Big oil killed the SUV. Not alone of course, high gas prices are also playing along. The real killer however, is the consumer. Consumers have turned their backs on the big trucks and SUV’s. But, a new solution has come into play. The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid. This SUV is one of the first true hybrids by GM, and GM wants everyone to know that this SUV is a hybrid. The Hybrid Tahoe comes with emblems, logos, and the word hybrid painted across its sides. This vehicle can carry eight gentlemen while towing 6,000 pounds. The 6-liter V-8 gives it 332 horsepower and 367-pound-feet of torque.
The Tahoe Hybrid gets the same city gas mileage as a four-cylinder 2009 Toyota Camry, and its 21 MPG (on the two-wheel drive model) is even 2 MPG better than a Camry with a V-6 engine. The Tahoe’s city mileage also beats out the V-6 Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, and other GM cars. The most important point is how the Tahoe measures against other SUVs. Head-to-head against an equally equipped gas-only Tahoe, which uses a smaller V-8, the hybrid model provides a 50 percent improvement in mileage.
While every company makes a slightly different hybrid system, the principles are the same, burn less fuel, spew less pollution and recycle energy. The Tahoe uses a 300-volt battery system, hiding the batteries under the second row seats, that can move the 5,400-pound SUV up to 30 mpg on electric power. The Tahoe also takes another step and uses electric motors to assist the engine at high speeds. The V-8 can shut off four cylinders while cruising, which keeps the SUV in four-cylinder mode longer.
Inside, minor changes were made to improve the already excellent interior. The front seats were made lighter and they have plastic curves pieces on the back to allow second-row passengers a little more room. The second and third rows fold down, but if you need storage space, just pull out the easy-to-remove third row. The instrument gage is different. The tachometer includes an auto stop position to let the driver know when the engine is shut off. There is also a gauge divided into three sections. One of which lets you know if you hit the gas to hard, the needle points to the right, if you tap the brakes or coast and the needle moves to the left, letting you know the batteries are recharging, the middle “green” section suggests you’re driving in the most efficient manner.