By on April 3, 2009

Ten. My local Chevy dealer has ten Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrids on his lot. At $56K. Each. That ain’t right. GM was going bankrupt when they unleashed this beast. They should have said screw it; let’s show those sanctimonious greenies who’s King of the World (Ma). Let’s peg the price of the Tahoe Hybrid to the Toyota Prius and run ads saying Yippie Ki Yay, Motherfucker. Have one last line of four-wheeled blow before everything goes to Hell. Instead, once again, GM walked away from a terrific vehicle in pursuit of the Next Big Thing. You heard me: the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a technological marvel that rocks. Deal.

The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid looks like a Tahoe slathered in hybrid logos. Exactly right. The Tahoe’s super-abundance of Hybrid stickers, badges and decals may be as jarring as Warren Sapp in a tutu, but they move the gas-sucking truck’s image in the right direction. I mean left. That said, the gas – electric logo is an H created by two arrows pointing at each other—or a pair of Easter Island sculptures standing nose-to-nose—forming an X, with imprinted circuit boards. GM working against itself inside Tron? GM vs Toyota? All I know is that this bestickered behemoth is perfect platform for cognitive dissonance. I’ll take mine with a “Proud to be everything the right wing hates” or “I’d rather be a conservative nut job than a liberal with no nuts and no job” bumper sticker. Better yet, how about both?

Inside the test Tahoe, life is more about shades of gray. I think there’s a bit in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy where a UK trucker realizes rain follows him everywhere; he gets paid to leave the country. The Tahoe Hybrid’s gray-on-gray cabin is equally unrelentingly depressing. In terms of toys, the General’s Hybrid SUV is a high zoot Tahoe with all the boxes checked, minus a few heavyweight items (e.g., sunroof, roof rack, two-piece electric tailgate). The Tahoe Hybrid’s third row seating remains a minivan salesman’s best friend. How can something so heavy, clumsy and bulky be so uncomfortable? But the Tahoe Hybrid’s trailer hitch (6000 lb towing capacity) is a convincing counter. Provided you tow stuff.

It was my second time helming a Tahoe. My second first impression: Honey, who shrunk the steering wheel? Chevrolet must have taken the “car” part of the “Green Car of the Year” award a bit too seriously. With visibility issues an issue, the Tahoe Hybrid is one of those vehicles that doesn’t seem to shrink around you as you drive. An inattentive Tahoe Hybrid pilot would do well not to take that “High and Mighty” thing too literally. The Tahoe Hybrid moves away from rest to a claimed but not observed (by Mr. Lead Foot) 30 mph powered entirely by its 300-volt nickel-metal hydride battery. Aside from some whining, whirring and (yes) graunching noises, you’d never know you’re driving the world’s heaviest golf cart. And then, magic. The drivetrain doesn’t suck.

The Tahoe Hybrid transitions seamlessly from battery power to V8 mode to V4 mode to stop to start. A Prius-like animation keeps you in the electric vs. gas loop; a digital dash display appraises you of the cylinder count. But who cares when two 60 kW electric motors, three planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet clutches work in harmony (with four fixed gear ratios under an Electronically Variable Transmission) to create gas engine-like dynamics? Not me.

Chevy’s 5835 lb body-on-frame hybrid is not slow. Hammer the Hybrid’s go pedal and the eco-worrier takes off like a big ass SUV powered by a 6.0-liter V8—mostly because it IS a big ass SUV powered by a 6.0-liter V8. Bonus! The drive system delivers a touch of battery juice when needed, bumping up torque from 367 lb·ft to some unspecified level. The Tahoe Hybrid handles well enough on its 18″ pothole thumpers, but the slimmed down seats allow for little lateral latitude.

There are off-their-meds paranoid schizophrenics who aren’t as sensitive as the Tahoe Hybrid’s regenerative brakes. Even worse, the stoppers are massively powerful. As the press release helpfully point out, “braking distances will be noticeably shorter than [those generated by] the standard Tahoe.” In other words, buckle up. And don’t be surprised when your breath mint bounces off the windscreen.

