At the celebration of 100 years of Chevrolet trucks we got the chance to slip away in the new high-performance 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST for a short drive on the surrounding expressways and freeways for a seat of the pants experience of its new found horsepower and handling prowess.
The Tahoe RST grabs the 420 horsepower L86 6.2 liter V8 already available in the GMC Yukon Denali and the Cadillac Escalade and for 2018 adds the all-new 10-speed automatic transmission for a few extra gears of fun.
That 460 pound-feet of torque goes to the ground and is now held there with the magnetic ride dampers also borrowed from the Tahoe’s more upscale siblings. While it might be easy to call the Tahoe RST a Denali or Escalade with a bow tie, there are a few character traits that set it apart.
Attitude. Its presentation is downright sinister with blacked out grille and trimwork, emblems and exhaust tips. Its large 22-inch wheels complete the look with deep black painted pockets and a machined finish.
The RST is also available with a snarling Borla exhaust system that lets out a deep bellow and blast of sound every time you mash the power pedal. The performance package adds a high-flow air filter for good measure as well.
Bringing the RST to a stop are also some huge available 16-inch Brembo brakes with sexy red six-piston calipers. In our drive we found they will yank the Tahoe RST down from 100 mph faster than we expected and without fade.
Rolling stock on our test was the optional 22-inch alloy wheels and wide rubber that held tight in all affairs, bolstered by its automatically adjusting magnetic ride dampers. They allow for a soft cushy personality until you start driving it like you are angry, at which point its attitude changes in milliseconds.
We found that much like in other GM vehicle with this system, its ride is a bit marshmallow like in normal mode but when you ask it to snap to attention it does it well with a tight firm grip on things.
Power is really where it’s at here though. Mash the pedal and the 420 horsepower V8 under the hood belts out its might with all the small block goodness you expect. Chevrolet tells us 0-60 comes up in 5.9 seconds and that feels about right.
This thing is heavy keep in mind so while its horsepower numbers are large, it doesn’t have the lunge factor you might expect in a Camaro SS or Corvette. The good news is that its chassis and suspension, brakes and steering might all do well to keep it manageable and confident even when barreling down I-35 at speeds that should get you arrested. The end result is a Tahoe that is far more fun to drive than anything this big typically is.
Our tester was a fully optioned Premier RST which came in at a smile stiffening $78,000 and some change, pretty heady for a Tahoe. This however is still less than a similarly equipped Escalade and Yukon Denali though they are different in character. You can always expect to get a significant discount at a Chevrolet dealership though, something not always heard of at German and Japanese brands.