Introduced in 1995, the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe is a true American SUV. Granted, the Tahoe’s gas mileage ratings, have never been something to write home about … until now. 2008 might just mark the dawn of a new era, with the Tahoe Hybrid offering a remarkable 50% improvement in city gas mileage ratings over the standard models. It isn’t just a case of bolting in an electric motor and a bank of batteries. Chevy dropped the Tahoe hybrid’s suspension, made aerodynamic tweaks to the hood and front end, and put some components on a diet to ease the load on the two-mode hybrid system. (Both the hood and tailgate are lightweight aluminum.)
The estimated gas mileage for the Tahoe Hybrid (shown above) is 21 city / 22 highway in 2WD trim, and 20 city / 20 highway for the 4WD model. The Tahoe Hybrid is slated to ship in early 2008.
The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe is available with four engine choices, dependent on model. The two-wheel-drive LS comes standard with the 4.8 liter Vortec V-8, while the LT1, LT2, LT3 and LTZ are equipped with one of two versions of Chevy’s 5.3 liter Vortec V-8. The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid is fitted with a hefty 6.0 liter Vortec V-8 along with the two-mode hybrid electric propulsion system. (And you were expecting a wimpy little engine?)
Twenty miles per gallon in the city is be a good start for the Tahoe Hybrid but there’s plenty of ground to make up. An equivalent boost in highway mileage would be more than welcome. Continuing the effort to lighten the big SUV and dropping the 6.0 liter gasoline-burning V-8 in favor of a more economical turbo-diesel would be likely next steps.