Overview & Reviews
The discontinued Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid came close to being a best-of-both-worlds sort of vehicle. To wit, it seats eight, can tow 6,200 pounds when properly equipped and gets up to 21 mpg in mixed driving. Unfortunately, the Tahoe Hybrid was considerably more expensive than a regular Tahoe when new, making it a questionable purchase from a value standpoint. And just like the regular Tahoe, the Hybrid suffered from some inherent shortcomings that made a large crossover SUV a better choice for many shoppers.
The Tahoe Hybrid never sold particularly well, so finding a used one could prove challenging. If you do track one down, keep in mind that similarly priced three-row crossovers are likely to provide comparable fuel economy and a better driving experience. Note, too, that the hybrid power system is quite complex, so long-term reliability is a bigger question mark than usual. But if you're looking for big-SUV functionality in a relatively fuel-efficient package, a used Tahoe Hybrid could still fill the bill.
Used Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Models
Produced in a single generation for the 2008-'13 model years, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a full-size SUV with a gasoline/electric powertrain that produces a healthy 379 horsepower. EPA fuel economy ratings fluctuated slightly through the years, but the combined city/highway figure was consistently 21 mpg for the rear-wheel-drive Tahoe Hybrid, with the four-wheel-drive version hovering between 20 and 21 mpg. At the time, this was approximately 30 percent better than the regular Tahoe could manage.
The secret lies in the interplay between the twin electric motors and the 6.0-liter gasoline V8 engine. For one thing, the Tahoe Hybrid can accelerate from a standstill to about 30 mph on electricity alone, though you'll need flat (or ideally downward-sloping) ground and very patient drivers behind you to make it happen. But even when the gasoline engine kicks in, the electric motors minimize fuel consumption by continuing to provide motivation. The Tahoe also capitalizes on familiar hybrid technologies such as regenerative brakes, which are used to recharge the battery pack while slowing the vehicle.
GM developed this hybrid system in conjunction with BMW and the now-defunct DaimlerChrysler partnership. The most novel component is the transmission, which uses three special planetary gearsets in addition to four fixed ratios like a conventional automatic. Depending on the driving situation, this electronically variable transmission (EVT) can function with continuously variable gearing for light loads or fixed-ratio strength for heavy-duty tasks.
Because of the considerable weight added by the hybrid-related components, Chevrolet made an effort to lighten the load and streamline the Tahoe Hybrid. Some of the body panels are made of aluminum, while thin-profile seats shed additional pounds. The Tahoe Hybrid also has aerodynamic add-ons and low-rolling-resistance tires. It's a bit surprising, then, that the four-wheel-drive Hybrid has low-range gearing, an unusual attribute for a hybrid SUV.
The rest of the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid is largely identical to well-equipped regular Tahoe models of the same vintage. It has three rows of seating, an eight-passenger capacity and up to 109 cubic feet of cargo space, more than any other hybrid. To access that full space, however, you have to physically remove the third row of seats -- just about every other large SUV allows you to fold it flat into the floor. Standard features included leather seating, a premium sound system and a navigation system. The only significant items left as options were a rear-seat entertainment system and a sunroof.
In reviews of the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, we found that it drove very much like a regular Tahoe from that era. In fact, its acceleration and highway passing performance were a shade better. But while the Hybrid's combined fuel economy rating was a major improvement, it's still a far cry from what most people would consider "good" in the absolute sense. Overall, consumers who don't need massive towing capacity would be better served by equally roomy crossovers like the three-row Chevrolet Traverse.
Changes were few and far between for the Tahoe Hybrid. For 2009, power-adjustable pedals became standard, while the 2012 model added front-seat side airbags. Otherwise, this quirky truck received only minor technology upgrades during its run.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 30.00
OK - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Gerardo Ochoa - October 28 - 3:56 pm
Pretty slow. Saves gas though. Worth the 50 k in the long run. Not really into the whole green movement but this car is really nice.
A Damned Good Truck.. - 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Paul Sanzone - October 27 - 8:23 pm
This truck is everything you dreamed of in a large 8 SUV. The truck rides smooth and is SUPER QUIET! The cabin is roomy, and seating is comfortable. The Hybrid model is loaded to the gills! From the finely appointed leather seats, its complete with all the power options, navigation, and DVD player. With the Hybrid technology, you are truly saving money on gas! My last SUV was a Nissan Pathfinder SE (V6). The Tahoe uses half the amount of gas that the Pathfinder used. This Hybrid Tahoe gives you (on average) 20 miles per gallon. The warranty from GM is excellent. Overall the handling is good. You must test drive it..YOU WILL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. I love my Tahoe!
