2018 Chevrolet Tahoe LT: A large, old-school SUV with added luxury

WASHINGTON — Who says there isn’t a place for large SUV’s anymore? GM and some other manufacturers will still sell you a body-on-frame SUV forgoing the more carlike crossovers that seem to be everywhere now.

This Tahoe isn’t even the largest SUV Chevrolet makes but it’s still an eight-passenger ride that will fit the bill as a big SUV. The Tahoe has now been around a few years since its last makeover and the style is wearing well. There are several special editions out to help keep the Tahoe fresh. My ride had the $1,835 LT Midnight Edition that adds large 20-inch black wheels, blacked-out roof rails and even blacked-out bow tie emblems. There are fewer chrome trim pieces on this LT edition than other LT trim level Tahoe models. It has bright trim pieces on the grill and around side windows only. The Tahoe is a SUV that can pull off the blacked-out look well, but I have slight fear of trying (to keep all that black paint clean and free of water spots. The Tahoe looks much more serious, rough and go-anywhere.

The Tahoe LT is the midlevel model. With four-wheel-drive, the price starts at healthy $55,455; you get heated, leather, power-operated front seats. Remote start and power adjustable pedals make this a user-friendly interior for drivers of all sizes. But if you start adding the optional packages, prices can jump quickly. Five packages added to my ride had its total sticker price at $65,320. Most of the optional equipment helps make the interior a more luxurious space. Some of the options include adding a sunroof that allows more light in, a heated steering wheel and heated second row seats. There is even rear seat entertainment with DVD and a screen that folds down from the roof helping on longer trips, wireless charging for compatible phones and a 4GLTE hot spot to connect up to seven devices.

While there is adequate space in the first two rows, the third isn’t very large for such a big SUV. It’s fine for children but space is scarce for adults there. Cargo space is tight behind the third row with a high floor and just not much space at all. If you want more space, look at the even larger Suburban.

The Tahoe, while large, is easy to drive except when parking or driving in tighter spaces. You have to get used to the wider body of this SUV, but after a bit of driving it’s easy to wheel around town. If it’s been a while since you have driven a Tahoe, you will be rewarded with a quiet ride and nice dynamics for such a large vehicle. GM has paid attention to make the ride pleasant over most road surfaces. Even with the large 20-inch wheels, it provides nice comfort. The ride isn’t the carlike ride you get with smaller crossovers and you do feel the weight when you try to push it corners. The Tahoe is happiest running down the highway eating up miles in quiet comfort. The standard V-8 is a smooth customer and allows better mpg than you expect with the ability to run on just four cylinders on the highway. I managed 18.4 mpg for my week of driving; not the best, but better than I was expecting and about what the sticker says for mixed driving. The automatic transmission does a nice job of smoothly shifting among the gears and will provide quick firm shifts if you really push the big beast. There are quicker SUVs out there; the Tahoe’s power is just adequate. Luckily for 2018 you can add a large, more powerful V-8 with a new Tahoe RST but it comes at a steeper price tag.

The Chevrolet Tahoe LT is the big SUV that continues to be a popular choice in the land of crossovers. There is still space for a large, more trucklike SUV with the luxury that today’s buyers are looking for if you’re willing to pay top dollar.

Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI, FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.

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