The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is the first full-size SUV to utilize a hybrid drive system and offers 33 percent improved fuel economy compared to the standard Tahoe in city driving.
Based on the Tahoe platform, the Tahoe Hybrid simply adds Chevrolet's two-mode hybrid system that allows the SUV to be completed powered by an electric motor at low speeds and a 6.0-liter V8 with Active Fuel Management. The system also makes use of regenerative braking as well.
Other fuel-efficient changes to the Tahoe Hybrid include a more aerodynamic front fascia, low rolling-resistance tires, a lowered ride height and the use of lighter aluminum in the SUV's hood, rear tailgate and wheels.
The result is a full-size SUV that can tow up to 6,200 pounds -- in two-wheel drive guise -- yet still achieves city fuel mileage equivalent to a mid-size sedan.
EPA fuel economy ratings are listed at 21/22 city/highway for two-wheel drive models and an even 20/20 for Tahoe Hybrids equipped with four-wheel drive.
A unique hybrid gauge cluster includes a special tachometer incorporating an Auto Stop position just above the 0 rpm mark that indicates when the gasoline engine is in shut-down mode. An analog economy gauge, to the left of the tachometer, helps the driver maintain the most efficient driving style.
Located midway down the center stack, the standard navigation system's 6.5-inch full-color VGA display doubles as a monitor that shows a graphic representation of the hybrid drivetrain's power flow. This display continuously informs the occupants how the system is sending power to the wheels from the ESS/electric motors, the gasoline engine or both.
The screen also displays reverse electrical flow during regenerative braking and whether the vehicle is in two- or four-wheel-drive mode.
Despite all of the changes intended to increase fuel economy, the Tahoe Hybrid retains seating capacity for up to eight occupants.
Standard safety features include dual front, front side and side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Outside of mechanically identical GM models like the GMC Yukon Hybrid and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, there are no gas-electric full-size SUV competitors to the Tahoe Hybrid. However, those willing to spend a bit more money for a slightly smaller vehicle can choose more luxurious and fuel efficient rides such as the diesel variants of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.