Full-size SUVs are not usually known for high performance, but Chevrolet is aiming to change that by equipping the new 2018 Tahoe RST with some serious goodies from the Corvette and Camaro performance models.
The RST package starts with Chevrolet's most potent 6.2-liter V8 tuned up to 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. Then the Tahoe gets the 10-speed automatic transmission from the Camaro ZL-1, but with different gear ratios appropriate to a bigger and heavier vehicle. The result is a large SUV that will hit 60 MPH in just 5.7 seconds, and will tow up to 8,400 pounds.
The Tahoe RST comes with four-wheel-drive, controlled using a dial on the dashboard. You get high and low-range capability, but you can also set the Tahoe for Automatic operation. In this mode, the 4X4 system acts like an all-wheel-drive crossover, engaging the rear wheels as needed for traction. In a Portland winter, you'll want to use that mode all the time.
The Tahoe RST also includes an impressive suspension borrowed from the Corvette. Chevrolet's Magnetic Ride Control changes the shock damping in real time as you drive. The system is capable of adjusting itself 200 times per second, and it all happens automatically to keep the Tahoe's ride comfortable and level as you drive.
The basic RST comes with good brakes, but if you're going all-in you'll want to take the optional brake kit with 6-piston front calipers and larger rotors. There's also an optional Borla cat-back exhaust system that improves flow by 28%, with a little bump in engine power to go with it.
The Tahoe RST is visually distinct, offered in white, silver, gray, or black, with a set of special wheels that fit the color scheme and the performance nature of the RST. Inside, the RST comes with an upgraded interior and Chevy's best infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, along with GM's MyLink system. You get OnStar and 4G/LTE data connectivity, and the whole system plays through a powerful Bose audio system.
On the road, the RST is surprisingly well behaved courtesy of that 10-speed transmission and the magnetic suspension. There's never a concern about losing control, even though this SUV has all the power you could want. What you notice is that the ride is smooth and confident at all times. The Tahoe RST is comfortable with heated and ventilated seats in the first row and heat in the second row, and little touches like adjustable pedal height mean that even though the Tahoe is big, anyone can drive it.
Bottom line: if your head says SUV but your heart says hot rod — this is the Tahoe for you.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
Base price: $66,425
Price as tested: $78,155
Type: Full-size SUV
Engine: 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp, 460 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 14/22
Overall length: 224.4 inches
Curb weight: 5,965 pounds
Final assembly: Arlington, Texas