Any such exuberance limits mpg bragging rights. Still, in “mixed driving” on highway and byways, our four wheel-drive tester clocked in at 17 mpg. That’s not enough to give tree huggers a hard on, and it’s bound to trigger arguments about sledgehammers and walnuts. But hey, it works! And it’s a start. Well, it would have been . . . . At $35K, Chevy would have sold these SUVs all day long. They would have lost less billions than the electric – gas vaporware Volt cost to develop. At $50K, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid’s orphaned technology makes the SUV a collector’s piece waiting for the collection agency.

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69 Comments on “Review: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid...”


  • avatar
    lahru

    The re-design of the Suburban/Tahoe twins was a turn off from the beginning to all of the past editions owners. The thing needs gastric bypass surgery to make it attractive anyways. And the price is living proof of the corporate mindset of GM. We can do whatever we g*^dam want to, we are “General Motors and don’t forget it”.

  • avatar
    TVC15

    The vehicular equivalent of Wynonna Judd on a Segway. Just awful.

  • avatar
    GeeDashOff

    17MPG….that doesn’t seem high, but if the regular Tahoe gets, say, 9mpg mixed then this is a huge improvement in mileage. Anyone have better figures on what a normal Tahoe gets in real world driving?

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Sounds better than I thought it would but 17 MPG in the real world is a real “why bother?” It’ll take forever to amortize the extra cost in fuel savings at that rate.

  • avatar
    rodster205

    Geebus. My V8 Commander gets 15mpg “mixed-use” driven normally. If I drive gently, don’t run the A/C and cut it off at stoplights I can get 17mpg, which is it’s highway rating. It has 3 rows and the factory towing pkg w/6500 lb rating also. So it does everything the Tahoe does except cost as much.

    I paid $25K for the Commander brand new in 2006, I’m sure you could get an identical 2009 cheaper right now. Why would anyone buy this unless they were just rolling in money and wanted a Hybrid large SUV?

    I think the real thing going on here is GM wanted Hybrid SUVs to fail. They can say “see, no one wants them!”

  • avatar
    NickR

    Why would anyone buy this unless they were just rolling in money and wanted a Hybrid large SUV?

    That’s one of the problems with building a good (or better) vehicle for a small niche. Capture as much of the niche as you want and it’s still not worth it.

  • avatar
    redbud51

    The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid reminds me of a recent lunch: Big Mac, Large Fries and a small Diet Coke.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s not that this is a bad car, especially in the context in which it’s intended. If I had to tow, say, a horse trailer on a daily basis, I’d probably opt for it.

    It’s that it’s a stupid marketing move: full-size truck buyers don’t generally give a damn about mileage or being green, and people who do wouldn’t buy this kind of vehicle in the first place.

    What this seems like is either:
    * Ineptitude: GM doesn’t understand the hybrid market, and never really has, or…
    * Malice: GM wants to prove hybrids “don’t work” and that “no one wants them”, despite Toyota’s sales success to the contrary. Making hybrids that don’t sell would, if you’re perverse, stupid, or perversely stupid, would be a way to prove this point.
    * Arrogance: The two-mode system, good as it is, can’t scale down in size to work in normal car. GM, unlike Ford, can’t admit that using a Toyota-like design is probably a good idea.
    * Cowardice: GM doesn’t want to meet Toyota head-on in a market they control , and is resorting to attacking niches Toyota doesn’t want

    It’s very telling that Toyota doesn’t sell a hybrid Tundra, Sequoia, GX or LX. They know that they wouldn’t make a dime off them.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Excellent review. I, too, am mystified as to why these big SUVs can’t provide the same passenger room as a minivan. Or my xB, for that matter.

  • avatar
    morrisminor

    Speaking as one who puts 800 miles a week on one of these hogs, I can report that 20 mpg is not unusual in 2wd mode. It is all day comfy, and blows away the 2007 DTS I had previously.

  • avatar
    snabster

    It is far more efficient to move vehicles from 9 MPG to 18, than from 18 to 36, or 36 to 72.

    Yes, hybrid cars are mostly about consumer choice. Cough, Prius. Yes, this is way overpriced. Yes, nobody will be buying it with $2 gas. But if you want to move off gas, this is the future.

