- Passenger room and comfort
- Cargo room
- Audio controls
- Fuel economy
Conventional Tahoes have fine power from any speed. The transmission shifts smoothly. Test Tahoes show no difference in acceleration when using E85 ethanol.The Hybrid accelerates from a stop and passes much like conventional models, but a faint surge is felt and heard when vehicle shifts between full electric and gasoline operation.
In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged 15.9 mpg in city/highway driving with conventional models. Test 2WD Hybrid averaged 22.8 mpg, outstanding for the class. All Tahoes use regular-grade gas. The 5.3-liter V8 can also run on E85 ethanol.
Tahoes with the 17-inch tires have car-like comfort over bumps, though they suffer some floaty motions over dips and swells. LTZ's standard Autoride suspension quells some float but doesn't add demonstrably to ride comfort. Its 20-inch tires transmit minor road imperfections more readily than the 17s. Tahoe Hybrid, with its low-rolling-resistance tires, rides similarly to the LTZ.
Alert reactions to steering. These are tall, heavy vehicles, so they never feel nimble. But there's no excessive body lean in turns with the base suspension, and even less with Autoride. Low-speed maneuverability is aided by a relatively tight turning circle. Brakes feel strong, but some testers want better pedal modulation.
Wind rush is moderate at highway speeds. Road noise is not an issue, even with the 20-inch tires. Tahoe's powertrain is a model of smoothness and refinement.The Hybrid is nearly silent at ignition and at rest, but a subtle electrical whirring noise is heard during acceleration from a stop and while decelerating.
The gauges are generally easy to read, but some testers find the markings too indistinct for best legibility. Most controls are logically placed and operate with precision. The navigation system has a large, easy-to-read touchscreen that absorbs, but does not complicate, audio functions.Hybrid's navigation screen features a helpful energy flow display that indicates when the vehicle is in gas V8 mode, complete electric mode, or electric-assisted gas 4-cylinder mode. Likewise, the efficiency gauge in the upper left corner of the instrument panel indicates the most efficient braking range to capture regenerative braking energy to charge the battery.
High marks to Tahoe's upscale, contemporary cabin ambience. Assembly quality on all models tested shows strong attention to detail. Though soft-touch surfaces are scarce, the cabin's plastic textures lend impressive substance.
Room/Comfort/Driver Seating (Front)
Bench or bucket, the seats are supportive. Generous headroom and legroom, though the bench seat's cramped center position should be reserved for emergency situations. Available power-adjustable pedals are a convenience for shorter drivers. The rearview camera aids aft visibility, but it distorts distances, compromising its usefulness.
Spacious 2nd row in all models. As an option, the 2nd-row seats can spring forward to ease access to 3rd row, though passage is still tight The seats must be manually restored to their original position. The 3rd row is best left to children. Its low-to-floor cushion forces knees-up discomfort for anyone else. High step-in complicates entry and exit.
Adequate for a single row of grocery bags behind a raised 3rd-row seat. Folded 3rd-row seatbacks rest well above the level of the rear load floor, complicating loading of larger items. Third-row seats unlatch easily but are heavy and cumbersome to remove. Cabin storage is enhanced by large center console bin. Roomy door pockets are found in front, but not in the rear.
Value Within Class
Third-row accommodations are still best suited to children, but for smooth power, utility, and surprising overall refinement, Tahoe is a Best Buy among large SUVs. The Hybrid model's premium is significant, but so are the fuel economy savings. This large SUV can achieve the fuel economy of a midsize car with no sacrifice in passenger or cargo capacity.
The 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe lineup offers fewer engines but otherwise sees no major changes. This large SUV lends its basic design to the GMC Yukon and premium-large Cadillac Escalade. Tahoe seats up to 9 passengers and comes in LS, LT, LTZ, and gas/electric Hybrid trim levels. Most are available with rear-wheel drive or GM's Autotrac four-wheel drive that can be left engaged on dry pavement and includes a low-range gear for off-roading. The sole powertrain for non-hybrid models is a 320-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 engine that teams with a 6-speed automatic transmission. V8s of 4.8 and 6.2 liters are no longer offered. Non-hybrid Tahoes can run on E85 ethanol-blended fuel and have a maximum towing capacity of 8,400 pounds.
The 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid continues to pair a 6.0-liter V8 engine with an electric motor for 332 horsepower total. Hybrids can run on one or both of their power sources, depending on driving demands, and they require no plug-in charging. The engine pairs with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that behaves much like an automatic. The Hybrid's maximum towing is 6,200 pounds. All Tahoe engines employ GM's Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation.
Available safety features include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, curtain-side airbags, and front-side airbags. Blind-spot alert is optional on the LTZ. Heated and cooled front seats are an LTZ exclusive. Other available features include a navigation system, wireless cell-phone link, and rearview camera.
Consumer Guide Automotive places each vehicle into one of 18 classes based on size, price, and market position. Large SUVs are traditionally workhorse 7-plus passenger wagons with brawny truck-type chassis, ample towing ability, lots of cargo space, and generally poor fuel economy. These vehicles offer towing and payload ratings similar to large pickup trucks.
Our Best Buys include the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, and GMC Yukon. Our Recommended pick is the Toyota Sequoia. New or significantly redesigned models in the class include the Toyota Sequoia.