2013 Tahoe Rental Experience

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$100 Site Donor 2021
Apr 28, 2008
Ontario, Canada
Was just in Dallas for the last week and we had a 2013 Tahoe as one of our rentals. It had the most awful tires in existence on it (there's a separate thread about that) so I had to be cognizant not to factor their performance into my evaluation of the vehicle.

1. Fit and finish.

This was generally quite good. Panel alignment was excellent, paint quality was also very good. Interior trim fit well with no odd gaps or squeaks/rattles. The seats were comfortable (heated/cooled) and the materials selection was quite good. GM has improved here IMHO.

My biggest gripe was with the button controls for temp/fan. Both of which had their faces worn so that the symbols on them were indiscernible. In a vehicle this age with its mileage, this should not have happened.

2. Gauges/Electronics

The gauges cluster was well laid-out and not gaudy like the Cruze or Equinox, which I find "over the top". The Navigation worked well and the stereo had reasonably good sound quality.

The rear controls for the radio and HVAC were not overly complicated, though they could be improved. However, they were functional and operated as intended.

The wheel-mounted controls were easy to familiarize yourself with and of good size.

3. Ride/Performance

The vehicle was well sprung/dampened and seemed to handle well. This couldn't be tested too far because of the horrific rubber it was riding on, which also contributed negatively to cabin noise. I do not fault the vehicle for this which I would say had cabin isolation that was "quite good".

The engine, which was the 5.3L, did not feel as spirited as I expected it to be. I posit the 6.0L would have been much better. The 5.0L in my buddy's 2013 F-150 feels a lot stronger despite sporting a higher curb weight.

The transmission programming was decent. Typical GM, you could feel it pull the power for the up-shifts. Not a negative, just noticeable if you are looking for it. Otherwise the shifts seemed precise and reasonable firm and generally the characteristics of the transmission suited the vehicle quite well. It didn't seem to be easily confused either, which was a plus, as this was something we've noticed with the 6spd in certain conditions with my buddy's F-150.

I'd place it somewhere between the F-150's 6spd and the NAG1 in the Charger, which is currently my benchmark for automatic performance excellence.

4. Final notes

Overall, I was quite satisfied with the Tahoe. I would have been interested to see how it rode with a better tire under it like an LTX M/S2, as I would suspect the ride would have been smoother, quieter and handling testing could have been pushed much further.

I would rent another one.
GM does have some issues with switchgear wearing. They need to stop painting buttons.

Dash cracking is a potential issue in hot climates, we have done a couple under warranty. Fit and finish is pretty good overall though.

I think from a styling perspective, the generation you rented was better received overall than the new ones. A lot of people seem to find the styling of the new ones odd, if not flat out ugly. The headlights especially. Crazy lights are fine on an Equinox, but might not appeal as much to many Tahoe buyers. If a Silverado front clip could be swapped on to a current Tahoe, that would probably look pretty good.
My company vehicle is a police-package 2013 Tahoe. It's not a bad SUV by any stretch of the imagination but I doubt I would purchase one for myself. My impression is (I commute along a very hilly/curvy route) it shifts a bit much for my liking and seems a bit underpowered. Around my work sites though it is very comfortable and carries anything I would ever need to carry.....no doubt it would be a very capable tow vehicle as well.

I like the dash layout and feel everything is within easy reach. Ours are equipped with aftermarket consoles (with center compartments) and my two-way radios and mics are both at my fingertips. There is a lot of storage room in these Tahoes.

I like the body style of this model although my grille lights are pretty visible and other folks often mistake it for a state police vehicle which tends to slow traffic down at times.....it's like c'mon folks, you don't get extra credit for driving UNDER the speed limit!
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^ Solid review, thanks.

The Tahoe is essentially my ECSB '11 Sierra toward its bow, coils versus leafs notwithstanding.

‘Silkscreened’ HVAC controls are downright silly: replaced twice under warranty.

Upgrading with Bilsteins, Air Lifts, Hellwig anti-roll bars and Michelin LTX M/S2s made a dramatic improvement in stability and control.

$250 BlackBear ridealong ECU+TCU tune eliminated much of the 6L80E’s TM and DBW throttle tip-in delay and mushiness.
Increased PWM torque converter lock-up firmness commands as well.
Not altogether unlike my former TransGo valve body tweaks.

Picked up 5 mph at the drag strip from its flex fuel Gen-IV LMG 5.3L with the tune alone!

One could suspect they’re massively detuned as delivered to help minimize 100k-mile warranty claims.
~50k with nary a drivetrain hiccup...knock wood. It’s a fun and functional workaday machine.
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