Review: When you think of hybrids, you
probably imagine dorky little wedge-shaped cars that look like they
belong in a bad science fiction movie. But not all hybrids are like
that. This week I drove a hybrid that can tow 6,200 pounds with a
massive, 6.0-liter V8 engine. And, oh yeah, it's a huge SUV.
The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid
doesn't look like your typical gas-electric hybrid vehicle. Electric
motors and a bank of batteries boost the fuel economy by 50 percent.
Inside, the Tahoe Hybrid has the same spacious cabin as the regular
Tahoe, with the exception of a few "Hybrid" logos and extra gauges.
It's the Chevy Tahoe
Hybrid, and it's turning everything you think about hybrids, and SUVs
for that matter, on its head. It's proof that hybrid technology isn't
just about nerdy economy cars and massive SUVs aren't necessarily gas
Like all gas-electric
hybrids, the Tahoe Hybrid uses a bank of batteries and electric motors
to boost power so it doesn't use so much fuel. Every time you press the
brake pedal, the batteries are recharged, so you don't have to plug it
into an electrical outlet. But that's where the similarities stop.
Unlike, say, the Toyota
Prius, which is designed almost purely for fuel-efficient driving, the
big Tahoe is designed first and foremost for good performance. The
hybrid system just means you get far better gas mileage while doing it.
The 2-wheel-drive Tahoe
Hybrid gets 22 mpg on the highway. That might not sound too impressive
when you compare it to the jaw-dropping mileage numbers on cars like the
Prius, but think of it this way: that's 50-percent better mileage than
you get with a non-hybrid Tahoe. That's downright amazing considering
the Tahoe is a brutal, V8-powered, full-size SUV.
In a lot of ways, the
Tahoe Hybrid drives exactly like the normal Tahoe. Stomp on the gas
pedal, and it rockets forward with the same kick-in-the-pants grunt of
any powerful truck.
But you'll notice some
differences, too. There's a soft, high-pitched whine when you press the
brakes, presumably from the system that recharges the batteries when you
stop. It sounds like a miniature jet engine under the car.
Chevy made some minor
changes to improve the Tahoe's aerodynamics and reduce weight. The front
air dam is lower and smoother, without openings for fog lights or tow
hooks. There are subtle but important aerodynamic changes around the
wheel wells, tapered running boards, and a smoother rear fascia.
It also has some
different gauges that show when it's driving most efficiently and some
fairly big "Hybrid" logos on the body to show everyone that you're
really not driving something that's killing all the penguins.
But beyond those minor
differences, the Tahoe Hybrid is essentially just another Tahoe. It's
roomy, quiet and comfortable, with the high vantage point and beefy,
solid feeling you'd expect.
Pricing starts at
$50,455 for the rear-wheel drive model, or $53,260 for the 4x4. That's a
lot of money, but it also includes a long list of high-end features at
no extra charge.
tested? The 2009 Chevy Tahoe 4WD Hybrid with a
base price of $53,260. Options on test car: Rear seat entertainment
system $1,295, power sliding sunroof $995. Total MSRP price as tested
including the $950 destination charge: $56,500.
Why avoid it?
It's expensive and, while it's far better than a normal Tahoe, it still
only gets 22 mpg on the highway.
Why buy it?
It has the Tahoe's legendary size and grunt and it gets 50 percent
better fuel economy thanks to hybrid technology.
The Tahoe Hybrid comes from the factory with a navigation system,
tri-zone automatic air conditioning, a rear-view video camera, Bluetooth
connection for your phone, and satellite radio. And the greatest luxury
of all? The gas receipt you get every time you fill up at the pump.
By Derek Price ©
AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Byline: Hybrid SUV review provided by
Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Chevy Home Page
Column Name: Chevy
Tahoe Hybrid gets 50 percent better gas mileage
Topic: The 2009 Chevy
Tahoe 4WD Hybrid
Word Count: 723
Photo Caption: The
2009 Chevy Tahoe 4WD Hybrid
Photo Credits: Chevy
Tahoe Hybrid Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 20
the Microsoft Word version here:
2009 Tahoe 4WD Hybrid
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 Tahoe 4WD Hybrid