In the face of rising fuel prices and the economic downturn, the ever-popular Chevrolet Tahoe has cleverly stayed ahead of its competition by clearly focusing its recent efforts on fuel economy. Sensing the future of big SUVs is not so rosy, GM has pulled out all stops to maintain its SUV sales. These range from flex-fuel options that allow the Tahoe to run on ethanol-blended E85 fuel, to Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation and the ultimate solution - the Tahoe Hybrid, which won the award for 2008 Green Car of the Year from the Green Car Journal. These developments have endeared the public even more to the Tahoe and will ensure its continued following as one of the leading SUVs on the market.
2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Performance
There are four trims available this year for the 2009 Tahoe; the LS, LT, LTZ and Hybrid. The base level engine is the LS's 4.8-liter 295hp V8 with 4-speed automatic transmission. The LT and LTZ carry a 5.3-liter 320hp V8 with lots more get up and go and a new 6-speed transmission and this can be added to the LS as an option. This engine also features Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation which optimizes the efficiency of the engine by only using the power required. The LTZ is upgradeable to a 6.2-liter 385hp V8 which also sports 6-speed automatic and carries the flex-fuel option. All trims are available in rear-wheel drive or GM's Autotrac permanent 4WD that features a low-range gear for off-roading. Towing capacity is impressive at 8400lb.
The Tahoe Hybrid was introduced last year and is based on a combination of 6.0-liter V8 engine, plus an electric motor which charges a 300-volt battery to produce an overall 332hp. This 2-mode system automatically selects the most efficient source of power using torque-based inputs, and the battery is charged when the vehicle decelerates or coasts along, meaning there is never any need for charging. In fact at low speeds, the Hybrid Tahoe can run solely on electrical power and can even haul 6200lb with a smooth and comfortable ride. Fuel savings are so significant that, driven efficiently, its fuel consumption betters the V6 Toyota Camry, averaging 22.3mpg. Meanwhile, the EPA rated fuel efficiency of the gasoline Tahoe at 14/15mpg city/highway driving.
The Hybrid also includes a special energy flow display on the navigation screen that shows the driver when it is running on electric, gasoline, or a combination of the two. It also has an efficiency gauge to indicate the most efficient braking range so that the driver can maximize the regenerative braking which charges the battery.
The Tahoe is well-renown as a great handling vehicle, hence its popularity, and offers a soft ride with easy steering, excellent braking, and minimal body leaning during cornering which is almost unheard of in such a big SUV.
2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Interior and Features
Inside the Chevrolet Tahoe the finish is excellent and the feel is high quality and spacious. Each year the materials are improving, and now there are 6-way powered leather seat options on most models, plus perforated leather heated and cooled 12-way powered bucket seats options for an even more luxurious feel. There is space for up to 9 passengers with the rear third seat down, although if you are planning to use it regularly the slightly larger Chevrolet Suburban may be a better option because even the kids might complain about the space available for their legs. Cargo space with the back seats down is also minimal, but with the seats folded up or removed there is a massive 109 cubic feet, beating most in its class - mind you removing the third row seats is no mean feat and is certainly not something you would want to do regularly.
There are features galore although many are optional extras, including Bluetooth wireless technology, Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, a rear-view camera system, rear entertainment package, remote vehicle start system, voice recognition navigation system that includes Nav traffic and plenty more.
2009 Chevrolet Tahoe Safety
The Chevrolet Tahoe earned the full five starts in government crash tests for front and side safety, a reflection of how seriously they take their vehicle safety. This year the OnStar emergency communication system has been included as standard in all models, as well as the StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control which manipulates the engine power and braking in situations where the vehicle is in danger of losing control. There are four-wheel anti-lock brakes with Dynamic Rear Proportioning, and the full range of airbags for excellent protection, including dual-stage front, front seat, head curtain and side impact airbags, plus a rollover sensor.
- Electronic Stability Control
- 4-wheel anti-lock brakes
- Dual stage front, front seat, head curtain and side impact airbags
- Rollover sensor
- Traction control
- Automatic crash notification system through OnStar
- Tire pressure monitor
Overall the 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe is a brilliant SUV, meeting the needs large-SUV buyers by providing size, performance and comfort in a fuel economical package. The Hybrid goes even further towards achieving this, and also stands as a badge of environmental commitment, leading the way towards increased consciousness of the impact of our ecological footprint.