    I do wish there was a APU or battery powered ACC so they wouldn’t idle outside so much. Government sales alone could save GM. If I was Obama, I would be ordering hundreds of these as a PR gesture.

  • avatar
    NN

    Real world driving in a regular 5.3 Tahoe is really not bad…15-17 is my experience. I have never seen 12 or anything around that low, however, admittedly I don’t live in a full time stop n’ go place like the DC suburbs or LA. I bet 17 in the Hybrid is the result of somewhat aggressive driving. Most other reviews I have seen state 20+, and with a light foot even better.

    This powertrain has had a lot of great reviews, but GM really shit the bed by just limiting it to this one platform and the 6.0 V8. If the hybrid tranny was adapted to FWD lighter apps like the Lambdas, Malibu, or a unique model car, it could spread the development costs. But GM instead put all their eggs on one old basket. Think if FM built the Cadillac Sixteen and shoved this powertrain in there…they may even be able to sell that for a profit.

  • avatar
    IGB

    Is that diesel Suburban out yet? This class of vehicle really doesn’t need any other type of engine.

    If the Prius is a car for the people that hate cars, is the Tahoe Hybrid an SUV for people that hate SUV’s?

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    ….In other words, buckle up and don’t be surprised when your breath mint bounces off the windscreen.

    Good one, you’re in top form today RF!

  • avatar
    elloh7

    Rob McKenna’s All Weather Haulage. Yup.

    That’d be “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy“, Rob. Actually, that’d be book 4, “So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish”, but still.

  • avatar

    A hybrid Lambda would have made so much more sense.

    No responses for the hybrid on TrueDelta’s Real-World Gas Mileage Survey. Results for other Tahoe powertrains here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php?stage=pt&bd=Chevrolet&mc=61

    When comparing gas mileage, it’s important to keep in mind that driving styles and driving conditions vary a lot. Even “city”–as in “I get 22 MPG in city driving” can mean many different things. So with our survey we try to get a bit more specific.

  • avatar

    elloh7

    Yes, well, text amended. Thanks.

  • avatar
    Captain Tungsten

    This system is the same as on the new V6 Vue Hybrid. Assuming it ever actually goes into production…

    http://media.gm.com/featured_vehicles/SaturnVueGL_2ModeHybrid_080122.htm

    I get 14-15 in a 5.3L Suburban

  • avatar
    elloh7

    You’re quite welcome, Robert. :) I love that series..

    Good review too, by the way. For what it is, this hybrid an attractive option within its niche, but its still lipstick on a pig in my opinion.

  • avatar
    srogers

    Everybody bashes these, but hybridizing one of these gas pigs probably saves more gas than doing the same to 2 Camrys.
    If you need a big SUV, why not save a bunch of gas too (ignoring the big purchase cost).

  • avatar

    #1 My biggest dissapointment with the new Denali, Escalade and Tahoe is that GM lowered the rooflines and made them too small inside. The old trucks were more comfortable despite their cheaper interior.

    The new trucks have nice interior panels and design but they are too tight. My aunt for example wanted an Escalade and had no problem with its loaded price – but because she wants to move around her friend’s mother’s wheelchair, she can’t buy it.

    None of these damn things have fold flat 3rd rows.

    Therefore, she’s looking into a Navigator like my Uncle’s 2008. Its got more space, is larger and has fold flat everything.

    #2 $56K for a TAHOE is INSANE.
    Even if this thing got 40 miles per gallon CITY (which it doesn’t) over the 7 years of ownersip – fuel expenditures and maintenance, it still would not justify its pricetag unless a gallon of gas rises to $4.50 regular (again).

    #3 Hybrid full sized SUV’s make no sense at all.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    TVC15 :
    “The vehicular equivalent of Wynonna Judd on a Segway. Just awful.”

    Holy crap I laughed hard at that!

    On the other hand, while I don’t doubt the technical merit of this beast the least bit, the business case for it is severely mentally challenged.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    srogers: Everybody bashes these, but hybridizing one of these gas pigs probably saves more gas than doing the same to 2 Camrys.

