Michael’s World: Chevy Tahoe Hybrid

Tahoe’s reputation says big. And yet with a potent 320 horsepower engine featuring active fuel management on regular unleaded gasoline, seating for up to nine …

… and the ability to tow up to 8,500 pounds, the new two-mode hybrid version boasts fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in the city / 22 on the highway. Compare that to the gas only 4wd Tahoe’s economy of 13 mpg city/17 highway and the savings begin to add up.

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With regular unleaded priced at $2.72 per gallon and annual mileage at 15,000 (45% highway / 55% city driving), the US government (at www.fueleconomy.gov) reports your estimated fuel cost in the Tahoe 4wd gasoline version would be $2,399, versus the Tahoe 4wd Hybrid version (also using regular unleaded) at $1,942. Also worthy of note here is the hybrid version’s estimated 454 miles on a tank of gas, versus the gas only version at 398 miles.

In terms of appearance, think of Tahoe as a much scaled down version of the Cadillac Escalade–also available in a hybrid version, starting at $73,840. For comparison, the Tahoe Hybrid, starts at $53,525. Of course in all cases you get what you pay for. Case and point, I noticed a much smoother take off in the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, versus more of a fluttered start in the Tahoe Hybrid when driven the same. But then again, for $20K less, a five star frontal and side crash ratings (three stars for rollover), a three year/36,000 miles bumper to bumper warranty, five years/100K miles on the powertrain/drivertrain, three years/36K miles on rust and five years/100K roadside assistance program, many will find a way to work with that slight flutter.

Tahoe Hybrid offers a plethora of manual conveniences, less the powered versions in the Escalade (2nd and 3rd rows raising/lowering, liftgate, etc.). However, Tahoe scores big time with how the fan speed quiets down the moment it recognizes your Bluetooth activated phone is in use. If you’ve ever tried to make a phone call with the air blowing at full speed only to have the person on the other end asking “what’s that noise I hear—are you in a wind tunned?” then you will definitely appreciate this feature!

Right now, nearly every manufacturer is offering closeout saving on 2010 vehicles. Here’s your chance to score big!

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