The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV with room for up to eight passengers and all their cargo. It can also tow up to 8,400 pounds, making it a workhorse of a vehicle. But what if it’s not quite enough? This year, Chevrolet introduced the Tahoe RST Special Edition with its own special look, a more powerful engine, new transmission, and performance enhancements to take the Tahoe from workhorse to hot rod.
The RST, or Rally Sport Truck, is available for LT and Premier trims only. These are the top trims in the Tahoe lineup, so you’re getting a fully-featured SUV with a beautiful interior and all the amenities. The RST adds to those already well-equipped trims, taking cues from the aftermarket to give the Tahoe a more performance-oriented look.
Most of its chrome trims are gone and replaced by a gloss-black grille and mirror caps as well as body-color door handles and grille surround. There are black roof rails, window trims, badging, and Chevrolet bow ties. It also has unique 22-inch wheels.
That’s the appearance part, but available options add genuine performance to the RST. The Performance Package, available only on the Premier, adds a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This is the first time this engine has ever been offered on the Tahoe. It’s paired to an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission with smaller steps between the gear ratios. That translates to a smoother delivery of power, so the engine never feels or sounds labored, even under hard acceleration.
It has all the practical capability of the rest of the Tahoe lineup, but it also scratches the itch for those who want their SUV to be able to get out of its own way. Press the gas, and it moves without hesitation, easily merging into traffic. It’s equally quick from a complete stop with a 0-60 miles-per-hour time of 5.7 seconds.
The Performance Package also includes Magnetic Ride Control, an active suspension system that takes new readings every millisecond and makes changes in the electronically controlled shock absorbers every 5 milliseconds. Those frequent adjustments help to deliver a smoother, more controlled ride, especially during cornering when big SUVs tend to feel top-heavy.
The Tahoe RST Premier isn’t a small vehicle, but between its powerful engine and responsive suspension system, it’s easy to forget about its size. While full-size SUVs are great at providing plenty of room for a family, they aren’t usually much fun to drive. They’re built for utility and capability, not fun, but the Tahoe RST Premier is exciting to drive.
Additional packages available for the 2018 Tahoe RST include a Borla performance exhaust system, which delivers a 28 percent improvement in exhaust flow for better overall performance. It also sounds simply wonderful. The vehicle’s healthy growl is an ever-present background note to your drive time, especially if you’re riding in the second row, where it’s noticeably louder than when you’re seated up front. Those outside the car will notice it, too.
When it’s time to slow things down and hit the brakes, there’s an available Brembo brake package for the RST. It includes red, six-piston Brembo front brakes with 16.1-inch Duralife rotors. This increases the brake-pad area by 84 percent and provides solid, confident braking at any speed. For all its power, controlling and slowing down the Tahoe RST is never an issue.
The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST has a starting price of $56,515 for the LT trim. The premier starts at $66,055 with an additional $2,720 for the Performance Package. The Tahoe RST is available in dealerships now.