No one really expects a three-row SUV to offer sports car levels of performance, but that doesn’t stop automakers from trying. Witness the 710-horsepower (529-kilowatt) Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat for proof, as well as the Cadillac Escalade V and its 682-horse (509-kW) V8. Now, it’s Chevrolet’s turn to get in on the performance SUV game – albeit with substantially less power.
This is the 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Performance Edition. Although it lacks the supercharged grunt of the hellish Durango and Caddy V, it still packs 433 hp and 467 pound-feet (323 kW and 633 newton-meters) worth of wallop from its naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8. Upgraded from the engine found in the regular Tahoe RST, the Performance Edition’s mill gets a higher-performance intake and exhaust to free 13 extra ponies from the corral, as well as 7 more lb-ft of torque (10 kW and 9 Nm).
Chevrolet says the added grunt helps the Tahoe RST Performance get to 60 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds, cutting 0.2 ticks off the standard RST’s time. Ditto the quarter-mile, which passes by in 14.2 seconds. The sporty full-sizer can also hit 124 mph if given enough road, compared to 112 on the regular RST.
The Performance Edition takes inspiration from another hard-core Tahoe when it comes to handling. Borrowing the stabilizer bars, springs, and dampers from the Police Pursuit Vehicle, the Performance Edition rides 0.4 inches lower in front and 0.8 inches lower in the rear. Those stiffer suspenders and marginally lower center of gravity might help handling, although the Tahoe still probably won’t carve up the autocross terribly well. At least there are Brembo brakes front and rear that provide better stopping power, improved feel, and more aggressive appearance thanks to red-painted calipers.
Chevrolet also includes the contents of the Luxury package with the Performance Edition. That means power-folding second- and third-row seats, heated second-row seats, and a power steering column – as well as safety enhancements like enhanced automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and a surround-view camera.
The Performance Edition is an extra $8,525 on top of the cost of a 2023 Tahoe RST with the 6.2-liter engine, which starts at $67,415 with two-wheel drive – add another three large for a 4x4. That leaves you with a $75,940 rear-drive SUV or or one that costs $78,940 if you want four driven wheels. In contrast, the smaller, but faster, Durango SRT Hellcat will probably start at around $84,000 when it returns. The Dodge will also boast a higher towing capacity – 8,700 pounds versus 7,600.
More to the point, the recently revealed Ford Expedition Stealth promises even more power, torque, and towing capacity – along with similar interior room – for about 82 grand. It also looks more distinct from lesser Expeditions, broadcasting its barn-storming intentions from across the parking lot.
So where does that leave the Tahoe RST Performance Edition? For those who are a bit less power-mad (or who can’t say no to the mellifluous bellow of a Chevy V8), it should be a sporty, competent family hauler with seating for eight. The Performance’s cop suspension might also carry some cachet. But whether it’s aggressive enough to join the aforementioned full-size SUVs at the top of the performance heap remains to be seen.