As capable as the Suburban, in a (slightly) smaller package.
The Tahoe is the Suburban’s marginally smaller — it’s about two feet shorter, overall — but still pretty beefy brother. It comes with the same 5.3-liter engines and, most interesting, an available hybrid powertrain. The Tahoe Hybrid is powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 supplemented by electric motors. At low speeds, it can operate on electric power only, engine power only, or a combination of the two. At highway speeds, electric assist as well as Active Fuel Management (four of eight cylinders shut down when extra power isn’t needed) work to reduce fuel consumption. The Hybrid’s EPA numbers for city driving are impressive for such a large vehicle, with a 5-mpg jump in efficiency for both two- and four-wheel-drive models. Although the 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack adds about 360 pounds to the Tahoe’s curb weight, Chevy was able to find room for the pack under the floor, so it doesn’t cut into passenger space. The Tahoe’s interior finishes and overall lay-out are identical to those in the Suburban, as is its passenger capacity. Where it differs from its larger sibling is in cargo capacity behind the third row, which drops from 28.9 to 16.9 cubic feet. Driving the Tahoe is much like driving the larger Suburban, although the Hybrid’s regenerative brakes lack feel and can be grabby, especially at lower speeds.
new for 2013
Powertrain-grade braking can now be activated in normal transmission mode (previously it was only possible in Tow/Haul mode). On downhill grades, the transmission downshifts to lessen the need for long braking applications and to reduce rotor strain. Champagne silver metallic, concord metallic, and blue ray metallic exterior colors are new.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; tire-pressure monitors; and traction and stability control are standard. OnStar is standard and automatically calls for help when a crash occurs. A backup sensor, a rearview camera, and blind-spot warning are optional.
Hybrid model significantly increases city fuel economy
As capable as the Suburban
Smaller than the Suburban but gets the same fuel economy with non-hybrid V-8
Base Price Range: $40,000–$56,000 (est.)
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: LS, LT, LTZ, Hybrid
BODY STYLE: SUV, 6- to 9-passenger
ENGINES: 5.3L V-8, 320/326 hp, 335/348 lb-ft (iron or aluminum block; E85 capable)
6.0L V-8/electric hybrid, 332 hp, 367 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed automatic, continuously variable
CAPACITIES: Towing 5900–8400 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 16.9/60.3/108.9 cu ft