Part of my current role and past positions I’ve had over the years is travelling to remote sites and offices to install equipment or remediate infrastructure. I’d like to say I get to travel in planes trains and automobiles but I have yet to travel in a train for work and the planes I do fly in I try to forget the experience as quickly as possible because I really hate little tin can planes. Usually I like travel in the comfort of my Volvo V70, its fast, familiar and Swedish so its good. Every once in a while though I get the opportunity to drive something new and that’s what todays blog is all about. Enter the 2014 Chevy Land Beast!!
It blows my mind that this platform still exists today, I remember my mom driving these monsters in the early nineties as oil patch ambulances and always kind of wanted one when I grew up. Now that I am a grown up this would be the last vehicle on this planet of ours that I would wish upon even my worst enemy. The only incarnation of this platform that is worth entertaining is the Cadillac model which in itself has flaws the worst of which is fuel economy. The Tahoe is no slouch in this department, it will quickly drain your wallet, re-mortgage your home, sell your children and club baby seals to get its hands on some sweet sweet petrol. Our first fill at 3/4″s empty quickly racked up a $120.00CAD bill at $1.45CAD per liter at the time of our trip it was mental. How people drive these on the daily I can not understand I get grumpy filling up the Volvo which is miserly compared to this beast.
You’d think that with a big hulking thirsty V8 under the hood of this monstrosity that it would have some pretty good motivation when you gave it the beans. This theory proved to be disappointing, maybe it was because it was a rental or maybe it’s because its American but the 0-60 can probably be measured in ice ages. Honda’s could totally destroy us off the line with relative ease even with blue haired old ladies behind the wheel. It was very anticlimactic to mash down the pedal expecting loud rumbling excitement and acceleration only to receive a long pause with a meek sluggish response. However with the discovery of a button under the radio and experimentation of pushing, pushing and holding, pushing and holding even longer we were rewarded with the raw beast like performance we were looking for. What button would that be you wonder, well it was the computer controlled nanny meant to make this land yacht safe for soccer mom consumption, it was traction control. Even with the nanny at bay the Tahoe proved to be lacklustre at best for all the grunting and wheezing it would make, one pro is that it can cruise really well on highways.
Sitting at the helm of this multi tonne behemoth is quite different when you are used to hugging the ground in a European vehicle. The Tahoe should come with a captain’s hat since you don’t drive one more as you plot a suitable course being cognizant of its size and limitations and once said course is plotted you can then engage the beast and do your best to pilot it to your desired destination. During the course of our adventure we set sail for various remote sites to install hardware and to remove hardware to take back to the mother ship for repurposing. This meant that the Tahoe was excited to be put to work for the one thing it is truly good at, being a cargo vessel. We docked at 6 different sites during our voyage and amassed a great bounty of servers (8 HP Proliant DL385’s), storage arrays (6 HP MSA P2000’s) and an assortment of switch gear and misc items.
This extra weight made the handling characteristics of the S.S. Petrol Guzzler interesting, the ride when bumpy felt like snuffaluffagus was giving you a piggy back ride and driving through parts of Vancouver felt like trying to pilot Falcor through a miniature model city. At times this was amusing but most of the time it was terrifying. Braking distance and effectiveness dropped horrendously, fuel consumption went up and so did passenger anxiety. I’d feel more comfortable doing the truffle shuffle on the corner of Main and Hastings than I did piloting this shitbeast under load through the lower mainland.
Pros: Its big and hulking so it scares other drivers into submission of your will, for the first few days you feel kind of gangster driving it, when in white people think you are a cop car and get out of your way, it had a heated steering wheel.
Cons: Its big and hulking so it destroys the earth calls you names and steals all of your lunch money, you can’t really parallel park the thing worth shit in Vancouver, when in white people think you are a cop car and flip you off, the Bose stereo sucked pretty hard for being a Bose and it had a heated steering wheel which seemed so awesome at first but then felt really weird.
In Conclusion the Tahoe for its purpose did alright, it carried us from the interior of BC to the lower mainland, it ferried us from place to place and carried our nerdy booty back to home base so it get an A+ for effort and a D- for cost and efficiency.