2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid SUV

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Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 6.0 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 332 hp @ 5100 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid

  • Although the merits of a full-size hybrid SUV can be debated, the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a successful first application of GM's new Two-Mode technology and a worthy addition to the Tahoe lineup.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Significant fuel economy advantage versus regular Tahoe, handsome cabin with fine build quality, comfortable ride, seats eight passengers.

  • Cons

    Third-row seat doesn't fold flat and must be removed, fuel economy still not much better than some crossovers, hefty price premium.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is the first full-fledged hybrid model produced by General Motors. It is based on the Tahoe full-size SUV that was redesigned last year.

Full 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is the first full-fledged hybrid model produced by General Motors. It is based on the Tahoe full-size SUV that was redesigned last year.


Increasing both power and fuel economy at the same time is like going out on a date with Scarlett Johansson and having her pick up the check. Yet this is just what the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid accomplishes thanks to General Motors' first full-fledged hybrid system known as "Two-Mode." While other GM models have donned the hybrid badge, the Tahoe and its sister GMC Yukon hybrids are the first to feature sizable electric motors capable of propelling the vehicle without the gas engine. The result is a full-size SUV capable of fuel economy in the 20s, that also carries eight people and can tow a 6,000-pound trailer.

At the heart of the Tahoe Hybrid is the "Two-Mode" technology co-developed by GM, BMW and DaimlerChrysler. A 6.0-liter V8 with cylinder-deactivation technology serves as the gasoline engine, while a pair of 60-kilowatt motors packaged within the transmission provide the all-electric motivation. Dubbed an electrically variable transmission (EVT), the Tahoe's transmission features those two motors, three planetary gearsets and four traditional hydraulic wet clutches.

The EVT is essentially like having two transmissions inside one -- continuously variable drive for light load conditions and fixed-ratio for high load conditions. Hence two-mode. The hybrid system then constantly determines the most fuel-efficient means of propelling the vehicle -- be it electric power, gasoline power or a combination of the two. And like other hybrid models, there's a battery pack for storing power, regenerative braking to take advantage of the vehicle's momentum and the ability to shut off the engine when the vehicle is stopped.

The moral of the above story is that this 5,600-pound full-size SUV returns fuel economy better than most large crossovers. City mileage is particularly impressive, and like most hybrids, is about equal to highway mileage. This is the result of being able to accelerate up to approximately 25 mph using electricity only, a fuel-saving asset on surface streets and in stop-and-go traffic. If that's your driving domain, the Tahoe Hybrid makes a lot of sense.

In addition to improved fuel economy, the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid boasts more power than its gas-only brother. However, don't expect much better acceleration, as the hybrid tips the scales at a hundred or more pounds heavier than a fully loaded Tahoe LTZ. That's despite Chevy's best efforts to cut weight by constructing several body panels of aluminum and trimming heft from the seats (though ironically not from the heavy removable third-row seats, which could easily benefit from a nip and tuck).

Other than its sophisticated running gear, the Tahoe Hybrid is essentially a fully loaded Tahoe LT. The only options are a sunroof and DVD entertainment system, with niceties like leather, a rearview camera and navigation system standard. However, the price premium is significant, ringing in at about $8,000 more than a similarly equipped gas-only Tahoe. Although the fuel economy difference is also pretty hefty, it's hard to say if your gas savings will justify the out-the-door premium. We'll let you decide if the environmental benefits are worth the price, but how green can a 5,600-pound SUV ever be?

So, unless the 2008 Tahoe Hybrid's significant towing capabilities are important, a full-size crossover like the Buick Enclave or GMC Acadia may be a better choice. They provide more usable passenger space, they're friendlier to drive, get close to the same fuel economy and are $10,000 cheaper when fully loaded. The new two-mode hybrid system is certainly impressive, but we're not entirely sure if the Tahoe is the right vehicle for it.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid is a full-size SUV available in one trim level. Standard equipment is extensive and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, rear parking assist with rearview camera, tinted windows, power-folding heated side mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control and a trip computer. An auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine start, leather upholstery, power front seats, a removable 50/50-split third-row seat, OnStar, a navigation system and a hybrid system display are also standard. The Bose audio system comes with nine speakers, a CD/MP3 player, an auxiliary audio jack, two rear seat headphone jacks and satellite radio. A sunroof and rear-seat DVD entertainment system are the lone options.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 Chevy Tahoe Hybrid utilizes a 6.0-liter V8 engine coupled to a pair of 60-kilowatt electric motors located inside what GM calls an electrically variable transmission. Together, they produce 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. Both rear-drive and four-wheel-drive versions are offered.

The system can accelerate the Tahoe up to speeds of approximately 25 mph using electricity only, while the V8's cylinder-deactivation system helps reduce fuel consumption at higher speeds. Regenerative braking replenishes the batteries by capturing energy normally lost when coming to a stop. Fuel economy is 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for rear-wheel-drive Tahoe Hybrids and 20/20 with 4WD. Properly equipped, a 4WD Tahoe Hybrid can tow 6,000 pounds.


