What’s Going On With The Chevrolet RS Sub-Brand?17
We’ll just come out and say it: Chevrolet’s treatment of its RS sub-brand has been puzzling us lately here at GM Authority. In recent history, RS has represented either a dedicated trim level or a standalone option package, depending on the model on which it’s offered. Based on feedback we have heard over the past few years, the inconsistency creates confusion among customers and dealers alike. Let’s break down what’s going on, and the opportunity that exists to realign the Chevrolet RS line, and to make something beautiful of it.
In order to fully understand what RS means, we must look back to the first time it was used onto a car. RS stands for “Rally Sport,” referring to an appearance package on the first and second generations of the Chevrolet Camaro. On the original Camaro, the RS package included headlight covers, a different taillight treatment and some modified bodywork. It was nothing major, but the Camaro RS was instantly recognizable, and wasn’t all that expensive.
In the current product lineup, Chevrolet RS still delivers a sportier appearance. Whether one opts for a Sonic RS, a Malibu RS or even a Blazer RS, you’re getting spiced-up looks by way of different wheels, spoilers, body kits, grilles, and potentially headlamps and taillamps. But the problem is a certain inconsistency regarding what the RS badge provides from one model to another.
For example, the Blazer RS and Traverse RS are standalone trim levels that slot at the higher end of the model range, with leather seats, a bunch of standard features, and the RS-prerequisite hotted-up looks. But since both models offer the RS as trim levels, customers who desire hotted-up looks delivered by the RS trim level lower in the Blazer and Traverse model ranges are simply out of luck.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Malibu RS is also a standalone trim level. But it is based on the low-end LS trim, with cloth seats, spartan levels of features and equipment, and the turbocharged 1.5L inline-four LFV. That means that those who want Malibu RS looks but with all the fixins, or even just with leather, are also out of luck. But wait, there’s more.
The all-new Silverado offers the RS model—known as RST, for Rally Sport Truck—as a full-fledged trim level based on the mid-range LT trim, while the Colorado offers the RST as a “special edition” package exclusively based on the LT trim level. And the Camaro—the car that started all things RS for Chevrolet—offers RS as a package only on the LT trim, but not on SS models that include some of the package’s features as standard.
We’re not done yet: the Bow Tie’s bread-and-butter crossover—the Chevy Equinox—does offer hotted-up RS looks… but only as a package, and only in China… at least for the time being.
Indeed, the Chevrolet RS line is an incongruent hot mess. We sum up the discrepancy in the following table.
|Camaro||Appearance option package only on LT|
|Colorado||Appearance package (RST Special Edition) only on LT|
|Cruze (first-gen)||Appearance option package on LS – LT – LTZ|
|Cruze (second-gen)||Trim level|
|Equinox||Trim level (China only)|
|Malibu||Trim level based on LS|
|Silverado 1500||Trim level (RST) based on LT|
|Silverado HD||Not available|
|Sonic (pre-facelift)||Trim level|
|Sonic (post facelift)||Appearance option package only on LT and Premier|
|Suburban||Appearance option package (RST)|
|Tahoe||Appearance option package (RST)|
|Traverse||Trim level based on high-end LT|
|Trailblazer (crossover)||Trim level (unknown donor trim)|
It would be great to see GM re-establish Chevrolet RS/RST as an appearance option package (as opposed to a trim level) across its model lineup so it can be added to (almost) any trim level. The perfect execution, in our opinion, was the RS line on the first-generation Chevy Cruze, which offered sporty RS looks on LS, LT and LTZ trims.
Doing so would enable customers to add a sporty appearance to the model they desire, rather than being locked/pushed into a specific trim, whether on the low-end, mid-range or high-end levels.
One final note: we’re well aware that there is a faction of people who prefer for Chevrolet RS to carry mechanical items that enhance performance. We don’t agree with that perspective, since it would be best to leave the performance-enhancing bits to the engine package.
