By on August 15, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - Image: ChevroletGeneral Motors announced today the September 2017 arrival of the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom, priced from $44,995, including destination fees. That represents a $3,750 price cut for what will now become the base Tahoe, down from the 2018 Tahoe LS’s $48,745 MSRP.

GM says the 2018 Tahoe Custom is a response both to “strong consumer demand for Tahoe,” and to the “full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Therefore, there’ll be no cooled seats here. No adaptive cruise. No head-up display.

No third row of seating. Gasp.

The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom will, however, feature the capability of a Tahoe, with towing capacity rated up to 8,600 pounds and — because of the third row’s removal — more cargo capacity.

While providing the Tahoe Custom with 2.3 extra cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row, Chevrolet didn’t turn the Tahoe into a vinyl-clad penalty box on 18-inch wheels. It’s essentially a Tahoe LS, with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, affordable data for 4G LTE WiFi, remote start, GM’s rear-seat reminder first seen in the Acadia, and the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8.2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom - Image: ChevroletThrough the first seven months of 2017, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Tahoe are up less than 1 percent to a segment-leading 65,584 units. The Tahoe is one member of a six-strong General Motors full-size SUV lineup that this year accounts for 9 percent of GM’s U.S. volume. That’s up from 8 percent two years ago.

Among volume brand full-size SUVs, where a quartet of Chevrolets and GMCs competes with the Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia, General Motors’ market share stands at 67 percent in 2017. That’s down from 72 percent a year ago, as segment-wide sales have expanded largely because of the second-generation Armada. Nissan’s slice of the pie tripled in size from 3 percent in 2016’s first seven months to 9 percent so far this year.

The 2017 Nissan Armada’s base price is $46,095. The 2017 Toyota Sequoia is priced from $49,595. The all-new 2018 Ford Expedition XLT’s base price is $52,890. In 2017, the basic GMC Yukon was $1,315 more than than its Chevrolet counterpart.

As for the Tahoe specifically, 2017 was already on track to be the second-biggest Chevrolet’s best year of U.S. sales in a decade. And that was prior to the anticipated Q4 impact of the 2018 Tahoe Custom’s broader appeal.

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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61 Comments on “The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom Is a Cut-Price, De-Contented Full-Size SUV...”


  • avatar
    ash78

    I’d be shocked if a lot of people opted for this trim, namely for the lack of third-row seating. This is just anecdotal, but since the non-minivan, non-crossover choice of families in my area tends to be mostly Tahoes, the lack of third row probably won’t be an option they’d check. Not that they need it…they want it. Just like 90% of car features.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s true. However, you really do have to consider the number of people who just want a big, traditional, solid-axle SUV that can tow, but who don’t necessarily need the third row. Owing *to* that solid axle taking up space under the floor, the Tahoe’s third row is considerably less useful than those of many large crossovers (Pilot, Atlas, Pathfinder, Durango, Highlander, etc…).

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        True — the third row in many BOF SUVs is sort of an afterthought when compared to more purpose-built crossovers.

        Again anecdotal, but I see a lot of people who need towing and offroad utility (and only carrying up to 5 passengers)…in pickups. That gives them somewhat comparable cargo space, plus lots of room for dirty cargo, too. In other words, this is a big vehicle to have so few seats and a large/enclosed cargo area, at least by modern standards. $50k buys a pretty nice GM pickup compared to a base model Tahoe.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          They’re much more willing to deal on the trucks than the SUVs, yeah. My understanding is that Jack Baruth’s 2017 Silverado 1500 4WD LTZ / Premier with the long-bed, the Max Tow package, and the 6.2-liter…didn’t cost much more than $50K.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Probably not going to be on a dealers lot so you will have to order it. Mean while Chevy salesmen will work you over for a little more a month I can put you into this deluxe version.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      Agreed. The Tahoe–in various years from new to 15 years old– is the de-facto family hauler for the lower, middle, and upper-middle class. If you don’t need a third row, you just get a Silverado.

    • 0 avatar
      The Comedian

      Back in January, 2017 I bought a new 2016 4WD Tahoe LS that had but a single option on the Monroney, 20″ polished aluminum wheels.

