The Chevrolet Tahoe is receiving a new round of special upgrades, thanks to the launch of the Z71 package. Fans of the Tahoe will immediately recognize the "Z71" designation as Chevrolet’s long-used order code for off-road goodies earmarked for its lineup of SUVs and trucks.

The Z71 has actually been around longer than most people expect. It first appeared in 1988 and has since become a staple for the company’s big-boy models in much the same way the Z/28 package has become synonymous with the Chevrolet Camaro.

This year, Chevrolet’s bringing back the Z71 for its all-new Tahoe and Suburban models. It’s actually been a while since we last saw a Tahoe Z71, but with an all-new Tahoe now available, it seemed like the perfect time to dust off the Z71 package to help introduce the new Tahoe to the world.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71.

  • 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V8
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    355
  • Torque @ RPM:
    383
  • Displacement:
    5.3 L
  • 0-60 time:
    9 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    136 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    50000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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Don’t expect to see a treasure trove of cosmetic upgrades on the Tahoe Z71; you might be disappointed if you do. Instead, the usual platter of off-road enhancements are available, including a front skid plate, new fog lamps, and front tow hooks. A unique grille does add a little aesthetic touch to the Tahoe, but not really enough to make you instantly notice it. Some touches of “Z71” badging throughout the exterior provides the proper identification that these models are unique from the other Tahoe models.

Rounding out the modifications is a set of 18-inch wheels that are also a half-inch wider than previous models. This change in size drops the tire flex and results in improved cornering performance. A new four-wheel disc-brake system, featuring Duralife brake rotors, are also part of the Z71 package.

Interior

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Interior
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The Tahoe Z71 package provides plenty of new technological goodies, none of which will make you think anything’s changed with the cabin. But at least the Tahoe gets additional goodies in the form of OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging capability and hands-free liftgate operation.

The new connectivity system actually now comes as a standard feature on the LT and LTZ trim models of the Tahoe, increasing the odds that nobody’s going to be leaving the comfy confines of the Tahoe’s cabin anytime soon.

Drivetrain

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Emblems and Logo Exterior
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The Tahoe Z71 didn’t get any performance upgrades but that shouldn’t really matter thanks to the 2015 Tahoe’s 5.3-liter, EcoTec3, V-8 engine that produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Mated to the engine as standard is a Hydra-Matic, 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.

That’s an improvement of 35 ponies and 48 pound-feet of torque from its predecessor. No performance figures were announced but this hulking SUV should still be good for a 0-to-60-mph time of a little over nine seconds to of with a top speed of about 140 mph.

Chassis and Suspension

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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Outside of the small aesthetic upgrades, the chassis and suspension upgrades are the real highlights of the Tahoe Z71.

A wider rear track was created to give the SUV a more planted stance. Likewise, the shear-style body mounts help in reducing body shake, improving the Tahoe’s damping performance compared to its predecessors.

An electric, variable-assist power steering system was also added to increase fuel economy, while an automatic-locking rear differential gives improved traction for the SUV.

Prices

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Exterior
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Since the Tahoe Z71 is only available for the LT trim with 4WD, we expect the price of this model to be a little more than the $53,995 price tag of the standard model.

The Tahoe Z71 goes on sale in the fall of 2014, which means that an official price for the should be disclosed soon.

Competition

Toyota Sequoia

2013 Toyota Sequoia High Resolution Exterior
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The Toyota Sequoia is, in a lot of ways, the anti-thesis of the Chevrolet Tahoe. Whereas the latter continues to get a lot of attention from Chevrolet, the Sequoia has been left to pretty much fend off for itself. That’s not to say that the Sequoia’s the dregs compared to the Tahoe, but Toyota isn’t helping its cause by leaving it in the same guise for the past six years. Except for a few tweaks here and there, the Sequoia has largely remained update-free since 2008.

But there are a lot of redeeming qualities about the Sequoia. It’s still pretty formidable among the ranks of large SUVs, thanks to a 5.7-liter V-8 engine that pumps out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. It’s got enough space to carry as much as 120.1 cubic-feet of cargo and it has 16 “extra-large” cup holders, which is probably more than enough to keep the entire family from soaking their pants due to accidental spillage.

All that being said, the Sequoia still deserves a major ‘upgrade’ of sorts, the kind that will allow it to keep up with the all-new Chevrolet Tahoe.

Ford Expedition

2015 Ford Expedition High Resolution Exterior
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If anything, Toyota can learn a lot from the Ford Expedition. One of the biggest changes in the new Expedition was the addition of a more efficient 3.5-liter, EcoBoost V-6 to replace the old 5.4-liter, Triton V-8. That move was largely done to acquiesce to increasingly stringent emissions regulations, which has become a big driver of Ford’s EcoBoost technology.

