2011 Chevrolet Tahoe Performance

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Performance
Most 2011 Chevy Tahoe models are powered by a 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, a seamless duo that provide steady and smooth acceleration with a hint of muscle car sound. The engine sports variable valve timing and E85 flexible-fuel capability, along with cylinder deactivation, which cuts power to half the cylinders in low-engine-load scenarios.

All Tahoe models are built on GM's full-size SUV platform, with a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering. At its best, the Tahoe is as responsive as any 5,600-pound vehicle can be and feels much more maneuverable than it should. It's more maneuverable than it might suggest, and it holds the road fairly well, considering it is a tall, heavy vehicle with a solid rear axle.

In Hybrid models, a big 332-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 is augmented with electric motors and battery power, using a version of the Two-Mode Hybrid system developed by GM with BMW, Daimler and Chrysler. With this system, the Tahoe can accelerate (lightly) on battery power alone or with a mix of engine and motor power. The hybrid system's batteries and transmission will allow electric-only driving up to 27 mph; beyond that, both the gas engine and electric power are run in parallel, and the gas engine deactivates cylinders to save gas. It's a very fuel-efficient combination, allowing EPA ratings of 20 mpg city, 23 highway, and tow ratings of up to 5,000 pounds.

For such a big, heavy vehicle, the Tahoe and Tahoe Hybrid move quickly and handle relatively well.

The Hybrid models have a similar driving feel, though the electric-assisted steering lacks feedback, and regenerative braking makes stops a little less coordinated.

Throughout the standard Tahoe lineup, it can be ordered with rear- or four-wheel drive, with a dual-range system available. The Tahoe Hybrid's system is a more sophisticated, electronically switched system.

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