2018 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban RST: When Bigger Isn't Enough

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2018 chevrolet tahoe and suburban rst when bigger isn t enough

Unlike the new crop of sport-oriented crossovers bound from Europe, full-size, body-on-frame American SUVs usually fail to elicit much excitement among enthusiasts. General Motors hopes to change that.

Starting this fall, the General will begin handing over keys to a new variant of its venerable Tahoe and Suburban — one that promises to get junior soccer teams to the practice field with newfound vigor. While the RST (Rally Sport Truck) trim brings a host of performance upgrades, it also gives Tahoe buyers an opportunity to kick that 5.3-liter V8 to the curb.

At a glance, RST looks like most other stock full-sizers with an appearance package. For some, that’s basically all it will be.

Sure, GM jettisons the chrome trim for a more murdered-out look — it even frames the bow-tie badge in body color — while adding 22-inch wheels and P285/45R 22 tires, but RST can mean much more. That is, if you’re willing to shell out more.

Available on both models is a Borla performance exhaust system that GM says is good for an extra 7 to 10 horsepower, plus six-piston Brembo front brakes with 16.1 inch x 1.3 inch rotors (representing an 84-percent increase in pad area).

If this still feels lacking, Tahoe RST buyers can also outfit their vehicle with the Performance Package. That checkbox brings GM’s Magnetic Ride Control to the game, as well as its 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 and 10L80 10-speed automatic transmission. You’ll find that same gearbox in Chevrolet’s beastly Camaro ZL1, not to mention the 2017 Ford F-150 and Raptor.

Not surprisingly, this is the model GM wants you to know about. With an estimated towing capacity of 8,400 pounds, the Tahoe RST Performance Package should do the run to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. GM promises more detailed specifications later this year.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Apr 06, 2017

    Folks who drop the stock exhaust in favor of Borla or similar systems are in for an unpleasant surprise. The cylinder deactivation program on both the 5.3 and 6.2 engine (which engages frequently) produces an odd exhaust sound which the stock system is designed to ameliorate (along with non-defeatable active noise cancelling through the "stereo"). Reportedly, these dual exhaust systems make quite a "drone" at highway speeds that may be entertaining at first, but are quite tedious after a while. In my test driving of the pickups (admittedly with the old 6-speed), the 5.3 engine is not at all exciting. Seems kind of silly to add all this gingerbread to a vehicle that is, at best, "adequately" powered by the 5.3. The 6.2, however, is a whole 'nother animal and, when hooked up to the 8-speed (available since '15) produces astounding acceleration at any speed. Knowledgeable drivers wishing to engage in stoplight foolishness know to engage "4wd auto" first. The stock brakes on my '15 Sierra 1500 are actually quite good. After 51,000 miles, 30,000+ plus of them towing a 7600 lb. GVWR trailer, the pads are not worn to the wear indicators and the discs are not warped, scored or scorched. Despite taking many steep downhill grades in the west, I never got to the point where the brakes smelled from overheating. Which is not to say that more braking capability when towing would not be welcome. I wonder how much more the Brembo setup would offer.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Apr 11, 2017

    Does Magnetic Ride Control have air suspension components like Autoride does/did? Is Autoride still available even? I approve of the shiny black trim on the windows in place of chrome. This would look sharp in red. Though it has four doors, it's a new Tahoe Sport!

  • Art Vandelay I’d grab one of these if I’d spent my working life at GM for sure!
  • Analoggrotto The factory is delayed due to an investigation of a peter puffery ring lead by VoGhost, Tassos, EBFlex a Chevrolet Volt.
  • FreedMike Looking forward to the protests at the factory accusing Toyota of excessive woke-ism. First, EVs...next, grooming. Lord help us all.
  • MrIcky I remember when Gladiators came out and everyone was shocked at how expensive they were. Now all the off road specials have caught up or passed it financially. I like this truck a lot, but I'd still take my Rubicon over this. I'd take this over the Ranger Raptor or Tacoma TRD though. When I found out the increase in track for the new TRD was just wheel offset-I knew they were just phoning it in. Why spend so much R&D on those stupid seats when you could have r&d'd longer arms or a front locker.
  • Alan Hmm, I see a bit of politicking here. What qualifications do you need to run GM or Ford? I'd bet GM or Ford isn't run by experienced people. Anyone at that level in an organisation doesn't need to be a safety whip, you need to have the ability to organise those around you to deliver the required results.