      Sticker was ~50,500. through a combination of dealer price cut, “tag discount”, competitive lessee discount and an extra “dealer-picks-some-vins-to-get-an-extra-discount discount” my out the door price was ~40,500. (No trade involved, cash deal)

      If it didn’t have the 20″ rims I would have been able to get the price under $40K. I would have liked the bench front seat instead of the console, but I couldn’t find one with a bench in stock within 2 states of here.

      I would have bought it without the third row. I had been cross-shopping it against police Tahoes (SSV & PPV) that had outlived floorplan. I removed my third row and put it in the basement.

      I think that Chevy is on to something here. I can’t be the only buyer looking for a body-on-frame truck that doesn’t want to pony up for leather, electric gew-gaws and the like.

      Now if I could just get someone to remove the cloaking device.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpNvJxR8z84

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    How exciting. This is what people have been begging for. They should do the same for the Suburban.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    They should decontent it even more.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Agree. Time for a Tahoe and Suburban W/T.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They probably de-contented it as much as they could. Any more, and they’d then have to look at stuff like engineering (and stocking) a separate instrument cluster or dashboard or infotainment system…and differentiation like that on the production line starts to *cost* money, rather than save it. Not a whole lot of de-contenting went on. I think what GM did here was give up more of the built-in profit margin for this platform to allow a lower price of entry…because it could sway someone looking at one of the large crossovers, and even for $44K, it’s still more profitable to have someone buy one of these BOF-ers than the loaded crossover for the same money.

      Now, back when the SUVs shared their interiors and body panels with the trucks—which to my knowledge last happened with the GMT800s—yeah, they could totally make a stripper Tahoe or Suburban because they’d have already had stripper Silverado components that could bolt right in.

      One thing I do like about this Tahoe Custom is that GM didn’t go the truly cheap route and put plastic black door handles or mirror skullcaps on it, and the wheels still look nice.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        All those items are addressed at suppliers that do a JIT delivery system for the IP, seats, fascia, etc..

        Infotainment can be pulled directly from the police version they already manufacture and they’ll probably end up using items that were originally on the 1FL package which was the smaller IP display (not the color unit), no HD radio, urethane steering wheel, etc. I wonder if this will use a single speed transfer case or two speeds—two speeds is optional on the fleet package.

        I’m shocked to see that they actually do a 3500 HD model that’s available for fleet customers only. (3500 lb towing capacity though…..)

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I forgot about the fleet and police-spec models.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Why would the 3500HD have such a lower tow rating? Seems odd. Or did you lose a 1 at the beginning and it’s 13500?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The Suburban HD is fleet only, costs $80K, and has a *big* 4400lbs payload capacity but for some reason is only rated at 3000lbs towing.

            gmfleet.com/chevrolet/suburban-hd-heavy-duty-suv.html

            I’m guessing there is some goofy reason why it was rated that way.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Probably not the only reason, but the HDs are very suitable for armor and puncture resistant/proof tires.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The main reason for the 3500HD version seems to be for upfitting it with the full armor treatment w/o the need to do anything with chassis. Otherwise why would you offer the leather interior, Nav, ect in a “fleet” truck. So presumably that is why they don’t build it with the 10k tow rating that they certainly could give it if desired, or at least a little bump over the 1500 version.

      • 0 avatar
        The Comedian

        They have a cheaper infotainment system on the shelf – It currently goes into the fleet (police) Tahoes.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Pardon my density, but what does it lack that the LS has? Does the LS come standard with a third seat?

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      LS comes standard with the 3rd row. So probably deletes the rear climate control as well.

      I’m shocked people aren’t jumping up and down as you can get the Tahoe with a bench seat in the front.

  • avatar
    ajla

    So, Camaro Custom 6.2L coming soon?

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    One of the few exceedingly few GM vehicles I could recommend in good faith, and it’s essentially half the price of the Ecalade (both being K2XX platforms, with the Tahoe as the GMTK2UC and the Escalade as the GMTK2XL), being a two-row standard Escalade.

    Give it the 6.2 liter as a $1,800 to $2,200 standalone option, and this would be even more of a recommend (who is kiddiing who, GM would never let such a thing cannibalize their re-badge GMC and Escalade kissing cousins).

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Moves like this, showing up all over the industry, are a response to the current administration’s very clear signals that it is not going to take enforcement of fuel-economy rules seriously.

