2018 Chevrolet Tahoe

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Review

The Tahoe's a capable tow rig, but it's not the best choice for a regular daily driver.
3 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Most midsize and smaller SUVs have switched to more carlike unibody construction in pursuit of improved ride quality, driving experience and efficiency. But for large SUVs, truck-based body-on-frame construction is still king. The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe demonstrates some of the strengths of this approach, but it also has quite a few shortcomings.

On the upside, the Tahoe boasts a stout towing capacity — up to 8,600 pounds — for pulling boats, campers and the like. There's plenty of power, too. A 355-horsepower V8 is standard, and an optional 420-hp V8 is new this year. A nicely appointed cabin — easy to use and to climb into and out of — is another of the Tahoe's strengths. We also like the quiet ride and robust air conditioning, which is more than a match for the large interior space.

However, the Tahoe's sluggish driving experience, along with the peculiarities of its compromised cargo space, are weaknesses not shared by most unibody SUVs. Chevrolet's efforts to improve the Tahoe's efficiency also compromise its usefulness off-road, particularly the low front air dam that limits ground clearance. Buyers looking to do anything but the mildest off-roading would be well-advised to opt for the Tahoe's Z71 package.

Buyers looking for large SUVs don't have many choices. The Ford Expedition has received some major updates, and its latest model promises lots of space and capability. There's also the Toyota Sequoia, an affordable alternative with superior cargo and passenger space. And if you don't plan on towing much, crossovers such as the Honda Pilot and Volkswagen Atlas offer plenty of room for three rows of adults to travel in comfort, and lots of technology tricks to boot.



what's new

Aside from some minor changes to features bundled in certain options packages, the most notable change is the addition of the RST Performance Edition. This package adds a more potent 6.2-liter V8 and a 10-speed automatic transmission, both of which are new to the Tahoe lineup.

we recommend

We think the LT strikes the best balance between cost and features. The telescoping steering wheel allows it to accommodate more drivers, and buyers, especially shorter ones, will appreciate the power liftgate. You also get seating for eight, leather upholstery, heated front seats, and access to most of the Tahoe's available options

trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe is a large three-row SUV that comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. All trim levels come standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 hp and 383 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive and a single-speed transfer case are available for all trim levels. Seating for eight is standard; an optional 40/20/40-split middle-row bench seat increases passenger capacity to nine, but it is only available on the base LS trim.

Standard features for the LS include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, remote keyless entry, remote ignition, rear parking sensors, a trailer hitch receiver with wiring harness, side steps and roof rails. On the inside, you get tri-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding second- and third-row bench seats and a tilt-only, leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Standard tech for the LS includes a teen-driver monitoring system, OnStar communication (including a 4G LTE connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot), a 110-volt power outlet, Chevy's MyLink infotainment system (with 8-inch touchscreen), a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, five USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and satellite radio.

The optional Enhanced Driver Alert package adds forward collision warning with low-speed automatic braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and intervention, and power-adjustable pedals.

The LT trim includes all of the above, along with a power liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, a telescoping steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview camera, a universal garage door opener and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

The optional Luxury package adds a hands-free tailgate opener, power-folding mirrors, an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, foglights, front parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, heated second-row seats, power-folding second- and third-row seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with heating, and a wireless charging pad. The Texas Edition package is equipped identically (minus the charging pad) but adds unique badging and crossbars to the roof rails.

The Premier trim includes the Luxury package and adds 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, adaptive suspension dampers, ventilated front seats, second-row bucket seats (reducing seating capacity to seven), a navigation system, 12-way power front seats and a 10-speaker Bose premium surround-sound upgrade.

The LT and Premier trims are eligible for the Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package that includes a sunroof, navigation for the LT trim and a rear-seat entertainment system. Adaptive cruise control, power-retractable side steps and a head-up display are also available on the Premier trim.

New for 2018 are the RST Edition and RST Performance Edition packages. The RST Edition is an appearance package for the LT and Premier trims that adds blacked-out exterior pieces such as wheels and badging. The RST Performance Edition, available only on the Tahoe Premier, adds a 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque), a 10-speed automatic transmission, a trailer brake controller, a sport-tuned suspension and, on four-wheel-drive models, a two-speed transfer case.

Offered on all trims are 22-inch wheels as well as the Max Trailering package that includes a different rear axle ratio, an electronic two-speed transfer case (on 4WD models), a trailer brake controller, and an auto-leveling suspension for vehicles without the magnetic suspension. The Z71 Off-Road package is available only on the LT trim and adds all-terrain tires, unique cosmetic elements, tubular side steps, underbody skid plates, an off-road suspension, an electronic two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, front parking sensors and rubber floor mats.

