The world has finally come to see the next generation of two highly acclaimed full sized SUV nameplates: the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. Like their predecessors, an exhausting weight rests on their shoulders, and their profitable success is mandatory for General Motors to bankroll everything from future performance vehicle research and development, to fulfilling its grandiose promise of an electric future. The company also enjoys an absolutely dominating market share in this highly lucrative segment, hovering at around 65 percent, with the GMC Yukon family factored in. Yet the competition, namely Ford, arguably has the better SUV on the market right now with the highly refined and sophisticated 2020 Expedition. Will GM be able to maintain its lead with the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban? It’s too early to tell, but here’s everything we know after the reveal today in Detroit, Michigan…
Platform & Chassis
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban will utilize the General Motors T1 platform that originally debuted with 2019 Silverado and 2019 Sierra pickup trucks. Though unlike their open bed cousins, the new Tahoe and Suburban will incorporate an independent rear suspension (IRS) to better soften the ride, much like how Ford utilized an IRS with the new Expedition. The results lead to massive upgrades in comfort, massive interior space improvements, far less shaking over bumps, and better cornering abilities. The electric BT1 platform is a possibility, but likely won’t be until after an all-electric Cadillac Escalade proves the concept at a steep MSRP.
The GM T1 platform was also built with mixed material usage in mind. We’ve seen it on the pickup trucks, and we’re going to see this strategy play out in the SUVs, too. The weight savings will allow for tighter chassis tuning, contribute to a more responsive ride, and possibly some fuel economy improvements. But considering the marginal MPG gains found in the trucks, we’re not so sure on the latter.
A familiar formula under the hood is found with the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe. Which is to say, a two-V8-strategy that starts with a 5.3L V8, while higher trims will get a 6.2L V8, with everything being paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Talks of a 2.7L turbo four cylinder and hybrid technology have swirled around the blogosphere, but that simply was never going to be the case. However, there will be a unique powertrain option nonetheless: a 3.0L Duramax straight-six diesel.
The half-ton Duramax engine is currently found only in the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks, but it makes plenty of sense to offer a diesel three-row full-size SUV – there hasn’t been one in America since the discontinuation of the Ford Excursion. Owners will enjoy the added fuel economy for the long road trips these vehicles were made for. Additionally, GM is also working at improving towing figures for the engine, as well.
Outputs for the engines in the Chevy SUVs are the same as are currently found in the trucks.
A very familiar profile and size will continue with the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban. Except the Tahoe has grown a bit to accommodate more third row legroom, but only a few overall inches of growth for the Suburban. Along with the big change of an independent suspension, some models come with quad-exit exhaust tips, which is a first for these vehicles. The fascia designs are unmistakably new.
Again, nothing too far from out of the ordinary here. Three rows of seats, which will refine on what’s already made the 25-year-old Tahoe and 85-year-old Suburban so great in the first place. What’s likely are some trick storage solutions that we may not have seen before. Also, the pickup-truck column shifter may be going away in favor of something more space efficient: buttons!
Chevrolet touts the second and third rows of these new vehicles as “the most comfortable” in the segment. Additionally, massive tablet-style screens in the second row give occupants an upgraded level of entertainment not found in other models. And this is made possible by…
Not much has been reported on the technology of the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban, but we here at MC&T tend to know a few things. In the case of these vehicles, they will utilize General Motors’ all-new Global B electronics architecture that will also be found in the C8 Corvette, as well as the new Cadillac CT4 and CT5 sedans. This means an encrypted ECU to the likes of which the tuning world has never seen, capabilities of handling all driving inputs electronically, better screen resolutions, as well as capabilities for OTAs, semi-autonomous and autonomous systems alike. We’re not saying that the new Suburban and Tahoe are destined to be robotaxis, but we are saying that they will likely incorporate the latest version of Super Cruise somewhere early in their life cycle. For the segment, this is huge.
Base MSRP will likely not stray too far from what we see today. That means around $50,000 for the Tahoe, and $52,000 for the Suburban. For reference, the Ford Expedition is priced at just under $53,000. Other content packages will also be familiarly priced. Pricing for new offerings, such as the diesel, will likely mirror the 6.2L V8, as seen with the trucks. We also expect the all-new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban to climb into untested MSRP waters with more premium and performance-oriented variants, as there continues to be an insatiable appetite for big, bold and American.
Like their predecessors, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban will be built in Arlington, Texas. The launch timeline is the second half of 2020.
Update: this story has been adjusted to feature more information.