Certain buyers just need a utility vehicle that can carry a whole ball team or haul the heftiest of trailers. Or both.
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe — and the similar-but-bigger Suburban — increases its capability with, if you can imagine, even more size.
The Texas-built vehicles, as well as the Cadillac Escalade, have been completely redesigned, including new bodywork, interiors and suspensions. But it’s the Tahoe that has experienced the most obvious changes, especially in terms of its physical presence.
It is more than 15 centimetres longer and has nearly 13 more centimetres between the front and rear wheels. There’s 7.5 more centimetres of legroom for second-row passengers and 25-plus more for those seated in the third row.
Chevrolet’s measurements indicate that cargo volume has jumped by an astounding 66 per cent behind of the third row. Transportation companies that employ Tahoes for ferrying passengers to and from airports will be delighted by this news.
The look is still big and blocky, but with a stylish front end plus subtle creases along the doors and fenders that add to the big rig’s rugged good looks. Note that LED headlights and tail lamps are standard.
The interior replaces the previous column shifter with pushbuttons located on the dashboard. Beside them is the standard 10.2-inch (diagonal) touch-screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto infotainment and communications connectivity.
An eight-inch configurable gauge cluster is available, as is a heads-up display that projects key driver info (vehicle speed and GPS mapping, etc.) onto the windshield.
The second-row bench and the optional high-back bucket seats can be adjusted fore and aft for increased legroom.
The Tahoe’s load floor is lower than before, partially due to a new independent rear suspension that replaces the previous solid rear axle.
The base 5.2-litre V-8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque carries over, as does the optional 6.2-litre V-8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet. For 2021, a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel joins the lineup with an output of 277 horsepower and 460 pound feet.
Although equal to the 6.2-litre V-8 in that regard, the turbo-diesel’s max torque occurs at a low 1,500 rpm (ideal for heavy-load trailering), compared with 4,100 rpm for the gasoline V-8.
A 10-speed automatic transmission connects to all three powerplants.
Fuel consumption for the 5.3 is rated at 14.7 l/100 km in the city, 11.7 on the highway and 13.2 combined.
Prices start at $50,300 for the rear-wheel-drive LS, while the all-wheel-drive version rings in at $53,300. The LS is your only choice if you require a front bench seat.
The next-in-line LT has a hands-free power tailgate, power adjustable and heated driver and front-passenger seats, Bose-brand audio system and wireless phone charging.
The sporty looking RST (pictured here) gets a blacked-out grille, wheels and roof rails, plus black perforated leather seat covers with contrasting stitching.
The Premier and top-level High Country models are topped up with magnetic ride control, which constantly adjusts the suspension according to surface conditions, plus a complete suite of active-safety technologies such as lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection and rear cross-traffic alert. Note that the High Country automatically gets the 6.2-litre V-8.
The Z71 off-road package, which can be added to the Tahoe LT, includes tow hooks and skid plates, running boards, 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, and a unique front fascia to increase ground clearance.
Although the Chevrolet Suburban has a considerable advantage over the Tahoe in terms of length, it also costs exactly $3,000 more. Considering the uptick in size for 2021, the Tahoe might be all the utility vehicle you’ll need.
What you should know: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
Type: Four-door, rear- /all-wheel-drive full-size utility vehicle
- 5.3-litre OHV V-8, (355); 6.2-litre OHV V-8 (420)
- 3.0-litre DOHC I-6, turbo-diesel (277)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Market position: General Motors leads the large-utility-vehicle category with the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, along with comparable GMC models and the Cadillac Escalade. Although truck-based, they are refined and provide ample variety and price points.
- The increased size for 2021 means added comfort for rear-seat passengers.
- Redesign increases overall attractiveness.
- Choice of engines now includes a turbo-diesel, which should appeal to commercial operators plus other buyers wanting lower fuel consumption and/or increased towing.
- The assortment of active-safety tech should be standard for all trims.
Active safety: Blind-spot warning with backup alert (opt.); active cruise control (std.); emergency/pedestrian braking (opt.); lane-departure intervention (opt.)
L/100 km (city/hwy): 14.7/11.7 (5.3 RWD/AWD)
Base price (incl. destination): $58,400
- Base price: $63,000
- Regular and extended versions use a 375-h.p. twin-turbo V-6. AWD is std.
- Base price: $68,100
- 2020 AWD model comes with a 390-h.p. V-8. New version due in 2021.
- Base price: $71,800
- 381-h.p. V8 and AWD are standard. Updated model is expected in 2021.
– written by Malcom Gunn, Managing Partner at Wheelbase Media