You should buy it
The Tahoe and the Suburban are virtually the same vehicle, with the Suburban’s extra length (both overall and wheelbase) means more space inside. Mechanically, they’re identical, offering either a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque or an optional 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic and rear-wheel-drive are standard and a ten-speed automatic and four-wheel-drive are individually available.
It’s cheaper. A base Tahoe LS with the 5.3-liter V8 and rear-wheel-drive starts at $49,195 while the same Suburban model starts at $51,895. The features, comfort, style and capabilities on the two are the same, so you’re spending that extra cash on basically just more space.
Easier to live with. The Tahoe is just under two feet shorter in length than the Suburban. This makes it easier to park, maneuver in parking lots and just generally drive around on a daily basis. This might not seem like a big deal on paper, but since the Suburban is one of the longest vehicles on the market today, that length could become a hassle after a while.
More towing. This may seem counter intuitive since the Suburban is the larger of the two SUVs, but it’s the Tahoe that actually packs more towing capacity. When comparing all the various combinations of the identical powertrains (either the 5.3-liter V8 or the 6.2-liter V8 and rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive), the Tahoe always comes out ahead in pounds it can tow. Usually it’s a 300 or 400-pound advantage (the Suburban ranges between 7,900-8,300 lbs and the Tahoe ranges between 8,100-8,600 lbs.).
Space. While passenger room in the first two rows of seats is the same for both the Tahoe and the Suburban, it’s the third row of seats and beyond where the Suburban really shines. The third row of seats has ten inches of extra legroom versus the Tahoe’s third row (34.5 inches versus 24.8 inches). What’s more, the cargo space behind the third row has 39.3 cubic feet of space in the Suburban and only 15.3 cubic feet in the Tahoe.
Fuel efficiency is a wash. Despite being longer and several hundred pound heavier than the smaller Tahoe, the Suburban gets the same fuel economy ratings from the EPA on most models and configurations. This is effectively a win for the Suburban. So if you’re on the fence between the two, don’t let fuel costs or efficiency play a role.
The Suburban is an excellent — large — family hauler with more than enough room for anything life throws at you. But unless you’re ok with its massive footprint and you need its expansive cargo space regularly, it might be overkill for many buyers. The Tahoe can do nearly everything the Suburban can — haul people and cargo comfortably AND it has a higher towing capacity and costs less. So this is an easy one for us; we say Buy the Tahoe.
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