Chevrolet gave us an early peek at its 2017 New York auto show reveal: The 2018 Tahoe RST. At first glance, this appears to be just an appearance package, and technically that’s true — The Rally Sport Truck is a dechromed Tahoe with body-color and blacked-out trim and unique 22” wheels. But the RST is also the gateway to a handful of options not normally offered on the Tahoe, including the L86 6.2-liter V-8.
The big engine will come as part of a bundle called the Performance Package; it also includes GM’s new 410L80 ten-speed automatic transmission seen on the Camaro ZL1, choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive, and a recalibrated suspension with Magnetic Ride Control shock absorbers. Chevy hasn’t released final performance figures, but they estimate 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque — numbers that just happen to match those of the L86-powered GMC Yukon Denali. Chevrolet says this Tahoe will hit 60 MPH in less than six seconds and can tow up to 8,400 lbs.
That’s not the only performance-oriented option for the RST. Chevrolet also plans to offer a factory-fit Borla exhaust for those choosing to skip the Performance Package, which it says will boost engine output by seven to ten horsepower to the stock 5.3-liter V-8, as well as a big-brake kit with six-piston Brembo calipers (painted red, of course) clamping 16.1-inch Duralife rotors, providing a 42% increase in rotor area and an 84% increase in pad area.
Chevrolet hasn’t announced pricing for the RST and its attendant performance options, but we don’t expect them to come cheap. The RST package will require the top-line LT and Premier trims, which already sticker in the mid-50s and mid-60s respectively. With all the performance options, we expect pricing to reach well into the $70,000 range.
Reading the specs, we’re reminded of the 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer SS, which featured the Corvette’s LS2 6.0-liter V-8 and a lowered suspension. It was quick and fun, not so much because of its raw abilities but because of how unexpected it was. With a bigger engine, bigger brakes, and Magnetic Ride Control shocks, the Tahoe RST should generate those same kind of grins — and without the Trailblazer SS’ stiff ride.
Additionally, Chevrolet will offer an RST edition of the larger Suburban as well. The 2018 Suburban RST receives the same cosmetic changes as the Tahoe, as well as the Borla exhaust and brake package, but will not be available with the Performance Package.
The 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe RST and Suburban RST go on sale in fall of 2017 and we’ll report back as soon as we can get some seat time.