Monday, June 27, 2011

Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid test drive.



-HOW IT LOOKS.
The Hybrid version of the Tahoe pretty much looks the same as the regular model that came out in 2007.
Which is to say, pretty nice for a truck.

The front end has been revised a bit since, with deeper front spoiler on the Hybrid. And different wheels.
Plus, of course, huge "Hybrid" logos.

It does have a much more refined look than the previous generation. And after 4 years, it still looks good.


-HOW IT IS INSIDE.
I remember thinking the new Tahoe had one of the best GM interiors, back when it came out.

It still looks fine. But most plastics are still hard to the touch. And most new GM interiors are better now.
It now has more of a 90's GM feel to it. And it lacks some of the conveniences many cars have these days.

Like auto up windows. Telescopic steering wheel. Or keyless ignition.
Some people might say it's OK in a truck. A truck doesn't have to be a luxury car.
Which is true. But my test model was about $56 000. Quite an expensive truck...

The Tahoe is very roomy, front and back. And even the 3 row is fine.

It is still one of these cars where you have to choose between filling it up with people, or stuff.
With the 3 rows up, there isn't much room for anything in the trunk.

I guess that's why they have the even longer Suburban...

Not being used to driving big trucks, it felt like quite a climb to get into the seats. My shorter friends really had trouble.

One thing I don't get is the column shifter.

I know it is part of the "truck experience" (for some), but in a car with no bench seat, there is just no reason for it.
The huge center console has plenty of room for a shifter there.
Plus, it does block the way to the stereo system from the driver seat. It just sticks out way too much.

Even the Ford F-150 Pick-up truck offers a more modern shifter on the console...

-HOW IT DRIVES.

.Ride and steering.

The Tahoe rides great. Sure, it still feels a little trucky. There is always a little bit of motion, but it is very comfortable.
The steering is light, but very precise and always feels really good.

.Engine.

This is the main course. How does the Hybrid perform?

I have to say this is one of the quietest car I have ever driven. It sounds great at any speed. Whenever you can actually hear anything that it. It is an extremely refined powertrain.
I was able to reach about 25MPH on electric alone. Which isn't bad for such a heavy beast.
The engine is so quiet, it is hard to tell when it is actually on.

GM claims 20 MPG in the city and 23 HWY.
I got 20/26. Which is a bit better.

And actually really good for something that size. Or even smaller.
These are better numbers than what I got in the Infiniti FX, EX, GMC Terrain. And I did better in the city than a Kia Sportage.

I would say the gas mileage in pretty amazing for what it is. A big truck capable of carrying 7 people in total comfort.


-SO???

The Tahoe Hybrid is like a guilty pleasure. I almost hate admitting I enjoyed it. But I did.
And pretty much everyone who got to ride with me in my week long test.

It is really big, but very easy to drive. And the gas mileage is actually good.

But... It is quite pricey. My loaded 4WD model was $56 540. Sure, you could save a couple of thousands by skipping the 4WD.
Still...

It now faces some competition from the VW Touareg Hybrid. Sure the $60 000 VW is even more expensive, and does not seat as many people.
But most might not need to. And the interior refinement of the new Touareg is pretty much unmatched for the price.

"Cars direct" has about $4000 off on the Tahoe Hybrid right now. Plus, the Hybrid is actually less than $2000 more than a loaded LTZ model. Which only gets 15/21 MPG
It is really a great truck, even for people who are not used to trucks.
I enjoyed driving it much more than the Traverse.

I think the next generation might address all the small shortcomings of the current model. And be even more efficient.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

No remote entry? I wonder if they just gave you the wrong key fob. Tahoes and Suburbans have come with remote entry, including power lift gates, for years now.

Vince Burlapp said...

So sorry. You are 100% right.
I meant "Keyless ignition".

Which is something many cheaper cars have now.

Bohush said...

Still, I'll say majority of people should not drive or have need for such a beast...

Vince Burlapp said...

I know what you mean.
But it still has that fun feeling of driving a modern version of an old car...Which, I realize, is hard to describe.
And it doesn't use more gas than most mid sized V6 cars. (actually less in the city)

Les said...

