The 2018 model has a base powertrain with a 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 horsepower, 383 lb. ft.) connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. A beefier powertrain option exclusive for the top-of-the-line trim has a 6.2-liter V8 engine (420 horsepower, 460 lb. ft.) that is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes as a standard and all-wheel drive can be configured for the two powertrains. With the base engine under testing, there seems to be a lack of urgency in the Tahoe’s acceleration. While the grunt is there when it finally arrives, opening the throttle is just hampered by a pedal that needs to be floored. The laid-back pace of the delivery of power is quantified by a 0-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds. The massive size of the Tahoe does not bode well when attacking corners in a spirited driving scenario. That said, when going at a leisurely speed the body roll isn’t as swaying and choosing the magnetic suspension will help in stability. The steering does not feel cumbersome and tracks accurately but like most big SUVs, it is slow and not exactly responsive. The brakes do not disappoint as it only took 123 feet to bring the Tahoe to a halt from 60 mph. The delivery of the force can be slow but it does not feel abrupt. A firm pedal is always a welcome addition when trying to apply the brakes on a vehicle of its size.
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The base LS trim comes standard with heated mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver seat, a trailer hitch receiver with wiring harness, Bluetooth, five USB ports, 110V power outlet, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and an infotainment system with a CD player, 8-inch touchscreen and six-speaker sound system. The Enhanced Driver Alert package includes power-adjustable pedals and several advanced safety and driver aids. The LT trim builds on the LS trim with all its options and then adds a power liftgate, heated front seats, power-adjustable front passenger seat, driver seat memory settings, auto-dimming rearview camera, universal garage remote and a nine-speaker Bose sound system. The Luxury package includes a hands-free liftgate, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming driver side mirror, fog lights, heated second-row seats, power-folding second and third-row seats, power-adjustable heated steering wheel and a wireless charging pad. The Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package for the LT trim adds navigation and a rear-seat entertainment system. The Z71 Off-Road package adds off-road suspension, electronic two-speed transfer case, hill descent control and front parking sensors. The Premier trim comes with all the attractions and also includes xenon headlights, adaptive suspension, ventilated front seats, second-row bucket seats, navigation, power-adjustable front seats and a 12-speaker Bose sound system. The Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package for the Premier trim now includes power-retractable side steps and a heads-up display. The RST Performance Edition package includes a trailer brake controller and several performance parts upgrades. The Max Trailering package is available for all trims and it includes towing and trailering equipment and auto-leveling suspension for models without the magnetic suspension.
The 2018 model has been tested by the NHTSA and it got five stars in the front crash test, five stars in the side crash test and three stars for the rollover test. Overall it gained a 4-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Standard safety features include rear parking sensors, a teen-driver monitoring system, and a rearview camera. Advanced safety and driver aids are added when stepping up to the next trim and they include forward collision warning, low-speed automatic braking, automatic high beams, lane departure warning and intervention, front parking sensors, blind spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert.
The 2018 model has a length of 204 inches, a width of 80.5 inches, a height of 74.4 inches and a wheelbase of 116 inches. The LS and LT trim start with 18-inch wheels, and have options for 20-inch and 22-inch wheels of varying designs. The Premier trim starts with 20-inch wheels with the option for 22-inch wheels of different designs to choose from. For the LT trim, the Texas Edition package adds roof rail crossbars and unique badges to the body. The Z71 Off-Road package includes burlier all-terrain tires, unique exterior trim, tubular side-steps and underbody skid plates. The RST Edition package for both the LT and Premier trims adds black exterior trim and the option for black wheels.
With an SUV this big, stepping on the running board is needed to enter the cabin and there are handles to grab onto. The doors open wide but are short enough to reveal a sufficient path of entry for tighter parking spots. The first two rows offer more than enough legroom and headroom but the third row has a raised floor. Hence, its seating position does not feel as relaxed compared to the first two rows and is best suited for passengers with a smaller build. For the LS and LT trim, up to seven people can fit inside while the Premier trim can only fit six people inside. The seat’s cushion is supportive but soft enough to be comfortable on longer drives. However, the rear seats are relatively flat in order to allow folding them down. The leather upholstery is premium to the touch and the fit and finish of the interior are well executed. As a people carrier with comfort in mind, the ride is balanced on smooth pavement. Its truck chassis has a coil-spring setup to minimize the impact of bumps but rougher surfaces can be jarring. External noise is attenuated superbly and the quiet cabin only adds to the plush experience inside.
Behind the third row of seats is 15.3 cu. ft. of space, and folding them down opens up 51.7 cu. ft. of space. Upon folding down the second row of seats, there is now 94.7 cu. ft. of space for loading cargo.