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Tahoe Custom: Chevy’s New SUV Value Play


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Although the common wisdom has it that crossovers and SUVs have limitless growth opportunities, maybe the folks at Chevrolet have discerned something that indicates that there’s still something called economic gravity.

Listen to Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet Trucks marketing director: “In the past five years, the average transaction price for the segment”—and he’s talking full-size SUV—has climbed, fueled by customer appetite for features like heated and cooled seats, adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.”

People want stuff, and plenty of it. But maybe not everyone. Or maybe they want their stuff and their full-size SUV.

“This created an unmet need in the marketplace for customer who want the cargo and towing capability of a full-size SUV to go camping, boating or off-roading but don’t necessarily want all of the option content offered on a Tahoe Premier,” Piszar added.

New for 2018, Tahoe LS models are offered with a Custom Edition package. Custom includes features found on LS trim levels and adds 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, all-season tires, a chrome-accented grille and the third row removed for additional cargo space.

According to Chevrolet.com, the starting MSRP for a Tahoe Premier, not including delivery, is $63,435.

Chevy is introducing a special edition Tahoe, the Tahoe Custom. But unlike special editions that add on plenty of “special” packages, this vehicle, based on the base LS trim level, which, again going to Chevrolet.com, has a starting MSRP of $48,510, adds and subtracts—and it subtracts a lot when it comes to the price.

The Tahoe Custom has a starting MSRP of $44,995.

That’s a difference of $3,515 from the straight LS trim.

Piszar said, “The Tahoe Custom is a response to strong customer demand for Tahoe, as well as the full-size SUV segment moving upmarket.”

Through July, Chevy has delivered 51,833 Tahoes in the U.S. in 2017, which is a 0.4 percent increase over the same period in 2016.

Could it be that this slight uptick is predicated on the fact that even with easy credit it is getting too expensive for some intenders to finance? According to Kelley Blue Book, the average transaction price for a full-size SUV/crossover in July was $60,564—and know that they have a separate category for luxury full-size SUV/crossovers (that’s $81,324).

In terms of the Tahoe Custom, it adds 18-inch painted alloy wheels to the LS package and a new grille. It has the standard 355-hp, 5.3-liter V8 and has a standard tow rating of 6,600 pounds (which goes to the point of those “camping, boating or off-roading”).

They’ve subtracted the third row, so there is substantially more (54 cubic feet) of cargo room.

When they start talking “outstanding value” for a full-size SUV, you know something is changing in the market.

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