    They’re also strategically shortsighted. There will be another fuel crunch, another Democratic administration, or both within a few years, and the more dependent the US carmakers get on easy truck sales the less prepared they will be when the inevitable happens.

    But these days publicly held companies don’t get to think years in advance. Any move that is about any goal other than getting cash to shareholders within the next three months results in thieves, er, “activist investors,” braying for management’s heads.

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      So what’s a car maker to do? Build a bunch of high mileage sedans and wait for the next democrat led congress or oil prices to sky rocket again… and watch someone else make money today? Yeah, that’ll work well.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Keep developing new powertrain technologies. If you’re GM, don’t let the Bolt and Volt languish on the vine; keep refining those components and put them in products in more popular segments. Yes, you’ll lose a bit of margin during the party years, but you won’t get your lunch eaten by Toyota and have to go bankrupt in the next downturn.

        • 0 avatar
          jjster6

          Isn’t this what you see happening today? Volt is on Gen 2 (with 20% more electric range) and Bolt is based on Volt technology. So why the comment on being strategically short sighted?

          • 0 avatar
            jjster6

            Isn’t this what you see happening today? Volt is on Gen 2 (with 20% more electric range) and Bolt is based on Volt technology. So why the comment on being strategically short sighted? Is it because the Bolt power train isn’t in a Tahoe? The laws of physics prevent that from being done at a price point a mortal could pay.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Once the Bolt came out, I haven’t heard much about continued application of the technology in other products. And there was the rumor that Gen 2 will be the last generation of Volt. The rumor of a Bolt-ized Encore was promising, but where is a bigger CUV using the same technology?

          • 0 avatar
            jjster6

            @Dal, the Bolt isn’t even widely available yet!

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “So what’s a car maker to do?”

        Develop a complete lineup of appealing high-quality vehicles that offer customers their choice of size, cost, efficiency, and capability?

        It’s more work, but then you’re not exposed to rapid shifts in customer preference or fuel costs.

        Or they can just chase low-efficiency vehicle short-term profits off of a cliff like they’ve done at least twice before. Worked out well in the 70’s and 2000’s, right?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      …They’re also strategically shortsighted. There will be another fuel crunch, another Democratic administration, or both within a few years, and the more dependent the US carmakers get on easy truck sales the less prepared they will be when the inevitable happens…

      And GM has the Bolt, Volt, Sonic, Cruze, small diesel engines, Malibu Hybrid…

      Unlike 2000 when it was gas guzzlers paying the bills and non-existent offerings that got good fuel economy that people actually wanted, GM is in a better position to pivot.

      If there is any one car company ill-prepared for a sudden shift in fuel prices, it is FCA.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Honestly FCA’s best bet is sticking to it’s big V8-Hemi-Hellcat-Demon power niche. Say we have another fuel spike or the rare politician who cannot be lobbied by the most powerful industries in the world takes office. Every major automaker is going to trip over themselves in a race to the bottom, while FCA sticks to its proven profitable niche. Sure, there might be some sacrifice of market share for profit, but I highly doubt the demand for vehicles the the Wrangler, Challanger, Charger, or Ram is going away in this lifetime.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “Moves like this, showing up all over the industry, are a response to the current administration’s very clear signals that it is not going to take enforcement of fuel-economy rules seriously.”

      I genuinely believe that auto sales are slowing, inventories are building rapidly, and that it’s no coincidence at a time when total household debt has reached an all-time high at the same time wage stagnation has deeply gripped hold, and that GM is unveiling lower-cost versions of vehicles such as the Tahoe to better hedge against these factors, and try to maintain market share/sales volume.

      Let’s look and see what happens with the competition in this segment in the months and years ahead.

      It’s no exaggeration to claim that unbiased data is showing that household incomes are being devoured by spiking housing, health care, education and child-care and elder-care costs (all major expense categories that are far outpacing general rate of inflation, so much so that housing costs alone now consume 50% of net household income in many more parts of the country. I could also speak to what these rapidly-flaring major expenses are doing to the country politically and socially, but will refrain).

