Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2018 chevrolet tahoe custom

In 1978, two years before I appeared on this earth, my parents traded their two-year old Chevy Nova for a brand-new K5 Blazer at Riverview Chev-Olds in Grand Falls, Newfoundland. They were headed to jobs on the Great Northern Peninsula and, with sound reasoning, figured a four-wheel-drive rig would be a good idea. They were right.

My parents went on to keep that blue-and-white Blazer for 13 years, so I have many good memories of it stored away in the back of my rapidly balding head. Learning of the new-for-2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom yesterday, I became unreasonably excited for two different reasons: 1) it reminded me of the old Blazer, and 2) I had found my Ace of Base for today.

Great looking truck, eh? You know I had to slide it in here somewhere. On to the new Tahoe, then.

Starting at $43,700 sans destination fee, the 2018 Tahoe Custom bins its third-row seats but retains a hairy-chested powertrain and the ability to tow 8,600 pounds — when properly equipped. Right now, the Max Trailering Package is available for $580 as a standalone option. Bank on it being at least $600 next year. With inevitable amounts of GM cash on the hood and some shrewd negotiation, I firmly believe a sub-$40,000 transaction price is well within the realm of reality.

Joining Tahoe’s third row in the dumpster are upmarket features like HID headlamps, power liftgate, and leather seats. That’s fine – Dad didn’t need that stuff and neither do I. Thanks to the ever-popular economies of scale, though, the Custom retains some of the good stuff like Apple CarPlay, remote start, and a raft of USB ports. Hey, base models don’t need to be total penalty boxes; that’s the whole point of this series, after all.

For the current model year LS trim, any color on the greyscale is $0, as is the natty shade of Blue Velvet Metallic. If GM is smart, they’ll mirror these offerings for the 2018 Custom and even if they don’t, the Blazer Tahoe looks mean in black. Eighteen-inch hoops on the Custom look good, avoiding the gonzo-sized dubs found on more expensive models, and I am glad GM didn’t take the whole thing downmarket by dousing the door handles and grille with a depressing coat of flat black paint.

Theoretically, GM could go one step further, yanking the seats and infotainment from the police-spec Tahoe PPV, but that might be a bridge too far for most buyers. As is, Custom customers (guffaw) will still enjoy traditional cues such as the thick baseball bat of a shift lever sprouting from the steering column like an overgrown sycamore branch.

By relegating the third-row seats to the sidelines, the Tahoe Custom opens up a few extra cubes of cargo space, for a total of 54 cubic feet, or about the same size volume as my office at the Ford dealer where I sold cars 15 years ago. An office which, it must be noted, I shared with another 6’6” salesman, one who spent years as a roughneck in the Alberta oil patch. It was a fetid environment. I chose to close most deals out in the lot or on the showroom floor.

I still hold a candle for a two-door version of the Tahoe that I logically know will never happen. Nevertheless, the introduction of this Custom is great news, putting me squarely in mind of the old Blazer. Just one request, Chevy: append the word “Deluxe” to this new trim and I promise you’ll have a new customer.

[Image: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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4 of 39 comments
  • Crtfour Crtfour on Aug 16, 2017

    Unless you have to have a Tahoe, it seems as though the better base model buy would be the new Armada at 44-45k. It's likely better built, more reliable, better ride and rear cargo space (IRS vs. solid axle), and has the 390 horse engine for better towing. Plus as a base model it looks to have many more standard features.

    • See 1 previous
    • Crtfour Crtfour on Aug 17, 2017

      @87 Morgan I was referring to the new one for 2017. Assembled in Japan as opposed to Mississippi.

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Aug 16, 2017

    I have fond memories of K5s, a close family friend was vacationing and wanted my dad to drive their cars occasionally. He was a pathologist, and had considerably nicer cars than we did, an Audi 5000s, 280zx turbo and a 79 K5 blue on blue. My dad always chose the K5, as his daily was an 81 Corolla wagon, as he was fascinated with the driving position I made desperate pleas for my parents to buy that car from them before they traded it in so I could drive 6yrs later when I turned 16. No dice. Instead I got a subs. to "4 Wheeler& Off Road", which sufficed. Now I smile every time I see one of these roll of the auction block at Mecums for 20-30k.

  • Namesakeone If you want a Thunderbird like your neighbor's 1990s model, this is not the car. This is a Fox-body car, which was produced as a Thunderbird from MY 1980 through 1988 (with styling revisions). The 1989-1997 car, like your neighbor's, was based on the much heavier (but with independent rear suspension) MN-15 chassis.
  • Inside Looking Out I watched only his Youtube channel. Had no idea that there is TV show too. But it is 8 years or more that I cut the cable and do not watch TV except of local Fox News. There is too much politics and brainwashing including ads on TV. But I am subscribed to CNBC Youtube channel.
  • Jeff S Just to think we are now down to basically 3 minivans the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna. I wonder how much longer those will last. Today's minivan has grown in size over the original minivans and isn't so mini anymore considering it is bigger than a lot of short wheel based full size vans from the 70s and 80s. Back in the 70s and 80s everything smaller was mini--mini skirt, mini fridge, mini car, and mini truck. Mini cars were actually subcompact cars and mini trucks were compact trucks. Funny how some words are so prevalent in a specific era and how they go away and are unheard of in the following decades.
  • Jeff S Isn't this the same van Mercury used for the Villager? I believe it was the 1s and 2nd generations of this Quest.
  • VoGhost I don't understand the author's point. Two of the top five selling vehicles globally are Teslas. We have great data on the Model 3 for the past 5 years. What specifically is mysterious about used car values?