The Tahoe's highlights are its responsive powertrain, quiet cabin, and good low-speed ride. But fit and finish are unimpressive, the third-row seat is very tight and handling is cumbersome.
Alerts
There are 7 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard from 2000-2002, available until 2006, standard from 2010. ESC available from 2003, standard from 2005. Head protection air bags available in 2007, standard from 2008.
Road Test

The Tahoe's highlights are its responsive powertrain, quiet cabin, and good low-speed ride. But fit and finish are unimpressive, the third-row seat is very tight and handling is cumbersome.

Seating
3 front, 3 rear, 3 third
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • 4-speed Automatic
Engines Available
  • 4.8-liter V8 (275 hp)
  • 5.3-liter V8 (285 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Chevrolet Tahoe owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Compressor failure, loud screeching noise, very expensive to repair or replace. Not fixed yet, I simply unplugged it."

Ward S., BC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Broke"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

"The compressor just stopped working. If you try to turn it on with the car in motion, it feels as if the engine will die."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 4.7-L V8)

"The air conditioner wasn't working. At first they said it was the belts, they replaced those but when accelerating, the belts would break. Another mechanic said the compressor? needed replacing, after that it's been doing well. Air is working great and taking off is not an issue with belts breaking."

Alice G., NC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)
Automatic climate control

"For the past 8 years, the AC has been a constant problem. I have repaired it almost yearly."

Anonymous, NC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"The rear blend door failed, which stuck the roof vents into the 'cold' position. When the car starts with the roof vents enabled it cycles them through there full range of motion. They overtravel, and then stays stuck. Replacing the blend door module (actually a motor) per the TSB, it didn't fix it. A battery pull did, however"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"devices used to direct air flow and temperature in rear section of car have stopped working"

Anonymous, NV (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Blower (fan) motor

"Blower stopped working"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

"had to replace the hvac blower motor resistor"

Arne H., AK (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Evaporator

"rear evaporator leaked and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Heater system

"Broke"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)
Refrigerant leaks

"Same as previous message"

Michael B., MD (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4.7-L V8)

"Pressure line was leaking and was repaired"

Michael B., MD (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Alarm would go off when open button pushed. Back hatch door stopped working , would not unlock. Sometimes doors would not open keyless"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS)
Body control module

"We ended up replacing whole module! Total cost was over 900.00 dollars"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS)
Cruise control

"Does not work"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"They seem to burn out much more frequently than they did in the early years of the car"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"The running lights burnout regularly. I believe it's due to being located too close to the radiator."

Roy S., (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Gauges

"Oil gauge sensor was replaced"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"first the temperature gauge broke, then the oil pressure, then the RPM"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Speedometer doesn't work properly"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

"All dashboard gauges give wrong readings. Gas gauge changes its readings to various totally wrong indications on a regularly irregular basis."

Perry S., CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)
Headlights

"From the moment I owned this Tahoe, I have had to constantly replace exterior lights, head, tail, turn signal, brake, etc. The 3rd brake light module replaced cost almost $400. and was replaced for the 1st time at 10yrs old. The replacement only lasted for 18months. Don't understand why the original lasted for 10 years and the replacement only 18months and was not covered by any warranty. Not very good customer service"

Lorraine D., GA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4.7-L V8)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose interior trim or moldings

"The interior door lamp covers fall off. The interior dashboard pealed and turned black"

Barbara C., TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Paint bubbling on tailgate, easy but expensive to repair."

Ward S., BC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Bad primer led to cracking and peeling paint"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

"The roof, engine lid and side pannels paint faded"

Barbara C., TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

"Clearcoat and color gradually fading away on roof and hood. Problem had started 5 years ago, and is getting worse. Seems like a defect, for which there should have been a recall"

Thomas A., WI (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Rust

"Vehicle has rust all over. Chasis and body, cost of repair exceeds value of vehicle"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"Brakes needed to be totally replaced because of rust $4,000 plus"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

"the body is rusting badly"

James W., NE (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Vehicle had many rust areas, mainly hood and top"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Ball joints

"ball joints worn but I think they held well to last over 200000 kms"

E B., AB (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Shocks or struts

"both rear shocks needed and were replaced"

Anonymous, SC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

"After 170,000 miles, I think it was fair to have to replace the shocks."

