I’ve long maintained that, in the world of full-size SUVs, the Chevy Tahoe hits the sweet spot for most people. When you factor in its base price of $56,095 (that’s $54,200 for the truck and $1,895 delivery and destination juice), interior space for passengers and cargo, power, and towing, the utility per dollar rating is off the charts.
There are also plenty of drivers who like the 2023 Chevy Tahoe not for any practical reason so much as, well, it’s kind of a vibe. If you grew up in the corn-fed regions of the upper midwest as I did, the Tahoe nameplate means something to you. And this fifth-gen version (GMT1UC if you want to sound smart) has the square jaw and towering road presence to appeal to long-time Chevy buyers.
Gallery: 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Performance: Review
Everything about this high-spec Tahoe RST Performance – a stealthily rolled out trim for the ‘23 model year – plays up that ethos nicely. Though it’s not evident just by the trim name “Performance” here indicates that the SUV comes packing most of the best stuff from the Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV) that is sold directly to law enforcement agencies. (Okay, you don’t get the lights and sirens, but it’s still pretty cool.)
At the risk of sounding like your annoying uncle quoting The Blues Brothers, the spec sheet does read uncannily close to Akroyd’s most famous lines: police-spec springs, retuned dampers, police-spec chassis calibrations, and police-spec lowered ride height (down 0.4 inch in the front and 0.8 at the back). The Performance truck also gets a Brembo braking package with rotors upsized 25 percent in the front, and 275-section Firestone Firehawk Pursuit tires strapped around 20-inch wheels.
So, it’s a Camaro that can tow a boat, right? Not exactly. On the highway, the more stiffly sprung Tahoe showed me a lot less brake dive when coming down from speed, and the overall handling characteristics on my curvey drive route felt great for a GMT product… but you’re not going to confuse this for a Cayenne S.
That said, the 6.2-liter V8 engine is a gem. The Performance package ups the horsepower from 420 to 433 and the torque from 460 pound-feet to 467 – not enough to notice a dramatic difference but plenty to give you bragging rights. The engine sounds glorious when you step on the throttle, and the getting to 60 miles per hour in a Chevy-estimated 5.8 seconds is both believable and wicked fun.
Of course the price to play cop does undercut Tahoe’s innate value proposition somewhat. The RST Performance Edition package (only available on 4x4 versions) is labeled as a $8,875 option group, but Chevy forces you to bundle in the Luxury and Driver Alert packs as well, making the total bill $11,370 for an MSRP of $79,060 all-in. That price isn’t a deal-breaker the high-dollar landscape of today’s big SUV segment, but can I at least get a coupon for a light bar?
2023 Chevrolet Tahoe RST Performance