This revised version of the Tahoe has its good points, but the SUV remains a big hulk that handles clumsily and thirsts for gasoline. On the upside, it delivers readily available power, rides pretty well, its cavernous cabin stays quiet and it offers generous second-row seating. The six-speed automatic transmission also brings some improvement in acceleration and fuel economy. Towing heavy loads is another forte.
Alerts
There are 4 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.
Emissions
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
NA

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
NA
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
NA
2010
NA
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
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
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
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
NA
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
NA
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
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

This revised version of the Tahoe has its good points, but the SUV remains a big hulk that handles clumsily and thirsts for gasoline. On the upside, it delivers readily available power, rides pretty well, its cavernous cabin stays quiet and it offers generous second-row seating. The six-speed automatic transmission also brings some improvement in acceleration and fuel economy. Towing heavy loads is another forte. However, handling is clumsy -- though ultimately secure. Interior quality is pretty good, but unimpressive for the class. The third-row seat is barely usable and doesn't store out of sight. Test results also apply to the GMC Yukon.

Seating
3 front, 3 rear, 3 third
Drive Wheels
4WD , Rear
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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
  • 6-speed Automatic
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 5.3-liter V8 (320 hp)
  • 6-liter V8 hybrid (332 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

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

Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"rear backup light failed; front daytime driver light failed."

Anonymous, MA (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)

"DRL burned out 3 times in a year"

Anonymous, WI (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-L V8)

"One running light went out. Estimated labor to replace it is $200. That's aggravating."

Anonymous, MT (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-L V8)
Headlights

"Bulbs dont last long"

Anonymous, KY (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-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

"Intermittent total electrical failure causing radio to turn off, gauges to go dark, power locks to cycle from locked to unlocked and, most seriously, causing electric transmission to malfunction, which, in turn, causes engine to rev without vehicle accelerating"

R O., NC (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)
Stability control (ESC)

"service stability appeared on dash dealer diagnosed sensor in steering column how can a sensor go bad (very poor quality)"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)
Traction control

"same as pervious comment"

Anonymous, CT (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-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

"Heavy rain water leakage on driver's floorboard"

Anonymous, NC (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)

"Both doors on driver side fill with water when it rains"

Ryan G., TN (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-L V8)
Wind noise

"Makes loud wind noise when pulling a horse trailer. Does not make this noise when no trailer is being pulled."

Robert V., NC (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.3-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)

"Sensors affecting Stabilitrak and Traction Control indicate that those systems are turned off when outside air temperature exceeds 75 degrees F."

Curt S., IL (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)
Parking brake

"Pads dislocated and semi-locked up rear wheel"

Anonymous, KY (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-L V8)

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

Electronic or air suspension

"the "service suspension system" warning comes on, seems the rear suspension air system is working intermitently"

Anonymous, MB (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-L V8)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"electric power steering - rack and pinion had to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 6.0-L V8 hybrid)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Refrigerant leaks

"Leaks can't be located even though system loses refrigerant loss is evident"

John S., CT (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 5.3-L V8)

Engine Cooling

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

What Owners Say

Radiator

"radiator was cracked and had to boreplaced."

Anonymous, (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-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

Alternator

"Guage on dashboard indicated a problem"

Joseph K., FL (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LS 5.3-L V8)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Transmission wouldn't shift to highest gear during interstate travel. It had been replaced 4 years ago, and then again last month."

Anonymous, (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LT 5.3-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

"Dash cracks repeatedly, in this Tahoe just like others I owned"

Robert G., GU (2012 Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 6.0-L V8 hybrid)

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.

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.

Engine Minor

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

Engine Major

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

Transmission Minor

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

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.

Exhaust

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

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