FAST, CA­PA­BLE & COM­FORT­ABLE: TA­HOE RST

4WDrive - - Contents - WORDS AND PHO­TOS BY PERRY MACK AND JA­SON TANSEM

It was a two-day run-and-gun me­dia ex­trav­a­ganza of hum­drum info ses­sions and test-drives, in­ter­rupted by bursts of adren­a­line, cour­tesy shot­gun high speed, screech­ing, rub­ber-burn­ing rides.

When it comes to full-size SUV’s, Chevro­let dom­i­nates the mar­ket with al­most 50% of full-size SUV’s sold be­ing ei­ther the Ta­hoe or Sub­ur­ban. To cre­ate the new Ta­hoe, Chevy re­moved the chrome, added 22” wheels, a more duo­tone colour scheme in­clud­ing blacked out bow-ties, all to give it a more street per­for­mance look. What is very in­ter­est­ing is Chevy has taken this all the way with no ex­te­rior RST badg­ing - other than the ‘Premier’ la­bel on the rear if you get the 4WD op­tion.

The per­for­mance pack­age Mag­netic Ride Con­trol is an ac­tive damp­en­ing sys­tem to sense the road 1000 times per sec­ond. It al­lows the SUV to re­main very stable driv­ing down windy roads and makes for a very com­fort­able ride on the high­way even at and above 130 kph (80 mph).

But the big story is the Gen 5 6.2L V-8 that gen­er­ates a pave­ment stomp­ing 420 hp and a load rip­ping 460 lb-ft of torque. And al­though the en­gine was de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Ford (you’ll find it in the Rap­tor), the pro­gram­ming and trans­mis­sion in­te­gra­tion was all done by GM. The trick to pro­duc­ing this type of big mus­cle in a small block V-8 in to­day’s world is to do so while main­tain­ing re­spectable fuel econ­omy (20L/100km city/13L/100km hwy/17L/100km com­bined - 14/22/17 mpg). Chevy pulls this off by us­ing cylin­der de-ac­ti­va­tion and di­rect in­jec­tion tech­nol­ogy.

Once you build this ex­cit­ing pow­er­plant you have to get the power

to the pave­ment. This is where the new 10L80 Hy­dra­matic 10-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion comes into play. It has been tuned to shift ac­cu­rately and quickly, keep­ing the en­gine within the best torque range when you want per­for­mance but still mak­ing it com­fort­able for cruis­ing down the road. It has a wide gear ra­tio spread of 7.39:1 from 1st to 10th.

Bright red, six-pis­ton Brembo brakes up front pro­vide 84% more pad on the disks to keep the brakes cool, re­duc­ing fade and shud­der. While you won’t no­tice most of these fea­tures when you first start the truck, you will im­me­di­ately no­tice the deep throaty rum­ble of the Borla dual ex­haust - even at idle. It doesn’t just cre­ate an­other sat­is­fy­ing sound­ing V-8; it also pro­vides a 28% im­prove­ment in air­flow, which helps the RST make 0-60 mph in 5.7 sec­onds while al­low­ing it to tow up to 8400 lbs.

The in­te­rior looks great, we loved the heads up dis­play, key­less ig­ni­tion, cus­tom­iz­a­ble dash gauges, col­li­sion avoid­ance fea­tures (which we’ve come to ex­pect), and the wire­less charg­ing in the cen­tre con­sole is a nice touch. Cool but odd, is the pop-up in­fo­tain­ment screen, which re­veals a hid­den cubby.

The 2WD base model (non RST) starts at around $55,065 CAD (with 5.3L en­gine, no Brembo brakes, no Borla ex­haust, no, no, no…), while the Premier ver­sion with 4WD de­scribed here, is roughly $82,371 CAD.

Is there any­thing we didn’t like about this truck (other than the price)? Plus size phones won’t fit in the cen­tre con­sole charger, and there is very lit­tle cargo space be­hind the third row - which I miss as a pre­vi­ous GMC Sub­ur­ban owner.

The bot­tom line is this full-size SUV is an ab­so­lute blast to drive, hauls plenty of gear and peo­ple, has enough power for most tow­ing needs, and does it all in com­fort and lux­ury with a full suite of driver as­sist and safety fea­tures.

Traf­fic oc­ca­sion­ally pre­vented us from test­ing the ac­cel­er­a­tion.

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