12 Best Family Cars: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe
Full-size SUVs are like the station wagons of the 1960s. They offer three-row seating with plenty of room for the family, usually V8 power and solid body-on-frame construction, which means they’re really good at towing things. The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe fits this formula to a T, and returns to our list boasting two new trim levels beyond the LT, LS and Premier. For those looking for perhaps a little less people-hauling capability in exchange for a lower sticker price, Chevrolet has introduced the sub-$45,000 Tahoe Custom that is its new entry-level model, while the more enthusiast-grade RST sports not only racy-looking black-out trim bits, but ups the performance ante with a 6.2-liter 420-horsepower V8.
The addition of these two new trim levels adds more choices that extend beyond opting for rear- or 4-wheel drive, since the Tahoe also offers a number of different seating configurations depending on the size of your crew. For really big families, there’s a nine-passenger version that has three-person bench seating in all three rows. If you can get by without a third row, the aforementioned Custom offers five-passenger seating, while the rest of the line can be had with accommodations for eight with second- and third-row benches, or seven when you opt for the second-row captain’s chairs.
One of the charms of the Chevrolet Tahoe is its old-school approach to its construction. The solid, body-on-frame architecture, similar to that used on the Silverado pickup truck, is part and parcel of the Tahoe’s durability. Matching V8 power (in non-RST trim, it comes with a 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 which makes 383 lb-ft of torque while delivering 19 mpg combined) and a solid rear axle, the Tahoe is ideal for towing up to 8,600 pounds for 2WD and 8,400 pounds with 4WD. In that Tahoe you have a workhorse that’s also able to deliver a roomy and comfortable ride.
Part of that comfort comes in the Premium trim level, where GM’s Magnetic Ride Control was made available as standard equipment last year. And despite its size, the Tahoe is an easy vehicle to maneuver in tight spaces, thanks to its rear-view camera and available park assist. Out on the open road, the steering is precise and there’s plenty of passing power underhood. Best of all, the ride height gives you that command-of-the-road confidence that makes full-size SUVs a family favorite.
Amenities for everyone
The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe comes with a long list of standard features designed to make the trip enjoyable for front and rear passengers alike. All models come with tri-zone climate control, an 8.0-inch center touch screen equipped with Chevy MyLink, available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, plus plenty of USB and power points to ensure that everyone is plugged in and happy.
Higher trim levels include such creature comforts as leather upholstery, Bose premium audio, navigation, wireless charging for mobile devices and keyless entry. You can opt for a power sunroof, power tilt/telescope steering column, a rear-seat entertainment system and hands-free power liftgate.
While the Tahoe has a generous footprint and front- and second-row seating is very accommodating, the third row is best left for smaller ones. Cargo space is abundant, with 15.3 cubic feet behind the third row, which expands to 94.7 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded down.
Safety and security
Perhaps one of the greatest inventions for parental peace of mind aside from the rear entertainment system is the Teen Driver technology that tracks and sends updates on your teen’s driving habits. Other features included in the technology allow you to set a speed alert and limit the sound system’s volume. Another bonus is that it disables the audio system until the front passengers are buckled up. There’s also a rear seat reminder that prompts drivers to check to see if a small child or pet is left in the rear seat when the vehicle is parked.
Other safety systems available on the Tahoe include Forward Collision Alert with Low-Speed Automatic Braking, Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates to warn of nearby vehicles or objects.
With pricing now starting at $44,995 on the Custom and ranging up to about $66,000 for the top-line Premier with four-wheel drive, there are plenty of choices for families big and small for a vehicle that will give many years of faithful service.
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