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Offer the G80 auto-locker as part of some sort of towing package and we’re in business. I can rip that chin spoiler myself. I think it looks great with those rationally sized wheels/tires (which are still pretty hefty 18s). Third row in Tahoes sucks anyways, and in the K2XX trucks ate up a ton of room both when stowed, and ate significantly into what little space was left behind the third row due to the false-floor to make the area flat when said third row was folded.

    Let me also say that a modern-day K5 Blazer with the 6.2 would be beyond badass.

  • avatar

    It’s interesting to note flip-flops RE: C-pillar badging.

    GMT400, LS badge
    GMT800, no LS badge
    GMT900, LS badge
    GMK2XX, LS badge
    GMK2XX, no Custom badge

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Also, the sand background is quite relevant. The big GM SUVs are an absolute favorite of the Outer banks, NC vacation crowd, saw many out on the beach and lumbering through some pretty deep sand, chin spoilers be damned.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Interesting, this means we may finally see sub-40k transcation price Tahoes again…

    Note to self: put Tahoe back on shopping list.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    My interest is highly piqued! If GM does the same for a Suburban I may just have to buy it.

    A Tahoe Custom 2WD with max tow and without the weight of the 3rd row, 20’s, etc should be a very quick efficient hauling machine, I’d expect 0-60 to be near 6 flat and low/mid 20’s to be entirely reasonable on the freeway.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Dang! Where’s that Bollinger B1? I’d luv to sail thru the dunes in that. Can you imagine the heads it would turn? Pull out the plank load the dachshund out thru the front hatch…

    In the meantime we’re stuck with tweaked twentieth century.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Why don’t they just offer a 3rd row delete on an LS? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

    • 0 avatar

      Back in GMT800 days, I believe the 3rd row was an option on the LS. Occasionally you’d see one without it – always worth less money than the 3-row versions.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Resale (as a %) will be worse on this “Custom” model compared to its siblings BUT depending on what adding 4×4 will cost and if I can spec the tow package I’d be interested in a two row Tahoe for a “let’s see how many hundreds of thousands of miles we can get out of this sucker.”

        I really don’t need all the toys, just more crap to break.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Resale value can’t be much of a concern, or who would buy one? Fullsize SUVs go from $50,000 shiny new, down to $5,000 generally, in just 10 or 11 years. I recommend them to anyone frustrated with the lofty prices of used fullsize pickups, crew cabs especially.

          Plus if reliability is of major concern, dealing with 150,000+ mile (affordable) vehicles, they’re about impossible to beat.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “Fullsize SUVs go from $50,000 shiny new, down to $5,000 generally, in just 10 or 11 years”

            You might want to check what ’07 Tahoes/Suburbans/Yukons are going for even with high miles. The GMT800 SUVs are generally significantly more affordable, however.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “down to $5,000 generally, in just 10 or 11 years.”

            Where do you find clean title 2007 GM full-size SUVs for $5K?

            The average price on Autotrader within 500 miles of me for a ’06-’07 Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon is $13.5K.

            10 year old Durangos are about $6.5K and the Armada is $8.5K. Although I don’t think those were leaving the showroom at $50K.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Prices can swing wildly, especially “asking price” at dealers. Anything close to $10K is huge depreciation anyway.

            But here’s couple averaging $5,000 in clean/excellent condition. They’re definitely out there.

            denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/2007-gmc-yukon-4×4/6257628733.html

            denver.craigslist.org/cto/d/2008-chevrolet-tahoe-sport/6266021919.html

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah round here Full size SUv’s have better resale then the pickups. Almost as good as 3/4ton pickups. I still see 15 year old Suburbans trading int 8-9k range.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “But here’s couple averaging $5,000 in clean/excellent condition. They’re definitely out there.”

            That’s not how “averages work,” with a “couple” of examples, one of which was a scam ad LOL

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    The 3rd row in the Tahoe is about useless anyway, so this makes a lot of sense to me. Its the Tahoe I’d pick, hands down.

  • avatar

    Interesting about Armada sales for a new vehicle I see a ton around. I asked a friend who works at a Nissan dealer, he said they are seeing alot more people coming into stretch up to an Armada then they did with the old version. He says he’s seeing alot of traded in 10-15 year old Sequoia’s and GX470’s on them and a few Escalades.

    As in the people who buy those used are happy to buy a new Armada for 40k.

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