With the new EcoBoost V-6, the Expedition produces 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That puts the Expedition slightly above the Tahoe as far as output is concerned, although the difference between the two may well end up being chalked up to matters of taste and preference.

Conclusion

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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The Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 has a nice ring to it, but it’s not what you’d call a model that’s a cut-above the rest of its kind. Sure, the aesthetic upgrades are nice and all, as are the chassis and suspension improvements. But if you’re not frequently going on off-road journeys, I don’t see any point why you should get the Z71 when you can get a regular Tahoe that offers a lot of what this model has, including the on-board WIFI.

  • Leave it
    • * Not enough changes to really draw in buyers mainstream customers
    • * No engine upgrades
    • * The notable upgrades aren’t what you’d call ’headline-worthy’

Press Release

Chevrolet introduced Z71 editions of the 2015 Tahoe and Suburban today at the Texas State Fair. They go on sale this fall.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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Synonymous with off-road performance, the Z71 package adds a front skid plate, off-road tires mounted on 18-inch wheels, a unique grille, running boards and “Z71” identification inside and out. Fog lamps, front tow hooks and front parking assist are also included.

“The popular Z71 package enhances the capable look and feel of the new 2015 Tahoe and Suburban,” said Sandor Piszar, director of Chevrolet Marketing. “It gives customers another choice when it comes to selecting the full-size Chevrolet SUV that’s perfect for their lifestyle.”

The Z71 package is available on 2015 Tahoe and Suburban LT models with 4WD, with vehicles produced starting in October. Those vehicles also benefit from additional content added midway through the launch year, including OnStar 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, wireless phone charging capability and hands-free liftgate operation.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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OnStar with 4G LTE with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot is standard on LT and LTZ models. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial (whichever comes first), after which the customer can purchase additional data.

The hands-free liftgate and wireless phone charging are included with the available Luxury Package on LT models and they’re standard on LTZ. The hands-free liftgate feature allows a customer with a keyless entry fob to open and close the liftgate by waving his or her foot under a sensor beneath the rear fascia.

With the wireless phone charging feature, a magnetic inductive charging system allows users to place their phone on a small mat in the vehicle, where it charges without the need to plug it in.

Designed for greater capability

The new Z71 package complements a chassis and suspension system engineered to deliver a quieter, more-controlled ride. It all starts on a stronger, fully boxed, perimeter frame, which supports payload and trailering capability that body-frame-integral crossovers and SUVs can’t match.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 High Resolution Exterior
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All models – 2WD and 4WD – feature an updated coil-over-shock independent front suspension design. At the rear is a five-link coil-spring suspension design, which enables optimal ride and handling through more precise tuning. Additional chassis and suspension features include:

A wider rear track that contributes to a more planted stance
Shear-style body mounts, which reduce body shake and enhance the feeling of structural stiffness and improve damping performance when compared with previous compression mounts
Eighteen-inch standard wheels are a half-inch wider than previous models, reducing tire flex for improved cornering performance
New, electric variable-assist power steering system enhances fuel economy and tailors steering assist to vehicle speed
New four-wheel-disc brake system with Duralife™ brake rotors that offer up to double the service life
Available automatic locking rear differential that provides greater traction when needed and greater driving comfort when it’s not.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Exterior
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Tahoe and Suburban LTZ models feature third-generation magnetic ride control – a real-time damping system that delivers more precise body motion control. It “reads” the road every millisecond and changes damping in just 10-15 milliseconds in shocks filled with a magneto-rheological fluid containing minute iron particles. Under the presence of magnetic charge, the iron particles align to provide damping resistance almost instantly.

Z71: A legacy of capability

Chevrolet has long used the Z71 designation as the order code for 4WD or off-road suspension packages on its full-size trucks and SUVs – much like Z28 originally denoted a specific suspension package on the Camaro.

In 1988, the first official special Z71 package appeared on Chevrolet’s new-generation full-size pickup trucks, melding capability-enhancing components such as special shocks and chassis protection equipment with visual distinction, including the iconic Z71 rear fender decals.

2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 Exterior
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As Chevrolet introduced new-generation full-size SUVs for 2000, a special Tahoe Z71 marked the end of production for the previous-generation models. Z71 packages were offered on Tahoe and Suburban in 2001 and have remained in production for most of the last 15 years. On some models, the package was available with 2WD suspensions as well.

In 2013, Z71-equipped models accounted for 10 percent of Tahoe and Suburban sales.

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