By on December 20, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

As the beyond dominant sales kings of the large SUV segment, the body-on-frame General Motors brutes can afford to mix things up a little and take a chance on something new. Like a sports team whose winning streak assures them a spot in the playoffs, trying a new play no longer carries with it the same amount of risk. After all, its failure is not exactly going to scupper the season.

Chevrolet heeds this advice for 2018, electing to plug a new player into its lineup by stuffing the mighty 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 in its Tahoe, creating the Tahoe RST.

Not that the Tahoe and its bulky brethren have any particular problem in the marketplace. GM absolutely dominates the body-on-frame SUV market, with the Chevrolet and GMC tag team accounting for nearly 70 percent of sales in that segment so far this year. The barbershop quartet of Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, and Yukon XL have harmonized their way to 210,489 sales in the first eleven months of 2017 in a segment that totals only 298,436 units altogether. For comparison, the Expedition has found only 46,425 buyers this year.

The RST trim will be available on both Tahoe and Suburban models. Taking a page from SEMA and the aftermarket, virtually all chrome trim has been binned in favor of detail that’s been spray-bombed either black or body-color. Compared to other Tahoe trucks, the RST wears a body-color grille surround and color-keyed door handles. The grille, mirror caps, window trim, badging, and Chevy bowties have all been dipped in black paint. Enormous 22-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone 45-series rubber are unique to the RST.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Brembo-branded brakes are a dealer-installed option on the RST, employing six-piston fixed aluminium calipers sized like a loaf of bread and painted flashy crimson. The discs are larger than stock, said to measure 16.1 inches. I left my portable measuring tape at home but if that dimension is correct, it means those platters are bigger than the ones found on a McLaren P1.

The pads are said to sweep an area 84 percent larger than the standard braking system. In practice, these brakes bit hard and would likely increase driver confidence when towing a large trailer whose electric brakes are often overworked. I recommend them for that reason alone. Interestingly, the same brake package is offered as a stand-alone option on the 2018 Yukon Denali, sans Brembo stickers.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Speaking of towing, a 4×4 RST such as the one shown here can tow 8,100 pounds, not the 8,400 lb figure being parroted by some other outlets. That higher figure is reserved for the two-wheel-drive model. These numbers are goosed by the truck’s 6.2-liter V8, a fabulous unit heretofore only available on high-zoot Denalis and certain hard-to-find SLT-spec GMCs. The optional Borla exhaust is appropriately gruff on idle, roars magnificently at full throttle, and is suitably muted during a highway cruise.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Inside, the RST is standard Tahoe fare, outfitted with beautiful cocoa/mahogany leather-lined chaise lounges acting as front seats and acres of leg- and headroom for passengers. Naturally, storage space in the aft section is pretty much non-existent with the third-row deployed. With this in mind, be sure to spec the no-charge middle bench in place of the standard captain’s chairs because, sans Row #3, the Tahoe is transformed into what might be the world’s largest four-passenger conveyance.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

Our tester was equipped with GM’s trick Magnetic Ride Control suspension, an active suspension that is said to read the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in the electronically controlled shock absorbers in as few as 5 milliseconds. As a result, the suspension delivers both improved body-motion control during cornering and a more comfortable ride while cruising. The new performance calibration included in the Tahoe RST Performance Package does certainly seem to increase body control compared to a standard Tahoe.

To be sure, the RST doesn’t resemble anything close to a sports car, but neither does it toss its occupants into the weeds at the first sign of a turn. Given my proclivity for towing a 9,000 lb travel trailer during the summer, I think the active suspension will pay the most dividends when hauling heavy loads in difficult conditions.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

All of this comes at a cost, naturally. Taking a page from the Book of Porsche, all the good stuff – Borla exhaust, Brembo brakes, even the 6.2L V8 – are optional extras. To play in the 6.2L RST sandbox, one must start with the top-rung Premier trim, then add the $2,630 RST package. Not bad … but that just buys you the 22-inch rims, blacked out badges, and other visual jewellery. Gaining access to that wonderful 6.2L V8 and its attendant 10-speed automatic? That’ll cost you another $2,820 in the form of an RST Performance Package. The Brembos are an extra $2,795. And so it goes.

It goes, in fact, all the way up to our tester’s MSRP of $78,450. This is an eye-watering amount for a Tahoe, until one starts looking at its competition. A similarly powerful 2018 Dodge Durango SRT loaded to the gunwales rings the bell at $75,645. Despite my financial protestations, I’m sure Chevy will sell all the RSTs it can build. In fact, the company is already making noises about extending the trim to other nameplates beyond full-size SUVs and into light trucks.

