They didn’t win, but General Motors was extremely well represented in the 2015 Motor Trend SUV of the Year test, sending the publication a 2015 Cadillac Escalade, a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and a 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali XL for their huge utility vehicle shootout.
MT sorted the different entries by ranking them as either a “Contender” or “Finalist”. The Escalade was ranked as a Contender after its driving dynamics fell short of editors’ expectations. They noted it “shimmies,” under heavy acceleration (an action which may exclusive to standard wheelbase models) and that the “ride’s pretty rough.” They loved the Escalade’s luxurious interior, but were let down by the CUE infotainment system.
MT also ranked the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon as Contenders. They liked the Tahoe’s interior, saying it’s “a whole generation or two nicer than the (Ford) Expedition,” and that it “feels more luxurious and expensive, even if it isn’t.” However similar to the Escalade, the driving dynamics of the magnetic-ride-equipped Tahoe let them down, particularly with the amount of body in roll corners and over rough bumps.
Both the Tahoe and Yukon were equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 engine, which they described as “disappointingly languid.” The 15.3 second quarter-mile time is respectable, but MT said the SUVs were “red-faced and out of breath getting there.” This was mostly chalked up to the 6L80E six-speed automatic transmission, which could stand to be replaced with the 8L90E eight-speed.
The 2015 Yukon XL also had the 6L80E transmission, even though 6.2-liter-equipped Yukons will be available with the 8L90E transmission shortly. They had the same dilemma with body roll on magnetic-ride equipped models, and said the Escalade offers more luxury, while the Suburban is better value, leaving them on the fence about bumping the Yukon Denali up to Finalist status.
The only Finalist entry from GM was the Suburban for its extra space over the Tahoe and proposed value proposition when compared to the Yukon or Escalade. They noticed no difference in handling or driving dynamics over the Tahoe and said the $3,000 difference is worth making the jump up to the Suburban.
So, who won? It happened to be none other than the 2015 Honda CRV.