Full Size SUVs are for big families who like to go camping…..yes this is a sweeping generalization but since I don’t have kids and my wife refuses to ever go camping, I drive a Chevy Spark EV as a daily driver. I have nothing against the current SUV, Crossover craze but I always have and always will be a sedan fan. So just to shake things up this week GM delivered a behemoth, the all black 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST, which is essentially a Tahoe Premier with the 6.2-liter V-8 from the related GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade.
Delivering 420-hp and 460-lb-ft through the new and very quick shifting 10-speed automatic co-developed with Ford, this beast moves with a purpose. The RST Performance package adds Magnetic Ride Control suspension, and large 22 inch wheels shod with performance all-season tires. All bow tie badges, except the one in the middle of the steering wheel are blacked out. Despite weighing some 5,750 lbs the RST will launch from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds and onto much higher speeds with comparable ease, that is until aerodynamics kick in. Of course it’s probably not wise to be doing high speeds in the RST but since our car was fitted with the optional Brembos, you can drop anchor pretty quickly. To top this off an optional Borla exhaust bellows plenty of V8 noise into the cabin.
On The Road
First off the RST is very fun to drive but it’s not a sports truck, you just can’t defy the laws of physics or the fact that it rides on a truck chassis. Steering is great at lower speeds but weights up significantly at higher speeds requiring a good hold on the wheel to keep it in line. The MagneRide does a stellar job of controlling the RST’s sheer mass by continually monitoring the road and altering the dampers in response to current conditions. This results in a stiffer ride while cornering and a softer suspension when cruising. Passing 2 or 3 cars on longer stretches of 2 lane highway is a breeze, simply mash the go pedal and the Tahoe powers by.
No matter what the vehicle we drive, we always take them all out into the mountains to see how they cope and the Tahoe RST does not disappoint. We drove out to Tecate,CA close to the border with Mexico and took a truck trail that follows the border wall West until you hit some switchbacks that take you up to the summit of Tecate Mtn. We parked and went the rest of the way on foot. On the rough sections the suspension pretty much irons everything out providing a very smooth ride for both people and animals.
The trail is rutted in places but no too technical and since the Border Patrol take their Tahoes on this route all the time I figured all would be fine. The Tahoe has a dual-range 4X4 system with an additional Automatic setting, a sort of set it and forget it mode. In normal mode it runs in rear drive mode but if the situations necessitate the system will switch to AWD. You can also choose 2 wheel only, 4 High or 4 Low.
It’s mostly big in here except for the 3rd row which is somewhat cramped and good for kids only or adults on short trips. The drivers seat is so adjustable any sized person can find the ideal driving position, thanks to adjustable pedals and multi way power. From this lofty position you have a commanding view of what lies ahead. If you are short on driving skills you get forward collision alerts with automatic low-speed braking, lane keep assist, blind spot warnings with lane change alert, rear cross traffic alerts, and a rear-view camera.
The infotainment system is intuitive and easy to use with an 8-inch version of Chevrolet’s MyLink navigation and audio system, with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I particularly like AT&T Hotspot which does require a subscription but comes in handy. Our tester came with the head-up display with speed display and navigation data, helpful for keeping track of the beast’s speed.
Sure the Tahoe RST is excessive in every way but it’s also unpretentious because since it’s not sporting the Cadillac or Denali badges, your neighbor won’t be casting aspersions on your lifestyle. That said the RST is not cheap our loaded tester coming in at $78,540, a lot for a Chevy but considering it’s an absolute sleeper, has room for your family, the tent and a dog, and is all blacked out I absolutely love it…….It’s made me rethink full size SUVs.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Numbers
|PRICE AS TESTED||$78,540|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, 4WD, 7-passenger, 4-door SUV|
|ENGINE||6.2 Liter OHV 16-valve V-8|
|CURB WEIGHT||5,750 lb|
|0-60 MPH||5.7 seconds|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||14/22/17 mpg|
|OUR OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY||14.8 mpg|
|CARGO SPACE||15.3 / 51.7 / 94.7 Cubic Feet|
|PROS|| Quicker than expected, very smooth 10 speed, space and grace
|CONS||Slightly-offset steering wheel, loves fuel