Unmentioned at last week’s event but quickly discovered on GM’s build-and-price tool is the ability to spec a mid-grade 2WD LT Tahoe with the RST appearance package. This does not endow the truck with any mechanical upgrades such as the 6.2L, but it does include all the RST visual frippery, meaning one can roll in a machine that looks like our $78,450 tester for a mere $56,515. Still a heap o’ beans, but a lot easier to digest if one simply wants the RST’s sporty guise. With that in mind, it would give the RST trim more cachet if its appearance was only available with the 6.2L engine.

Having a lock on the full-size SUV market, GM has earned the leeway to experiment with its trim lines. Chevy’s marketers told us RST stands for Rally Sport Truck. Certainly, the Rally Sport trim goes back decades at GM and the brute shown here is indeed more muscular than its workaday brothers. It is a great fit for the extrovert who needs to haul an 8,000 lb trailer while taking along six friends (*raises hand*). But, at seventy-eight large, this RST could simply stand for Really ‘Spensive Tahoe.

2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST

[Images: © 2017 Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

79 Comments on “2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST First Drive – Power Comes at a Price...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Why are their any effin’ options on this sucker?

    RST Performance package? Should be standard you cheap ba$tard$!

    “be sure to spec the no-charge middle bench in place of the standard captain’s chairs because, sans Row #3, the Tahoe is transformed into what might be the world’s largest four-passenger conveyance.”

    Now a word from Captain Obvious – Sedans are no longer flagships. Meet the true flagship/halo of the Chevrolet Brand. Tahoe/Suburban RST.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    This is the SUV to own them all. One word: MAGNIFICIENT

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Oh Jeebus….

    Take this package, move it to a Suburban, keep the 3rd row and I’m in. Suburban RST FTW!

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      “Take this package, move it to a Suburban, keep the 3rd row and I’m in. Suburban RST FTW!”

      This sounds so absurd, yet also very obvious. Would probably be hilarious to drive, especially while towing.

      It would be a rolling printing press for GM…..even more than it is now.

      “Make it so, #1”

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        I can’t even imagine how great an LS3 powered Suburban would be….nothing absurd about it. If Lambo can make a 200k SUV with gobs of HP, why can’t Chevy make one with loads of unnecessary but oh so fun HP for a bit less than half the price of the Lambo and twice the size?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Uh…according to the article, the RST is available on the Suburban, and I’m sure retains its third row, too.

      Me, I’d just want the bigger engine without the juvenile blacked-out trim and oversized wheels.

      And they want *how* much?

      No. I like the Yukon Denali’s front fascia better, anyway.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    One of the few SUVs I could actually see myself owning, in theory.

    In practice, there’s no chance in hell I’d drop eighty large on a SUV, no matter how fast it is.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I love it but I’m sure that an RST will easily crest $100K up here in the Great White North…..I’m out.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    So what is the price and feature difference between this and a top Yukon Denali? That can also be had with the 6.2L, no?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      The issue with the Yukon Denali is you get the 6.2 along with AWD, their is no 4×4 transfer case per se. The Suburban/Tahoe has always been offered in 4WD that has a selection for AWD as well as 2WD.

      Yukon Denali and Cadillac get the full time AWD, which is why I have a Suburban.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Poor GM, it must hurt to keep getting out-gunned by their supposed inferiors in Auburn Hills. First the Durango SRT was released a few months before this monster, with an 8,700 pound max tow capacity. Then the Demon dropped with 808 glorious horsepower a few months before the new Corvette ZL1 debuted with a paltry 750 ponies.

    GM: Late to the party and under-dressed.

    Don’t even get me started on Ford, who has been caught both pantless (lawsuit over Mustang axles) and shirtless (head gasket failures on RS.)

    OK, I’ve had my fill of haterade for the day. Go about your business.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      GM has no issue selling all of the BOF SUVs it can make. The Durango, meanwhile, struggles and the SRT is a niche product.

      As for Ford, the Focus RS and Mustang issues aren’t that big of a deal, PR-wise.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      You do realize that while the Demon has 58 more horsepower than the ZL1, it also has 700 more pounds to haul around? Now don’t get me wrong, there are some Dodge’s I like, but there are some Ford’s and GM’s I like too.

      But don’t for a second act like FCA doesn’t have a mountain of their own problems to contend with.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to have some residual value in my vehicle when I’m done with it.

        Unless I’m buying a Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, or Ram truck – I have very little faith that there will be much in the way of trade in when finished with an FCA product. For some that would be reason enough to buy a Tahoe over a Durango.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Still don’t see why I’d buy this instead of a Denali with the brake package. The Denali is better equipped, better looking (these wheels are horrendous), and actually cheaper.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Ugh. Rimz with flared sidewalls to protect the alloy in case you touch a curb. In your body-on-frame SUV.

