The key issue with the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is it’s fuel efficiency. There are other issues surrounding any vehicle, but when you’re buying a hybrid they come in a distant second place. We’ll still discuss some of them, but first let’s dive right into the meat of the issue.
This is the second year for the Tahoe Hybrid and along with its sister vehicle, the GMC Yukon, it’s the first large SUV to go this route. The hybrid is, of course, a regular gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. The gasoline engine pulls the car in heavy going, but turns the work over to the electric motor for steady driving.
The electric motor is not the only feature of the Tahoe Hybrid that has an effect on fuel efficiency. The Tahoe 6.0 liter V8 engine also sports cylinder deactivation and the transmission is a continuous variable automatic, known for improving gas mileage. It delivers all this while pumping out 332 horsepower.
Is it all working? In a word, yes. The Tahoe wont compete with sedans, but at 21 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway it significantly outperforms other large SUVs, including the fully gas powered Tahoe, even with flex-fuel.
The Tahoe comes in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. It seats nine, but only five adults comfortably. The back seat sits too low for adults and there really is no vehicle with a comfortable middle front seat position. Towing is limited to 6,200 pounds.
There is plenty of room for cargo with the back seat removed. However, cargo room is limited with the back seat in place, and the back seats don’t come out easily or fold flat with the floor. On the plus side, the middle seats move forward to allow easier access to the third row.
Like most SUVs, the Tahoe Hybrid is an inherently safe vehicle with good all around view and heavy construction. There is a slightly elevated risk of rollover for these vehicles, but other than that the Tahoe gets solid fives (out of five) in NHTSA crash tests. There are a number of other safety features, either standard or available.
The Tahoe Hybrid sports most of the same features as other Tahoes. The big difference, other than fuel issues, is the price. At $50,455 for the base two-wheel drive and $53,260 for the base four-wheel drive models, expect to pay twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars more per vehicle for the hybrids. That’s about a 65% price increase.
Given the price and the difference in mileage, there is no way, today, that driving the hybrid is cheaper than driving the gasoline engine versions of the Tahoe. Still, the alternative fuels are on everyone’s mind and we have to start somewhere. With the price of gasoline going up while the supply is going down, an environmentally interested person might find the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid right up his or her alley.