Standard safety equipment includes full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control, OnStar and a rearview camera. In government crash testing, the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid scored a perfect five stars in all frontal and side tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Aside from instrumentation, there's nothing to distinguish the Tahoe Hybrid from a loaded regular Tahoe. Unlike past generations, that's a very good thing. The newest Tahoe boasts attractive high-quality materials and tight build quality, while maintaining a simple control layout. Even the standard navigation system is easy to use.

With its standard third row, the Tahoe can seat up to eight passengers. Unfortunately, that 50/50 third row does not fold flat into the floor. Since the two seats weigh more than 60 pounds each, you'd better have an American Gladiator on standby to help remove them. Once they're out, though, maximum cargo capacity is a whopping 109 cubic feet with the second-row seats down -- much more than any other hybrid offers.

Driving Impressions

It's not a stretch to say that driving the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid feels like being behind the wheel of a 5,600-pound Prius. There's the same eerie quiet when accelerating and braking, as the gas engine shuts off to let the electric motors do their thing. Although a tad strange, the result is a quiet cabin, while transitions between gas and electric modes, and eight- and four-cylinder power delivery, are either undetectable or easy to ignore.

The regenerative braking system produces a firm braking feel and, according to GM, actually stops the big SUV better than the regular Tahoe's conventional brakes do. Although the Hybrid is the most powerful Tahoe available, it's also the heaviest, so don't expect particularly brisk acceleration. Still, its abundance of low-end power -- aided by those torque-rich electric motors -- proves ample for around town and trailer towing.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Had this car for over

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I bought this car brand new in July 2008 and I still absolutely love it. Not many issues, other than a recent engine light on for an emissions issue. It's a very reliable car, mileage is CONSISTENTLY 20-21 no matter where or how I am driving. Wonderful family car. Highly recommend after 50,000 miles!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Best suv out there

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

This car has performed to all expectations. We tow a large ski boat with absolutely no problems and still hold to abut 14 mpg. Regular driving holds around 23 mpg. We have had very few issues in the past year and a half. Power door lock and two recalls. I was apparently one of the first to purchase the vehicle in the area so one or two recalls was normal. Only improvements that had to be done was additional headrest monitors, tranny cooler and removing of the hybrid decals. This car was worth every penny and save me a lot in gas compared to my old Tahoe.

Its great!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

We purchased the Tahoe Hybrid to enjoy the comfort, space and anticipated gas savings. We have truly enjoyed its performance and handling. We had issues with the brakes, but they were fixed. We also had the decals removed. The mileage is satisfactory, but its great in a lot of stop and go and on the highways; it averages in the low 400 miles per tank.

Great suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

Great for an SUV. I average about 21 MPG of mixed city/Hwy. The hybrid system is smooth but not seamless. There is an occasional clunk when when the engine disengages. I have had the truck on every type of terrain, including snow, mountains, and mud. It performs as well as any modern SUV, just remember, it is no jeep.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great suv

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

We had a 2001 Chevy Tahoe that we liked very much. When it was time to trade we checked out the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid. We really love the truck, we call it the magic carpet ride because it rides so smooth. Wind noise is minimal and the power is great for a full size SUV. Recently we took it on a trip pulling our 6,000lb boat and trailer, I hardly knew the trailer was on the back of the vehicle. After 180 miles one way, we arrived as if we had been riding without the trailer. I own a 2003 Dodge 2500 with Hemi engine, that truck beats us to death and it does not pull the trailer with the ease of this vehicle. We also got between 12.5 and 14.3 MPG, the truck would get 9.5 MPG.

Loving the fuel efficiency!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)

I've gotta say for the fuel efficiency, hands down, the best. Traded my old Range Rover for it & I'm super happy about my gas mileage but it is BIG. Bigger than any other vehicle I've had. The rear camera needs improvement (the angle and range are off). The rear sensors are not as sensitive as they should be (minor fender bender backed into a small car) But I get 30+ on the highway easy. Trust me, I'm always checking. They were very modest with the mpg. So whenever I'm in Atl or DC traffic, I'm laughing at the suckers who are burning up their money lol. Took the 3rd row seats out, there's no room for storage with them in.

Talk About The 2008 Tahoe Hybrid

2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid Discussions See all Started By

The car surges during acceleration. Mainly over 45 mph and rpms barely move. Seems like it only does it when car is in overdrive. If you use M4 it doesn't surge at all. Have put fuel injector cleaner?...

I recently purchased a 2008 Tahoe hybrid and I want to change the headlights, drl's, and parking lamps from the stock bulbs to halogen. Is this safe and does anyone have a recommendation on what type...

I have a similar story. I previously bought a new 2008 Tahoe and loved it. I traded it two years ago to Save gas and downsized to the equinox. Traded back a couple of months ago to the 09 Tahoe hybrid...

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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