The 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban are lines of full-size sport-utility vehicles that are nearly identical to each other mechanically and cosmetically, but the Suburban is 20 inches longer overall.
Both the Tahoe and Suburban are offered in LS, LT, and LTZ models, with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive for each. Suburbans can be specified either as standard-duty 1500 models or heavy-duty 2500 models. The Tahoe can tow up to 8200 pounds, while the Suburban 2500 can tow up to 9,700 pounds, when properly equipped.
A 295-horsepower, 4.8L V8 engine is standard on rear-wheel-drive Tahoes; an E85-compatible 5.3L V8 making 320 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque is optional on 2WD models, standard on 4WD Tahoes and Suburban 1500 models. The heavy-duty Suburban 2500 models have a standard 6.0L V8 making 352 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.
The 4.8L and 5.3L engines all come with a four-speed automatic transmission; the 6.0L gets a new, fuel-saving six-speed automatic. The 5.3L and 6.0L engines also have active fuel management, which cuts off fuel to half of the cylinders in some conditions when full engine power isn't needed.
The new Tahoe Hybrid model, which joined the lineup later in the model year, gets a gasoline-only, 5.3L V8, as part of a so-called 2-Mode hybrid system that's capable of powering the Tahoe at low speed on electric power alone; at higher speeds the electric motor system assists the gasoline engine for more efficient accelerating and passing. The Hybrid has eight-passenger seating and can tow up to 6,200 pounds, which matches the towing ability of other Tahoe models.
A stiff, fully boxed frame helps provide the structure for heavy hauling and towing and also reduces vibration in the passenger cabin. There's also extensive noise-reduction material used throughout the Tahoe and Suburban inside the headliner, over the engine, in front of the dash, and in door seals.
Luxurious LTZ models get a smooth Autoride suspension system, which has two modes of damping--one firmer, one softer--which it can switch between quickly depending on driving conditions.
Inside, the Tahoe and Suburban have a sophisticated instrument panel design, with LED backlighting and chrome accents, that's smoother and more carlike in design than most other full-size SUVs.
Roof-mounted head-curtain air bags with rollover protection, covering all three seating rows, are standard across the model lines, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes are also included with both models.
Standout features available on the Tahoe and Suburban include a remote start system, heated seats for the first and second rows, a power-release fold-and-tumble second row, ultrasonic rear parking assist, a rearview camera system, touch-screen navigation, and an eight-inch rear DVD entertainment system.
After being completely redesigned for 2007, both the Chevy Tahoe and its longer sibling, the Suburban, see only minor changes for 2008. The 40/20/40-split bench seat in LS models gets a new center-section storage space, along with center console wood grain trim and brighter pointers for the gauge cluster. Head curtain side air bags, formerly optional on some models, are now standard on every Tahoe and Suburban.
The big news for the Tahoe lineup is the addition of a new Hybrid model. Using GM's new 2-Mode full hybrid system, the Hybrid gets 21 mpg in city driving--a 50-percent improvement versus the standard model.
On heavy-duty Suburban 2500 models, StabiliTrak electronic stability control is newly standard, as is a six-speed automatic transmission, and new 17-inch wheels.
Two new exterior colors, Blue Granite and Deep Ruby Metallic, join the line.