Following in the footsteps of the 2017 Chevy Silverado 1500 Custom edition comes the 2018 Chevy Tahoe Custom. What is the Custom edition Chevrolet truck or SUV all about? In short, it’s about getting good value and utility for an entry level truck. We took a Tahoe Custom for a first drive review with a trailer full of off-road toys (Polaris RZR XP1000s) to find out more.
The Tahoe Custom is identified by a chrome grille and Z71-style rims, although there are no badges that announce it as a Custom edition. It is the only Tahoe in the current lineup with just two rows of seats and 5-person capacity. It does not come with a third-row seat option. Getting rid of the third row allows for a slightly better cargo volume and a lower loading floor in the back. The seats are cloth, but there are chrome and wood-like accents around the dash and center console.
The Tahoe Custom 2WD has a starting price of $44,995 (including destination charges). At first it sounds like a lot of money for an entry-level Tahoe, but it is $2,200 lower than a Tahoe LS, and it is the lowest starting price among the competition: Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia.
There is just one powertrain available in the Custom, it’s the 5.3L V8 (355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque) and a 6-speed automatic transmission. You will have to choose other GM SUV offerings to get an 8-speed or 10-speed automatic with the bigger and more powerful 6.2L V8.
It’s also available with a 4×4 system (without a low-range transfer case) for an additional $3,000 and a total MSRP of $47,995. Other notable features include Apple Carplay, Android Auto, 4G LTE Wifi hotspot, Onstar Navigation, and tri-zone air conditioning system.
You can equip the Tahoe Custom with a maximum trailering package that comes with an integrated brake controller and a total trailer capacity of 8,600 lbs.
Chevrolet and Polaris prepared the trailer for us to use at this Nevada event. It is a Polaris Trailer with two 2018 RZR XP1000 Turbo DYNAMIX side-by-sides on top. Approximate loaded trailer weight is 4,500 lbs, but we were not able to verify it on our own. We towed the off-road machines from Las Vegas to Jean Nevada, to lunch, and back to Vegas.
This Tahoe’s 5.3L V8 was not strained by the 4,500 lbs trailer behind it, but there was some excessive up-and-down motion coming from the rear suspension of the Tahoe. It was just noticeable over highway expansion joints. Perhaps, a weight distribution hitch (WDH) would resolve some of the extra bounce (again, we did not set up this trailer).
Otherwise, the Tahoe is a smooth and quiet towing vehicle. The transmission up shifts with ease, the Tow/Haul mode helps to slow the vehicle down with timely downshifts. I always felt confident and in control behind the wheel and with the two “Razors” in tow.
Navigating our way through the Las Vegas Strip, I wished the Tahoe Custom offered larger towing side mirrors. The smaller mirrors are aerodynamic and don’t make much noise at highway speeds, but if you plan to tow regularly – a larger (vertical orientation) side mirror is highly recommended. Chevy offers great towing mirrors on their Silverado pickup trucks.
Check out our first drive towing review video here.