- General Motors' Chevrolet and GMC divisions today unveiled the all-new 2015 versions of their respective full-size SUV models, the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali.
- The 2015 Chevrolet and GMC SUVs are based on the structure of GM's all-new 2014 full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks and come standard with direct-injected V8 power.
- Production of the 2015 Chevy and GMC SUVs begins in the first quarter of next year.
WARREN, Michigan — Yes, Virginia, there is a new Suburban. And Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali, too.
There definitely aren't as many customers interested in three-row, pickup truck-based SUVs as there once were, but considering it practically owns the market for such beasts, General Motors revealed today the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and their GMC counterparts, the 2015 GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali.
Production of the 2015 models begins in the first quarter of next year.
The new-generation SUVs are based on the structure of the recently released 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra pickup trucks and also utilize the pickups' direct-injection 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s.
As with the new GM pickups, the styling of GM's 2015 SUVs is a careful and conservative evolution featuring sharp but uncomplicated lines that GM engineers said were driven by their desire to improve the big utility vehicles' aerodynamics. Although they did not yet quantify the overall improvement of the new design, reporters can attest that the new spoiler atop the rear hatch is large enough to be used as shelter from rain.
The interior of the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and 2015 GMC Yukon models also is totally new, with the high point for potential buyers certain to be markedly upgraded materials throughout and the standard fold-into-the-floor functionality of the vehicles' third-row seat. The current Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon require the third-row seat to be removed to fully utilize the cargo area.
When the backs of the second-row seats are folded, the newly retractable third-row seat meets them to create a fully flat — if somewhat rear-sloping — cargo deck from behind the front seats to the rear hatch. There is sacrifice, however, for the newfound take-the-seat-with-you convenience: the standard-wheelbase Tahoe and Yukon drop from a maximum of 108.9 cubic feet of cargo space to 94.7 cubic feet. The extended-wheelbase 2015 Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon XL cede 16 cubic feet of total cargo volume, cut to a maximum of 121.1 cubic feet.
There are no sacrifices in the motivation department, where the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon are fitted with the EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8 as standard. Thanks to direct injection and a host of other improvements, the new-generation small-block V8 is substantially more powerful, generating a projected 355 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. Those figures compare with 320 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque for the outgoing SUVs' 5.3-liter V8.
For the 6.2-liter V8 — at first available only for the up-market 2015 GMC Yukon Denali — the numbers are a strapping 420 hp (17 hp better than before) and 460 lb-ft of torque compared to the previous 6.2-liter's 417 lb-ft.
All models use a GM-made six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode and an automatic grade-braking function. Fuel economy figures are yet to be generated for the new SUVs.
The overall footprint of GM's new full-size SUVs effectively is unchanged, with the wheelbase for the 2015 Chevy Tahoe and 2015 GMC Yukon the same as the outgoing models at 116 inches, as is the 130-inch wheelbase for the longer 2015 Suburban and Yukon XL. The new 2015 models are just less than 2 inches longer overall than the models they replace.
Curb weights also appear to have remained comparatively static: a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe with four-wheel drive and 20-inch wheels (the middle ground for wheel sizes, bracketed by 18-inch base wheels and available 22-inch wheels) weighs 5,585 pounds, GM said, compared to 5,567 pounds for a 2014 Tahoe. An all-wheel-drive 2015 GMC Yukon Denali tops out at 5,746 pounds compared with 5,688 pounds for the outgoing Yukon Denali. Add roughly 250 pounds for the longer 2015 Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon/Denali XL models.
You'd expect plenty of feature content for SUVs that currently go out the door for an average of about $47,000, and the 2015 models bring new equipment that includes a standard center airbag installed in the inboard side of the driver seat, a suite of active safety systems such as blind-spot warning, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning and active cruise control. A 5-inch touchscreen in the center stack is standard, while upgraded infotainment systems bring an 8-inch screen that borrows from other GM models by opening to reveal a hidden storage compartment.
The company's full-size SUVs long have held the dubious honor of being among the country's most-stolen vehicles and Jeff Luke, GM's executive chief engineer for trucks, said a raft of new security technologies has been adopted to make the 2015 Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon "almost impossible to steal," while other important new mechanical features include GM's magnetorheological adaptive suspension damping, "duralast" brake rotors at each wheel that are projected to double service life and eliminate surface rust, and design revisions to the entire braking system to improve brake pedal feel.
The company said U.S. sales for full-size SUVs currently are forecast to be about 250,000 this year — a number that is about one-third the size of the market in its prime about a decade ago and just 1.6 percent of all U.S. light-vehicle sales. Nonetheless, the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Denali account for about 75 percent of all full-size SUV sales. Moreover, GM said that of those who currently own a full-size SUV, the average age of their vehicle is 11 years, so the company believes it's a fine time to be ready with an all-new option for replacement.
Are you in the full-size SUV demographic? A typical Chevy Tahoe buyer comes from a dual-income household, is 45-48 years old and about half of current owners tow.
Surprisingly, for many, the Tahoe is a commuter vehicle and only 35 percent have children in the house. For the Suburban, the children-at-home ratio rises to 55 percent.
Edmunds says: Although many have moved on to crossovers, full-size SUVs still are an option some buyers want. GM's all-new 2015 lineup is a serious upgrade to the market's aging choices.