The grave reality is that the overwhelming majority of car buyers are much more interested in having a sportier appearance, and not so much in the go-fast mechanical bits, such as a more potent engine. Hence, those who desire a higher performance vehicle would be better served with a separate high-performance engine option that also bundles the RS/RST appearance package. Hence, RS is for looks only.
Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.
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I think it should stick to being an appearance option package.
It would be good to see the RS becoming a really sport pack to slot under the SS just like Cadillac V and Blackwing
There is barely any room for most mainstream Chevy models to even have a high performance variant, let alone two.
The grave reality is today’s new car buyers do care about looks… but not so much about performance. Hence, there needs to be a sporty appearance package offered across a model’s various trim levels. High performance, meanwhile, can and should be done, as appropriate… but RS should not be it.
I think he meant as a sort of toned down 1LE, or a light handling package.
Chevrolet has diluted the combination packages and as a result, it’s difficult to differentiate what all the different packages mean as how does RS differ from Redline; one would suspect from the RS name would represent a level of components like suspension pieces which would add to the overall performance capability of the vehicle and because it’s part of a package would be cheaper than to picking out the items individually in the order process.. then would Redline be just about appearance and not performance as it’s clear that a Chevrolet thesaurus is needed or a honest sales person.
I would be awesome if you could get an RS package on the new trucks regardless of trim level. I would also like to see it as an option on 1500 , 2500 and 3500 models.
I always saw the RS badge as meaning “really slow” so I never looked any further than that.
The RS packaging on the Malibu LS doe not include anything for better performance, not even better tires. And no LED tail lights either, which come standard on the LT, and look great.
It’s RS for Rental Sport.
The problem with GM is that they are afraid to be what they could and should be. GM needs to go back to being “An American car company for the American people.” That’s not to say that GM shouldn’t concern themselves with the global market but GM needs to focus on the home front, which is America.
As far as this whole “what is the RS?” GM should break down their trim levels a little better and they should be uniform across the board. LS=Luxury Sport, LT=Luxury Touring, RS/RST=Rally Sport/Rally Sport Truck, SS= Super Sport, Z=(Z28 & ZL1 for Camaro, Z06 & ZR1 for Corvette, Z24 & Z26 for other cars and ZR2, Z66, Z71 and ZRX for trucks)
Honestly, GM could save itself a lot of money by eliminating redundant models and a lot of pointless trim levels. At this point, every single vehicle in the Buick lineup is an absolute lost cause. The same goes for GMC. The Buick brand holds relevance though as this would be a great brand for GM to dump all of its hybrid and electric vehicles and have everything under one umbrella. Buick could have a few electric models under the Electra umbrella, the Electra, Electra 225, Electra Park Ave, and Electra Riviera along with the Buick Avista Hybrid performance model in both coupe and sedan along with the Buick Avenir which would no longer be a trim level but a crossover that would have both an electra model and a hybrid model.
As far as GMC goes, all of the GMC Models are really just fancy Silverados but they are really nice models so I wouldn’t necessarily just trash them. What I would do would be to add a few more useful models to the Silverado lineup, such as the Silverado Sierra and the Silverado Cheyenne. The Silverado Cheyenne would have all of the features of the Sierra Denali and would slot above the Silverado High Country while the Silverado Sierra would slot in right below the High Country being that it would be the Sierra SLT or Elevation, The Silverado Trail boss would become the Z66 with the 5.3L and the Z71 would have the Sierra AT4 equipment with the 6.2L while the ZRX would be the off road beast with a 480hp 6.2L. Same thing with the Canyon and Colorado. The Colorado would have a Canyon trim level that would basically be the SLT trim level on the Canyon while the Colorado High Country would have all of the same equipment as the Canyon Denali. The Silverado would receive both an RST model and an SS model. The RST would come with a high output 400hp 5.3L with sport suspension, Brembo brakes, dual exhaust, 20″ wheels styling upgrades, etc. while the SS would come with a 480hp 6.2L V8 engine, recalibrated 10-speed auto, AWD, larger Brembo brakes, 24×12″ wheels and tire package, magnetic ride, lowered, chassis upgrades, quad exhaust exiting before the rear tires, aero upgrades, short bed, crew cab, SS interior, Kicker Stereo system, blacked out trim, black housing LED headlamps and taillamps and the return of the red outline black Bowtie grille and the Chevrolet logo across the tailgate with the red bowtie and the “digital” Chevrolet name spelled out. The RST Colorado would get the 2.7L Turbo with a sport tuned suspension, exhaust, bigger brakes, styling, etc.
