Flash Drive: 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Staff of MSN Autos
Chevy has done an excellent job with the powerplant in this very large SUV. It has plenty of horsepower for any driving situation and offers reasonable fuel economy. While the 3-passenger middle row is quite roomy, the third row is surprisingly cramped for such a large vehicle. Even with the third row folded it's tight, mostly because the seats don't fold flat. The ride is smooth, and the hybrid system seamless. You can barely feel when the gas engine shuts and then restarts when needed. Brakes are a little touchy, but not nearly as difficult to modulate as the regenerative brakes on most hybrids. I averaged just under 18 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving, which is impressive not only for a vehicle of this size, but one that can also tow 6,000 pounds and can accelerate as quickly as this one. Overall, the Tahoe Hybrid is an impressive feat of engineering, but not an inexpensive one — our test vehicle had a sticker price of $56,600. – Perry Stern
With its hybrid engine and engine stop-start feature, the Tahoe Hybrid is a frugal beast, indeed. I was able to muster up 20 mpg around town. That's impressive for a full-size SUV that seats eight and can tow 6,000 pounds. From a financial perspective, you will pay a several-thousand-dollar premium to have the hybrid engine, and it will take many years of driving to recoup those upfront costs. If you drive 15,000 miles a year, and if you save 6 mpg a gallon on the hybrid versus the gas model, at $2 a gallon, the annual savings are $650. But using less fuel and emitting fewer greenhouse gases is important, and the Tahoe Hybrid will make you feel better about being friendlier to the environment. – Joe Chulick
The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid effectively mixes the spacious utility of the regular Tahoe and the fuel efficiency you expect from a hybrid. The engineering is impressive, but the details detract a little. The jagged plastic next to the emergency brake release is disappointing and feels almost sharp enough to cut my hand. The "efficiency" gauge has no markings but appears to read backwards, because higher efficiency appears to be on the left side of the gauge while the convention is instead for higher readings to be in the clockwise direction on any normal gauge. Weird. Nevertheless, if you need something big, fuel-efficient and able to tow up to 6,000 pounds, then the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid is the best there is. Hopefully, Chevy will have time to fix the details over time and make the Tahoe truly great. – Paul Hagger