By on August 16, 2017

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.

1978 Chevrolet Blazer

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.


Chevrolet Custom Deluxe

[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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39 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Custom...”

  • 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.

  • avatar

    “I still hold a candle for a two-door version of the Tahoe that I logically know will never happen.”

    Not to correct you…but I’ll correct you…Chevy did make a two door Tahoe once upon a time, so you’re pining for the “once and future Tahoe two door.” If you had a Flux Capacitor, you could go back and pick one up, buy a s**tload of Apple stock, and look me up with a warning: if you divorce your wife, do it while she’s still working.

    • 0 avatar
      Matthew Guy

      No, you’re exactly right, man. They were great looking trucks, too.

      • 0 avatar

        Pretty sure that they were still called Blazers then, not Tahoes. But yes, good looking rigs.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, they were. I’m not a truck guy, but I did appreciate the clean styling on these, and the build was solid.

        I did a brief stint back in ’95 selling cars at a Chevy dealership, and the minute the four door Tahoe was introduced, sales of the two door model cratered. Two door Blazers were tough to sell as well. Even by this time, the “SUV family truckster” thing was well in play.

        The four door model also had a revised front suspension / steering setup and drove far better than the two door, which may have had something to do with it.

        Nope, these were Tahoes, not Blazers.

        • 0 avatar
          Middle-Aged Miata Man

          Chevy’s GMT400 two-door SUV was called Blazer through 1994. Chevy adopted the Tahoe moniker across the line in 1995 with the introduction of the four-door, at which time the Blazer name moved exclusively to the former S-10 Blazer with that model’s own 1995 redesign.

  • avatar

    Where I work, there are a plethora of GMC and Chevy variants running around. Must say that I like the front end treatment of the Chevy better. Hard to swallow anything costing $43,700 as “base” (and yes, I realize that actual transaction costs will be less). Still, if I had the cash, this wouldn’t be a bad way to go. I have no need for the third-row seat and I wonder exactly how many buyers really, truly do need that capability. Oh, and I do like the graphite-like rims on these things.

    • 0 avatar

      When I bought my 4Runner I had to special order it without a 3rd row. Apparently like 90% are shipped with a 3rd row.
      I’m with you, how many buyers actually want that 3rd row? Good job to Chevy on this one.

      • 0 avatar

        My wife and I are waffling on a 3rd row to replace my hatchback. On the one hand, most of the time what we have now is fine. On the other, my mother was in town last week and we had to spread ourselves over two cars to go anywhere with her and the kids. Occasionally we will need to haul more kids than our two boys. When we want to take the kids and dog and stroller to the bike path; two cars, which isn’t awful, just annoying.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    While I am one of those that needs to have the 3rd row in the Suburban/Tahoe, I love this and delighted that GM is offering it up.

    I have been renovating a couple of properties over the past several months and have had the third row out of the Suburban and have hauled a lot of stuff from Lowes. What would be really helpful for the Tahoe would be if their was a mechanism that allowed for the 2nd row bench to either split and fold or fold up up as one unit like the 2nd row buckets.
    I am not sure if that option exists, if it does, that really expands the usefulness the Tahoe Custom.

    • 0 avatar
      Matthew Guy

      Hm, good question. It does seem a split-bench second row is currently available. Plus, there is the glorious option of a FRONT BENCH! *weeps with joy*

      • 0 avatar
        The Comedian

        The closest Tahoe-with-a-front-bench I could find in stock back in January was over 2,000 miles away. Dealers and/or the typical customer isn’t looking for them, and off-the-lot discount trumps customer order (for me, anyway).

  • avatar

    Its has my attention..As of 10 minutes ago the “Build a Chev”web site only offers the 17 ..starting at $57,820 CDN.

    Used.with balance of GM warranty .

    16 Yukon 54,000 KLM’s (36000 miles) cloth seats, but otherwise fairly well optioned ..$46,000 CAN.

    Two 17 Yukons with 26000 KLM’s (17,000 miles), cloth, and a few less options $53,000 CAN

    Right, so if GM can offer me a new 18 base model for under 50 K ? I might just take a look.

  • avatar

    It is unlikely that I’ll buy a Tahoe Custom. However, between this Tahoe, the Regal GS, and talk of a lower priced Camaro V8 I haven’t felt so much “less shame” over GM in awhile.

    Now let’s V8 the Cadillacs and Colorado.

  • avatar

    I’ll basically repeat what I said yesterday — that people with $45k+ shopping for this type of vehicle would more likely end up in a pickup (…with leather, HIDs, etc).

    I sort of feel like Chevy is only doing this so they can sell more $60k Tahoes by saying “Starting at $43k!!” in their ads.

    At least a modern 2-door K5 Blazer would be unique, and the lack of third row would make more sense.

    • 0 avatar

      A two door Blazer would indeed be unique…and it won’t sell.

      I can tell you that from experience. I sold the two door Tahoe (and Blazer) in 1995, and the minute the four door model was introduced, you couldn’t sell the two door (and Lord knows I tried – you couldn’t get the four door to save your life, so the play was always to try and sell the two door instead…no dice).

      Two door SUVs died a long time ago, unfortunately. I doubt they’re coming back.

  • avatar

    At this price as base, it makes me wonder what the transaction prices are on sequoia’s. I wonder if you get to a similar price point out the door. I know they start at a lower cost but they also discount less than gm does. Granted neither of these are anywhere near what I would consider basic even in their basic forms.

    • 0 avatar

      I would think that the Sequoia might enjoy better resale because Toyota, but the GM BOF SUVs hold their value crazy well, too. I wonder what the depreciation curve is like for both of them.

  • avatar

    How much for 4×4?

    But then again I’ve realized already it would be cheaper and just as useful to get a full size crew cab 4×4 V8 1/2 ton (if you really don’t need a third row.) Spray in bed liner, toneau cover, and viola there’s the equivalent of a full size sedan circa 1967.

  • avatar

    You’ve gotta wonder what the profit margin is for pickups and SUV/CUVs. It seems that prices for them have gone up far more than any normal sedan or coupe. $40+K MSRP for a stripper model? Ouch.

  • avatar

    Custom, Premier, RST

    Keep them trims coming. It’s like 1993 all over again!

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      It’s likely better built, more reliable, better ride…

      Ummm sure, I guess that explains why there are so many of them on the road now. Never have I met a person with a 200k Armada. Never.

      I currently know multiple folks with a Suburban or Tahoe with over 100k and a handful over 200k. One family has two. Dad drives the beater Yukon XL 03′ and mom drives a new (er) 2012.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    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.

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