If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet Tahoe, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Chevrolet Tahoe Review
Not as big as the mammoth Chevy Suburban but more capable than the new midsize Traverse, the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe SUV hits the sweet spot for families who need lots of room, abundant power and the ability to tow heavy loads. The Tahoe’s body-on-frame construction helps it tackle the toughest situations, yet its ride and interior comfort levels remain on par with those of many car-based crossover SUVs. Stylistically, the Tahoe looks big and aggressive, with a massive grille and headlight treatment but reserved use of chrome embellishments elsewhere.
Inside, handsome colors and soft-touch materials form a thoroughly modern dash and center console, and the MyLink color touchscreen is one of the brightest and most user-friendly infotainment systems we’ve experienced. Less thrilling is the raised cargo floor, designed to accommodate the fold-flat rear seats; it lessens cargo room vertically and increases the lift-over height when loading.
What’s New for 2018?
For 2018, the Chevrolet Tahoe gets a new Rally Sport Truck package, or RST for short. Rally Sport models feature black trim in place of chrome, a gloss black grille and exclusive 22-inch wheels. The RST opens the door to an exclusive Performance package that adds a 6.2-liter V8, Magnetic Ride Control and a 10-speed automatic transmission. Further optional upgrades include a Borla exhaust, for a 10-horsepower gain, and Brembo brakes. The LS trim gets new standard features, including an 8-in MyLink touchscreen audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. See the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe models for sale near you
What We Like
Handsome styling; good highway fuel economy; luxurious interior; user-friendly MyLink infotainment
What We Don’t
Third-row seats fold flat but not flush to the floor; expensive for the average family; tow ratings not as good as Ford Expedition’s
The Tahoe’s base engine choice is a 5.3-liter V8, which is good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this engine achieves 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Opt for 4-wheel drive (4WD) and the mileage is nearly identical, at 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.
The RST package adds a 6.2-liter V8 good for 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy with this engine is rated at 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive and 14 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with 4WD.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe comes in three trims: LS, LT and Premier. All three can be outfitted with 4WD. The upgraded RST package with the larger engine is only offered on the Premier trim.
The Tahoe LS ($49,240) includes a 5.3-liter V8 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, rear park assist, OnStar, Teen Driver mode, active aero shutters, MyLink radio with an 8-in touchscreen, HD Radio and SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, side assist steps, heated outside mirrors, 18-in alloy wheels, a luggage rack, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, front bucket seats (can be substituted for a 40/20/40-split bench at no extra cost), a 10-way power driver’s seat, a power passenger seat with power lumbar and recline, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, a tilt steering wheel, a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Tahoe LT ($54,370) adds forward-collision alert, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, a power rear lift gate, Bose premium audio with nine speakers, leather seating, heated front seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, lane-departure warning, low-speed forward emergency braking and power adjustable pedals with memory for the driver’s seat and pedal placement.
The Tahoe Premier ($63,920) adds Magnetic Ride Control, keyless entry and access with push-button start, front and rear park assist, power-folding outside mirrors with memory function, 20-in polished aluminum wheels, HID headlights, fog lights, a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound 10-speaker audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-release second-row seats, remote starting, power-folding third-row seats, a power tilt-telescopic and heated steering wheel, rear cross-traffic alert and a blind spot monitoring system with lane-departure warning and assist.
All-wheel drive adds about $3,000 to the bottom line of each trim.
Option packages for the LS include the Enhanced Driver Alert package (forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, low-speed forward automatic braking, a Safety Alert Seat warning system, adaptive headlights and power adjustable pedals), 20-in wheels and a dealer-installed rear-seat entertainment system. The Custom Edition package deletes the third-row seat and adds 18-in wheels and chrome grille inserts.
The LT can be equipped with much of the Premier’s standard equipment when ordered with the Luxury package (a blind spot monitoring system, keyless entry, push-button start, a power-folding third-row seat, power-folding outside mirrors, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel and a power tilt-telescopic steering column). The Sun, Entertainment and Destination package adds a power glass sunroof, a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. Navigation, the power glass moonroof, second-row bucket-style seating and rear-seat entertainment can also be ordered as stand-alone features.
The Premier offers only a few options, including a power glass sunroof, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, power retractable side steps and adaptive cruise control. Also available are a configurable multicolor gauge cluster, a heads-up display and the RST package, with its various options.
The Tahoe carries a full complement of airbags, including front-seat, side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags. Also standard is the segment’s only front-seat center-mounted airbag (models with bucket seats only), which provides greater protection to the driver and passenger in the event of a side-impact collision.
Optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, Chevrolet’s Safety Alert Seat, forward-collision alert with automatic braking, adaptive headlights and lane-keep assist. Teen Driver allows parents to monitor maximum speed, distance driven and the number of active safety features engaged while driving.
In crash-testing carried out by the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Tahoe earned four overall stars out of five. The SUV has not yet been tested by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Behind the Wheel
During our extended seat time driving the Tahoe, we experienced a full-size SUV handling remarkably well. The steering is precise, with just enough assist to allow easy maneuvers without creating a numb response on twisting back roads. The Tahoe is extremely quiet inside, and its ride is comfortable and controlled. During a heavy snowstorm, the Tahoe’s 4WD and numerous electronic driver aids helped us survive nature’s wrath and renewed our faith in GM’s excellent StabiliTrak stability control system. We were also mildly amused at the clever Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates on either side to warn when objects are nearing the vehicle.
Our fully loaded Premier trim included Magnetic Ride Control, the same system used on such premium GM performance cars as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Cadillac CTS-V. Magnetic Ride Control can change shock-absorber dampening in milliseconds, responding to changing road conditions and helping keep the ride stable and controlled at all times. Other than confined city driving, which can be a bit challenging given the Tahoe’s size, we found most driving situations to be quite comfortable and free of drama. We were also impressed by our Tahoe’s 22 mpg hwy fuel economy figure.
For those who need to tow, the Tahoe with the 5.3-liter V8 is rated at up to 8,500 pounds with 2-wheel drive and 8,200 with 4WD.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 Ford Expedition — The 2018 Ford Expedition is all-new this year, yet it’s still the Tahoe’s equal for size and passenger space. However, Ford’s big SUV can tow more weight than the Tahoe, features an aluminum body and has a flush-folding rear seat for improved cargo room and easy loading. The Expedition’s dash design isn’t as elegant as the Tahoe’s, and the materials not as polished.
2018 GMC Yukon — Not surprisingly, we recommend checking out the Tahoe’s GMC mechanical twin. The Yukon is similar in most ways, though it’s pitched as a slightly more upscale model, with a higher price tag to match.
2018 Chevrolet Traverse — All-new this year, the Traverse can’t tow as much as the Tahoe, but its interior is surprisingly roomy, and it can hold up to eight passengers. The Traverse also rides and handles more like a car, is easy to park and maneuver and has better gas mileage. Its starting price is about $15,000 less than the Tahoe’s base MSRP.
Used Cadillac Escalade — If you like the Tahoe’s size and interior volume but want more attitude, you’ll want to check out the Cadillac Escalade, as it offers more power, more stuff and a bolder look. Prices are steep, though, so you may want to consider a used model.
We’d pick the middle LT trim as the best choice. It offers more than enough amenities and can be loaded with many of the Premier’s standard features should you decide more is better. Those who must deal with winter’s worst on an annual basis would be well-advised to choose 4-wheel drive.