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Saturday, February 21, 2015

2007 Chevy Tahoe's from Hot Wheels, Jada Toys, and Welly





One of the most overused, yet very common vehicles is the Chevy Tahoe.  Ever since its introduction as a four-door version of the K-5 Blazer in 1995, the Tahoe has been the standard for big SUV's, good or bad.  Now while the new generation for 2015 has more high-end features, it still has the same SUV duties, along with Police and Fire versions, the latter is the main reason why the Chevy Tahoe is very common in the diecast world.  Here are a few examples of the 2007-2014 Tahoe.



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Last-chance save

2006; GM is on the verge of bankruptcy, no doubt not helped by a lackluster car line, too much on the truck line, and poor quality.  At that time GM was starting to make drastic changes in their lineup for the good, but it was too late and once again the main focus was trucks and SUV's as the Silverado and Tahoe/Suburban got the redesign first before any cars in the GM lineup got their turn.  The Tahoe was a vastly refreshed vehicle with smoother body panels and bumpers with less chrome than the outgoing model.  Headlights are projector-beams and are much larger without the horizontal bar cutting across.  The bumpers are so smooth that the rear trailer hitch has its own cover, while the taillights are now larger.  The wheels are larger and fill the wheelwells in nicely.  The interior was a vast improvement with smoother surfaces that have a less plasticky look than the outgoing model even though there's still plastic inside.  The dash is also shared with higher-trim Silverado models in 2007.  Navigation system makes its appearance, as is a choice of aluminum or wood trim.  If you need room for seven people and use the third seat more often, get a Suburban since the Tahoe's rear seat is only made for kids.




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The engine is the same 5.3L V8 from the previous-generation, and would be the only engine offered in later years.  It makes 295 hp and provides cylinder deactivation for increased fuel economy on four cylinders during highway cruising speeds.  The transmission started with a 4-speed automatic, with a 6-speed offered later on.  Four-wheel drive is a part-time with full-time auto setting.  As with the previous-generation, the rear live axle uses coil springs instead of the usual leaf springs on the Silverado.  The Police package arrived shortly after with front push bumper and roof lights added, along with sturdier engine enhancements like a larger alternator, battery, steel wheels.  Inside the rear seat is reinforced with a kickpanel, no carpet on the floor, rear doors locked from the inside, and modified console to accept a laptop and other electrical equipment.  Even in the newest generation, the Tahoe still offers the size and capability, along with the police version, as in prior generations.



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Hot Wheels: from stock to police

Here's the odd part:  Before the 2007 Tahoe, the first on the block was the 2007 Cadillac Escalade in 2006.  The next year, the Tahoe appears in a City Works 5-pack in civilian clothes with sharp body details that made the Escalade look a bit short on looks, despite the City Mayor graphics.  The interior offers three rows of seats with excellent details over the Escalade's two rows with an ugly rivet post in the cargo area.  The ride height is low, but on par and much better than the Escalade, while the base shows off the typical drivetrain details a smidge more than the Escalade.  It's a cool casting that, strangely, lasted for only this 5-pack before being converted full-time to police duty.


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In 2009 the police version arrived with roof lights that barely has the clear lights poking out from the roof, which is also part of the interior windows.  Behind the front seats is a piece of window that acts as a barrier to officers from criminals, who also keep the third tow seat!  Finally the front gains push bumpers to finish off the pursuit look.  The white with headlight details are nice, but the red windows were a bit too much on the 2009 model.  In 2013 the yellow version with chrome 5-spoke wheels looked more normal, but early releases suffered from tooling problem (you can see some of the sharp corner edges on my version), so I gladly will replace it with the 2014 version in blue with an added bonus of clear windows in blue to better show off the interior.  It seems like the Police version is here to stay in the Hot Wheels line.


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Jada's rather large Police version

In 2011 something interesting from Jada came along in the form of highly-detailed police cars with realistic police livery.  Since then it still continues in 1:24, 1:32 and a rather large 1:64 scale, though the release of various police departments has been slow.  One of the original players is the Chevy Tahoe.  The body panels are large enough for various police logo's, the front push bumper and roof lights are larger and separate from the body,  The 5-spoke steel wheels are nice, though not realistic to the Tahoe (it uses the 8-dot steel wheels that appeared on the 1:24 and 1:32 scale versions).  Things get a bit awkward in the rear with dual exhaust and a rear hatch that is a bit deformed on my version.  That rear hatch opens up to show a detailed toolbox to store the needed police gear.  The rear seat also gets a kickpanel with detailed crosshatch on the window (and at least one rear bench!).  The dashboard has the typical details of the real Tahoe, with the addition of a detailed laptop on the console.  Finally the base below is made of metal and painted in black, though the ride height seems a bit low.  Despite its size its a heavy, nicely-detailed casting that just seems to be left short of a few police departments by far.



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Welly: bland, with a few interesting tidbits

Visit a Rite-Aid as often as I do and every time i'm there you'll see at least one 1:24 tan Tahoe, and occasionally a white Police version.  Next to the Land Rover Discovery that I reviewed last year, it's a bland truck and not worth getting unless its a 1:43 pull back vehicle.  Well here's a unique twist, one in a light blue I never seen before.  The color?  It's called Space Blue and it was offered starting in 2011 for Chevy, and seen more on the GMC Yukon than the Tahoe.  It seems a bit out-of-touch for this casting, while somehow neat at the same time.  As usual, Welly succeeds with sharp blue color, detailed headlights (though they lack the black tint surround), detailed grille and lower bumper at the front.  At the rear is detailed taillights and logo's, and even a detailed rear wiper and roof rails.  The interior has the same details as the 1:24, including detailed door panels, though the rear pullback motor tends to use up the rear third row seat.  The dash is nicely-detailed, but seems bland in black.  Remedy?  A silver Sharpie and careful detailing to give it the brushed aluminum look on the dash.  Also detailed with the Sharpie is the reverse lights on the taillights and the exhaust, drivetrain, and suspension components on the base to really stand out, despite the hunk of plastic covering the pullback motor that also gives a sour look to the proper ride height and 5-spoke wheels.  While not as finely-detailed as the 1:24, along with no opening hood, this 1:43 is a nice welcome change from the bland tan 1:24 Tahoe's that I always run into.




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