Strengths and weaknesses:
- fuel economy
- power on demand
- lots of room
- a little pricey for some
Tahoe Hybrid offers no compromises
With all the concerns of where exactly the truck/SUV market is heading, we are seeing various options as manufacturers test the waters to see just how buyers respond to the ever increasing need for better fuel economy in all vehicles.
Obviously, size is the big issue in SUVs, and thus the lack of economy, or in the case of the 2009 Chevy Tahoe 2-mode Hybrid 4WD, the “perceived” lack of economy.
The Hybrid version of the Tahoe puts out ultra impressive fuel mileage numbers in 10.5 L/100km in the city, and 9.8 L/100km on the highway.
In fact, with GM’s 2-mode hybrid system in the Tahoe, it is possible to do ‘city driving’ for a while with 0 L/100km if you keep it under about 45 km/h, as it runs on electric power alone.
All that sounds brilliant, but I can hear the rumblings going on in your head. You’re thinking, “What did I have to give up to get that mileage?”
Was it the V8 power? No, the Tahoe comes with the 6.0L variable valve timed V8 with 332 hp. “Is it stripped down to save weight?” No, it has all the safety equipment such as the duel stage front air bags, side-impact and curtain airbags. It has Stabilitrak electronic traction system with pro active roll avoidance, LATCH child seats anchors and host of other features.
“Okay, well maybe it’s sparse on the interior?” No, it’s actually very nice inside with Bluetooth for the phone, automatic climate control, DVD touch screen navigation, Bose premium sound system and XM Sat radio.
Look, here’s how you sum it up. It’s your traditional loaded SUV, that isn’t missing any of the conventional luxuries you are used to, but will get roughly the same fuel mileage as your average family sedan.
The key, like I mentioned earlier is the 2-mode Hybrid system. If you watch how you drive it, you will be amazed at how long it will go on a tank of gas. In, fact when I was shuttling the girlfriend around the various ‘gotta’ stop’ stores in our city, driving the Tahoe became a bit of a game. You see, I’d try to get her from store to store without the gas engine starting up. My record was four stops.
It takes a gentle foot on the gas pedal (electricity pedal?), and a keen eye on the speedometer not to hit that magic number at which the gas engine starts up – somewhere between 45-50 km/h.
The second mode of the system acts like a helping hand at highway speeds. You see, the way to save fuel is to have V8 use its active fuel management system when the power demands are low. When the power demands are high, like climbing hills, towing, passing or just carrying a heavy load, the system provides supplemental electric power to aid the gas engine - the load is not as great, and thus, fuel is saved.
Too many times, we are convinced that in order to achieve something, we have to give something else up; it’s all a compromise. Want great fuel mileage? Drive this tin box with 13 hp and you’ll be very happy. It will work fine for you until you want to tow your boat up to the cottage.
Well, I guess the best way to describe the 2009 Chevy Tahoe 2-mode Hybrid 4WD is that it’s for those that don’t accept the compromises in life; they get what they want. Tahoe owners get the luxury of a fully loaded SUV; they get the V8 power; they get the towing strength; they get the safety; they get space; and yes, they get the fuel economy.
Actually, my only gripe with the Tahoe Hybrid is not actually anything to do with the Tahoe itself, more with GM. The way it promotes the Tahoe in commercials is brutal – just driving down the road. In my opinion, it’s a poor job in showing just what a great job has been done with the 2-mode Hybrids.
I was very impressed with it when I drove it, and if you are feeling the heat about getting a new full sized SUV, then you can cool things off by looking at the Tahoe Hybrid.