If you look at the side view, especially the doors, it looks exactly like a 1970 Suburban.
It's not a modern version of anything. They're still using the same stampings from 40 years ago! No wonder the packaging is so poor. It was designed before computers.
As much as I also get nostalgic for the land yachts of my youth, I can also imagine a modern version of this with space in the trunk and even better mileage.

Anonymous said...

Piece of garbage, typical GM.

I have 0 faith in how the hybrid powertrain will hold up after the warranty expires.

Useless vehicle.

Anonymous said...

20/26 mpg you can get with a SUV without hybrid. I definitely can match with an Acura MDX (7 seats). I'm sure Lexus RX can match it as well and I'm not even talking about the hybrid.

Does not make sense to me to pay extra for that. But if you really need room you can also consider mini-van. Will also seat 7 and beat mpg as well.

Anonymous said...

The Tahoe is the perfect vehicle for me to haul my 4 Giant Schnauzers around in.

Anonymous said...

"20/26 mpg you can get with a SUV without hybrid. I definitely can match with an Acura MDX (7 seats)...."

Hey dude, where the heck do you get your facts? MDX is 16/21. I am no GM fan, but the gas mileage of this hybrid truck is rather impressive. And beast or not, it is very practical for some. Remember "one size fits all" crowd, we are neither all the same nor have same needs.

PGA said...

I live in Portugal (south of europe). I saw a Escalade, live, parked outside the mall, for the first time in my Life. It looks a lot like this Tahoe.
I must say it's disgusting. The first thing it came to my mind was that is was tall as a horse wagon. Is that the experience the buyers of these hideous veicules look for?
I saw already some Hummers in Lisbon (Portugal Capital) and they look much better.

Like Dane Cook once said. 'My ride is a CT2000. Biggest ride ever.' (Cement Truck 2000).

My regards

Education Project said...

forget the Touareg hybrid, the Touareg TDI starts at 47k and with:

"19" Everest alloy wheels; panoramic power sunroof; heated, power-adjustable side mirrors with memory; Burr Walnut interior trim and center console with metallic trim surrounds; Vienna leather seating surfaces; 12-way power driver’s seat with memory and power-adjustable lumbar; electric rear seat release located in rear cargo area"


and:

* Front and rear carpet floor mats
* Front center armrest with storage compartment
* LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren), child seat anchor points
* Child safety locks on rear doors
* Center console in black high gloss
* Rear seat head restraints, height adjustable, all seating positions
* 60/40-split folding rear seat with fore and aft sliding adjustment and 3-stage adjustable backrest
* Bluetooth hands-free calling system
* Front center armrest with storage compartment
* Multi-function trip computer
* Speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip odometer, fuel gauge, coolant temperature, clock, and outside temperature
* Dual front cupholders integrated into center console
* Interior ambient lighting, dual front and dual rear reading lights, illuminated glovebox, luggage compartment lighting
* Four 12V power outlets
* 115V power outlet
* Cruise control
* Non-smoker package
* Heated front seats
* Media Device Interface (MDI) with iPod cable
* Dual driver and front passenger visor vanity mirrors,two-piece,illuminated with cover
* HomeLink® garage door opener, integrated into sun visorr
* SIRIUS Satellite Radio with 3-month trial subscription
* Rear center armrest, foldable, with 2 cupholders
* Climatronic dual-zone electronic climate control with pollen filter
* 3-spoke leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, height adjustable and telescopic
* Self-dimming rearview mirror with on/off switch
* Chrome window trim
* Halogen reflector lens foglights
* Heated windshield washer nozzles
* Next generation Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
* Rain-sensing windshield wipers
* Rearview camera
* Silver roof rails
* Thatcham wheel locks
* Servotronic steering
* Electronic Stability Control

plus a trailer hitch, comes in at around 52,000, with a base starting price of 48,000. It looks better, rides, better, handles just as well offroad, and gets 19mpg city, 28mpg highway. The Touareg' hybrid's 1 mpg better in the city does not justify its 12,000 premium over the TDI model, but regardless, the base TDI is IMO the winner between it, the Tahoe Hybrid, and the Touareg Hybrid. There is a place in the market for the Tahoe Hybrid, especially those looking to haul a lot of people around or tow a camper while camping, but the VW meets or exceeds the needs of 75% of all buyers who even consider the Tahoe Hybrid. Vince, I hope you get to test drive both TDI and Hybrid versions of the Touareg.