The Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV was overhauled for 2007 and exhibits few changes for 2008, apart from the promised arrival sometime in the model year of the Tahoe Hybrid. It marks the first application of GM's 2-Mode Hybrid system, a technology intended to lead GM into the world of competitive hybrid vehicles. Chevy has coined the term "interim availability," meaning Tahoe Hybrid supply will be limited. Built in Arlington, Texas, and Janesville, Wis., the Tahoe and its sibling compete with other full-size SUVs such as the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia
Available in base LS, LT and top-of-the-line LTZ trim levels, the Tahoe has available four-wheel drive and seating configurations for up to nine occupants. The best-selling LT offers a selection of equipment groups: LT-1, LT-2 and LT-3. The Tahoe's sister model, the GMC Yukon, is priced slightly higher to start, but most of its price range overlaps that of the Tahoe.
The Tahoe's large clear-lens headlights flank a wide grille bisected by a thick horizontal member with a large Chevy bowtie logo. Tight body gaps, foam-filled A-pillars and stiff body-on-frame design are claimed to reduce cabin noise.
For 2008, Chevrolet adds two paint colors, a blue and a ruby metallic. The Tahoe LS has 17-inch wheels and black exterior moldings, while LT models add body-colored moldings and fog lights. The Tahoe LTZ features 20-inch wheels, an Autoride damping suspension and a power-operated rear liftgate. An available Z71 offroad package includes unique exterior details, 18-inch wheels and an offroad suspension.
A curvaceous dashboard and flush-mounted buttons give the Tahoe a carlike interior. The main change to the 2008 Tahoe is the addition of a lock for the large center storage console and improved cupholders. Standard equipment includes a power driver's seat and an eight-speaker CD stereo. LT models add a rear audio system as well as available leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power passenger seat. The Tahoe LTZ packs a long list of luxury features, including rain-sensing windshield wipers and heated first- and second-row seats.
Two rows of seats hold up to six occupants, with a third row optional on lower trims and standard on the LTZ. The second-row seats fold either manually or with an optional power-operated mechanism; they must be raised manually. The third row is removable, but it doesn't fold to the floor like the Ford Expedition's. With both rows stowed, maximum cargo volume is 108.9 cubic feet, which beats the Armada, nearly ties the Expedition and falls well short of the Sequoia's 128.1 cubic feet. With the third-row bench in place, cargo volume falls to 16.9 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
A 4.8-liter V-8 is standard on two-wheel-drive Tahoes. It makes 290 horsepower and 290 pounds-feet of torque. Optional on two-wheel-drive Tahoes and standard on four-wheel-drive versions is a 5.3-liter V-8 with 320 hp and 340 pounds-feet of torque. The larger engine's fuel efficiency is superior thanks to cylinder deactivation that shuts off four of the eight cylinders under low-load situations such as freeway cruising or downhill coasting.
The so-called flex-fuel 5.3-liter V-8 runs on regular gasoline or ethanol-based E85 fuel.
Both V-8 engines use a four-speed automatic transmission. When properly configured, the Tahoe can tow up to 8,200 pounds. A rack-and-pinion steering system replaced the previous generation's outdated recirculating-ball setup.
For 2008, side curtain airbags that protect all three rows of seats in a side impact are now standard equipment on all trim levels, not just the LTZ. Seat-mounted side-impact airbags are not offered. Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, as is an electronic stability system that features new rollover mitigation technology that senses impending rollovers and applies individual brakes in an attempt to keep the Tahoe on all four wheels.