Chevrolet’s 2008 Tahoe Hybrid, which was named the “Green Car of the Year” by the Green Car Journal,
is America’s first full-size hybrid SUV. It’s available in 2WD or 4WD
and provides the power and capability you would expect from an SUV,
while delivering significantly improved fuel economy. It can haul seven
or eight passengers plus cargo, and features a tow rating of up to 6,000
pounds. It offers up to 50 percent better city fuel economy over the
non-hybrid Tahoe, with an EPA estimated 21 mpg city, 22 highway for 2WD
models and 20 city, 20 highway for 4WD models.
Its hybrid propulsion system is designed to operate in three ways:
electric power, engine power, or any combination of electric and engine
power. Tahoe Hybrids use a version of GM’s 6.0-liter Vortec V-8 plus a
300-volt battery that sits beneath the second-row seats. (Both the
second- and third-row seats still fold like those in the conventional
Each of its two modes has a specific duty in order to deliver the
best fuel economy for the situation. During low-speed, light-duty
driving, the system works like a conventional single-mode hybrid,
stopping the V-8 whenever it can and relying on one or both electric
motors. During highway cruising, the system uses one or both electric
motors to provide a power boost when necessary. Meanwhile, the engine
incorporates a range of fuel-saving technologies, including variable
valve timing and cylinder deactivation. Like other hybrids, the Tahoe is
equipped with regenerative braking that capture energy normally wasted
and uses it to recharge the battery.
The Tahoe Hybrid goes on sale later this year and eventually will be joined by a GMC Yukon Hybrid. Base price is $50,490.