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2012 Tahoe PPV: Built for Retards

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by nikerret, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
    I have been issued a 2012 Tahoe PPV. Thus far, I have a little over 6500 miles on. When I picked it up it was at 149 miles on the ODO.

    Mine has the Rear locking differential and DRL delete.

    I have around 30 miles in a 2013 Ford Utility Interceptor AWD (FUI) on gravel and highway, to compare.

    Here's a breakdown of various parts/features/functions and their ability to do their job.

    First off, Chevrolet appears to have made this Tahoe PPV with the primary goals of higher fuel mileage and an illusion of super safety. It fails at both of these at the sacrifice of performance.

    My first impression was "Damn, this thing is huge!"

    The seating position is very good. Both front seats are comfortable and have ample room. We have a couple of near-300 pounders and even they fit nicely. The stearing wheel is placed properly (unlike the offset CVPI stearing wheel). The controls are easy to reach, but may have their issues. I can drive around for hours and be more comfortable, longer, than I was in my old 2010 CVPI (with the 3.27 rear end). The A/C and heater work very well and the dual front controls are great. I like the dome light control button and the maps lights are conveniently located. I do wish they had fog lights. The earlier models had brake cooling ducts instead of fog lights. This year gets neither.

    Issues in this section include:
    All wiper controls are on the turn signal conroller. The rear wiper, which is used often due to aerodynamics splattering EVERYTHING onto the back window, gets turned on accidentally. I would rather have a button for this function. I am now in the habbit of hitting the rear wiper control (to OFF) after every turn signl usage.

    The wipers work at all speeds, unlike the CVPI which had useless wipers above 80 MPH. The only issue I have is the driver side wiper hits the spot light when I have the spot light in the only place it doesn't flop around.

    The steering wheel is too skinny and has a larger diameter than I prefer. The FUI has a much nicer steering wheel in both feel and functionality. Add to that, the buttons to control radio and other features. The Tahoe really lacks here.
    The Tahoe steering only allows tilt adjustments. Each notch is about 1.5-2 inches. I can choose to see the top of the speedometer and have the wheel too high or have it where I prefer to drive and not see how fast I'm going on the highway. A pressure adjuster would be better.

    The steering is responsive and gives good feedback. The FUI is smoother and requires less effort, but you don't seem to get as much feedback.

    All of the controls are oriented straight back instead of at the driver, except for the rear wiper controller (it's oriented at an angle and ned to be oriented straight back). The auxillary gauges are all cut off at the corners in the normal seating position.


    The parking brake is the kind you have to depress to engae and depress to release. I greatly prefer a parking brake that has a release lever. It's amazing how many times in the CVPI I pulled to lever and the brake popped up a bit. In the Tahoe, you have to engage it to make sure it's disengaged. Stupid.

    Radio and climate controls are a small stretch, but not something that needs attention. The issue with some of the controls is great for midnights, but bad for sunshine. The amber indicators on the A/C, Rear Defrost, Recirculate, and Rear Air are quite dim and hard to see in anything but darkness outside.


    Conversely, the dash light dimmer doesn't dim very far. The light isn't the kind that emmits far, but it does hurt my night vision versus the FUI's (they get really low and OFF!). Other GM products I have driven allow the dimmer dial to tunr the dash lights to off. Why the hell can't I do that in a PPV? Stupid. The auto-dimmer that makes the ODO and radio brighter when the sun comes up is slow to respond, making dimmer dial manipulation necessary.


    To turn the fan off, you have to turn the knob to OFF then hit the Recirculate button. Otherwise, OFF is the same as the lowest on level. Stupid.

    The rear seats have fixed headrests. I can see this being good so arrestees can't remove them, but we transport in the front and don't use cages. The passenger side rear headrest completely blocks out the rearmost passenger side window, where your blind spot becomes a blind mile. The two rear headrests combines cover nearly half of the rear window making backing more difficult than it should be. At a minimum, tilting rear headrests should have been used. Removeable would have been best. I am going to rip mine out, just haven't figured out a good way to do this without permanen damage.
    The window tint is nice, but makes backing at night a blind activity. The reverse lights do not adequately illuminate the way behind you. Thankfully, the mirrors are large and effective.

    The A pillar is huge and impedes driver's ability to see. Visibilty to the front (center) and left are good. Everywhere else is mediore to crap.

    The front seat cloth and rear vinyl are all holding up well. They also clean up nicely.

    The front seatbelts don't adjust high enough for optimal shoulder placement of the belt. I'm 5'11" and the belt rides too low. The latch/release combination is nicely placed outside the seat and moves freely around your duty gear. The only probelm is the plastic piece that covers the latch anchor point pops off. This doesn't effect function.
    The seat belt off dinger only dings a few times and is quiet for several minutes before it dings a few times, again, and repeats. It never becomes intrusive.