    I’d rather have this engine in a Z71 trim with the 2″ lift shown on that revealed Silverado Trail Boss, and SUV-appropriate tires and wheels. Low slung enormously heavy truck platforms modified for street use don’t interest me. It’s like jacking up a Corvette for trail use.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A similar package on the Colorado pickup would be swell.
    Time for a sport truck revival like the S-10 SS and GMC Syclone.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I like how your thinking.

      The weak sauce here is that this is mostly an appearance package to which you add the engine and other go fast bits (exhaust, brakes). So RST doesn’t seem like a package to me… more like a list of options with RST in front of the description. Of course I assume the trucks you’ll see on the lot will have every option box checked resulting in a nice fat margin that make dealers do the happy dance. For example how much is this same exhaust if you buy anywhere other then your local GM dealer? 30, 40 or 50% less?

  • avatar
    Dan R

    Tacky. Looks like a souped up airport ride.

  • avatar

    Wife due for a new Denali in 2018. Using rebates and discounts,

    * Premiere Burb can be had for $64,000
    * Denali can be had for $65,000
    * Guessing RST can be had for $68,000

    I’d rather have the Denali. 20” wheels kind of suck, but the 22” wheels are the worst-riding by a long shot. I bought a Z71 Suburban because of the killer suspension and the 18”s. If the ride sucks, the vehicle sucks. Glad the RST exists, but they’d better price it at the Denali for takers.

  • avatar

    BTW, “First Drive” and no writing about how it drove?

  • avatar

    Two persons need to opine here:

    Ajla
    Dave of Calgary province

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I don’t have much profound to offer.

      I like that the 6.2L is in a Tahoe but it is priced like Denali and the wheels look stupid.

      What I really want is for GM to just make the 6.2L an optional upgrade across the BOF line.

      • 0 avatar

        That was enough, the main thing is that you’re here to see! Fully agree on the pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        chevyfan029

        This. I guess it makes sense for them to leave it as a premium option for the Denali and Escalade, but what about Suburban owners that tow/just want the 6.2 and don’t want GMC or Cadillac styling? Chevy currently offers the Tahoe in Russia only with a 6.2 across all trim packages. I don’t get why it’s not at least an option outside of the RST here.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Hello.

      A bit surprised to be summoned here. While I do like certain GM trucks, I have never even slightly cared about full size BOF SUVs at all, GM or otherwise.

      That said, I really wish they would allow you to specify any engine with any trim. The appearance package is hideous and those 22 inch rims are just… ridiculous. A mid spec truck with the big motor is the sweetspot but its not available, sadly. As ajla said.

  • avatar

    I want the white RST to come with all white trim. And wheels.

  • avatar
    Maxb49

    Decent truck, but I don’t see this selling in large numbers.

    At that price, with that platform, that Chevy badge, and that weight, a 420 horsepower engine isn’t going to cut the mustard.

    Nobody in their right mind would spend $80k for a Chevrolet Tahoe. This isn’t a sports car.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      People in the upper middle class (the premier consumers of $75K SUVs) have enough income and credit that they don’t have to be in their right minds.

      On a side note, I was wandering around the Ford dealer the other day while having the oil changed in my mid-level F150, and came across a F350 dually Platinum with a sticker of $85k. I nearly choked. I knew these existed at that price point, ’cause I’ve read about it, but it’s quite another thing to see it in print on a Monroney.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The 5er hooked to the back of those high ticket duallies, can easily cost much more than the truck…. And both cost a fraction of the current price, and equity, of the house the now retired owner either sold, or could easily borrow against, to fund both. High trim duallies are sold largely to pull huge, high ticket 5th wheels. To people who are used to, and can afford, comforts; and will spend lots of time doing big miles behind the wheel. They’re not trucks in the worktruck sense, any more than 70 foot catamarans are transportation. Viewed through that lens, it’s honestly amazing how cheap the level of luxury/capability they provide, comes.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “Nobody in their right mind would spend $80k for a Chevrolet Tahoe.”

      Wow the ignorance is strong.

      You ever see how many Tahoe LTZs are around? Ever price one out?

    • 0 avatar
      Cole Trickle

      Do you live under a rock? They sold 300,000 of these things in 2017, and they certainly aren’t all 2wd LS models. There are plenty of people who can stroke a check on an 80k SUV that don’t want the attention, maintenance costs, and abysmal resale of one of the germans.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    I would’ve called it the Tahoe SS.

    Subtle reminder, hey the SS car still exists.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    I would bet that no one agrees with my viewpoint, but I prefer the looks of the base model Tahoe. I thinks the base model looks rugged and has a clean look that really stands out. If the Consumer Reports long term reliability was a little better, a base model Tahoe would be in my driveway. I might even breakdown and take one anyway. Time will tell.

    • 0 avatar
      The Comedian

      I agree, and back in January I put a base Tahoe in my driveway. Silver LS with tow hooks, black badges and 20″ wheels. I didn’t want the big wheels, but it was the last 2016 LS in the state.

