It’s fairly obvious what many people think of the giant sport utes that roam the roads like the mastodons and woolly mammoths of another age: They’re too wide. They’re too tall. They drink too much gas.
Yes, it’s easy to condemn big sport-utility vehicles, but the fact is, a lot of folks actually need them—those who tow boats or horse trailers, those who carry six or seven kids to baseball or soccer games and those who load up lots of gear for weekend family outings. Their numbers total around three-quarters of a million people. For these consumers, owning a full-size SUV is more about necessity than vanity.
For critics of big SUVs, if you don’t need to carry all those people or tow a trailer, then get a smaller horse.
To perform the tasks that owners require, there is very little that automakers can do to reduce the size of SUVs. However, the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid (and its corporate cousins, the GMC Yukon Hybrid and Cadillac Escalade Hybrid) makes significant strides in improving the fuel economy of the full-size SUV.
When Chevrolet introduced the 2008 Tahoe Hybrid, it was the first vehicle to utilize the advanced two-mode hybrid powertrain developed jointly by General Motors, BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler. The full-size SUV marked the launch of a new breed of larger vehicles that were significantly greener than their gas-powered versions, and led to the Tahoe Hybrid receiving the questionable title of “2008 Green Car of the Year.”