CARLOS LAGO: Hey, Carlos Lago with Edmunds, here. That's the 2021 Ford Expedition, and that's the new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe. These are the biggest, baddest, and most capable family/toy haulers you can get. Inside you would expect them to have enough room and comfort for the family, enough cargo storage and solutions for all the family stuff, on-road performance and refinement so that they drive satisfyingly, and enough towing capabilities so they can carry the toys with them, too.
Now in this video, we're going to cover their respective features, their pros and cons, and at the end, explain why you might choose one over the other. If you like videos like this one, give us a like and also tell us in the comments below. We really appreciate it. Check out some of the links in the description to learn more about these vehicles, and also visit Edmunds.com/SellMyCar to get an instant cash offer on your car, truck, or SUV.
Now each of these SUVs start at really attractive base prices in the mid $50,000 range, although the average transaction price-- or what people pay at the dealership on average-- is closer to $65,000. These two, as we have them, though, are top-of-the-line, fully-loaded trim levels with four wheel drive and all kinds of other goodies, so their as-tested prices are roughly 80 grand each. Now beyond similarities in pricing, these two also line up with all the other configurations in terms of seating, power, capability, interior experience, and so on. So let's start out by talking about the differences that you'll find inside of each one.
Hopping into the Tahoe for the first time, you're greeted with a large, generally highly-functional interior that has a ton of space and storage options. The appearance-- you might debate back and forth about whether this is worth 80 grand or not on the face of it, just in terms of aesthetics. But in terms of functionality, I think you have a lot of things to like, here. You have options to control everything through physical buttons, voice controls, or the touch screen, as well. That's nice.
Now one thing the Tahoe has going for it is available nine-passenger seating, and you get that on the base LS trim level. And that's the only way you can get a front bench. So if your family requirements are to replicate a clown car experience, that's the trim level that you got to go with. The rest have captain's chairs set up like this.
In terms of technology features, this generation of Tahoe is newer than that generation of Expedition, so it benefits from having more advanced stuff, essentially. This screen for example is 10.2 inches. It's a big screen, and that's standard on all Tahoes. And in it you have wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, wireless charging, you've got USB hookups, USB-C hookups-- plenty of places to connect all your gear.
A lot of storage options in this from the door pocket to the center console, but there are a few weird things that stick out with functionality. This shifter, for example, is fussy and needlessly complicated, to put it bluntly. It's a mixture of buttons and levers in order to change gear. And while you can learn it and figure out how to use it fluidly, it does make a three-point turn on a really busy street needlessly stressful.
And while there are lots of storage solutions, one that kind of sticks out weirdly is this guy right here. It's a large, deep pocket that we couldn't really figure out a use for. And so we put a bag of Skittles in there, so that's our de facto Skittles holder now.
And lastly, the center console is fairly deep in terms of storage, but it's very big, so you might be wondering what's going on here. Well, it actually slides back, like so. And that's good if you want to put a handbag right here, because you can still slide this part forward and use that as your arm rest.
This position also gives the second row access those cup holders, and you get more storage down here. This is a complicated, large solution, though, to interior storage, and you can't help but wonder if there was a way to design this without a motorized section-- if there was a way to maintain the storage abilities that you have here. Overall, though, this is a generally pleasing and really functional interior that should satisfy the needs of most families.
The front row of this Expedition makes a really nice first appearance, although there are some trade-offs versus the Tahoe. For example, the layout appears to be a little dated, mostly because this screen is smaller than what you get in the Tahoe. But in my view, the appearance of the materials are a bit nicer, specifically the leather and the wood material in the center console.
These are massive SUVs, so both of them have a ton of space in the front row. That's not really a big concern, here. But you'll notice that, again, this screen is just older in appearance versus what you get in the Tahoe. It's still supports Apple CarPlay, it still supports Android Auto, but both have to be wired. But you do get wireless charging underneath this area here, and modern USB hookups like USB, the traditional kind, and USB-C, as well.
Storage is straightforward and very, very generous. You have a similar front console setup with a storage area here, cup holders here, and a big, deep storage area here. But there are fewer, which you might call gimmicks, inside this front row.
