The Tahoe is the Suburban’s marginally smaller — it’s about two feet shorter, overall — but still pretty beefy brother. It comes with the same 5.3-liter engines and, most interesting, an available hybrid powertrain. The Tahoe Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 supplemented by electric motors. At low speeds, it can operate on electric power only, engine power only, or any combination of the two. At highway speeds, electric assist as well as Active Fuel Management (four of eight cylinders shut down when extra power isn’t needed) work to reduce fuel consumption. EPA numbers for city driving are impressive for such a large vehicle, with a 5-mpg jump in efficiency for both the two- and four-wheel-drive models. Although the 300-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery pack adds about 360 pounds to the Tahoe’s curb weight, Chevy was able to find room for the pack under the floor, so it doesn’t cut into passenger room. In addition, because the battery is mounted underneath the vehicle, the convenient flip-and-fold second-row seats are still present, which allows easy access to the third row. The Tahoe’s interior finishes and overall layout are identical to what’s found in the Suburban, as is its passenger capacity. Where it differs from its larger sibling is in cargo capacity behind the third-row seats, which drops from 28.9 cubic feet to 16.9. Driving the Tahoe is much like driving the larger Suburban, although, as is typical, the hybrid’s regenerative brakes lack feel and can be slightly grabby, especially at lower speeds.
Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim Levels: LS, LT, LTZ, Hybrid
Body style: SUV, 6- to 9-passenger
Engines: 5.3L V-8, 320/326 hp, 335/348 lb-ft
6.0L V-8/electric hybrid, 332 hp, 367 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
Capacities: Towing 5900-8400 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 16.9/60.3/108.9 cu ft
Tahoes equipped with the navigation system get a revised radio with a built-in 80-gig hard drive and the ability to pause and rewind live broadcasts. SiriusXM weather service is also newly available. Electronic trailer-sway control and hill-start assist are now included in the standard stability and traction control systems.
Dual-stage front and side air bags and side curtain air bags for all three rows are standard, as are ABS, a tire-pressure monitor, and traction and stability control. A backup sensor system, a rearview camera, and a blind-spot warning system are optional. OnStar includes a system that automatically notifies first responders when an accident is detected by in-car sensors.
All: 11-20 mpg city/16-23 mpg highway
- Hybrid model significantly increases city fuel economy
- As capable as the ‘Burban
- Smaller, but nearly the same fuel economy as well
A slightly smaller version of the Suburban, but still huge — and hugely capable.
- Ford Expedition
- GMC Yukon
- Nissan Armada
- Toyota Sequoia