    The front door pockets are large and accomodate a lot of stuff. I especially like the cup holders built in to each side.


    The glove box is shallow and the owner's manual doesn't fit properly. The extra manual for the PPV is all but useless beyond upfitting electrical equipment. The Owner's Manual doesn't even mention the PPV. There are some features that are different with no mention in the OM.

    The map pockets on the backs of the front seats are nice and hold a lot of stuff. They are also easily accessible.


    The window lockout button only locks out the rear seat windows. This may be a plus for cars with cages and places that have two-man cars, but I don't like it. I don't transport in the back and don't like that I can't stop my arrestee from rolling their window down (if they can reach it). Big negative, for us.

    There are entry/exit handles for all passengers except the driver. It would be nice to have one on the driver side, too.

    No dead pedal. Why the hell are they not putting dead pedals in vehicles "designed" for 8-12 hours of continuous use? Stupid.

    I'm not sure it has a cabin filter, but I think it does. Driving behind someone on gravel in a CVPI meant instant cabin full of dust. I can follow for 5-6 miles before there is even a hint of dust in the cabin of the Tahoe. Same goes for the FUI.

    The alternator is weak. If ABS kicks in while driving, the lights dim. If I talk on the radio while the lightbar is on, the lights dim. I never had a problem with the CVPI's until they failed (and I had an old halogen bar on it).

    The drivability is awesome for a 6,000 pound vehicle, about 550 pounds heavier than the FUI and 1200 pounds heavier than the CVPI (weights with me in it, all geared up).

    Straight line acceleration is faster than most of the CVPI's. The PPV corners exceptionally well, especially, for its size.

    The Michigan State Police tested the Tahoe at 139 MPH top speed. Neither of ours goes past 134. It does have an adjusting governer. When I first got it, I payed hell trying to get and keep it above 120. It seemed to get stuck at 117, 127, and 134. Now, it only gets stuck at 134. Perhaps, it will rise with some more miles.

    Acceleration from 50-110 is really good. If you are driving 25-30 MPH, it will not downshift to 1st, it will use almost all of 2nd. The first half of which is quite underwhelming.

    Reverse is limited to 35 MPH. It takes almost all of this to do a proper J-turn on pavement, but it will do a great J-turn.

    The torque is effective. I used it to push an out of gas car off the roadway. The only place to push it was up a small hill. At idle, it pushed the car effortlessly. The CVPI would have had to have some throttle applied.

    At WOT, the vehicle will not shift higher than 4th gear, leaving both overdrives unused. At 130 MPH, you are turning around 5300 RPM's in V8. GAS GUZZLER.

    The gas mileage is terrible. On the Interstate on the way to an out of town funeral, with all cruise control and low RPM driving, I only got 14.7 MPG.

    The best MPG's I ever got was a little over 15. I filled up, drove 20 miles as easily as I could and refilled; completely impractical.

    I average around 11-13 as long as I keep WOT down to less than two miles or five stop signs. Any lights and sirens runs means I get less than 10 MPG. I had to do an accross county run (about 40 miles) and got around 7 MPG.

    Idle time also kills gas.

    The fill tube is huge in this thing. After the pump pops, you can slowly fill another 1-1.5 gallons.


    The Active Fuel Management works really well save for going to V4 too fast, but it gets into V8 very quickly. It is hard to feel when it changes, mostly because it is almost always associated with a downshift. You hear it, more than anything. I would like a button to hold it in V8, but I can do without it.

    The engine makes good power, but I think it would benefit from the 6.0 from the Caprice or something larger. I would really like to see what it could do with some more power and the 3.73 gears from the older years (mine has 3.08's). In all fairness, if it doen't put over 400 HP to the ground, I find most vehicles unerpowered.

    The Tahoe gets into 6th gear way too quickly. At 30 MPH, it is crusing in 5th. By 35 MPH, it is in 6th. In 6th, it bogs down and falls all over itself. We have found that putting it in Manual mode and limiting it to a four or five speed is best on everything except cruising over 70 MPH. Vigilance with the gear selector can be worth 2-3 MPG.

    The other Deputy bought a K&N filter for his Tahoe. We tested it in both vehicles a couple of times each and the free-er breathing filter can be worth 2 MPG. You get no gain if you drive WOT or have more than 30-45 minutes of idle time total.

