CARS.COM — Still need a big, truck-based SUV but can't or won't pay the premium? Chevrolet has you in mind as it rolls out its new "bargain" version of the Tahoe full-size SUV for 2018, the Custom trim, arriving at dealerships in September for more than $3,700 less than the next cheapest Tahoe.
There's no denying that full-size SUVs aren't quite as popular as they used to be. The Great Recession of 2009 and the subsequent gas price shocks took their toll on the idea of driving a massive, eight-seat, pickup-based passenger truck as a lifestyle vehicle for a lot of people.
Folks instead went toward nearly-as-big-but-just-as-capable, large, car-based crossover SUVs, but there's always been a contingent that simply needs a truck-based SUV whether for towing, hauling or ferry duty. Still, as customers dropped off, prices began to climb, and the remaining models found themselves again relegated to luxury specialty vehicles.
Apparently, prices have stretched too far for some, as Chevrolet has decided that some buyers out there still need a new full-sized truck-based SUV but can't afford it. For them, Chevy has conjured up the Tahoe Custom trim, a value-edition special meant to keep prices down but capabilities up.
Chevy started with the Tahoe LS trim, which is already pretty well optioned up with an 8-inch touchscreen that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera, remote start and a 5.3-liter V-8 pumping out 355 horsepower and 383 pounds-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard; four-wheel drive is optional.
But in order to bring the price down, Chevy has left out a couple things. Gone is the third row of seats, which boosts rear cargo room to 54 cubic feet behind the second row, up from 51.7 cubic feet in the three-row Tahoe. Wheels are no longer polished, but are 18-inch painted aluminum alloys. There's a slightly different chrome-accented grille, as well.
Options include an advanced set of safety features with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist. A towing package is available that boosts tow rating from 6,600 pounds to 8,600 pounds.
The bottom line is lower — Chevy is asking $44,995 for the Tahoe Custom, which is a good bit less than the $48,745 (prices include a $1,295 destination fee) that the company wants for a regular Tahoe LS. So if you can live without that third row and are cool with muted, gray-painted wheels, maybe you can save yourself a chunk of change on your next Tahoe, too.