What You Learn After Driving the Chevy Tahoe RST

This huge thundertruck might seem pointless, but if you get it, you get it.

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It's hard to believe that the Tahoe isn't the biggest truck in the world. Hell, it's not even the biggest truck that Chevy makes. When you're used to driving small cars and sedans, the Tahoe is at first frightening to you, and then frightening to the people around you who think you're a cop.

That's especially true for the new RST trim, which stands for Rally Sport Truck. The Tahoe is only one of those three words. On the surface, the RST is ostensibly an appearance package, with new wheels, blacked out badges, and some other bits and bobs. But it's more than that. It unlocks all sorts of options that make the Tahoe quicker than it has any right to be.

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You can get a Borla exhaust, big brakes, and magnetic ride, but the box you really want to tick is for the Performance Edition Package. That gives the Tahoe the 6.2 liter Ecotec 3 V8 engine with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, an engine that used to only be available in the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade. It also gives you GM's new 10-speed automatic, the gearbox the company co-developed with Ford.

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That means the Tahoe, which weighs as much as a dying sun, can get to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds. That's quicker than a Lamborghini Miura. Granted, this is a bad comparison, but it's quicker than one of the all time supercar greats, and the quickest Tahoe ever. Here's what you learn after driving the big bad thundertruck.

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It's deceptive. Thanks to the 6.2-liter engine and sport exhaust, the sound is more reminiscent of a Camaro than an SUV. Thankfully, at speed that noise dissipates unless you go flat out, letting you drive along in serenity.

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You'll be trucking along (get it?!) on the highway at what you think is a reasonable pace, but then you'll look down and see that the pace has gone way past reasonable and entered excessive. The Tahoe does such a good job of insulating you from the outside, which is what you want in a truck like this, that you don't realize the speeds you're doing.

That said, the top speed is limited to 130 mph, so you won't be outrunning the police.

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It's a wide boy. If you're not used to driving a small apartment building around, then the Tahoe feels huge, like navigating a cruise ship in a pond. It can be intimidating at first. I know many of you are probably thinking I'm a wuss, that you've seen a gazillion people driving these trucks for years, and that they aren't driving out of lanes or scraping the walls of tunnels. I didn't do those things either, but I thought it could happen.

Part of that has to do with visibility. Something else that it took from the Camaro was the high beltline and low roofline, along with edges that aren't well defined if you're not used to the car. That means you aren't exactly sure where every part of the car is, so it takes time to figure it out.

In my first hours driving the Tahoe, it felt so big, I thought it might be smart to require additional driver’s testing before letting folks handle this thing. But if you don't need a commercial driver's license for an RV, then I guess you don't need one for a Tahoe.

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People get out of the way. I think that might be a product of the RST and the blacked out badges, because New Jersey State Police also use white Tahoes on the highways and byways of my fair state. It's a great way to have a lane all to yourself.

I totally understand why people buy them. A Tahoe isn't for me. It's too big, doesn't handle well enough, and I just don't love driving a truck daily. But, hey, that's me. If you have a lot of stuff to carry, live somewhere that necessitates brief off road excursions, have a lot of family, or just like big trucks, you can't do much better than the Tahoe.

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While this RST with all the doo dads and goomzy gots costs $78,450, it's easily worth that amount. No, it doesn't have the prestige of a car with a Mercedes or BMW badge on it, but it easily has all the same features, is just as nice–if not nicer–inside, drives as well or better, and it's a beast of a thundertruck that makes you feel like you're driving a tall Camaro.

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