The Chevrolet Tahoe is a fixture on American roadways, a strong rear-wheel-drive SUV that Louisianans just love to take on road trips. Good thing too, because the 2018 Tahoe is a fine road machine.
The Tahoe lineup gets a new RST Edition this year, and I was lucky enough to have it show up in my driveway for a test drive recently. The RST Edition gets a bigger engine than the standard Tahoe, along with blacked out surfaces, big Brembo brakes and special badging.
My test Tahoe RST was outfitted with a powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine that kicks out 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a 10-speed automatic. The standard Tahoe engine is a 355 horsepower 5.3-liter V8 hooked to a 6-speed transmission.
The standard V8 has active fuel management and front active shutters that help the Tahoe get a segment-leading highway fuel economy of 23 mpg. The 6.2-liter engine in the RST Edition also has active fuel management and is just one mpg behind with 22 mpg on the highway.
The Tahoe is a great vehicle for runs down to Grand Isle or over to the Alabama and Florida beaches. And if you want to tow your boat or jet skis, the Tahoe has a maximum towing rating of 8,400 pounds, which is plenty for your toys.
The 2018 Tahoe is offered in LS, LT and Premier models, in both 2WD and 4WD configurations.
While the powertrain can get the job done, the interior of the three-row Tahoe feels upscale and roomy. Headroom in the front seats is nearly 43 inches, in the second row it’s nearly 39 inches, and even in the third row, headroom is a surprising 38.1 inches. Legroom in Row 2 is 39 inches, but it is limited to 24.8 inches in Row 3. The second row slides forward, however, which makes more room back in Row 3.
I wouldn’t want to ride for 6 hours in the third row, but I’m 6-foot-1 and fit easily back there. My test Tahoe had the optional captain’s chairs in the second row, so I was able to squeeze past Row 2 and into the back without getting out of the car.
If you need to haul cargo, there’s plenty of room for that, too. If you fold down the second and third rows, you’ll find nearly 95 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold down just the third row and there’s 52 cubic feet of space. Put all three rows up and in place, and there’s still 15.3 cubic feet, which is room enough for a stroller, golf clubs or luggage.
Out on the road, the Tahoe holds its own in just about every kind of driving. It’s plenty big enough so that it doesn’t get blown around on the Interstate, but not so big that it’s unwieldly in parking lots. The Tahoe rides a bit like a truck but has special damping systems to help smooth out the ride.
When it comes to safety, the 2018 Tahoe gets five out of five stars in the government’s safety tests for frontal and side crashes. The Tahoe weights about two and a half tons and will provide lots of protection in a crash. The one knock government safety testers had on the Tahoe is apparently the result of its tall profile. The Tahoe got three out of five stars in Rollover testing, which dropped the overall score to four out of five stars. The insurance industry has not yet conducted safety tests on the Tahoe.
All Tahoes come with seven airbags, including a driver’s seat airbag that keeps front occupants from banging into each other in a crash. Standard and optional safety technology includes automatic emergency warning and braking, a lane control assist system that helps keep the car between painted lane marker lines, automatic high beam headlights and adaptive cruise control.
If you need a full-size SUV, the Tahoe should be on your test drive list.
2018 Chevy Tahoe 4WD Premier RST Edition
$65,130 ($78,450 RST Edition w/options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
14 mpg city/22 mpg highway/17 mpg combined