      Purchased new – came in about $10K off sticker with all the incentives.

      That TTAC Denali review that said the 22″ rims killed the ride understated the problem. The 20″ ride is better than the 22″, but I still hate the ride with the 20″ wheels and tires. I run 17″ Silverado steel wheels for winter and the ride is like night and day vs the 20s. Next summer I’m going to see about picking up a set of 18″ takeoffs.

      Also, FWIW, I think that the LS Tahoe looks even more rugged with higher profile tires.

      This was the first US vehicle I bought since 2003 (unless you consider a Crossfire SRT-6 to be American — I don’t.)

      Rented a Yukon for a 2K mile roadtrip in the fall of 2016 and knew then I would be getting something like it soon.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    This is probably #1 on my list of top family vehicles I would actually buy. The RST Tahoe is the ultimate Q ship SUV. Perfect.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The discs are larger than stock, said to measure 16.1 inches.”

    Do you think they might be lying?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    As much as I love the Tahoe RST….there is no reason to buy it over the $65K Durango SRT.

    The Durango is faster, will sound meaner, has better infotainment, better transmission, etc all for $15k less.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      The distinction between a CUV and SUV is enough to sway a lot of people.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Doesn’t the Durango SRT run out of gas in a vain attempt to make it from one pump at the gas station to the next? The GM 6.2 is pretty frugal for it’s power, and the tank is fairly decent sized.

        I’d personally take the Duango RT over either. Haven’t driven the SRT, but the big wheels, huge consumption and excessive noise just doesn’t do what I would want from an SUV/CUV. While the RT is pretty darned sublime for that class of vehicle. Powerful enough to properly waft, yet not annoyingly “sporty.” And not quite Suburban sized. If I wanted something as large as a fullsize Silverado, I’d rather have a crewcab pickup. With the savings spent on a FiST, Miata, GTI or Civic R, and a bike to haul in the pickup bed.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “The distinction between a CUV and SUV is enough to sway a lot of people.”

        There is no distinction. It’s a different name for the same vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I truly think that most people consider the Durango an SUV, despite it fitting in with the midsize CUV crowd. Longitudinal engine with RWD underpinnings with the option of a v8 and 2 speed transfer case is classic SUV IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          As much as I love the Tahoe RST….there is no reason to buy it over the $65K Durango SRT.

          Says the cat who has not DD’d a Burb or Tahoe. The Tahoe/Suburban wins hands down.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    With all that performance kit, that wheel gap is horrendous. Lowering the ride height a few inches seems logical.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    -cough- Ranger Rover Sport -cough-

  • avatar
    scott25

    Alright then Ford, where’s the Expedition Raptor?

  • avatar
    amca

    Not sure if RST is the best name, given that as a word, it’s closest to RUST.

    Kinda like the unfortunately named Toyota TRD line. But not as egregious.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’m not as power hungry as some of the B&B so I find the current 5.3 Ecotec to be plenty. I do think its encouraging that GM took the time to make both an offroad-oriented (sort of) Tahoe with the Z71 package, and also a more on-road sports truck package. The basic vehicle is fundamentally very good as well. My biggest gripe about the current generation is the poor packaging of the cargo area/third row as a way to get that fold-flat third row capability. It eats up a ton of usable cargo room in both the SWB and LWB trucks. That and the very low hanging chins on all but the Z71 package trucks. I took a quick look at used prices on K2XX Yukons after really enjoying a rental in Vegas this summer, these suckers are pricey, even used! Good luck finding one with leather and less than 50-60k miles for much less than $35k. This is where the new Armada really makes a case for itself IMO, on value both new and used. It also strikes a kind-of middle ground size-wise by being larger than a Tahoe with better third row packaging (but you loose the solid rear axle, if that matters), and a stronger than 5.3 motor (again, if that matters). I’m seeing more and more of the new body style Armadas around, word must be getting out!

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    I like the idea of the RST. But it is a little pricey…

    However, the 6.2 being in a Tahoe is not new, it has been the standard engine in Russian-spec Tahoes since 2015. The (base) LT is 3.365 Million Rubles (58,282 USD).

    I wish however, as some have mentioned, a Z71 package for it. It would be nice to see a Tahoe Z71 with the 6.2 and a Front Bench Seat as well!


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • rpn453: The Micra is still available in Canada at an MSRP of CDN$10500 (US$7900). I’d be interested in test...
  • thegamper: Pure speculation on my part, but I would think as more luxury automakers get EV’s to market with...
  • Rocket: I don’t see it. For one, it’s a lot of money to spend. But more important, Toyota is all about...
  • Giskard: Unlike other cars an electric car is likely to “know” it’s plugged in. My i3s, for...
  • Lie2me: I agree, or at least greatly reduce the amount of salt used. Here in southern Wisconsin I appreciate that...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States