As far as the SUVs go, this is where GM needs to look at what Ford did with the new Explorer and what Dodge is doing with the Durango and realize that FWD SUVs are not the thing to do. It’s time to return to the real Chevy Blazer and the Trailblazer and the time is now. Ford is about to have a Bronco family of vehicles and it’s time that Chevy did the same with the Blazer. The Tahoe needs to return to the Blazer name and have a two door Blazer and a four-door Blazer-Tahoe. along with a Colorado based Blazer-10. The 3.0L Duramax, the 5.3L and 6.2L Should be present in the full size blazers while the Blazer-10 should have the 3.6L and the 2.7L The Trailblazer needs to be a “Camaro-inspired SUV” just like the Durango is inspired by the Charger and it should have an RS and SS model with the RS having an LT1 and the SS having the LT4. Lower trims should receive the 2.7L and the 3.6L The Suburban should move to the 2500 Chassis and like the 2500 series pickups, there should be an off road 4×4 Scottsdale version with a Duramax Diesel along with a heavy duty gasoline engine like what ford did with the 7.3L, preferably in a Chevrolet 7.4L 454ci V8 setup. That would easily complete the truck and SUV lineup and give Chevrolet an amazing selection that would not only be desirable but amazingly profitable.
As far as the car lineup goes, Chevrolet needs two coupes and one sedan, the Camaro, the Corvette and the Malibu. My suggestion VSS-R everything!!!!!! For those of you who don’t know VSS-R stand for Vehicle Strategic Set-Rear wheel drive. There is no need for front wheel drive when you can have all-wheel drive on a rear wheel drive platform. The Corvette is simply Amazing as it is now. The C8 platform is awe-inspiring and the look is to die for. The Camaro’s Alpha platform is near-perfect. What needs to happen with the next Generation Camaro is that it needs to go back to being a Camaro. loose the 1967-68 styling and bring back an evolution of the sleek and sexy Camaro. a front engine, rear wheel drive alpha-2 chassis with an evolutionary look of the 4th gen but with more cabin space and usable trunk/hatch area. Like the Corvette, the Camaro should be all V8 engine options with an 455hp LT1 Z/28, 495hp LT2 SS, 650hp LT4 IROC-Z and a 755hp LT5 ZL1 option as well as a 5.3L V8 RS Version as the base Camaro.
The Malibu should evolve to be what the Chevrolet SS sedan should have been. A muscle car sedan with the hearts of the Camaro, Offering the Malibu with an AWD version with the 2.7L Turbo I-4 as a base LS car, a 3.6L LT AWD, a 5.3L RS V8 RWD, an SS LT1, a Chevelle RS LT2 and a Chevelle SS LT5.
