Tahoe vs Suburban: What You Need to Know About Chevy’s Largest SUVs

February 17th, 2017 by

Chevrolet offers one of the most versatile lineups on the market. From compact city cars, to the all-electric long-range Bolt, to the most dependable pickup truck on the road, to a slew of practical family SUVs – the bowtie brand covers more drivers than any of its competitors. With so many offerings, however, comes a bit of confusion. Each of the Chevy models has no problem standing out on its own, but similarities can oftentimes prove confusing to shoppers. We love everything about the 2017 Chevrolet lineup, but today in particular, we are going to discuss the difference between two of the largest Chevy SUVs. The Tahoe and Suburban have been selling side-by-side for a quarter of a century, yet buyers are still not confident in what makes one stand apart from the other. In an effort to clear the air, and help shoppers make the best possible buying decision, we have juxtaposed these two SUVs in order to see what is the same, and what is different about each one.

But First, An Introduction

Before we get all judgy and comparative on these two capable SUVs, let’s first get acquainted with their past histories, and their purposes in the Chevrolet lineup.

First up, we have the Suburban. The SUV that is arguably the grandfather of all SUVs, the Chevy Suburban was first released all the way back in 1935. As hard as this may be to believe, these large “carry-all” vehicles were quite popular back in the day. In fact, the Suburban name was used by various automotive brands up until 1988, when General Motors was awarded the trademark on the name. That very first 1935 Suburban was able to seat up to eight passengers, including room for three in the front row, two in the middle, and three in the third row. Quite obviously, this first version of the Suburban has been redesigned and reworked several times over the past eighty years, and has transformed into the full-size SUV that Americans are still very much in love with today.

Before we get into further detail regarding the Suburban model, let’s take a look at the history of the Tahoe. Smaller in size than the large and bulkier Suburban, the Tahoe was first introduced for the 1992 model year. At that time, the SUV was known as the Blazer, until it was renamed starting in 1995. The full-size SUV garnered a lot of attention straight away, including from Motor Trend magazine, which named the 1996 Tahoe its Truck of the Year. Interestingly enough, the early versions of the Tahoe were offered with two side passenger doors only and, of course, the rear cargo hatch.

The Tahoe and Suburban are obviously two separate entities, as their past histories clearly reveal. Despite this fact, there is still a good amount of confusion surrounding these two Chevy SUVs, specifically how they are different from one another.

Tahoe vs Suburban – What Makes Them Different

As similar as these two large SUVs from Chevrolet may seem, they are in fact two very different model offerings. Take a look at the different categories, and see how these models compare to one another. If you are shopping for a large family SUV, knowing the difference between the Suburban and Tahoe can make a big difference in your final buying decision.

  • Price: While neither of these brand new SUVs are considered to be on the budget-friendly side of the table, the Tahoe will end up saving you a few thousand dollars over the larger Suburban. The 2017 Tahoe features a starting MSRP of $47,215 with two-wheel drive, while the Suburban comes in just under the $50,000 mark for the same drivetrain. More capable four-wheel drive options start at $50,215 for the Tahoe, and $52,700 for the Suburban. In our opinion, once you creep up toward the $50,000 mark, a few thousand dollars one way or the other won’t be the deciding factor. So keep reading to find out other areas in which these two vehicles stand apart from each other.
  • Size: The Suburban is generally regarded as much larger than the Tahoe, but the actual size difference may surprise you. Both SUVs offer an overall width of 80.5-inches, front head room of 42.8-inches, rear head room of 38.1-inches, and an overall height of 74.4-inches. The difference in these two SUVs size-wise, is seen in the actual wheelbase length. The Suburban features the larger wheelbase of 130-inches, while the Tahoe maxes out at 116-inches. Both are more than generous when it comes to space, with the Suburban having the slight edge over the Tahoe. While both large SUVs offer seating for up to nine passengers, the Tahoe falls short in the cargo area with a total of 94.7 cubic-feet of space, whereas the Suburban’s cargo capacity is much more generous, coming in at 121.7 cubic-feet.
  • Fuel Economy: Because the Suburban is larger than the Tahoe, it would be easy to assume that these two SUVs offer starkly different fuel economy ratings. Interestingly enough, their numbers are only off by a very small amount. While the Tahoe snags an EPA-estimated 16 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway, the larger Suburban snags 15 miles per gallon in the city, and 22 on the highway. With near-matching fuel economy numbers, these two Chevy SUVs are right on par with one another when it comes to filling up at the pump. The larger Suburban, however, has the upper hand when it comes to how often drivers will need to actually stop on longer trips. With a fuel tank capacity of 31 gallons, Suburban drivers won’t have to stop nearly as much as those in the Tahoe, which offers a fuel tank capacity of 26 gallons.
  • Towing: In a surprising twist of events, it seems that the larger Suburban model falls short in the all-important towing department. With a towing capacity of 8,300 pounds, the Suburban can’t stand up to the Tahoe’s towing capacity of 8,600 pounds. The difference may not be much, but it is still worth noting in a side-by-side comparison of these two bowtie brand SUVs.

Choosing Your SUV

When it comes right down to it, deciding between the Tahoe and the Suburban comes down to a simple matter of personal taste and preference. The added room offered in the Suburban appeals to many drivers, and does not force buyers to sacrifice in the fuel economy department or too much in the area of towing. The best way to ensure that you choose the right option between the Tahoe and Suburban, is to come down to DePaula Chevrolet and take each one for a test drive. Come and see for yourself which of these SUVs is most compatible with your own lifestyle and personality.

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