For example, the shifter-- it's funny to say this is not a gimmick, because it seemed like it was when it first came out. But it's a wheel instead of the Tahoe's button-toggle setup. And although this is still not preferable versus a shifter to my use in the way I like to use SUVs, this is certainly easier than the Tahoe's shifter design.
The console for storage is just the console. It doesn't move around. It doesn't slide. So there's less configurations, but the space is generous. Overall, this is a more simple interior, less stuff and a little bit dated, but that might be more functional to some shoppers.
Hopping into the second row of the Tahoe, you're going to find-- guess what? Generous interior space. That's going to be a recurring theme for both of these SUVs. The Tahoe, like the Expedition, is available with the second row bench seat. This one has the captain's chairs. And in terms of interior roominess, there's plenty of shoulder room and leg room for people of all sizes.
Headroom in the Tahoe is a little bit less than the Expedition, especially with this sunroof. So if you're taller than me at 5' 10", or have people who are sitting in the second row who are taller than 5' 10", that might be an issue. With regard to seat adjustments, I can slide the second row forward or back to change the leg room I have. And I can also recline the seat to make things a little bit more comfortable for me, too. That's all nice, well, and good. There is no center console here, but I do have a split-level door with additional storage there and a map pocket up front, of course.
The center console has a couple of different hookups for different devices. You've got HDMI-in, USB-C, as well, and a 120 volt outlet. That's great, because it all ties in with this optional rear-seat entertainment display, which can receive the sources that you plug in through those inputs and it goes from different-- you can plug in different sources to left and right, or driver and passenger side monitors.
That's great if you want to bring along a Nintendo Switch and have the second row enjoy using that while on the road trip. You can also use this screen to suggest navigation prompts to the front. That's a pretty cool idea. So for the second row in the Tahoe, there's generally really good comfort, pretty good space, and a lot of neat technology things to go for it here, too.
Getting in the second row of the Expedition-- guess what? A lot of space in here. These are big SUVs with plenty of room for front and second row occupants. This Expedition obviously has the captain's chair set up, which gives you a nice, cozy armrest to get comfy. I can adjust the seat fore-aft for additional or less leg room, depending on how much I like the people in the third row. I can also recline the seat just like the Tahoe, as well, to make things a little bit more comfortable. This Expedition was not equipped with the optional rear headrest entertainment system that is available on this that is also available on the Tahoe, but we'll skip over that now because we don't have it in front of us to talk about.
In terms of entertainment options, though, you do have USB. You have USB-C hookups, you have a 120 volt outlet, and you've got a 12 volt port, as well, for power and device connectivity. From back here, rear passengers, just like the Tahoe, can adjust the climate settings. But you also have the ability, here, to play with the audio settings for the front row, much to the likely annoyance of the people in the first row. But overall, this is a comfortable, spacious place to be that should get very few complaints from the passengers.
Now I'm going to show you what it takes to get in the third row of the Tahoe by dropping the seat and climbing in myself. So pull this lever twice, it flips up out of the way, and you climb in. And then John is going to shut the door and move the seat back to a position that people would actually sit at.
And as you can see, space is OK back here. My knees are touching the seat back, but third rows are generally designed and used for kids. So I'm an average size adult and I fit in here.
That's fine for me, but that means it's going to plenty of room for normal-sized kids. Also a USB-C port and a cup holder back here, as well. To get out, there's a button on the side that I'm going to press to drop the seat to that position, and then I'll pull this to flip it up, and then I'm free to get out as soon as mom opens the door.
Now I'm going to get in the third row of the Expedition. Instead of the seat flipping down flat and lifting up, instead the seat actually moves forward and slides up like that. Just kind of a difference in process. Once I get it back in place, I don't need help from our lovely assistant because the seat goes back to its normal position.
I have a pretty decent amount of space back here, similar to that of the Tahoe. Again, third rows are primarily used by kids, so not too big of an issue. But if you do have to fit a larger person back here, they're going to appreciate that the third row reclines. Now they might hit their head on the back here, but it's going to make things a little bit more comfortable for them. In terms of power outputs, you have the older kind of USB hookups back here, as well as a 12 volt power outlet over my right shoulder.
Looking at the Tahoe's cargo area, per row, on paper, when it comes to specs, you have more storage space than you do in the Exhibition by anywhere between 5 to 15 cubic feet, approximately speaking. When you look at the space, it actually doesn't look that significant, but there is more here. Underneath this floor you have kind of a shallow area to hide additional equipment. And then you have a 120 volt outlet underneath this flap, here.
