Test Drive column: All-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
Entry price: $50,295
Price as tested: $71,380
This week, we’re driving the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, delivered in amenity rich Premier trim and featuring a redesigned exterior and interior. Now a stretched three-row sibling of the larger Suburban, notable mechanical additions include a Tahoe-first independent rear-suspension upgrade and the addition of an optional 3.0-diesel V6 in the engine option category.
Six models are available, starting with the entry LS at $50,295; LT at $55,095; RST at $58,395; Z71 at $60,495; our tester Premier at $63,895; and top line High Country at $70,895.
Under the hood, two V8s and the aforementioned diesel option are available. Our Tahoe arrived with the standard 5.3-liter V8, long a Chevy truck engine preference delivering 335 horsepower and 383 lb. ft. of torque. The 6.2 V8 offers 420 horsepower and 460 lb. ft. of torque, while the 3.0 Duramax diesel, set for later availability, will deliver 277 horsepower and 460 lb. ft. of torque.
On the highway, the 5.3 is adequate, although with passengers aboard and some cargo in the rear, it’s clear that the additional horsepower the 6.2 offers may be the better choice as this new Tahoe’s curb weight is nearly three tons without driver, passengers or cargo.
And speaking of cargo, owners will be appreciative of both more room behind the third row seat and extra leg room for third row passengers. Compared to the 2020 and prior Tahoes, the wheelbase grows from 116 inches to 120.9 resulting in more than adequate room for family vacations where suitcases and lots of additional smaller luggage items are no longer a concern. The length also improves even greater than the wheelbase stretch, from 204 inches to 210.7 inches. In the past, lack of cargo space behind the third row meant moving up to the larger Suburban, but not so with the all-new 2021 Tahoe. Clearly, this new version has evolved into a “Suburban Junior” thanks to its new, bigger size.
Every 2021 Tahoe is equipped with a 10-speed automatic transmission for rear-drive only or 4x4. Our Premier 4x4 features a two-speed transfer case and underbody skid plates for off-road protection. The standard 20-inch polished wheels look great, as does the new design in its entirety.
Our tester also includes Chevy’s respected StabiliTrak system that automatically helps enhance control, particularly during emergency maneuvers, by adjusting the brakes and engine torque to help you stay on your intended path. It activates when Tahoe sensors detect a difference between the driver’s intended path and the direction the vehicle is actually travelling. StabiliTrak also Includes Traction Control that detects wheel slippage and applies brake pressure and/or reduces engine power to help the driver maintain control when accelerating on wet or snow-covered roads and Brake Assist that senses how hard and fast a driver hits the brake pedal and gives extra braking assistance, if required.
Tahoe’s ride is exceptional, and an ultra-quiet interior is enhanced by a standard 10-speaker Bose audio infotainment system, acoustic deep-tinted glass all around, Apple and Android capability, Premium 10.2-inch touch screen with navigation, voice recognition, Bluetooth, Sirius XM with three month trial, 4G Wi-Fi, wireless charging apps and more.
As for V8 fuel mileage, don’t expect anything great, especially considering you rolling along in the aforementioned near three-ton vehicle. The 5.3-liter V-8 is EPA rated at 16 city and 20 highway while the 6.2 comes in at 15 city and 20 highway. The standard stop/start technology and cylinder deactivation helps save fuel, but only when in city stop and go traffic. (The 3.0 V6 diesel has not yet been rated by the EPA).
Cargo room is most generous, especially when the second and third row seats are folded. There’s a huge increase of near 28 cu. ft. compared to the last generation. Another major advantage the new Tahoe offers is better access to the third row because there’s a good 10 more inches of legroom. For ’21, the second-row seats can now slide forward and back and allow a non-cumbersome entry to the third row.
On the safety side, 2021 Tahoe standard features include forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking with forward collision alert, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, front pedestrian braking, side blind zone alert, following distance indicator and theft deterrent system. Magnetic Ride Control is also standard starting with the Premier but unavailable in the lower trims.
Cabin notables include 12-way power, heated and ventilated driver and passenger seats, heated second row outboard seats, tilt and telescopic steering, rear air conditioning, perforated leather seating, two 120-volt outlets front and rear, automatic heated steering wheel, cargo management system, carpeted floor mats, front bucket seats, teen driver alert, two USB data ports in each of the three rows and much more. It’s all standard fare and makes the upper trims more desirable.
Our tester had just one option, the $4,485 Premium Package that adds power panoramic sunroof with tilt and power sunshade, adaptive cruise, enhanced automatic emergency braking, rear pedestrian alert, rear camera mirror with washer, multi color head-up display, high-definition surround vision, advanced trailering package with brake controller, hitch guidance with hitch-view alert, trailer side blind zone alert and an enhanced cooling radiator. If you plan to tow, this option is a necessity. Otherwise, you could pocket the $4,500.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 120.9 inches, curb weight of 5,776 lbs., from 25.2 to 122.9 cu ft. of cargo space, 24-gallon fuel tank, 8-inch ground clearance and an 8,400-pound tow capacity with the trailer package.
In summary, Chevrolet hit a homerun with its new 2021 Tahoe. They’ve addressed all that was a concern in recent Tahoe generations and came up with what will be a big winner at Chevy showrooms.
Check with your area dealer for current lease and purchase initiatives, and enjoy your test drive. I guarantee you will love the ride, be it rear drive or a 4x4 model.
Likes: New design, independent rear suspension, larger dimensions.
Dislikes: 6.2 V8 only available in High Country model, price can get expensive quick.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and Gannett Co. Inc. Contact him at email@example.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.