OK, so the reply I did on shoreview was actually for you. also, I think the current ‘Blazer’ midsized crossover should be called nomad and the trailblazer lineup should go like this:
LTZ/ LTZ Premier: 3.0tt
SS: LT2, hood scoop, aggresive exhaust
Z26: LT4, track ready with GLA45 type wing with visible carbon fiber
LS: Bare essentials, Matte black grill LT: More average with what most people would buy, bodycolor grill
LTZ/LTZ Premier/LTZ High country: Chrome, nice interior, sometimes better engine/ LTZ with max chrome and RS engine
Malibu/cheyyene/caprice/LN/High country/LX: Crazy luxury, RS engine
SS: High performance Z: Normally above SS (Sport, Z=(IROC Z, Z28 & ZL1 for Camaro, Z51, Z06 & ZR1 for Corvette, Z24 & Z26 for other cars and ZR2, Z71 and ZRX for trucks)
Avenir should stay as the luxury trim for buick, and regal wuold be there flagship rwd sedan/coupe. GS would be like ss for buik and the gnx would be a limeted edition drag racer. Pontiac could come back with g6, g5, g8, fb, t/a, tempest, G7, and gto. GTO would be a pontiac monte carlo or basically a g8 coupe. G8-Full sized v6/v8 sedan G6- Nova G5-G6 coupe, Tempest- midsized coupe/sedan, Grand prix- gt car.
Esprit- LT1 bored out to 400cid
Formula- track ready with LT2
Trans Am- LT1 upstroked to 455cid
Trans Am Superbird- LT5
SD455- SC 455 drag car
G4/Vibe- ATS 2.0t
grand prix- 4.2tt
Buick is the GM sales leader in China, a car market that is 4 times larger than the United States. I wouldn’t necessarily say all their cars are a lost cause.
Maybe not a lost cause for other third world countries however Buick is a faded memory to the USA…..
On the Sonic LT, RS is a bit more than an appearance option; it upgrades from 195/15/65 to 205/16/55 wheels and to slightly better upholstery with better stitching. On the Premier, which has 17 inch wheels and “leatherette” seats to start with, it really is just the appearance.
I agree with everything but the “2 coupe 1 sedan” thing. Also, let GMC be the caddilac of trucks and make it the only brand to have that special tail gate. 3 coupes, challenger like monte carlo, mustang like camaro, and hand built, front engined corvette. 5 sedans, Sonic (subcompact), Cruze (compact), Nova (CT4 based) , Chevele (CT5 based), and Impala (CT6 based). (please excuse my poor spelling/grammar because I’m only 10 years old and I type fast)
Monte Carlo (more of a true muscle car than a ponycar)
LS/LT: 3.6L v6, ls completely base, lt with medium comfort and available redline appearence pack.
RS: 5.3L V8 and decent luxury with more aggresive looks than lt and ls
LT1: LT1 RS
SS: 585hp tuned LS7 powered monster with hood scoop, brembos, borla, and big ducktail spoiler, like the one on the ats v
ZL1: LT5 drag strip monster.
LS/LT: 3.6L v6 or 2.0t, ls completely base, lt with medium comfort, available redline appearance
RS: the same as monte carlo
Malibu: super luxury trim
SS/Malibu SS: LT1 upstroked to 454, tuned up to 600hp, huge brembos, classic alpha chassis handling, and dual hood scoops
GS: LT5, zl1 1le gear, blue only, gs stripes
Stingray 376 and Stingray ’63 edition: LT2, Z51 available on 376, 63 has split window and wheels from original
Stingray 427 and 427 ’67 edition: 427 from monte carlo ss, z51 available on normal 427, ’67 has the hood scoop, side pipes, and wheels from original ’67 427 vette
GS: Track oriented vehicle, 427, blue only with red gs stripes
Z06: AWD LT5 supercar
LT: 3.6L V6, basic needs, available redline and 1le packs
RS: 404hp 3.0tt, ss gear, available redline and 1le packs
V8: lt with LT1 and 5.3 available, redline and 1le packs
SS: LT2 and 427 versions, 1le available
Z28: LT2 track beast
IROC Z: AWD LT4, replaces current ZL1
ZL1: LT5 drag strip king
There would be a mid engine, 4.2 tt corvair monza GT, for anyone who missed the c8 and a small miata like car with the looks of the 130R but with the rally
10 years old my ass
His birthday is next week, he’ll be 11.