Of all the variants that Chevrolet announced yesterday evening with the announcement of the all-new Tahoe and Suburban, the most exciting was undeniably the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71. It might not have a Hummer badge on it, but this is as close as Chevrolet has ever been to capturing the essence of that popular off-road SUV brand.
It might not steal the thunder away from the much smaller Jeep Wrangler, or the upcoming Ford Bronco. But with news that the full-sized Toyota Land Cruiser is exiting the American market soon, along with the rapid growth of the off-roading/overlanding aftermarket scene, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 might be lighting in a bottle.
Right off the bat, Z71 equipped 2021 Tahoes gain a unique front fascia that signifies the truck’s new ruggedness. The beefy skid plate is not only immediately noticeable but also enables a higher approach angle in order to better aid activities off the beaten path. In case you missed it, there’s also a new set of blazing red tow hooks which indicate the baked-in capability.
Z71 Tahoes are equipped with 4WD as standard kit and also includes a two-speed transfer case with Hill Descent Control. The 20-inch black and chrome wheels are wrapped in meaty P275/60R20 all-terrain tires. According to the preliminary spec sheet released by Chevrolet, all 2021 Tahoe SUV models feature a 3.23 final drive ratio–the 2019 Z71 package features and a 3.42 rear axle ratio compared to the standard 3.08.
It’s unclear if the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 will offer a similar upgrade, or even if it will include a locking rear differential like the 2020 Silverado Z71. As for powertrain, the Tahoe Z71 package will come standard with the 355 horsepower 5.3L V-8, optionally, there should be the big bruiser 6.2L V-8 rated at 420 horsepower both will come hooked to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the new Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel and its 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque will not be made available in combination with the Z71 off-road package. Sad!
One of the most significant additions to the 2020 Tahoe’s Z71 package is the inclusion of the segment’s first Air Ride Adaptive Suspension. The new Air Ride suspension will deliver automatic load-leveling and up to 4 inches (102 mm) of ride-height adjustment. Off-road specific calibration includes the ability to raise the body by 1 inch (25 mm) for additional ground clearance at low speeds in 4WD HI, and offers a further inch of clearance (25 mm) at slower speeds in 4WD LO.
During highway driving, the system automatically lowers the ride height ¾-inch (19 mm) for improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, while a driver-selectable setting lowers the suspension 2 inches (51 mm) to aid passenger entry and exit when the vehicle is parked.
Look for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 to go on sale in mid-2020 in North America. All Tahoes will
be manufactured at GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly facility, which has received more than $1.4 billion in investments since 2015.
And, yes, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 is coming, too.