Actually, when there are only two shows in town, you can last forever as long as people show up. The Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and their related full-full-size siblings are the last lines of defense before considering a Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit when people- and gear-carrying needs border on the obscene.
The GM trucks are the off-Broadway truck whilst the new Ford Expedition is the main attraction in town. The Chevy Tahoe (and relatives) are outmoded but despite their relative age, they remain highly relevant in the segment. I can tell you now that the Ford product is far more modern, with a better sorted cabin and is more technologically appealing. Coming in second however is nothing to be ashamed of.
The weight of the Tahoe RST
Launched for the 2015 model year, the Tahoe did very well for GM. The combination of its rugged good looks, impressive capabilities and refined drive made it a popular choice for mega-sized SUV-loving Americans. It is important to note that, at the time, the Ford Expedition was nearly eight years old.
In order to spruce things up for the 2018 model year, GM introduced two RST packages to raise the trucks’ street cred. In short, the packages removed all brightwork in favour of blacked out badging, grille surround, door handles and more. Also included are exclusive 22-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone P285/45R 22 tires. The latter are an important factor in making and braking the Tahoe RST.
Beyond their cool aftermarket look, their immense weight negatively affects the truck’s ride quality. I’ve driven a few Tahoe/Yukon with standard 18-inch and 20-inch wheels and they do not suffer from the added un-sprung weight. The included Magnetic Ride Control dampers do their best to maintain comfort levels but they quite obviously struggle with the wheels especially at lower speeds.
Big, relaxed and comfy
In general terms, the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe is quiet and cosseting. The cabin remains peaceful even at highway speeds however doing barely over the speed limit will be the norm. The Chevy Tahoe, in spite of the dampers, feels heavy. All controls require a certain effort, be it throttle, steering or brakes – all seemed laboured.
This is part of the mindset once setup behind the wheel. The standard 5.3-litre V8, which produces 355-horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, cannot be rushed into anything. The included 6-speed automatic demonstrates a similar lethargic state. Unless the go-pedal is crushed, a relaxed pace to get anywhere is best. The result however is that the Tahoe transforms into a refreshing and relaxing way to get around.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is designed for the long road ahead. The level of comfort and space onboard, along with the cocoon-like interior ambiance, make it an ideal family road companion.
All the room, almost
The Premier trimmed Tahoe features second captain seats which are ideal on all levels. Be it for adults or children in car seats, the amount of surrounding space guarantee that everyone will be at peace. The third row is reserved for children under the age of ten. This fact is a direct result of the GM trucks’ older chassis and overall design. Most modern 3-row CUVs and SUVs can, if only for a short haul, handle adults. I’m 5”10’ and there was no way the 2nd row seatback could return to its upright position without me kneeing my throat.
Behind the 2nd row, the trunk is positively enormous. With the 3rd row in place, if this will be a common occurrence for you, you’ll be far better off with a Suburban. Up front, passengers are treated to loads of room, plenty of storage including the hidden lockable storage compartment with USB port behind the screen.
The dashboard’s design is heavy and bulky. The ergonomics are good however the use of available space is poorly thought out. Even so, the 8-inch diagonal touch-screen display, the access port to Chevrolet MyLink, navigation, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and more, is quick and intuitive.
The base 2018 Chevy Tahoe LS retails for $60,510. The Premier, on which is based my tester, starts at $75,770. The RST Edition package adds an extra $2,995 and with a few other options, the total price was $82,000. As I’ve noted, I’d stay away from the 22-inch wheels and, as such, the RST Edition setup. The exception would be moving on up to the RST Performance package with the 6.2-litre V8.
EcoBoost, but with fingers crossed
If there was a significant price difference between my tester and a 2018 Expedition Platinum, I might go for the former. As it’s not the case, I’d get the Ford and hope the turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 stays intact.