Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: January 30, 2018
This is the Chevrolet Tahoe RST and no, it is not some new form of Ontario provincial tax. In Chevy jargon, RST stands for Rally Sport Truck and its aim is to inject some adrenaline and sporty genes into this aging yet commanding three-row, eight passenger, full-size SUV.
Brand new for 2018, the Tahoe RST is a package that opens the floodgates for a list of other options. Buyers start off with the RST Appearance Package ($2,995), which essentially replaces all the exterior chrome with black gloss, giving it that sporty aftermarket look that apparently a lot of customers desire. This includes black badges, roof rails, and mirror caps, as well as exclusive 22-inch wheels that at least in my opinion, are worth the premium alone. These upgrades are quite similar to the Z71 Midnight Package from the 2017 model year.
Where it differs is with the performance upgrades available with the RST. For additional coin, buyers can opt for larger six-piston Brembo brakes ($4,130), a Borla exhaust ($1,620) that offers 28% better airflow and subsequently adds 7-10 more horsepower to the rear wheels, a performance calibration for the Magnetic Ride Control for better dynamics, and an exclusive Performance Package ($3,395) that bundles in for the first time, the 6.2-litre V8 that was previously reserved for the more expensive GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, and is mated to the same 10-speed automatic transmission from the Camaro ZL1 instead of the 6-speed, delivers a whopping 420-hp, 460 lb-ft, and goes from 0-100 km/h in 5.7 seconds. The RST packages are also available on the Suburban (think long wheelbase Tahoe).
It was a shame and perhaps a missed opportunity that the Tahoe RST that I was offered only came equipped with the Appearance Package, and I was unable to experience the performance goodies, only the aesthetics. Be that as it may, the Tahoe offered me a refreshing experience to the world of body on frame SUVs, and though it does not lend it a shapely aerodynamic design, it does retain a good amount of American charm. And I do admire how Chevrolet did not bother putting RST badges on every body panel it could get its hands on. In fact, there are none at all. One could even call it low-key.
As I mentioned before, this marks the first time the Tahoe is available with the larger 6.2-litre V8, but we only had the standard and smaller 5.3-litre EcoTec engine to sample. While it does not offer the same amount of shove into the seat like the larger displacement V8s, it is more than capable for bursts and passing on the highway. Power output is 355 hp and 383 lb-ft, so don’t expect to outrun a Camaro, and it would be wise to choose your battles. It is relatively fuel efficient as the EcoTec name suggests, and utilizes cylinder deactivation to save fuel by turning off half the cylinders when the loads are light.
The Tahoe is surprisingly effortless to drive, offering moderate-to-light steering and a linear gas and brake pedal. The ride is supple as well without much top-heavy feel thanks to the brilliantly tuned Magnetic Ride Control, an active suspension that constantly monitors and adjusts the dampers for optimal body control. In fact, the detriments of piloting this castle only come to light when entering tight parking spots or crowded underground garages. That said, there is a rear view camera and front and rear sensors, but no 360-degree camera like other vehicles in its class. The upsides are its uncompromising seating capability and towing capacity that will surely satisfy 90% of customers shopping in this area.
The RST package does not alter the interior, and though dated and what many might consider an ancient pod, I think the old-school design is rather refreshing in a market where automakers are trying to make everything “ultra-convenient” and “uber-fancy”, while inadvertently making some of those operations ironically more complicated, especially to the older clientele. The Tahoe does not stray far from its roots with sturdy dials and massive switchgear that are not only intuitively placed, but functional and large enough that their locations become muscle memory within just a few days of driving. The steering wheel design is antiquated as well but has all the convenience features located on it like the heated steering wheel button and audio controls mounted on the backside where paddle shifters would normally sit in other vehicles.
That said, the Tahoe does come with many useful modern features like 4G LTE that essentially transforms it into a mobile office. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also come equipped. I enjoyed how you can tailor the heated seats to warm up either just the seatback or with the seat bottom as well, and the depth-adjustable pedals are a nice touch too.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is one of my favourite SUVs in the full-size segment and continues to deliver with a slightly modern-take on an old-school formula. Though it may not offer the same amount of luxury features as the Infiniti QX80 or Lincoln Navigator, the new RST Package adds some extra spice to the concoction with aesthetic and performance upgrades that will persuade customers to dig a little deeper into their pockets, and while I wish I could evaluate the latter features, I am ultimately limited by vehicle availability. On another note, we will have to wait and see how the Tahoe RST fares against its largest competitor in Canada, the Ford Expedition, when we test drive it later in February. Stay tuned for that review.
型号 Model: 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier RST
顏色 Paint Type: Summit White
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $73,275
試車售價 Price as Tested: $76,270
引擎 Engine: 5.3-litre EcoTec V8
最大馬力 Horsepower: 355 hp @ 5,600 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 383 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 15.2 / 10.8 / 13.2
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 15.6