Chevrolet Tahoe History
2009 Chevrolet Tahoe HybridEnlarge Photo
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The Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV that shares its platform with the GMC Yukon, Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Silverado. While the truck-based structure and V-8 may seem outdated, they continue to provide the Tahoe with excellent off-road and towing capabilities. Sales haven't slowed on the Tahoe, though GM is planning a new version of the SUV to arrive soon.
The Tahoe's been a survivor because of its no-nonsense design and its durability. It's a competitor for the likes of the Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia and the Ford Expedition--but really, nothing has sold as well as GM's Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon lineup. The Tahoe even can be seen as a competitor for vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, pitching its Tahoe Hybrid against the Benz's BlueTEC diesel.
The Tahoe, Chevy's newest SUV nameplate, arrived in the 1995 model year, replacing the Blazer badge and was teamed with a four-door model. Based on the big GM trucks, the Tahoe was powered in most cases by a big 5.7-liter V-8. A turbodiesel version found few applications and few buyers. In this generation, sold until the 1998 model year, GM added a driver-side airbag and a luxury-trim Limited package, which was sold in the 2000 model year. This version overlapped with the entirely new "GMT800" Chevy Tahoe, which was new for the 2000 model year.
The 2000-2006 Chevy Tahoe again offered a choice of V-8 engines, either a 4.8-liter V-8 or a 5.3-liter V-8, separated only by 10 horsepower. A four-speed automatic took care of shifting in all versions, and the Tahoe came in rear- or four-wheel-drive versions. A more genteel look wasn't quite matched by a lackluster interior, but with good towing capacity and additions like stability control and more airbags, the Tahoe rode the SUV wave of popularity to become a best seller in the Chevy truck lineup.
GM advanced its plans to replace the GMT800 trucks and SUVs with a GMT900 family of vehicles--and the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe proved the move worthy in mechanical terms, even if SUV sales were about to fall off a proverbial cliff. The new Tahoe's crisp lines, and improved body rigidity lent it a mature, even sophisticated look--one matched by a handsome interior. All the towing and hauling capability carried over, with a more comfortable five- or six-seat interior package--but the powertrains got a fuel-economy boost that was offset on the marketing side by the addition of a 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8.
The Tahoe Hybrid was introduced for 2009. With a big 332-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 and a version of the Two-Mode Hybrid system that GM pioneered with BMW, Daimler, and Chrysler, it manages as high as 20 mpg city, 23 highway. The Hybrid's packaging is essentially the same battery pack situated under the second-row seats, and it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
In recent years, changes have been minimal to the Tahoe lineup. Trailer Sway Control was added for 2012, and Powertrain Grade Braking is a new addition for 2013; both may enhance towing stability and safety. In our most recent full review of the 2013 Chevy Tahoe, we gave the vehicle a rating of 7.4 out of 10.
New versions of the SUVs, and other GM full-size trucks and SUVs, are expected in the 2014 model year. First up are the revamped 2014 Chevy Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra; stay tuned for more on the next Tahoe and Suburban later in 2013.