Many features offered on higher-trim models are available on supporting trims as options.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe LT (5.3L V8 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall3.0 / 5.0

Driving

3.0 / 5.0

Acceleration2.5 / 5.0
Braking3.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling2.5 / 5.0
Drivability2.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.5 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0
Climate control4.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Driving position3.5 / 5.0
Roominess3.5 / 5.0
Visibility3.5 / 5.0
Quality3.0 / 5.0

Utility

2.5 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space1.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.0 / 5.0
Driver aids3.0 / 5.0
Voice control3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The sluggish throttle tuning overshadows an otherwise stout 5.3-liter V8. The brakes are slow-acting, too, and the Tahoe feels large and heavy at all times. The Tahoe's towing ability is a saving grace.

acceleration

edmunds rating
In regular use, the V8 engine's response feels lethargic because the gas pedal must be pressed harder than expected. It does deliver solid thrust when the need arises, though. Our 4WD Tahoe test truck reached 60 mph in only 7.2 seconds with the optional 3.42 axle ratio.

braking

edmunds rating
The soft, long-travel pedal doesn't inspire confidence. Brake response, like the throttle and steering, is slow. The brakes are effective, though, halting the SUV from 60 mph in only 123 feet, a fairly impressive number for something this heavy.

steering

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Winding roads don't flatter the Tahoe's steering, which is lighter and slower than we'd like. It also skimps on road feel compared to most competitors.

handling

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There's no hiding the Tahoe's size when you try to hustle it. The old-school rear suspension becomes obvious on broken surfaces. Midcorner bumps easily upset the chassis. Drive the Tahoe moderately and it's fine.

drivability

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The sluggish gas pedal and brake response dominate the Tahoe's character on public roads, though its slow gas pedal is good in tight, technical situations like you'll find off-road. The six-speed automatic shifts smoothly.

comfort

edmunds rating
This new Tahoe is about as quiet as SUVs get. The first two rows of seats are roomy and comfy, but the same can't be said for the third. Although the suspension is adept at controlling big bumps, seemingly insignificant ripples and road patches tend to give the cabin the shakes.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seats are wide and pretty plush. They do stay comfy for all-day road trips. The second row is quite flat and doesn't adjust much because of the seat-folding mechanism, but it's soft and comfy. The third row is thin and flat.

ride comfort

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The solid-axle rear suspension cushions sharp impacts well and is resistant to large floating and bouncing motions, though competitors equipped with independent rear suspensions are still better overall. Small road imperfections can be felt in the cabin.

noise & vibration

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Quiet ride. A big upside to traditional body-on-frame SUVs like this one is cabin isolation. There's little to no road noise, and engine noise is subdued.

climate control

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The typically powerful General Motors air conditioning battles a heat wave with ease. No cooled seats in our tester, but it was hardly an issue. The big blower is noisy when it's moving a ton of air to cool the cabin after the truck has baked in the sun, but it quickly cools off and quiets down.

interior

edmunds rating
The first two rows of the Tahoe are excellent in terms of ease of use and access. Even the third row is fairly accessible. But the rear floor is high because of the solid-axle suspension, and that limits third-row legroom and cargo space.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Straightforward controls are familiar and easily comprehended aside from a few tiny icons that can be hard to decipher at a glance. Instrument panel includes a handy configurable screen, while the MyLink touchscreen system is sound. Audio and climate control buttons and knobs are generously sized.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
It's a big climb up into the cabin, though the running boards and rear grab handles help a lot. The door openings are tall but narrow, especially in the rear. The power fold-and-tumble second row makes for excellent third-row access.

driving position

edmunds rating
The Tahoe offers a typical big SUV driving position with a wide range of seat height and fore-aft adjustment. The steering wheel's telescoping range is not great, but this is offset somewhat by the LT's power-adjustable pedals.

roominess

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The first two rows offer abundant head- and legroom. Still, it's not as big inside as you might expect. Depending on the seat position, the driver's elbow may contact the large center armrest when steering. Third-row legroom is poor.

visibility

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Thin windshield pillars help your view out the front, and the view to the sides is aided by tall side windows. But the outside mirrors are too small. At least the rear camera and rear parking sensors are standard on all grades.

quality

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Looks good at a glance. You'll find many soft touch points up front, but hard plastic pieces abound and invariably there are some sharp edges. Our test car had an occasional creak from the steering and one back seat that was stuck folded down.

utility

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Its 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space (behind the third row) is less than what's offered by competitors. Cargo space behind the second-row seat is similarly subpar. Even worse, the load floor is quite high and sloping. In-cabin storage is better, and the Tahoe has a strong tow rating.

small-item storage

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You'll find a decent array of storage options, including a cavernous console bin, a cubby in front of the two front cupholders, two ample pockets per front door, and two flat slots on the transmission tunnel near your knees.

cargo space

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The Tahoe's cargo area has a high floor and not much space behind the third row. Handy power seat-folding controls can quickly fold down the third-row seats, but the floor is high for loading. Competitors carry more, handle taller objects and load more easily.

child safety seat accomodation

All second-row seats have LATCH anchors and top tethers regardless of configuration. The third row receives top tethers, which can be used in conjunction with seat belts to secure a forward-facing seat.

technology

edmunds rating
It's up-to-date with today's consumer demands; its Apple CarPlay integration and a quick-acting touchscreen cover a lot of ground when it comes to daily use of the infotainment system. Some of the driver assistance features are mediocre in their execution.

audio & navigation

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The screen graphics are on the cartoonish side, but the touchscreen responds quickly. Navigation prompts are intuitive and react quickly to touch. Fast load times. But the sound quality is somewhat canned-sounding.

smartphone integration

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Apple CarPlay connects quickly and works as expected, as does Android Auto. Initial Bluetooth pairing took two attempts, but it was still very quick and easy. The cabin includes multiple USB jacks.

driver aids

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The Safety Seat, which issues lane departure and forward collision warnings as vibrations only the driver can feel, is interesting, but the systems that feed into it tend to be overly sensitive. Fortunately it can be switched off. The backup camera has a rather low-resolution display.

voice control

edmunds rating
The voice controls require a rigid input structure and took two attempts to navigate to an address.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.