In the current world of full-size SUVs, Chevrolet's Tahoe has been a consistent bestseller. Offered in three different trim levels, the Tahoe has proven popular with families who need to carry all of the little ones plus all of their gear. It's a big vehicle with a commanding presence on the road. Its utility has been proven second-to-none among vehicles in this market segment, and Chevy's king-sized SUV offering is about to be a whole lot better with the announcement of the brand new 2021 Chevy Tahoe.
General Motors recently unveiled the new Tahoe at an event in Detroit, a city synonymous with American automobile manufacturing, in a stadium that is also home to the Detroit Red Wings hockey team as well as the Detroit Pistons. Currently, one out of four sales in the full-size SUV market is a Tahoe, and GM aims to improve that ratio with this new fifth-generation model. The biggest advantage announced thus far is that there will now be six distinct trim levels, doubling the amount which were available on the previous generation. The LS, LT, and Premier models carry over while the RST becomes its own trim level after having only been available as a special edition. In addition, the former off-road package Z71 also becomes its own trim level, and the High Country, filled to the brim with touches of luxury, now moves into the top spot as the high-end offering. The new Tahoe is also expected to be larger, better equipped, and promises to deliver a more dynamic driving experience.
While a lot is expected to change over the previous model, this new generation of the Tahoe will be carrying over the two engine options from its predecessors. The standard base engine is a 355 horsepower, 383 lb-ft V8, which is under the hood of the LS, LT, Z71, RST, and Premier models. The top of the line High Country gets the 6.2L V8 which puts out 420 horsepower with 460 lb-ft of torque. Both engine options have made improvements by switching out the active fuel management system for newer dynamic fuel management technology, which allows the engine to shut down cylinders if needed through more than 12 different modes of deactivation. The engines also now have automatic start-stop functionality.
A new under the hood option on all of the trim levels except the Z71 is a Duramax 3.0L I6 turbocharged diesel, getting up to 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. This unique option puts GM in the role of being the only manufacturer to offer a diesel in a full-size SUV. The effects on fuel economy numbers are still to be determined, but this engine offering is likely to produce some of the highest fuel economy ratings compared to other vehicles in this class. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive the standard configuration. All-wheel drive will be available as an option.
The underlying architecture of the new Tahoe has also been designed to accommodate electric motors and batteries in the future if GM decides to move ahead in that direction. The company is expected to create strictly electric pickup trucks and SUVs in the future, but they are expected to be engineered around a dedicated architecture not related to the Tahoe.
For drivers looking at the 2021 Tahoe in terms of towing capability, a new trailering package is designed to improve connecting and hauling a trailer. It will be easier to physically see the hitch as well as monitor tire pressures/temperatures. A blind zone alert will also be added to this system. For drivers, a detailed label on the door jamb will help to calculate load capacities. GM has not released the exact numbers in regards to towing capacities, but based on the burly prowess of previous Tahoe generations, we can expect it to be more than capable.
The new Tahoe definitely won't be mistaken for being svelte. It's a big SUV that has grown for the 2021 model year, but all that size means there's plenty of room inside for those who carry four people around on a regular basis, such as families. The cabin is now styled in a much more upscale manner than before, more in the vein of a true SUV rather than an enclosed pickup truck. The rear cargo space is cavernous, which will allow for carrying much more than people. The larger size of the new Tahoe also allows for a larger rear door, which makes entering and exiting much easier than before.
Folks sitting back in the third row also get an additional 10 inches of legroom, and second-row passengers will have an easier time getting in and out as the second-row seating now slides over 5 inches. The redesign of the Tahoe results in 40% more room in the third row and 66% more cargo room in the back, making it a leader in its class. Thanks to the new independent rear suspension, the second and third row seats now fold down fairly flat, with the third row folding down into a recessed well.
GM's designers have made the decision to visually break up the exterior size of the Tahoe by running a strong character line down the side to make it seem less slabby. There's also plenty of bold accents with redesigned trim and a choice of grille options depending on the specific trim level. Where some other manufacturers have chosen to go with a more retro look with their newer offerings in an attempt to possibly appeal to an older generation, the next Tahoe will be sticking to a more modern and sleek appearance inside and out.
Chevy's next-generation Tahoe is also expected to improve on its safety and convenience offerings with the addition of automatic emergency braking and automatic headlight control, among other features. An extensive camera system consisting of nine different views allows for rear pedestrian alert, forward collision alert, rear park assist, and hitch guidance for trailering.
New technology innovations will also be coming to the new Tahoe with brand new digital displays, including a 10-inch touchscreen as standard gear, with the option of a digital gauge cluster, a large color head-up display, and a huge dual 12.6-inch entertainment screens for passengers in both the second and third rows. These screens will be unique in that they will be able to transmit content back and forth to each other.
The main touchscreen upfront will also be able to mirror the display of an Android phone and also connects to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with the bonus of a WiFi hotspot. A myriad of interior charging ports is available (plus a wireless charging option) to keep all your devices ready to go. Some models will also have the option of an upgraded powerful Bose audio system.
Chevy has also stated that the 2021 Tahoe marks the beginning of an all-new digital platform that will allegedly provide more data processing power than in previous generations. For the consumer, this translates to faster processing and over-the-air updates for the vehicle's electronic systems, while also allowing some extra bandwidth for any future tech options that GM might have in store.