Traditional SUVs that ride on truck-like frames and provide enough room for passengers to stretch out aren't as popular as they once were. Despite the dominant rise of crossovers, the Chevrolet Tahoe is one of the most popular full-size SUVs on the road, which shouldn't come as a surprise. Power comes from one of two monstrous engines, the SUV has a spacious and comfortable interior, and the 2018 Tahoe can be fitted with everything a driver could ever want. There's even a new performance variant that'll impress those that want more oomph from their SUV.
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2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Overview
What's New for 2018
The Tahoe arrives with only a few changes for 2018. The base LS trim gets a few new standard features, which include an 8-inch MyLink touchscreen that brings Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The other major change for the Tahoe includes a new special edition model in the form of the Rally Sport Truck. The Tahoe RST ditches the chrome for a body-colored grille surround and door handles, gloss-black mirror caps and grille, as well as black window trim, roof rails, badges, and Chevrolet bowties. The RST model also gets exclusive 22-inch wheels and has an available Performance Package that brings a 6.2-liter V8 engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and Magnetic Ride Control.
Opting for the RST Edition on a LT trim costs $2,640, while the same package costs $2,630 on the range-topping Premier trim. The Performance Package, which, interestingly enough, isn't available on the LT trim, costs $5,350. The special models can further be upgraded with a Borla exhaust system and high-performance brakes from Brembo.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Tahoe
Just like last year, the standard engine on the Tahoe is a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that's capable of getting up to 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway in two-wheel-drive models. Opting for all-wheel drive brings the vehicle's highway fuel efficiency down by one mpg.
A 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 engine is available on the new RST Edition. The engine generates 460 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. According to the EPA, SUVs equipped with the more powerful V8 are good for 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Just as with the smaller V8 engine, getting four-wheel drive decreases the Tahoe's fuel economy by one on the highway.
When properly equipped, the Tahoe is capable of towing up to 8,600 lbs. and seating seven passengers comfortably. The large SUV offers 39 inches of second-row leg room and 24.8 inches in the third row. Consumers are also treated to a large amount of cargo space with a total of 94.7 cubic feet with all of the seats folded down and 15.3 cubic feet with all of the seats in place.
The 5.3-liter V8 is more than powerful enough to get the job done, but the 6.2-liter motor in the new Tahoe RST is worth the extra money, making the LT trim with the RST package the one we'd opt for. The Max Trailering Package is a must for consumers that tow large cargo on a regular basis, while choosing between the Luxury Package and the Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package depends on whether navigation or power-folding rear seats are more important to you.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Review
The full-size 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe backs up its heavy-duty SUV cred with a pair of muscular V8s, a comfortable interior, and a veritable smorgasbord of options and trims. Holding it back is the lack of a diesel or hybrid model (no doubt due to its advanced age) and a thirsty optional engine.
Prices for the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $49,290 for a rear-drive LS, but can climb to well over $77,000 for a fully loaded example. Two engines are offered – most models come with a 355 horsepower 5.3-liter V8 paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, while Premier buyers who kick in $2,820 for the RST Edition and $2,820 for the Performance Package will find a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 under the hood mated to a ten-speed automatic.
In addition to the usual power features, even base models come with a barrage of standard features including eighteen-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen, power driver and front passenger seats, third row seating, three-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, 4G LTE and available Wi-Fi hotspot, a rear view camera, and rear park assist. Trailering aficionados will also appreciate the standard locking rear differential, external oil cooler, auxiliary transmission oil cooler, trailering hitch platform, seven-wire harness, two-inch receiver, trailer sway control, and hill start assist.
Pre-collision warning, low-speed automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights with high-beam assist, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist are optional on the LS and standard on the LT and Premier trims.
With most models equipped with the 5.3-liter V8, the typical advice when shopping for a Chevy applies – go with the mid-level trim. In that case, we're talking about the LT, which adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, a nine-speaker Bose audio system, the safety gear mentioned above for a reasonable $54,390. Aside from four-wheel drive, we'd pass on optional extras, as they don't really contribute any must-haves to the Tahoe equation.
Here’s how we’d build it:
- Model: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe LT
- Engine: 5.3-liter V8
- Output: 355 hp / 383 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Four-wheel-drive
- MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
- Options: Four-wheel drive ($3,000)
- Base Price: $54,390 (including a $1,295 destination charge)
- Best Value Price:$57,390
Featuring a truck's character and more ground clearance than most of the competition, the Tahoe's base 5.3-liter V8 pulls strongly, sounds rich, pairs well with the six-speed automatic, and can run on four cylinders in low-load situations – a boon to fuel economy. . Likewise, the 6.2-liter V8, mated to a smoother ten-speed automatic, offers 28 additional horsepower and, more importantly, 254 additional lb-ft of torque at a penalty of just 2 miles per gallon city and 1 mpg combined. Coil springs enhance the solid rear axle's ride quality, while models with seventeen and eighteen-inch wheels ride the best, exhibiting good body control, and a soft, comfortable ride. Towing is stable and smooth, while a tow/haul mode prevents the transmission from downshifting too quickly – an advantage when towing smaller trailers.
But compared to competitors, handling is ponderous, with optional twenty- and twenty-two-inch wheels firming up the ride without improving handling, and, despite nearly eight inches of ground clearance, the Tahoe's overall size hinder its capabilities off-road.
Sharing underpinnings with GMC's Yukon and Denali models as well as the Cadillac Escalade, the Tahoe's design is the most conservative of the four, with a chrome-laden grille and semi-split headlights offering more style up-front than the much plainer rear fascia. It's wrapped around a voluminous interior (15.3 cu ft behind the third row, 52 cu ft when it's folded, and a total of 95 cu ft with both rows folded) with an upscale feel, slick-looking dash with high-mounted controls, and all-day comfort buckets up front. The second row's middle seat is comfortable for two on extended trips, while an optional pair of captain chairs makes it easier to access the third row.
Three adults – especially the middle passenger – will find accommodations tight in the second row, while only children will find the third row comfortable for long trips. Finally, choosing the third row delete option will not result in more cargo capacity since it doesn't affect the height of the load floor.
The Best and Worst Things
The Tahoe's strong engine lineup and comfortable interior are offset by its immense dimensions, truck-like ride on most models, and lack of a diesel or hybrid drivetrain.
Right For? Wrong For?
A comfortable, spacious interior and available safety features, should appeal to family buyers.
At the same time, the Tahoe's fuel economy – though impressive for its class – is sure to turn off eco conscious buyers.
The Bottom Line
Despite a smooth ride, strong V8 choices, and impressive interior room, the Chevrolet Tahoe only manages to land mid-pack due to its truck-like feel, large proportions and fuel economy numbers that fall short of equally spacious crossovers.
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