2008 Tahoe New Car Test Drive
The next-generation Chevy Tahoe lineup was rolled out for the 2007 model year and it's among the best of the full-size SUVs. For 2008, a new gas-saving Hybrid model has been added.
The Chevy Tahoe has been the best-selling vehicle in its category since 2001, accounting for more than 25 percent of all full-size SUV registrations in the United States, and it's easy to understand why. It hauls loads of passengers and gear, it can pull heavy trailers, and it holds up well to abuse and rugged terrain.
Tahoe can accommodate five to nine passengers, and the first two rows offer spacious, even luxurious, seating. Fold the second and third rows of seats and the Tahoe offers nearly 109 cubic feet of cargo space. A properly equipped Tahoe is rated to tow up to 8,200 pounds; based on the same platform as the Suburban and Silverado, the Tahoe makes a stable rig for pulling trailers.
With its rigid chassis, the Tahoe feels taut, the steering is precise and responsive, and the brakes are responsive and smooth. The ride quality is generally smooth, even with the available 20-inch wheels. At highway speeds, the Tahoe is quiet and comfortable.
The 5.3-liter V8 engine features GM's Active Fuel Management technology to save gas, but you can't even feel it switching between four and eight cylinders whether on the highway or around town. The 5.3-liter V8 provides all the power most customers will need, and there's a less-expensive 4.8-liter V8 available.
The new Hybrid model works seamlessly. It offers more power and drastically improved fuel economy compared to other models, but tows about a ton less. The Hybrid model provides an answer for those who want the size and capability of a full-size SUV without the poor fuel economy.
Autotrac four-wheel drive is available, a full-time system that can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes low-range gearing. It comes in handy for rugged terrain and serious snow and ice, but it's also handy for yanking a boat up a slippery boat ramp or pulling a trailer out of a silty, sandy parking area, those momentary needs that can be so crucial.
Be they families with children, empty-nest couples with active lifestyles or individuals who simply have cargo to carry securely or trailers to tow, some people really do need the all-weather practicality of a full-size sport utility vehicle. For those who need to tow, the Tahoe is a fine choice. Those who don't tow might be better served by one of the big, new crossover SUVs, such as the GMC Acadia.
The 2008 Chevy Tahoe comes LS, LT, and LTZ trim levels, plus the new Hybrid model. All models, including the Hybrid, are available with rear-wheel drive (2WD) or Autotrac four-wheel drive (4WD). All have a four-speed automatic transmission.
All models except the base and Hybrid come with a 320-hp 5.3-liter V8 with GM's Active Fuel Management technology that shuts down four cylinders under light engine loads. The base engine in the 2WD LS model is a 295-hp 4.8-liter V8. A flexible-fuel version of this engine is available that runs on regular gasoline or E85 ethanol-blended fuel.
The LS ($34,094) and LS 4WD ($37,895) come with cloth upholstery; tri-zone manual climate control with rear controls; split front bench seat; six-way power driver's seat; split-folding second-row bench seat; tilt leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls; cruise control; intermittent windshield wipers; power locks, mirrors and windows; remote keyless entry; heated outside mirrors; side assist steps; AM/FM/CD stereo with eight speakers; XM satellite radio; auto-dimming rearview mirror; automatic headlights; theft-deterrent system; roof rails; front recovery hooks; trailer hitch platform with seven-wire harness; one year of OnStar service; and P265/70R17 tires on alloy wheels.
The LT ($36,145) and LT 4WD ($38,950) are the most popular, accounting for the majority of sales. To simplify ordering, the LT offers three variations. The base LT-1 package comes with a cargo shade, front bucket seats, front center console, color-keyed door handles, fog lamps, rear audio controls with headphone jacks; and OnStar's Directions and Connections plan which includes audible directions. The LT-2 package ($2,095) upgrades with leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, power-adjustable pedals, remote engine starting, six-disc CD changer, Ultrasonic rear park assist and a universal garage door opener. The LT-3 package ($3,155) includes the LT-2 package plus power folding exterior mirrors with turn signals, reverse tilting, and driver's side auto-dimming; heated first- and second-row seats; 10-way power front seats; driver's seat memory, and a Bose Premium nine-speaker audio system with subwoofer.
The LTZ ($44,780) and LTZ 4WD ($47,585) add to the LT-1 leather upholstery; tri-zone automatic climate control with rear controls; heated first- and second-row seats; second-row seat power release; three-passenger split folding third-row seat; power-adjustable pedals; remote engine starting; memory for the driver's seat and exterior mirrors; power folding exterior mirrors with turn signals, reverse tilting, and driver's side auto-dimming; Bose Premium nine-speaker audio with subwoofer and six-disc CD changer; heated windshield washer system; power rear liftgate; rain-sensing wipers; GM's Autoride suspension with adjustable shocks and automatic rear load leveling; a limited-slip rear differential; Ultrasonic rear park assist; and P275/55R20 tires on polished aluminum wheels.
The Hybrid comes with a 6.0-liter V8 mated to GM's new Electrically Variable Transmission (EVT) that has two electric motors and four fixed gears. The Hybrid system makes 332 horsepower and 367 pound-feet of torque. The Hybrid model is equipped much like the LT-3, but also has a locking rear differential, rearview camera, a navigation system with touch screen, three-passenger split folding third-row seat; and P265/65R18 tires on alloy wheels. Compared to the LT-3, the Hybrid does not come standard with fog lamps, roof rails, six-disc CD changer, power adjustable pedals, or front recovery hooks.
Options include navigation ($2,250), DVD entertainment system ($1,295), sunroof ($995), and rearview camera ($250) when the separate navigation system is ordered. The Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package ($3,790) includes the navigation system, rearview camera, rear DVD entertainment, and sunroof. The Z71 Off-Road Suspens.