Anonymous, MN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Springs or torsion bars

"Torsion bars broke"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Steering "knocks" when car rolls over uneven ground or when turning"

Robert R., KY (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"steering is loose/sloppy but usable as is"

Anonymous, NV (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Tie rods

"Had to replace them three times in 5 years"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

"A large amount of the front suspension had to be replaced. Stabilizers..."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"Catalytic converter finally gave out after 15 years"

Joseph M., IL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4.7-L V8)

"i had vacuum leak that caused rough idle. i guess it is to be expected with a truck that has almost 274000 with little maintenance"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 4.7-L V8)
Fuel injection system

"throttle body failure"

Bill B., GA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"My car would cut off while driving. The fuel injection system needed to be cleaned. After it was the issue was corrected"

Carol P., TN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)
Fuel pump

"FUEL PUMP FAILED AT 203000 MILES"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Fuel pressure started dropping. This was a few dozen tankfuls after switching to e85 (it is a VIN Z / flex fuel). E85 tends to wear valve seats, and fuel pumps more. Even though it is rated for e85, using that fuel will still cause premature wear"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"Warning light indicated a malfunction in O2 sensor and it was replaced"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"when the weather gets hot , the engine will stall.the O2 sensor was replaced and it solved the problem. Now another O2 sensor needs to be replaced. there was also a leak in the gasket at the valve covers"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 4.7-L V8)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"I unit went out. I am not going to spend the money they want to fix it so I disconnected it"

T M., IL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"grabbing"

Eve B., NC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT)
Calipers

"i had new rear rotor and pads replaced and before i got 20 miles away the brakes were sticking and had to be rep;aced again the next day. The calipers on this year and model MUST be replaced when you do new pads. The metal on these calipers get pitted etc. Very expensive mistake"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Master cylinder

"Master cylinder seemed to have a leak so it was replaced"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Normal routine brake wear

"At 128000 miles I did the first brake job since I bought it new I had waited to long and had to replace rotors also"

Don T., MO (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Premature brake wear

"the rotors were also replaced at around 50,000 miles after installing new pads."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine knock or ping

"Told that the engine was failing and needed to be rebuilt or replaced. I will purchase another vehicle instead of fixing the tahoe."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)
Oil leaks

"Constant oil leaks requiring several quarts of additional oil in between oil changes"

Kurt H., VA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"Main Seal leaking. One thousand dollar repair bill."

Roy S., (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Rear main seal between engine and transmission has begun leaking"

Manny Q., FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

"This is going to be another cost so I will keep having oil but in every few days until I decide to spend the several hundred dollars to have it repaired."

Alice G., NC (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Not sure! it broke had to replace it, 3rd transmission!!"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"The transmission hd to be replaced at 120,000 miles"

James W., NE (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

"Had to replace transmission"

Tom K., PA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 4.7-L V8)

"The transmission was not shifting, and had to be replaced."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"When the passenger front window would not close and the door would not lock with the key remote, I was told it was the door module. The cost to replace was $438.12. plus tax for a total of $463.73!! Dealers are ripoff artists"

Lorraine D., GA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 4.7-L V8)
Windows

"Noise"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe 5.2-L V8)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Complete electrical failure that was caused by a faulty alternator"

Anonymous, AK (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Transfer case

"shift motor switch failed, could not switch from 2H to 4wd or back."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Water pump failed, replaced"

Samuel S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Squeaks or rattles

"Has had noise coming from the dashboard for several years."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Muffler

"Keeps rusting in two"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)
Other/unsure

"CHEVROLET has had issues in the past with their wiring. Certain model years received wiring from Mexico, which after about 10 years, for some reason just disintegrates. This has been problematic for the air bag system on my particular vehicle as I have had all the sensors replaces and will still get intermittent service airbag warning lights."

Jim-Jennifer P., IA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 4.7-L V8)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Ignition switch

"The ignition switch failed; it would work many times and then suddenly it would not work. It had an intermittent open circuit."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)
Starter

"Starter solenoid was intermittent so truck would start one time and then it wouldn't turn over the next time."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.2-L V8)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"When first starting engine, the CD player just keeps cycling and making noises but it will not load or play a CD"

Robert R., KY (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Slipping transmission

"The Transmissions on the Tahoe are prone to failure after only 50,000 miles! after my 3rd one my Mechanic had to put in a Transmission cooler! this is what he said is the problem with the model and year! it over heats and with little warning just fails and leaves you stranded like it did to me 2Xtimes already!"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Water pump

"Water leak at the water pump"

Samuel S., FL (2003 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.2-L V8)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Change Vehicle