This week I bring you the most powerful Chevy Tahoe ever made, the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST.
The real story of this beast lies under the hood, where you’ll find a 6.2-liter V8 that is putting out 420-horses and 460 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission that GM developed with Ford Motor Company. In fact, this tranny is the same one that comes in the popular Ford Raptor truck. The 6.2 comes with the GM cylinder deactivation system that uses only 4- cylinders out on the highway and the transition is seamless.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Premier
In the past, if you needed to tow over 8000 pounds, you could only get the 6.2-liter V8 in the Yukon Denali or Cadillac Escalade, but now you Tahoe lovers can tow 8400-pounds with the Tahoe RST. My review vehicle is the 4-wheel drive version but it does come in a 2-wheel version also.
The exterior of the RST features some fantastic 22” wheels and you’ll notice there is no chrome anywhere. Everything including the bowtie on the grill is blacked out. You’ll also notice that there is no badging anywhere that identifies it as an RST.
This is the Premier trim level, the top of the line, and the interior is nice but somewhat understated. The seats are comfortable and they are heated and cooled. The dash layout is well done with easy to read gauges and a driver information center that you can configure.
There is a large center console and armrest that has a built-in cell phone charger. High on the dash is Chevy’s MyLink screen that operates the Bose sound system, navigation, Bluetooth, real-time traffic and weather, the rear seat entertainment system, and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections.
This is a large SUV, so as you can imagine it is quite roomy for all occupants, even in the third-row seat. One word of caution, if you plan to fill this Tahoe with 7- or 8-people and then add any cargo, you had better move up to a Suburban. There is just not much room in the cargo area with the third-row seat up. The 2nd and 3rd-row seats fold down very flat for a huge amount of cargo area.
Standard Features, Safety Technology and Options
This SUV has a ton of standard features, including remote start & keyless entry, power seats, power adjustable pedals, power tilt wheel, heated 2nd-row seat, power liftgate, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and a power-fold third-row seat.
On the safety front, you get forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, low speed forward braking, and a rear camera. It also has the rear seat reminder. If you open either of the back doors, when you get where you are going, it will remind you there may be something in the back seat, like a child.
My review vehicle has $13,000 in options including the power moonroof and rear seat entertainment package for $2885.
The RST Performance package is $2820 which gets you the big engine, the 10-speed transmission, and trailer towing package. Check out the front Brembo brakes, they are huge to better stop this 5600-pound SUV, but they’ll run you a steep $2795.
The wheels and RST suspension are $2630 and finally, the head-up display comes at a cost of $850.
Performance and Fuel Economy
The 2018 Tahoe RST rides and drives great and it sounds terrific. It features the GM Magnetic Ride system that monitors each wheel independently adjusting vertical suspension every millisecond to maintain a smooth ride.
Chevy made a good first effort in a performance SUV to try to take on the likes of the Grand Cherokee SRT with this Tahoe RST. My only complaint is the gearshift should be on the center console, it just doesn’t feel right on the steering column. On the plus side, HALLELUJAH, it does not have the start/stop system at all!
Gas mileage in town is a killer at 14, but the 10-speed and cylinder deactivation will get you 22 on the highway and that’s not bad at all.
What You'll Pay
Total MSRP is just over $78,000 and in today’s SUV crazy world, that’s not too bad for what you get.
2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST
What I liked most: The engine performance and the wheels.
What I would change: The gearshifter. Come on GM, this is a mistake!
MSRP: Base price $65,130 as equipped $78,165.
Fuel Economy: 14 City/22 Highway, 17 combined.
Fuel Tank: 26 gallons with filler on the driver’s side.
Dimensions: 203.9” long/80.5” wide/74.4” high.
Trailer Towing: 8400-pound towing capacity.
Miles When Tested: 3200 miles.
Official Color: Silver ice metallic outside, Jet Black inside.
Spare tire: Full-sized spare with plain steel wheel.
Final Assembly Point: Arlington, TX, just outside Dallas.
2018 Tahoe RST in a few words: Pricey, but capable, and quite enjoyable.
Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and two free maintenance visits.
It should be noted, this isn’t GM’s first (or technically second) attempt at a performance SUV. Lest you forget the Trailblazer SS with the beautiful 6.0L LS2 in both RWD and 4WD versions. And even further back, the GMC Typoon, the (small) SUV brother to the Syclone pickup with its turbocharged 4.3L V6 and AWD goodness.
Technicalities aside, if I was looking to spend $80k on an SUV there are more options that are far superior to this Tahoe. If you want sporty, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is leaps and bounds ahead of this, for the same price! Minus the third row of seats. Or find a lightly used Porsche Cayenne or Range Rover Sport HSE. I can go on and on, but you get the idea. Chevrolet strayed too far from there market audience on this one and it’s going to cost them.
February 3, 2018 @ 12:32am
Leave the gear selector lever on the column. I have a ‘96 Suburban (bought it new) and a ‘14 Denali Crew Cab, both have gear selector on column. Why waste space on the console? They work just fine.
February 1, 2018 @ 2:06pm
I continue to like the gear selector on the column to free up space in the center console. If I had the funds, I'd take a serious look at this exact version without the sunroof.