2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid Review MRSP: $50,490 (as tested) 21 MPG total driving for a week I've always been a truck & SUV guy, going back to some of the first vehicles I ever owned. These vehicles have a purpose and general utility that facilitate camping trips, taking the boat to the lake or just heading to the grocery store for the week's supply of goodies. Good times, eh! But perhaps the memories are sweeter because of $.99 gasoline we had a decade ago. The world is changing, gas is now sky-high, as of this writing at-or-near $4 per gallon in some parts of the US, people are stammering about climate change and the need to be more fuel efficiency ... arguments with at least some merit for a lot of people. However, life goes on and there are still needs of regular folks that need to haul three kids to practice, swing by the store on the way home and get ready to take a trip for the weekend. As I see it, if you want to get serious about using less fuel you can change your habits such as driving less, getting a smaller vehicle, combining trips together and slowing down to use less fuel (yes it does matter, like 5 mpg less at 70 MPH). Or you can change your vehicle. That's where the new hybrids like the 2008 Tahoe Hybrid come into play, offering a technological solution to one of the biggest problems that faces the world of the biggies ... they traditionally have required a lot of fuel. What makes it different? The new two-mode Hybrid system is specifically designed to use less gasoline when driving in real-world city conditions. You know, that's the annoying stop-and-go traffic from stoplight to stoplight - or worse, the morning and afternoon commutes that millions endure as daily reality in three-dozen major urban centers in the US alone. Then when you get an open lane, you punch it to 80 and cruize there until the next stop-and-go crunch. Getting a large SUV moving from a dead stop takes a lot of energy (that pesky inertia thing) ... doing it over and over during a morning commute will kill the gas mileage of any vehicle. Even a Ford Focus or Honda Civic will only get 16 MPG doing that. So what if you could run on a large battery during the initial start off the line and then switch to the engine once you are running? Then, when you have to hit your brakes for the next stoplight, recharge the battery using the wheels as small generators? That's the plan behind the Hybrid system in the Tahoe Hybrid. What's it like to drive? It's essentially the same drive as the regular Tahoe. You still have all the power that you need ... when you need it, you just get much better gas mileage overall. It's still a comfortable driving vehicle with everything that you want in a Tahoe. However, there are a few differences, such as a new reading on the tach called AUTO STOP. When the tach is resting here, it means you're running on electric. The engine is not running and you are essentially a large golf cart at this time. It's actually quite eerie when you roll down the windows and sounds like you're in super-stelth mode. There is a slight electric whine, but mostly you hear everything elcept the Tahoe. Once you hit the gas a bit more than the battery can take, the engine kicks on by itself, which you barely notice, and you slowly enter into both gas and electic power. When you need a lot more power, the full gasonline engine takes over and you have access to all 332 HP that is produced. What’s it like to sit in? When well appointed, it's extremely comfortable to drive and you've got all the rool that you would expect from the Tahoe. It's big, there's lots of leg-room, hip-room, head-room, shoulder-room ... there would even be room-room if that even existed. This includes the impressive third-row seat, that with a little effort allows for an ample amount of cargo room to be opened up. I really like the addition of this feature for another real-world solution. After all, my garage is crammed with junk like everyone else's and I won't want to pop out the seat and put it in there when I need to get a large haull home. Toys and Gadgets I recommend looking at a unit that has the built-in entertainment package, It's actualy quite nice to have a built-in and fully functional system that gives you the option of even using the Tahoe's stereo system for a home-theater like experience. You can also give the kids in the back headphones that run on two different channels to watch a movie or listen to the radio or a CD. Overall impression? The biggest question that arises with the Hybrid is "What type of MPG did you get?". Fair question. The Tahoe I tested saw nearly 21 MPG total driving for a week. That's combined city, highway and morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic. Once I opened it up on the freeway, 70 MPH felt smooth and extremely comfortable. All things considering, that's pretty good mileage considering the non-Hybrid Tahoe would have seen about 13 MPG for the exact same driving. What do I think of the Hybrid. Just as long as fuel prices stay high, there will be a lot of interest in vehicles like this. They do what you want done in a full-size SUV, and they give you the same gas mileage that a luxury car saw 15 years ago and what a compact saw 25 years ago.