It used to be that if you wanted a vehicle other than a pickup truck that was capable of towing a big trailer, something like the Chevrolet Tahoe was all there was to do the trick. But with mid-size crossovers now offering useful tow capacity ratings, these car-based vehicles have horned in on big SUV territory.
Still, there's a market for big vehicles like this, as evidenced by the fact that Canadians have bought more Tahoes than ever in the last couple of years. Chevrolet hopes to capitalize on that with the addition of a new Tahoe trim level for 2018 called RST, which stands for rally sport truck.
The RST package is mostly about cosmetic changes, trading chrome for colour-keyed grille and door handles and gloss black trim for side mirrors, roof rails, window trim and badging. Also included are 22-inch wheels and tires. Chevrolet says the look was inspired by aftermarket trends.
This new package is also notable because it opens the door to a new performance package that bundles GM's previously-available magnetic ride control suspension with a 6.2L V8 (420 hp/460 lb-ft of torque) and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This package marks the first time the Tahoe has been offered with the 6.2L engine.
Also on offer on Tahoe RST is a high-performance Borla-branded exhaust and Brembo brakes that bring six-piston front calipers for extra stopping power.
Otherwise, the Tahoe carries over from 2017. It's available in LS, LT and Premier trim levels that all share a 5.3L V8 that puts out 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. LS and LT models can be had with rear- or four-wheel drive, while Premier trim is 4WD-only. Tahoe models without the performance package use a six-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet says the RST package is available in LT and Premier trims only. The company isn't kidding around when they use the word "performance.". The 6.2L engine is a gem that feels strong even when hauling this big SUV, and the chassis upgrades include a firm suspension whose stiff ride gets tiring during long highway drives.
No matter what trim you choose, the Tahoe is a lovely way for four or five people to travel, but passengers relegated to the third row get hard, flat seats. If you need a lot of cargo space and seating for more than five, go for the bigger Suburban, covered in a separate buyer's guide entry.
Tahoe competitors include the Ford Expedition and the nearly identical GMC Yukon, which is a clone of this Chevy in every way except cosmetics. There's also the Dodge Durango, which is a little smaller and somewhat less capable. And if a fully-loaded Tahoe is too rich for you considering its Chevrolet badge, you might consider moving up to a true upscale vehicle like the Land Rover Range Rover.
Fuel consumption estimates start at 15.1/10.4 L/100 km (city/highway) with the 5.3L engine and RWD. Adding 4WD brings a nominal reduction in economy, while the 6.2L model is rated at 16.4/10.7 L/100 km.