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.
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