    I’d buy that logic if anyone actually bought hybrid Tahoes.

    Flashpoint: The new trucks have nice interior panels and design but they are too tight. My aunt for example wanted an Escalade and had no problem with its loaded price – but because she wants to move around her friend’s mother’s wheelchair, she can’t buy it.

    And thus is the problem with most large vehicles: they’re big cars for small people, not big for the sake of fitting a lot of stuff (like, say, a Sienna/Oddy/T&C).

    I’m not small, but there’s something very wrong when I can fit in a Fit or Yaris more easily than in a Tahoe or Grand Marquis.

    Michael Karesh: A hybrid Lambda would have made so much more sense.

    If I were GM, I would have hybridized the vehicles that people would actually buy in volume, appealed to the hybrid-buying demographic, and would have made margin.

    In other words, I would have made a hybrid Saab a priority.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    “Excellent review. I, too, am mystified as to why these big SUVs can’t provide the same passenger room as a minivan. Or my xB, for that matter”.

    Are you serious? A minivan first of all is a front drive vehicle eliminating the “hump” that a rear drive vehicle must have for the drive shaft. Add to that, these cement mixers morons call Sport Utility must have 4 wheel drive and at least 8-9″ of ground clearance. Takes away a lot of flat floor. Also, most SUV owners of the largese want a cushy luxury experience, meaning big couch-like seating. Lastly, being 5000-7000 lbs means you have to have a large engine, which means you have to have a large gas tank. One that will make the owner feel proud to put 30 gallons of fuel into.

    My 2008 Grand Caravan has every available option, a 4.0L engine that while not the best for fuel economy as the 3.8L (average 18 vs. 22 mpg), it does allow for a CL III hitch and enough beans to pull 5,000 lbs. It has a ground clearance of 7″, which allows me to take it most places that SUVs go; the Mall, the Grocery store, work. It has enough room inside that with the rear seats stowed and second row removed, it can haul just about anything and still shut the doors tight. At Lowes, I fit a bathtub, three toilets, 29 boxes of Bruce hardwood, 8 cement boards that laid flat inside the van, 20 boxes of 12×12 tile, 7 buckets of mastic (5 gal), bags of tile cement, and various tools and odds and ends. The Caravan swallowed all of it and still fit myself and my stepfather and drove us 20 miles home in complete comfort with the A/C blasting with very little change in its driving dynamic. Try that in your Tahoe. Oh, and it cost $35K fully loaded. Still…it is a minivan.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    “The vehicular equivalent of Wynonna Judd on a Segway” is genius

    And the guy that said this has less space than a Scion Xb must be out of his mind. Last time I checked, the Xb can’t fit 7-8 people. Not that the Tahoe is the most space-efficient vehicle out there, but at least compare apples to apples

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    Holy mother of crap. Mr. Farago just wrote a positive review about a Chevy.

  • avatar
    Jason

    I don’t get the positive review. It’s almost like RF reviewed it at the 35k he thought it should be rather then the 56k it really is. I just see a huge bloated failure rated at 4/5 stars.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    To Dolorean:

    Yeah, I’ve often thought that if I needed more cargo hauling capability than my Prius offers, I’d have to seriously consider a minivan rather than a pickup or SUV.

    They’re suprisingly cavernous inside.

    I wonder, does anybody make a hybrid minivan? Even a “light hybrid/mild hybrid” that only shuts off the ICE in traffic jams or at railroad crossings and red lights might be a worthwile consideration.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Is it just me or does this thing look stupid without a roof rack? Also, I’d never buy a vehicle without a sunroof. Why I didn’t buy the 2005 Hybrid Accord, even though I loved the idea of 4cy economy with v6 power available.

    I do agree that GM should be giving these things away. Heck, give away all their cars if they are going C11. Want a new G6, ok, that’ll be $5k. One kick ass rock bottom fire sale would cull a lot of beaters off the road and god knows a new GM is far better than that 1980′s celebrity I passed going into work today.