Major Disappointment - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By jenniferreeves - September 26 - 5:26 am
My hybrid stinks - Gas mileage is 16 MPG - Intermittent noise under hood that GM says cannot be fixed - been in shop over 45 days now. GM District Service Manager basically called me a liar & told me the cars simply not broke in yet & Im buying cheap gas at Shell. GM refuses to repurchase the vehicle & refuses to fix the problem because the noise is intermittent. Factory couldnt even test Hybrid Component to see if thats the problem! After being bullied by GM probably wont buy another GM vehicle! New technology not always great!
2010 tahoe hybrid - 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Tom - October 8 - 5:33 am
i trade a H2 Hummer in for the tahoe, it great on mileage u get what the say. The oem tires are terrible they slide on dry payment, and even worse in the rain, i havent even drove in the snow yet, so i went out that week and replace them with a goodyear fortera big difference. The brakes have a litte to be desired. The thing i hate the most is no spare tire or jack, carzy
Wasnt what I thought it would be. - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Carlos - May 22 - 5:31 am
There are a bunch of other problems that you get with this purchase. First, you lose a lot of standard features that come on cheaper models of this vehicle. Convenience features like automatic lift gate and luggage rack, and safety features like a spare tire and jack. Also, if you get a bad hybrid generator (battery pack) like I did youre screwed. I tried several times to have it replaced while it was under warranty and GM came up with all types of excuses why it wasnt the battery pack. But once the warranty went out they said that the new battery pack would be about $5k. The battery pack controls EVERYTHING.. When it goes everything will run intermittently. And they will gradually die off at a very high expense to safety. For example: The computer that controls the interchange between gas and electric motors will cut the car off when you try to go after stops for lifts or signs. So you will cut off intersections and sometimes in slow or stop-no-go traffic. Mine has cut off thing to cross intersections with vehicles coming. I have to hold down the brake and rev the gas (Almost like in a manual transmission) to keep it from going to electric to avoid this. Which defeats the purpose of the hybrid because you still burn the extra fuel. Its just not worth it.
Still fond of this SUV after one year - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Craig - April 16 - 2:23 pm
I have enjoyed this vehicle very much, especially during the summer of 08 when gas hit $4.00 a gallon. It rides very well, has lots of room and is quiet after 45,000 miles. I have had it in for extra service 3 times due to the hybrid transmission failing - first the modulator, then the transmission itself, then the modulator again. Fortunately the failures occurred close to home and the dealer was terrific in getting it repaired quickly. I am willing to put up with the hassle to get the excellent mileage for a full sized SUV.
Its Great! - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By East Atlanta - November 5 - 9:13 am
We purchased the Tahoe Hybrid to enjoy the comfort, space and anticipated gas savings. We have truly enjoyed its performance and handling. We had issues with the brakes, but they were fixed. We also had the decals removed. The mileage is satisfactory, but its great in a lot of stop and go and on the highways; it averages in the low 400 miles per tank.
Great SUV - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Cory - July 15 - 5:23 am
Great for an SUV. I average about 21 MPG of mixed city/Hwy. The hybrid system is smooth but not seamless. There is an occasional clunk when when the engine disengages. I have had the truck on every type of terrain, including snow, mountains, and mud. It performs as well as any modern SUV, just remember, it is no jeep.
Great SUV - 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By Tom - December 25 - 2:43 am
We had a 2001 Chevy Tahoe that we liked very much. When it was time to trade we checked out the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. We really love the truck, we call it the magic carpet ride because it rides so smooth. Wind noise is minimal and the power is great for a full size SUV. Recently we took it on a trip pulling our 6,000lb boat and trailer, I hardly knew the trailer was on the back of the vehicle. After 180 miles one way, we arrived as if we had been riding without the trailer. I own a 2003 Dodge 2500 with Hemi engine, that truck beats us to death and it does not pull the trailer with the ease of this vehicle. We also got between 12.5 and 14.3 MPG, the truck would get 9.5 MPG.
my tahoe - 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
By leftygolfer - December 11 - 6:33 pm
I just bought my Tahoe hybrid 4wd and am very pleased with it. Rides great. Has great acceleration and excellent gas mileage for its size. I had an 08 enclave before and am much happier with the Tahoe. The Tahoe is very solid and well made.