    The stock Good-year RSA's are total crap and should be discarded immediately. They failed at the LASD testing and at MSP's Tire test when put on the Tahoe. We replaced them on the CVPI's a long time ago and haven't looked back. Fewer flat tires, better performance, and longer tread life. We put Firestone Firehawk Pursuits on the Tahoes. They don't look much different, but they are a much better tire (and cheaper).

    I have had to replace three flat tires on the Tahoe thus far and there is a major flaw in the design. The spare tire is located under the rear cargo area, exterior of the vehicle. If you get a flat on the back, there isn't room underneath to get under there to place the jack under the rear axle. When they lowered the Tahoe, they didn't consider this. If you try to lower the tire before jacking it up, the spare doesn't clear the bumber very well. It's a major PITA. My spare rides in the rear cargo area for this purpose. The Tahoe is also heavy enough to blow a stanard 3 ton floor jack. The jack that comes in the Tahoe is above the driver side rear tire well. It is very hard to get out as you have to crawl all the way ino the cargo area and dig down deep in the side moldings. Stupid.

    The single biggest issue with the 2012 Tahoe PPV is it thinks it is smarter than you and knows what it should do instead of letting you tell it. For this reason, I hate driving it, most of the time.

    Some of these problems would be fixable if we got the full DIC (Driver Info Cener). The PPV gets a very limited one versus the retail version.

    Want to open the interior door handle to get out? Nope, better unlock the door first. Stupid.

    Want the doors to stay locked when you pull up to a bar brawl? Nope, they all unlock when you put it in Park.

    Want to get out while it's running and hit the door lock on the door? Great! The driver door will unlock itself for you when the door shuts. You have to manually hit it, after you hit the automaticc locks and let it unlock itself, or use the key fob. You damn well better get the kyeless entry. I do not want a patrol vehicle that locks and unlocks itself. Do what I effin say!

    The 2012 Tahoe PPV comes with spontanious brake application also known as: Stablitrak, brake traction control, Proactive Roll Avoidance, electronic trailer sway and hill start assist.

    The button to turnoff TCS (Traction Control System) only turns off ENGINE traction control. This retards the engine to cut power. In the manual, you are to hold down the button for five seconds to disable Stabilitrak. Not in the 2012 PPV. IT CAN NOT be disabled with the button.

    What ends up happening, it the Tahoe PPV drags its brakes around whenever you are not going in a straight line on a flat surface. This helps kill gas mileage, wear brakes and tires faster, and really piss you off.

    The yellow traction conrol light is always going crazy. Even when it isn't, the Proactive Roll Avoidance will hit the brakes on any grade. Going through a wet median results in all of these systems going crazy and slamming the brakes on.

    I felt like the brakes were dragging and did a test. The traction controls and Stabilitrak use the ABS sensors to function. I pulled the ABS fuse and it was a different vehicle. You don't realize how much the brakes are working unil you let the brake pedal be the sole activator. One caution: The Tahoe drives like a short wheelbase and is happy to rotate without the spontanious braking systems.

    Last week, we had heavy rains for two days straight. I was on a gravel road and pulled to the side. I pulled a little too far and the front end started to sink. I hit the throttle to get out of it. To get out, I had to go further in the ditch and pop out the top with momentum.
    The vehicle sensed it was sliding and applied the brakes. I tried accelerating through the brakes and ended up more in the ditch than not. I tried rocking the vehicle. Couldn't do it, the rear brakes kept hold too much. Eventually, I got some nice smoke coming off the rear brakes and had managed to bury the Tahoe in over a foot of soft mud.

    I got out and pulled the ABS fuse. Amazing how well the tires spin when the brakes aren't fighting it. With some luck and the awesome Eaton G80 locking differenial (GET THIS IF YOU GET A TAHOE), I was able to not only rock the vehicle enough to move, but I got all the way out. It took over .2 miles of driving through the ditch and having to put it in Manual 1 (it kept putting it in 3rd gear). The whole time, I was plowing mud with the front bumper cover (the valance was removed upon delivery) and rear axle.

    If the spontanious braking systems had let me drive, I wouldn't have been stuck, at all.

    You can see this in action in the Ford videos comparing their new products to the competition (see YouTube). The Tahoe just buries itself in the "Arizona snow". Wht you aren't seeing is the brakes are on the rear wheels and it just digs a hole. I am willing to bet it would have done fine without the "safety features".

    I told my Sheriff about it and he said we will not be buying Tahoes if they don't make it possible to disable all this crap. We are talking about putting a switch in that would cut the ABS modules. It's the only way this stupid vehicle will get around in mud/snow. If we get a bad snow storm, the PPV will be a brick until you manually disable this crap.

    The FUI's have all of this, and more, but can apply power to other wheels. The Tahoe can only hit the brakes.

