I recently had the chance to drive the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, which was a terrible hybrid SUV. I’ve always wanted to check out the Tahoe Hybrid, because I’ve always wanted to experience one of the stranger full-size SUVs in my lifetime — so I’m thrilled that I had the chance to drive it for a little while when I rented it on a vacation to Arizona.
First, I want to give a little background on the Tahoe Hybrid. Here’s a basic overview: the Tahoe Hybrid was a full-size General Motors SUV that was offered from 2008 to 2013, right as gas prices were high and the economy was struggling. The thinking was that the Tahoe Hybrid would capitalize on a bit of the hybrid craze, and offer a more fuel-efficient alternative to shoppers who needed a full-size SUV, but wanted to save on gas mileage.
Unfortunately, the Tahoe Hybrid didn’t really do all that much. City fuel economy jumped from 14 miles per gallon to 20 mpg, but highway fuel economy was basically unchanged from 19 to 20 mpg — meaning the Hybrid’s combined city and highway gas mileage only jumped about 3 to 4 miles per gallon. On a percentage basis, that’s pretty big — but on an actual fuel economy basis, it didn’t really do much.
Still, an extra 3 mpg is always appreciated, and that would’ve been a nice thing for Chevy to offer — a few extra miles per gallon for shoppers who wanted more efficiency, and maybe they paid a little extra. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work that way: the Tahoe Hybrid was around nine grand more expensive than a similarly equipped regular Tahoe, coming in around $54,000 compared to around $45,000 for a Tahoe LT with a gas engine. That, of course, is a huge figure — especially to save just three miles per gallon.
And the fuel economy upgrades weren’t just limited to the hybrid powertrain. Chevy really went all-out with the Tahoe Hybrid, giving it a larger front air bumper for better aerodynamics, different wheels that were more slippery, removed the roof racks, and about a dozen exterior “HYBRID” decals, all over the doors, the fenders, and basically everywhere else. You only got 3 or 4 extra miles per gallon, but EVERYONE knew you were driving a hybrid.
On the road, the Tahoe Hybrid isn’t any better or worse than basically any other Tahoe from this era. Actually, the Hybrid is a bit quicker than other Tahoe models, as it offers 332 horsepower and 367 lb-ft, compared to the 320 hp and 340 lb-ft in regular Tahoes — but, generally speaking, it’s about the same. It handles the same, it steers the same, and lowering the vehicle — another aerodynamic job General Motors decided on to improve fuel economy — has no apparent effect on the driving experience.
Indeed, the Tahoe Hybrid was basically identical to the regular Tahoe — and that was its problem. You paid a lot more money, you got a little more fuel economy, and otherwise the Tahoe Hybrid didn’t really get you anything except a lot of stickers you could use to brag to your friends about your new hybrid SUV. If only they knew it was adding just three more miles per gallon. Find a Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid for sale
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