  • avatar

    Ford choose to put an independent rear suspension in the Expedition and it resulted in actual seats in the third row that fold flat at the expense of some towing capacity. If GM did the same thing with the new Tahoe, and it’s derivatives, that might have helped it’s case.

    So let’s see… Ford put an IRS on an SUV and not the Mustang, and Chevy does the opposite. Just thinking out loud here.

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    I think a lot of the negative comments stem from people wanting it all, and wanting it all now.

    You have to start somewhere, especially if you are behind the learning curve like GM. If that’s with a low-selling product, then so be it. At the very least, it gives GM a real world product to use as testing in hopes of making future systems even better.

    Plus, when your business is geared more towards pleasing politicians than it is pleasing actual customers, then nothing is better for business than this thing.

  • avatar
    86er

    CAFE

    That is all.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    This just strikes me as a solution in search of a problem.

    For comparison you can get 18-22 mpg from an Excursion with the 6L Powerstroke. You can do even better with the addition of performance bits like a programmer, better injectors and intake/exhaust.

    Now if GM would offer this system in a no frills “Contractors Speical” 2WD pickup with the ability to export 10-15kw of power it would have potential.

    In a similar vein this could work a niche product for Police departments. The ability to power the significant hotel loads without having to idle could offer some real value.

  • avatar

    @ psarhjinian: What is “all of the above,” Alex? (ineptitude, malice, arrogance, cowardice)

    SUVs are badly packaged (i.e., surprisingly limited usable space for their bulk) for the same reasons cars used to be: it’s cheaper (to make, not buy), customers buy them anyway, and there’s no compelling regulatory reason not to. Cars became more efficient in packaging because for a while, they had to. The impetus for that pretty much stalled in the 1990s, other than a few exceptions like the Honda Fit/Jazz, but SUVs never had the incentive to significantly improve their packaging.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    My 98 Grand Caravan is an excellent hauler, and that series had an AWD option.

    I’m not claiming my xB has as much volume, but I know it doesn’t crush its last passenger like a Tahoe does its last passenger. It makes good use of the space, that’s all.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Funny but the pic shown has a charcoal interior not gray. In fact 96% of the vehicles sold in this dreary war torn age only offer charcoal, tan or gray. Take your pick of black lung, too light tan or depressing dreary gray. Color is long a thing of the past unless you have a 2004-2006 GTO, 2005 on up Mustang, an exotic sports car that costs over 100K or order up a new SS Camaro with leather. Oh and the Fusion Sport offers blue or red accents to that black lung. So faulting this vehicle for having charcoal is faulting every other manufacturer for the same lack of color options that we always had before this mistake of a century began. And for that fault I agree with you 100%

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    It’s “Yippie Ki Yay, Motherfucker.” Don’t thank me; just doing my part to defend Bruce Willis’ honor.

    And I think the xB guy was referring to the rear-passenger room on the Gen 1 xB, which is with 1/2″ of the Tahoe’s rear-passenger room.

    Although, you probably COULD fit 7-8 people in an xB, if you put three of them in the cargo hatch… which is probably about as comfortable as they’d be in the third row of a Tahoe. :p

  • avatar
    vandstra

    “But who cares when two 60 kW electric motors, three planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet clutches work in harmony (with four fixed gear ratios under an Electronically Variable Transmission) to create gas engine-like dynamics? Not me.”

    Any word on how reliable this collection of mechanicals is proving to be?

  • avatar
    Jeff Puthuff

    Don’t forget the lack of a mechanical reverse gear. R is all electric, baby. Sucks when you’re out of juice and stuck in the garage . . .

  • avatar
    wsn

    dolorean23 :
    April 3rd, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Are you serious? A minivan first of all is a front drive vehicle eliminating the “hump” that a rear drive vehicle must have for the drive shaft.

    ———————————————

    But a hybrid, in this case, doesn’t really need a drive shaft. All you need is 10 feet long power cable to power the two rear electric motors.

    It pretty much defeats the purpose of a hybrid to have a clumsy drive shaft.

  • avatar
    nikita

    Hybridizing the Express/Savanna would kill all this negativity about packaging, as those are much roomier, seats up to 15, but that market is even more of a niche and at $50k they wouldnt sell any.