    Four people have driven the Tahoe comparing the abilities of the vehicle with and without the systems in place. Everyone hates driving it without pulling the fuse.

    The new Tahoes promote bad driving. The systems look at steering wheel position to activate individual brakes. If you countersteer, it will turn you the opposite way you want the vehicle to go. They made these or retards with no driving skills. The danger comes in when I get used to having my hand held and have to drive a CVPI around. My refleses are already diminishing.

    The actual ABS system is very good. Unlike the CVPI, which always kicked in too early, the Tahoe's doesn't kick in until you really are locking them up. For all the fails the PPV automatically forces, ABS is not one of them. For the record, I hate ABS. It is only useful on wet pavement<the surace I am least likely to need it on.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  2. blueiron


    Aug 10, 2004
    Good review.

    Proof that modern vehicles are designed primarily for the blissful idiot with a cell phone screwed into their ear, the stereo blasting, and completely uneducated in how to properly interface with and operate a motor vehicle.

  3. lwt210


    Nov 28, 2001
    After a few months in this final year model CVPI with this torture like device of a driver's seat non adjustable lumbar support, I'd rather be issued ANYTHING else just so my back will stop hurting.

    I'll trade with you as soon as the paint scheme/sticker swap is done.
  4. Mattz


    Nov 16, 2005
    Hrmm.. I don't think 15 MPG in a Tahoe is too bad for police duties... considering the Crown Vic gets similar, or worse, and it's a car. I do hate the door unlock system... I'll take the Tahoe any day over the crown vic... much more spacious inside, and so much easier getting in and out.
  5. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005

    In the CVPI, getting 15-16 wasn't worth getting excited about (it happened several times). 13-14 was daily. The worst I would get was around 9-10 with a lot of hot runs. The Tahoe PPV can't touch the CVPI for fuel mileage.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  6. Mattz


    Nov 16, 2005
    I'm not worried about it. I'm more concerned about my comfort since I'll be in it for close to 12 hours, as well as saving my back. ;)
  7. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
  8. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
    The Tahoe is, by far, the most room of any of the current patrol-rated vehicles. The seats are much better than the CVPI; give ya that.
  9. Mattz


    Nov 16, 2005
    On a side note... that's a good looking scheme. Very californiaish.
  10. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
    You should have seen it in all black. For all its faults, it is a badass looking beast.

    I like the black and white, but the white wraps grap dirt like fly paper. Looks good when clean, a ***** to get it that way.

    I also like the non-reflective decals. The old cars have reflective blue across the entire side of the cars.

    The Tahoe looks way cooler than the FIU!
  11. packsaddle


    Jan 15, 2009
    i'd take that tahoe any day over the crap i'm driving now.
  12. Mayhem like Me

    Mayhem like Me Semper Paratus

    Mar 13, 2001
    Not a chance
    I am soooo glad my 2007 had the 3.73 and no stabilibrake or v4-v8....

    Now I have a 2012 caprice 6.0:whistling:
  13. Goldendog Redux

    Goldendog Redux Shut your mouth

    Aug 22, 2003
    I lust after the Tahoes in our fleet I will never get issued. Can't stand the 2006 Crown Vic I drive and I don't much like the brand new ones either. Driving the new ones feels like driving a boat. Seriously, it's like the things are wallowy, underpowered and unresponsive.

    I think a higher clearance, AWD vehicle makes me more useful around these parts. I suppose if I were just doing hot laps on some stupid stretch of super slab writing tickets, a car would be fine.

  14. Ducowti


    Jan 11, 2009
    Cool! No cage so you stuff the perps in the cargo hold?!!!

    Outdoor Hub mobile, the outdoor information engine
  15. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

    Mar 29, 2005
    Front passenger seat.
  16. herky


    Sep 16, 2005
    Great review, not to hijack this thread but does anyone have a good review for the Caprice?
  17. RetailNinja


    Jan 31, 2007
    Have fun in the winter in that PPV if you live where it snows...
  18. ditchdoc24


    Jan 15, 2009
    We're waiting to see what we're going to get next year. Word is that the new vehicles will be either Tahoe PPVs or FIUs because of all the dirt roads we have in our county. Thanks for the review!
  19. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

    Sep 5, 2010
    It could always be worse. It could be one of those soccer-mom For epxeditions where you have to constantly tighten the lug nuts so the wheels don't fly off, or a Dodge truck that the transmission messes up and you have be have it set on "R" to do forward.
  20. RetailNinja


    Jan 31, 2007
    Tahoes are RWD only (or the ones that are in operation in our county are) and will be hell on dirt roads. The cops who drive them hate them for everything but the interior space and seats.