QOTD: Which Vehicles Deserve a Cost-cutting Trim Level?

Yesterday, Tim Cain reported on the new Chevrolet Tahoe Custom trim, which lowers the point of entry on the Tahoe by $3,750 for 2018. If you’re a nerd and enjoy trim-level discussions like I do, this is an important moment. For the first time since the Tahoe grew to four doors in 1995, you’ll be able to buy a trim lower than the LS.

This new (relatively) low-cost trim is seen by many Internet Car Enthusiasts here at TTAC as the way forward: dispensing with unnecessary options like infotainment, large wheels, and a third row seat that rarely sees use. Seems like a decent enough idea, so let’s take it across the board today.

Which vehicles deserve a cost-cutting trim level?

In our modern automotive era, manufacturers are hard pressed to compete with the standard features offered by competitors in each segment. Since the 1980s, companies like Hyundai and Kia have democratized standard features to ever lower entry points at a rapid pace. Options once found only in the realm of larger, more expensive luxury vehicles have become standard fare on compact Korean hatchbacks.

All this expansion in standard features (and perhaps easy access to longer-term loans) has created a new opportunity for value-oriented basic trims like the Tahoe Custom above.

My pick today was going to cite Porsche as an example of removing options to lower cost — but then I remembered that’s the opposite of the way Porsche operates. So here’s a different example.

That’s right, this other Chevrolet is a good candidate for a bare-bones trim. The Impala starts in LS trim with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine (197 horsepower) for $27,500. MyLink and an 8-screen is standard. USB outlets, satellite radio, a power driver’s seat, floor mats, keyless start, OnStar, power windows and locks, and air conditioning are all standard. At least half of that can go, pushing the entry point lower. Fleets and special order companies would love it, and it would satisfy the ICE’s desire for a basic, large sedan. Win-win, Impala Custom.

As a historical bonus, the Custom trim name already appeared on basic Buicks for many, many years.

What’s your selection of vehicle(s) deserving of a good cost-cutting trim?

[Images: Murilee Martin / The Truth About Cars, GM]


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