  • avatar
    jaybread

    “My 2008 Grand Caravan has every available option, a 4.0L engine that while not the best for fuel economy as the 3.8L (average 18 vs. 22 mpg), it does allow for a CL III hitch and enough beans to pull 5,000 lbs.”

    It would be truly exciting to watch you tow a 5K load with your FWD Caravan—As long as my family isn’t on the road.

    Whatever the brochure says, put 5K on the back of that van you are going nowhere in a hurry, and sideways with every breeze.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    @jaybread – a properly balanced 5k trailer would be fine behind the Caravan. 5k is about what a Caravan with a few passengers weighs. The old rule of thumb (before litigation lawyers in the US) is that any car can readily tow a trailer that weighs about the same as the tow vehicle. And in Europe, it’s done all the time.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/the-great-american-anti-towing-conspiracy/

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    Who needs this top-heavy, flip-prone visual impediment?

    Does it handle well? What can it do, besides tow a trailer or a giant boat?

    This earns four stars and the Toyota Venza earns one? I guess this shows the total subjectivity of car reviews.

  • avatar
    davey49

    If you flip a Tahoe, you’ll flip anything.
    Consumer Reports got 14 city 25 highway 19 overall with their Tahoe Hybrid. Their city mileage test is very harsh. Honda Civic EX automatic got 18/43
    They really need to up the tow rating to 10K and make this a Suburban.
    A lot of people tow trailers or boats. It’s a big market.
    It would also be fun watching said Caravan owner who is towing 5000# replacing his/her transmission every 30K miles.
    I’ll never buy a vehicle with a sunroof.
    The Hybrid is way too expensive, and the Ford Expedition does have the fold flat 3rd row. I’d sacrifice the mileage.

  • avatar

    These days a full-size SUV needs to be able to tow 10,000 lbs or otherwise it doesn’t count.
    A tow rating of 6,000 lbs is really a rating that matches a smaller vehicle (for instance the Toyota Highlander is rated at 5,000 lbs tow capacity).
    Why buy a full-size SUV that can’t do the heavy duty stuff that SUVs are for?

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Didn’t they use the 6.0L V8 since it is already setup for the Displacement on Demand system for SUVs/trucks? I remember having an Impala SS rental with the 5.3L V8 and it had DoD, but I swear I read the 6L is the only engine that would work with this hybrid/DoD configuration.

    Car and Driver made an excellent point about the Tahoe Hybrid. (They also got 20mpg.) They wondered why GM couldn’t put ALL of the weight saving gear in each and every Tahoe – the slimmer seats, more aluminum, streamlined bumpers and underbody, and so on. The 400lb weight savings should equal maybe 2-3mpg in real world driving and that’s like finding fuel savings out of nothing.

    Of course they couldn’t slap Hybrid badges over every square inch. There has to be a “Hybrid logo delete” option somewhere.

    Then again, look at the Cayenne S Hybrid coming out. That puts the “Hybrid” logo in traditional Porsche print over the doors. Tacky…

  • avatar
    ctoan

    davey49

    Caravans destroy transmissions anyway. Is there any actual evidence (i.e. not anecdotal or conjectural) that a minivan will have a significantly reduced life when it’s towing at its weight rating? Sure, I wouldn’t choose one if I was a horse breeder or ran a race team, but towing once or twice a year shouldn’t do too much damage.

  • avatar

    For what it’s worth, the Chrysler guys towed Showroom Stock Neons behind their second-gen minivans to a lot of races. A Showroom Stock Neon is 2650lbs and the trailer would be 1500+, so that’s in the mid-fours right there.

    I’m planning to tow my Performance Touring Neon (2200 empty) on a steel trailer behind mah Flex, yo, but only in the flat Midwest.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I thought the rain god lorry driver was from the Dirk Gently book.

    I don’t think the small mileage increase would offset the risk of maintenance costs with gas at even 8 a gallon. Forget it.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Ridiculously over-sized soccermobile, meet global warming hysteria. Two diametrically-opposed social fads molded into a 6,000 pound monument to human silliness in the early 21st century.

