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The Chevrolet Tahoe is a four-door full-size SUV that seats up to nine passengers. The Chevy Tahoe is manufactured in Arlington, Texas and formerly the Janesville, WI, plant alongside the Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade. Main competition to the Yukon include the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.

The Chevrolet Tahoe replaced the Blazer as the company’s full-sized sport utility in 1994. Built on a shorter wheelbase platform than that of the similar Suburban, the Tahoe is based on the same chassis as the Silverado pickup, and shares many of the same engines, suspension packages and driving characteristics. The Tahoe was most recently revised in 2007, and continues to be a strong seller for Chevrolet.

Unlike the Blazer, the Tahoe has gradually evolved into more of a people-mover than an off-road warrior. That is not to say that its trail capabilities have been neutered – rather, the primary focus of the sport utility vehicle has shifted from pure off-road performance to a comfortable, luxurious tow vehicle with good 4-wheel drive capability and excellent ground clearance. The Tahoe is still an excellent truck to take to a jobsite in the woods or haul construction equipment with, but it is just as likely to be driven by the boss as it is by the foreman. With available 9 passenger seating, this SUV will also be right at home ferrying a soccer team from game to game in comfort and security. The Tahoe can be equipped from a long list of options, and the top of the line LTZ is replete with all that is to be expected from a full-size SUV: leather, navigation system, OnStar, DVD entertainment system and even heated second row buckets seats.

Chevrolet offers a variety of engine options for the Tahoe, starting with a base 4.8 liter V8 which makes 295 horsepower. A 5.3 liter V8 is the next step up, and it offers General Motor’s Active Fuel Management system, which essentially shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders while cruising at highway speeds in order to increase fuel economy. It is also possible to order a Flex Fuel version of this engine which can run on E85 ethanol fuel, although it suffers from the typically dreadful fuel economy associated with this type of motor. Either version of the 5.3 liter offers a healthy 320 horsepower and 340 ft-lb of torque. For those who will be towing a heavy load, a 380 horsepower, 417 ft-lb 6.2 liter V8 is available exclusively in the two-wheel drive LTZ model.

The Tahoe is also sold with a hybrid power train option. The gas / electric hybrid system improves around town fuel economy by 40 percent, with highway numbers staying close to the same as the standard power plant. This puts it in the same fuel mileage range as much smaller and less capable crossover SUV’s. Even though the hybrid is rated at 332 horsepower, there is still a slight reduction in towing capability if the Tahoe is ordered in this configuration.

The Chevrolet Tahoe is available in a wide variety of versions that should be enough to please almost any customer. For those who are looking for a rugged, capable SUV with plenty of power, the Tahoe fits the bill, and while expensive, the reduced fuel consumption of the hybrid version removes much of the guilt from those who would prefer to use their sport utility vehicle as a minivan replacement.

The 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe is a carryover from 2008. The 2009 Tahoe is available in 5 different trims: LS, 1LT, 2LT, LTZ and Hybrid. The LS is sold with a standard 4.8 liter V8 engine producing 295 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. A 4-speed automatic transmission is the sole gearbox available. Fuel economy for this engine is rated at 14 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. Buyers can upgrade the Tahoe LS to a 320 horsepower, 5.3 liter V8 that also produces 340 lb-ft of torque. Also available with a Flex Fuel option, this unit makes use of active fuel management technology to turn in fuel economy numbers of 14 miles per gallon around town and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. A 6-speed transmission is also included with the move to the larger motor, as is the option of four-wheel drive.

The Tahoe 1LT, 2LT and LTZ make use of the 5.3 liter V8 as standard equipment. The LTZ can opt for a Flex Fuel 6.2 liter V8 that cranks out 395 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission again handles the gear shifting duties, and fuel economy is reduced to 12 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway. The Hybrid trim substitutes a 6.0 liter 8-cylinder engine that is matched with an electric motor to produce 332 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy comes out to 21 miles per gallon in city driving and 22 miles per gallon during highway cruising. Four-wheel drive is available for the Hybrid model.