Stepping up one notch into the 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV hierarchy, one enters the realm of the Tahoe LT. This mid-level trim, like its siblings, boasts 3 rows of seating for 7- or 8-passenger capacity, nearly 109 cubic feet of total cargo area, V8 power and, with the proper equipment, up to 8,500 pounds of towing capacity. Also like its lesser LS sibling, the LT flaunts a standard roof rack, step running boards, 17-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, as well as a trailer hitch and wiring.
Unlike its LS kin, the upscale LT boasts standard leather upholstery, heated power-adjustable front bucket seats, power-adjustable pedals and full power accessories, along with tri-zone climate control and rear parking sensors. Cruise control, tilt-wheel steering and OnStar Directions and Connections service are additionally standard, as are simulated alloy cabin trim and a leather steering wheel.
Entertainment, finally, is presented by a standard Bose premium system with a single-CD player and 9 total speakers, along with satellite radio, separate rear audio and a USB port, all bolstered by Bluetooth hands-free communications capability.
The optional Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package offers hard-drive-based navigation, a rear-view camera, power sunroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment, while the Texas and All Star Packages (not available with the Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package) boast heavy-duty towing equipment with an integrated trailer brake controller, upgraded 20- and 22-inch wheels and power-folding outside mirrors. Finally, the Luxury Package and Z71 Off-Road Suspension Package include heated second-row seats, rear power liftgate, a universal remote garage door opener and reverse-tilting outside mirrors with the former, and upgraded suspension parts, all-terrain tires, unique badging and skid plates with the latter. As is traditional, most items in the various packages are also available as standalone options.
Standard power for the 2012 Tahoe LT remains an E85-capable (FFV) 5.3-liter variable-valve-timed V8 engine. Combining with the 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission and locking rear differential for 320 hp, this potent V8 will crank out 335 lb-ft of torque, tow up to 8,500 pounds of trailer and, despite cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing (VVT), deliver a mere 15 mpg city/21 highway in its standard rear-wheel-drive configuration.
Delivered safety features include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags and front side-mounted airbags. Further safety equipment includes OnStar emergency services, front fog/driving lights, daytime running lights, a post-collision safety system and remote antitheft alarm. Optional safety equipment includes turn-signal-integrated mirrors with the Texas/All Star Package.