By Barbara & Bill Schaffer
When we think of the Chevrolet Tahoe the first thing that comes to our mind is all the black SUVs with darkly tinted windows that we see in the movies. Of course, we know that it’s available in eight other colors, but you must admit the black Tahoes are the stereotypical vehicles of the government and sometimes the bad guys. When you combine all the colors sold with the black, the Tahoe has been the bestselling full-size SUV for years.
Last year, Chevrolet made a good labeling alteration changing the top model from the LTZ to the Premier – it just sounds better and seems more upscale, we think. But for 2018, the seven-passenger Tahoe gets a couple of cool new performance-oriented options, the RST (Rally Sport Truck) edition and the 6.2-liter Performance Package.
Pre-2018, the only available engine was the potent 355 horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That was also the only engine available and it’s still the standard engine for 2018. Starting in 2018, you can also order the 6.2L Performance Edition with a 420-hp, 6.2-liter V8 with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. To put that in perspective, the new engine and transmission will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds as compared to the smaller V8 which takes 7 seconds.
By itself, the RST Edition is basically a Black Package which includes Gloss Black aluminum wheels, Black bowtie emblems, Black grille, body colored door handles, Black mirror caps, and a few other Black cosmetic features.
Where the real work gets done is with the 6.2L Performance Package which is an option only on the Premier edition. In addition to the engine and transmission, it also comes with the General Motors Magnetic Ride Control which does some amazing things to the big SUVs handling characteristics. The super-fast acting suspension system keeps the big SUV nearly flat in the corners and improves the ride and control. Other dealer installed options include a great sounding Borla performance exhaust system and six-piston Brembo front brakes.
The list of standard and available safety equipment going along for the ride is extensive, too, with features like the Rear Camera and Rear Cross Traffic Alert that warns of approaching traffic from the sides. There’s also rear park assist ultrasonic sensors to warn the driver when he/she gets too close to an object behind. Plus, there are the mandatory (or at least we think they should be) Blind Spot indicators that tell the driver when something is lurking behind you and to the side in traffic.
In addition, there is Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist, Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, and Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Automatic braking. Of course, the list of safety equipment is much, much longer, but these are our favorites.
Connectivity is very important today, and the Tahoe is loaded with it. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability through MyLink displays messages, music, maps and more on the multicolor screen and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot. Plus, there are all the other infotainment features navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth, etc. And you can even set up your own WiFi hotspot using the available 4G LTE Wi-Fi®.
There are a few other cool features we love, too, like the wireless cell phone charging, remote start, hands-free power liftgate, power folding rear seats and the list goes on and on. It’s easy to see why the mysterious people in the black Tahoes, like this SUV.
As we see it, there are only a couple of downsides to the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe – size and fuel economy. Chevrolet does an excellent job dealing with the size, by making it agile to drive through crowded parking lots, and then giving it cameras, sensors and many other of safety technologies to make driving easier.
The 10-speed transmission is not only smooth and quick shifting, but it helps fuel economy. As a result, the big 420-hp engine has an EPA highway fuel economy rating that is the same as the smaller V8 engine — 22 mpg. However, the city MPG is 14 compared with the 16 mpg for the smaller engine. We averaged 16.9 mpg during our drive time in a combination of city and highway driving.
The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe is available in three trim levels (LS, LT and Premier) with either rear-wheel drive or the optional four-wheel drive. The base prices of the three with rear-wheel drive are $51,795; $56,895 and $66,495 respectively, including the destination charge. Four-wheel drive is a $3,000 option. With all the option boxes checked, the price of the Premier gets close to $75,000.
Although we have an aversion to large vehicles in general, for just the two of us, the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe makes a very nice stylish and comfortable way to travel in any color.