    At least it will give us something to chuckle about, as we try to explain it to our great-grandchildren some day.

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    “I thought the rain god lorry driver was from the Dirk Gently book.”

    Trust me, it’s in the hitchhiker universe of books. Although, I liked the conclusion: the lorry drivers wife didn’t belive in any of that nonsense, though she always took in all the laundry when he was planning to come home.

    The Dirk Gently series had Gently randomly following people who seemed to know where they were going, and he usually ended up right where he wanted to be. Or in foggy days, on someoneelses driveway.

  • avatar
    davey49

    ctoan- good point on the Caravan destroying transmissions regardless. I’d guess once or twice a year would probably be OK. I was thinking more like once or twice a month would be bad.
    Tow rating of the GC is only 3800# max. Don’t know where the 5000# number came from.
    Jack Baruth- Was that before or after the Durango was introduced?

  • avatar
    Mark45

    wsn :

    But a hybrid, in this case, doesn’t really need a drive shaft. All you need is 10 feet long power cable to power the two rear electric motors.

    It pretty much defeats the purpose of a hybrid to have a clumsy drive shaft

    Well tell Toyota to remove the drive shafts from the Prius.

    I don’t see the big fuss about the price. Have you checked the price of a loaded Toyota Sequoia or Land Crusier? Although I think they are all overpriced the Tahoe hybrid is not out way of line with Toyota’s equivalent while getting better mileage.

  • avatar
    shaker

    This hybrid system belongs in thousands of city buses, mated to a diesel engine.

    Instead, the “fuel savings” will be spread over a much smaller # of vehicle miles – way to save the planet, guys.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    WTF doesn’t someone make a hybrid station wagon? The Prius has a lot of cargo room, it’s one of the selling points for the car a chief reason people like it so much. Can’t Toyota make a Camry wagon with that Hybrid Synergy stuff?

  • avatar
    davey49

    shaker- It’s being done. My small city has 4 Hybrid buses in its fleet.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    davey49 wrote: “If you flip a Tahoe, you’ll flip anything.”

    According to NHTSA, the chance of rollover in the 2009 Tahoe Hybrid it 24 percent.

    http://www.safercar.gov/portal/site/safercar/menuitem.db847bd57e3dc1f885dfc38c35a67789/?vgnextoid=c95df2905bf54110VgnVCM1000002fd17898RCRD

    The chance of rollover of a 2009 Honda Accord four door is 9 percent.

    http://www.safercar.gov/portal/site/safercar/menuitem.db847bd57e3dc1f885dfc38c35a67789/?vgnextoid=c95df2905bf54110VgnVCM1000002fd17898RCRD

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I have a choice of work vehicles – Cadillac DTS and the XL Escelade. Unless I need to carry more than 3 other people or I need a lot of luggage space, i MUCH prefer the DTS. The truck, a gussied up Tahoe after all, feels tipsy, too high, bouncy, and the front seats are not nearly as comfortable as the DTS. The third row seats are downright silly.

    The truck gets about 9 mpg in mixed traffic. The DTS, about 20 mpg. An increase of 10 mpg in this vehicle would be impressive.

    So I really don’t get it when people say its comfortable. Driving in it makes me a litle queasy, like seasickness. Perhaps its more comfortable than the competition, if do i thank god that I dont really need one.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    shaker/davey –
    I think it was in a recent issue of C&D about Ann Arbor, MI’s expanding fleet of hybrid buses.
    That is above and beyond a great idea. The quicker places like NYC and Los Angeles gets them, the better.
    I can’t remember (which is bugging me to no end since I’m right across the river), but I think TANK (Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky) has a few hybrid buses also. Anything that helps this region clean up its’ air is fine by me. Deep valley = lots of particulate pollution in all seasons.
    I have no idea how much a diesel bus costs, but I think the article said that the hybrid bus is around $500,000.
    With diesel prices all over the place, I can see many cities lining up to snag a few of these buses. The major problem of all of this has to be that the words “cash” and “starved” appear in many articles. Hopefully some of these billions being tossed around will go towards cleaner bus technology.

