Like Atlas holding the celestial heavens on his broad shoulders, Chevrolet’s next-generation full-size SUVs are required to be successful in order to cash the grandiose checks GM’s executive suite have been writing lately. Buckle up, because there’s lots to digest here.
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe will utilize the General Motors T1 platform which first debuted under the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks –with one key difference– a fully independent rear suspension and a longer wheelbase. The improved architecture looks to make key improvements in the realms of passenger accommodations, cargo capacity, and driving dynamics.
The inclusion of IRS is an absolute game-changer in terms of ride and handling, with the platform much more capable of quelling body motion from bumps and road imperfections. Chevy actually claims the 2021 Tahoe offers the most advanced suspension in the segment, with available Magnetic Ride Control and a first-in-class Air Ride Adaptive Suspension.
Air Ride will be available on High Country and Z71 models and delivers automatic load-leveling and up to 4 inches (102 mm) of ride-height adjustment. During highway driving, the system automatically lowers the ride height ¾-inch (19 mm) to improve 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. Chance an off-road encounter and drivers can raise the body for additional ground clearance by 1 inch (25 mm) at low speeds in 4WD HI, and an additional 1 inch (25 mm) at lower speeds in 4WD LO.
Enthusiasts will already be well versed in the capabilities of Magnetic Ride Control, which is standard on Premier and High Country, and available on Z71. Born from the world of performance, it is one of the fastest-reacting damping systems in the industry and uses sensors to alter the damping rate almost instantly. In a large SUV, it can all but eliminate the nasty bouncing, roll, and vibrations that were commonplace for decades.
The new chassis also provides substantially more usable space. The 4.9-inch-longer (125 mm) wheelbase and a 6.7-inch (169 mm) increase in overall length bring 40 percent more third-row legroom a 66 percent increase in cargo volume behind the third row, with max cargo room increasing by a figure of 30 percent. Compared to the 2020 Ford Expedition the Tahoe brings 25 percent more cargo room behind the third-row. Additionally, the second-row seat now slides, adjusting 10 inches (254 mm) forward or rearward, and both the second- and third-row seats also fold flatter and lower than the outgoing model.
Not only did we accurately report to you yesterday about what the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe will feature under the hood, but we were the only ones to do so. To reiterate: the Tahoe continues to use the same formula that has made it successful for many years, with a few new key improvements.
First up is a 5.3L V8 rated at 355 horsepower and comes standard on LS, LT, Z71, RST, and Premier models. Then there’s the big bruiser 6.2L V8 rated at 420 horsepower which comes standard on High Country and optionally across other trim levels. Both engines feature Dynamic Fuel Management technology which we first saw on the 1500 full-size pickup trucks. DFM can optimize engine efficiency by selectively shutting down as many as 7 cylinders across a broad range of driving conditions, including when towing a trailer. Collectively, the engines also feature automatic stop/start technology, direct injection and variable valve timing.
Now for the big news, there’s going to be an optional Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel available on all models except Z71. The Duramax is rated at 277 horsepower and a robust 460 lb-ft of torque. Significantly, no other SUV in class offers a diesel engine, and it should give the new Tahoe some of the best fuel economy ratings in the segment – which are TBA. All engines will be matched with a new 10-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control.
Inside, the Tahoe offers more connectivity and larger displays than ever before which joins a new rear-seat media system. Chevy’s new infotainment system is the star of the show and leads all competitors with a large, 10-inch-diagonal color touchscreen as standard – but that’s just one of five configurable screens offered in the redesigned Tahoe.
Absent, you may notice, is the column shifter. In its place is a button system – like the C8 Corvette.
Technologies pioneered by Silverado will be present, including a trailering app with trailer profiles, trailer tire pressure, and temperature monitoring and Side Blind Zone Alert for trailering.
The Tahoe will also sport Chevy’s industry-first trailering label that provides all the required information about their truck’s exact capacities.
There will be up to nine camera views – more than any competitive full-size SUV. Had trouble seeing before? You probably won’t now.
In terms of safety, Automatic Emergency Braking standard will be standard on all models, along with available technologies like HD Surround Vision, Rear Pedestrian Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Front and Rear Park Assist, and a Head-Up Display.
There will be a Max Trailering package available and includes a high-capacity radiator and cooling fan, an integrated trailer brake controller, Hitch Guidance with Hitch View feature and the Chevrolet trailering app.
The permutations are almost dizzying:
An 8-inch configurable color instrument and information cluster are standard on Premier and High Country; a 4.2-inch-diagonal color driver information center is standard on LS, LT, RST and Z71. There’s a 15-inch(!) Head-Up Display standard on High Country and available on Premier. Tahoe offers an available rear-seat media package that includes dual 12.6-inch-diagonal LCD touchscreens that offer independent connections and the ability to mirror content from an Android phone to a screen along with allowing rear-seat passengers to send navigation points to the central infotainment screen in the front.
Like all GM vehicles, the Tahoe features a built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot with available 4G LTE data, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, multiple USB charging ports and, wireless charging with charger cooling.
The Tahoe also utilizes General Motors’ all-new Global B electronics architecture which brings five times more data-processing power than the current models. The ECU is encrypted and can handle over-the-air updates, and has 4.5 terabytes per hour of processing power – enough to run semi-autonomous and autonomous systems alike–however, no announcement regarding such capabilities have been made so far. Other upgrades from the Global B architecture include more tangible things like better screen resolution.
If you’re not exhausted by all this information yet, Tahoe will offer six different trim levels, more than any SUV competitor.
It starts with LS and the up-level LT trim, but then there’s RST which brings a super street-inspired personality with a black ice finish on the grille, RST-specific seats, plus black and black-chrome exterior trim, and 22-inch wheels.
Next is Z71 which is Chevy’s legendary off-road-focused package. It now includes more unique visual and performance attributes than ever before like a front fascia with a higher approach angle to aid off-road capability, standard 4WD and includes a two-speed transfer case with Hill Descent Control, along with 20-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, and a front skid plate.
Premier trucks bring finer equipment and technology with features like Magnetic Ride Control, navigation, an eight-inch-diagonal reconfigurable instrument cluster, premium Bose 10-speaker audio system, 12-way power vented and perforated front bucket seats, power-folding rear seats, heated steering wheel, and the full suite of driver safety aids. Lastly comes the High Country, a new addition for 2021. It gets a unique grille with bronze accents and High Country badging and an interior with trim specific sill plates, seat embroidery, and expanded color and trim choices. All High Country trucks get the 6.2L V-8 engine with Magnetic Ride Control, 22-inch wheels with chrome inserts.
Look for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 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.