, this was a 2WD truck) Tahoe: $42,745.00, which included a destination charge of $755 with over $8,000 in options.

The option list included the LT preferred equipment package with many nice features like leather seats, the Vortec 5300 flex-fuel V8, a six-CD in-dash unit with Bose speakers, six-way power heated seats, power adjustable pedals and automatic climate control ($3945); a rear seat DVD player ($1295); a personal security package included front side impact airbags, steering wheel controls and OnStar ($875); third row seats ($760); second row bucket seats ($490); XM Satellite Radio ($325); Trailering package with transmission oil cooler ($260); locking rear differential ($232); P265/70R16 tires ($125); Homelink transmitter ($107) and a 3.73 rear axle ratio.

We were quite pleased with the Tahoe overall. Though the price was still pretty high for only a two-wheel-drive vehicle, we found that it didn’t matter too much that is wasn’t a 4x4. What mattered was that it sat high, like any self-respecting SUV will, and that it was comfortable and semi-luxurious.

Would we buy a Tahoe at this price when we could get and Avalanche, Expedition or any other number of similarly priced SUVs? Probably. Would we feel cheated by the lack of four driven wheels? Not one bit, as long as we stay out of the mud holes and keep the wheels on the pavement and the occasional gravel trail. Basically the 2WD Chevy Tahoe is a great "Like a Rock" Chevrolet truck for the money. By James E. Bryson AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The Rock of Chevrolet's SUV Sales
Topic:  2003 Chevrolet Tahoe
Word Count:   912
Photo Caption:  2003 Chevy Tahoe
Photo Credits:  Chevolet Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 23

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2003 Chevrolet Tahoe

Download the original image file here:  2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 53k

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