Since it was introduced in 1995, the Chevrolet Tahoe has been a favorite in the United States. The Tahoe offers the best of both worlds with the maneuverability of a truck with a short wheelbase but works perfectly as a four-door family vehicle. The Tahoe, with its ability to tow a trailer, go off-road, or take the family on a vacation adventure, has been one of the best-selling full-size SUVs for almost two decades.
While the Chevrolet Tahoe has enjoyed great popularity, if you’re in the market for a used one, there is one model you’ll want to avoid. One year’s model had multiple recalls and problems that consumers should be aware of.
The legend of Chevy Tahoe
The Tahoe has mostly rated well in customer service, durability, and reliability in its 25 years on the market. It received honors from both the J.D. Power 2019 Initial Quality Study and the 2018 Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own Awards.
Nearly one of every four full-size SUVs sold in the U.S. is a Tahoe. It’s also one of the favorite SUVs of government and law enforcement agencies. The special Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) has special modifications and suspension so it can handle high-speed chases and frequent abrupt stops. It’s high output alternator and auxiliary battery help balance the additional power needs that include the computers, lights, and sirens by such agencies.
The success of the Chevy Tahoe with both law enforcement and families is due in no small part to its evolution. Most years, the models grew with improved performance and capability along with the latest technology. Chevrolet intended with each model to meet the shifting needs of their fans. Unfortunately, one year the company missed the mark.
The worst Chevy Tahoe year
According to Consumer Reports, the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe received a one out of five on predicted reliability which was the worst rating it could receive. It rated fourth out of five SUVs by CR for 2015, only slightly better than another Chevrolet SUV, the Suburban. The Tahoe got particularly low ratings on its climate system, suspension, and power equipment.
What power equipment? Carcomplaints.com sheds a little light on the situation listing over 600 complaints about the vehicle. The website cites issues like flashing interior lights, radio outages or times where there’s no signal, rattling noises from the dashboard, and uncomfortable seats with sensor issues.
According to repairpal.com, the 2015 Chevy Tahoe is plagued with problems. They list many complaints like faulty sensors on the 4WD transfer case, failing AC temperature and air delivery actuators, failing power door lock actuators, failing fuel level sensors, broken rear window defogger wire terminals, airbags, brakes, seat belts, failing sunroofs, and more.
One Carcomplaints.com user who owned a 2015 Chevy Tahoe said the AC in the second and third rows only worked sporadically at 31,000 miles before it completely failed. They took the car to the dealership and learned the condenser had fallen. They’d had a substantial wait in a loaner car while the part for the repair took months to arrive.
Other users at the website complained of other serious issues like problems with the brakes. One user claimed their 2015 Tahoe would lose braking at slower speeds. They ended up rear-ending another drive in one incident and hitting a building in another.
What’s wrong with the 2015 model?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put out 15 recalls on the 2015 Chevy Tahoe from March 2014 through October 2019. The recalls include problems with the transmission, seatbelts, airbags, steering, ignition, brakes, and the electronic steering control.
The worst Chevy Tahoe had other issues. Reviews of the 2015 models from authoritative sources cited problems with the redesign.
There were three rows of seats but the back row offers limited space making it only really suitable for kids according to Edmunds. They also detailed a high cargo floor and load height and a rough ride because of the lack of an optional adaptive suspension. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel for base LS models was a sore point to many reviewers and owners alike. So was the lazy responsiveness of the vehicle’s brakes.
For those seeking a quality full-size SUV, you may want to give both the 2015 and 2016 Chevy Tahoe a hard pass. The 2016 model also received a poor predicted reliability rating from Consumer Reports. The 2017 models had a greatly improved rating. You might also consider Ford Flex or Expedition from 2015.