    GM just got nailed with the “right product, wrong timing” curse. I think people would purchase the Hybrid SUVs, along with the G8, new CTS, and Malibu in 2003 but with the economy in full flush down the drain mode, a lot of people (including this person) cannot or do not want to plunk down $30K+ for a new car…so some decent GM cars are still collecting dust.

  • avatar
    davey49

    technically the XL Escalade (ESV) is a gussied up Suburban.
    carlos.negros- don’t care about statistics and reports. If you flip a Tahoe it means you did something wrong.

  • avatar

    The two-mode hybrid system used in the Tahoe is designed around a sophisticated automatic transmission with two built in electric motors. GM decided to make the first version compatible with their highest volume vehicles, body on frame light trucks. When the drivetrain was planned 3 or 4 years ago if you add up all the Silverado/Sierras, Tahoes, Yukons, and Suburbans, that may have been more than 1.5 million vehicles a year. Improving the fuel efficiency of that fleet by 25% would save more fuel than making a 40mpg econobox.

    Unfortunately the system is expensive so you almost have to go with early adopter premium pricing.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    A diesel Tahoe would’ve probably gotten better mileage. All this “Hybrid SUV” business is just a way for GM to say, “See? We can do it too…and do it in our trucks!”. Ugh…if I need to tow something I’d rather get a Duramax equipped Silverado (or Sierra) in a crew cab configuration.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Ronnie Schreiber,

    It wasn’t going to sell, anyway. The people who buy these don’t care about saving the planet but they might be interested in saving money on fuel if fuel prices climb.

    GM’s problem is that there are cheaper ways to save money on fuel…

    The Traverse, for example, gets similar gas mileage (probably a little worse in the city, a little better on the highway), holds 7 or 8 people (I can’t remember the last time I saw a full SUV, anyway), holds lots of stuff and suffers just a 1K lb loss in tow capacity. For thousands less.

    This thing was insanity from the get-go.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    According to the owner’s manual, the 2008 Grand Caravan with 4.0L and heavy duty “sport” suspension, 6 spd tranny with tranny cooler (for TOWING), is limited to 3500 lbs towing. Of course, this was written by litigation fearing bean counters who are deliberately going to put the smallest number possible for towing in there, so as to not be sued by some moron who’s transmission threw up after towing 10,000 lbs.

    However, in Europe as Paul Niedermeyer has pointed out, VW station wagons are pulling camping trailers all over the autobahn. As long as the weight of the balanced trailer doesn’t exceed the weight of the vehicle pulling it, it can pull it. This doesn’t mean when I pull my ’95 Cobra (3300 lbs) on its car trailer (1400 lbs) that I’m pulling mad G’s on the highway. Staying around 60 mph works well enough for me, my wife, three kids, our luggage and the dog, plus trailer. It can do it, still gives me 17 mpg, as long as I don’t overtax it and take it to its service checks. 22000 miles now and no problems, knock on wood.

    The reason so many SUVs have a Solid Rear Axle instead of IRS is because you can tow more with this setup and its CHEAPER by far. One reason for this is you have minmal horsepower and torque loss from the engine to the diff by this set up, especially in a straight line; perfect for towing.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Hybrid or not…it’s still a gas guzzler. GM built this for marketing reasons, not because of some desire to do better by the environment or to produce a better truck. GM built this because it was trendy to say “hybrid” and probably because there was some tax incentive to do so. Not that much different from that misdirected effort to build their flex-fuel ethanol vehicles. Its cars like this that causes me to say that GM is getting what they deserve.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    If you tow something heavy enough to require a trailer with tandem axles and have a family then you need something like the Tahoe. Too many of us boaters, campers, snowmobilers, ect. out there with families that need vehicles like this so don’t expect them to go away anytime soon. What you will see is people that have no business owning them opting for something that makes more sense.

    I think a better route for GM would have been to stick diesel in these which you’ll see in a few years anyways. The hybrid system is a nice start though.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    My gas pig Mercedes C32 gets better mileage than his “hybrid” does. Waste of government resources if you ask me.


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