SUV Face-Off: Chevrolet Tahoe vs. Ford Expedition

A full-sized SUV in its final year takes on a newer contender

The Chevrolet Tahoe (left) and Ford Expedition (right) SUVs

The Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition large SUVs are designed for carrying a lot of people and taking long trips, sometimes while towing a heavy load. While these trucks have a number of similarities, we help you identify the key differences you’ll want to consider before buying one. 

Both vehicles are available in dozens of configurations, with rear- or all-wheel drive, and seating for seven or eight passengers. These behemoths are based on pickup trucks (the Silverado and F-150, respectively), which makes them feel like throwbacks in an age when most SUVs are based on carlike designs.

One big difference between the two SUVs is when they were redesigned. An all-new Expedition arrived for 2018, with cutting-edge technology and advanced safety and driver assist systems that come standard. The Tahoe (and the mechanically similar GMC Yukon, larger Chevrolet Suburban, and GMC Yukon XL) is at the end of its product cycle, with a redesigned replacement arriving this summer. This is good news for shoppers because Chevrolet is likely to offer lots of incentives to sell the old versions.

More On Three-Row SUVs

Read below and see how these big SUVs fare in a face-off. At the end, we crown a winner.

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Chevrolet Tahoe

The Case for It
Even though it’s at the end of its life-cycle, the Tahoe does a number of things well. We found that the magnetic suspension system that comes on the top-level Premier trim does a good job of keeping the Tahoe settled and under control. The system adjusts the suspension response in real time, and it helps reduce much of the big SUV’s body lean when driving on winding roads. Drivers will still be aware of the Tahoe’s size and weight, but the truck’s handling is improved over versions without that suspension.

In our braking tests the Tahoe had short stops on both dry and wet surfaces. Drivers should note that panic stops require a hard push on the brake pedal.

As with many other vehicles we test, the Tahoe’s standard halogen headlights outperform the optional LED ones. The halogens provide very good light forward and to the sides of the SUV. It’s a tall truck, so the lights are mounted up high and may annoy drivers in front, either oncoming traffic or a vehicle you’re following. The LEDs are very bright but don’t reach nearly as far.

The Tahoe’s 5.3-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission returned 16 mpg overall—reasonable for a large, V8-powered SUV, but that’s 4 or 5 mpg below what you’d get with many car-based SUVs that have similar interior space. The difference is in the towing capacity: GM says the standard Tahoe can tow 6,400 pounds, while the Max Trailering package bumps that capability to 8,300 pounds. If you don’t need to tow, consider getting a less thirsty SUV altogether.

The Chevrolet is extremely quiet inside, which is very apparent when driving on the highway. Road and wind noise are kept in the background, and it’s only under hard acceleration that the engine sound is noticeable.

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