Tahoe Hybird: Just Right, Yet Wrong

LA Times columnist Dan Neil see the Tahoe Hybrid as smart, smooth and strong, but it's a lot of vehicle for a little environmental progress.

Published: 26-Dec-2007

The Chevy Tahoe Hybrid is as provocative and political a vehicle as you'll see this year. Why, it's practically a polemic. And those are just the "P's."

By way of a fantastic exertion of technology and human capital -- which I hereby honor and praise even as I question them as misallocated -- GM has managed to give one of its behemoth SUVs marginally better fuel economy. Here are the relevant data points: The two-mode hybrid Tahoe returns an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg highway; the 4x4 version gets an even 20/20, city/highway. The company and its various choristers -- such as the Green Car Journal, which recently named the Tahoe Hybrid "Green Car of the Year" -- are pleased to point out that represents up to a 50% improvement of in-city fuel economy over the non-hybrid Tahoe.

The objectors have rebelled against the symbolism of the thing. It might be half-again better, but it's still an awful, blot-out-the-sun SUV. Isn't this like putting handlebar tassles on the wingtips of a 767 jet?

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