Let's drop all the seat rows so you can see what that looks like. The third row, you can only drop one seat at a time, but they do fall pretty quickly. The second row drops very quickly, as well, and you end up with a large, generally flat area for whatever you want to haul.
With the Expedition, you have less cargo volume on paper versus the Tahoe, but there are some nifty tricks in here that we'll talk about later. Underneath this area, you have a storage well that is slightly deeper than the Tahoe, but half as wide. So the space-- whether you get any more or not is kind of debatable.
Dropping the seats-- one button press to drop. They are motorized, but they do take longer than the Tahoe. There's also no 120 volt outlet back here, but there is a 12 volt. Those drop down very quick. The really nifty thing is back related to this thing.
This flips in a couple of different ways to do some neat tricks. Those drop down, that rests in here, and you have a cargo shelf that's great when the third row is up, because let's say you have a lot of short items that need to be stored and you have a lot of people that you want to carry. You've doubled the amount of space that you have to offer.
The other neat thing this does is act as a barrier. So if you have a bunch of stuff in here that's going to roll around, when you've parked, open this up, this is going to prevent it from falling out. So less cargo space on paper, but a really neat tray system that almost balances that out.
Let's talk about towing. Now, as always, max tow ratings vary depending on the configuration and options of your vehicle. In the case of these SUVs, each one offers a tow package that obviously improves their capabilities, and it does so with an integrated trailer brake controller, an upgraded radiator, a couple other things, as well as driver aids specifically for towing. Now with that tow package equipped, the Expedition has a higher max tow rating than any Tahoe with its tow package equipped-- somewhere between 800 to 1,000 pounds. So long story short, with a tow package, Expedition has more bragging rights when it comes to max towing.
Let's talk engines. With the Expedition, your only choice is a twin-turbo 3 and 1/2 liter V6, but it comes with two different power outputs. At the highest trim level-- the platinum, like we have here-- it's 400 horsepower. But all of their Expeditions have 375 horsepower.
The Tahoe has more engine options available-- two V8s and 3-liter turbo diesel 6 cylinder. But there are limitations on which trim level you can get which engine with. For example, the 6.2-liter V8, which is the bigger, more powerful V8 of the two, is only available in the High Country trim that we have here. Also, you can't get the turbo diesel with the Z71 off-road trim, because the engine hangs too low. Most Tahoes will have a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 355 horsepower, and on paper, that's certainly less than what you get with any engine in the Expedition.
Now as for fuel economy, the Expedition is rated at 19 MPG combined, regardless of configuration. For comparison, the Tahoe with the 5.3-liter V8, the more comparable engine, it's rated at 18 MPG combined, also regardless of configuration. In our experience, it is harder to achieve that EPA figure in the Ford Expedition than it is to achieve that figure in a Tahoe, so that one MPG difference really doesn't matter. If you want the most fuel economy you can get, though, you want the turbo diesel in the Tahoe because that's rated at either 22 or 24 MPG combined, depending on if you get four-wheel-drive or two-wheel-drive.
When it comes to driving the Expedition, the biggest, most clearest advantage this has over the Tahoe is the engine. Listen to this. Actually, maybe not listen. But if you can sense that acceleration, it's very strong and it feels very good. That is, of course, when you've matted the gas pedal.
When you're driving around normally, this engine feels like it has more power at lower engine speeds, and the shifts feel-- with that added power, they feel a bit more smooth. So this thing, at lower speeds, is both more smooth and feels more powerful, too, and that's a nice advantage to have. Of course, you're lacking a V8 sound track, but when it comes to that sensation of acceleration, this smoothness and this power I'd happily take versus the Tahoe.
The other thing that I like about driving this Expedition is the visibility, at least the forward visibility, seems to be a bit better, as well. Whether it actually is or not is up for debate. But from what I perceive from the driver's seat, this dash appears to be lower and shorter in length, so that gives me a better command over the road in front of me.
One thing I like that the Expedition does, as well, is that I can't lower the third row from the driver's seat but I can drop the headrest, and that's going to clear up my rear view mirror from the obstructions that the headrest normally have. The visibility seems stronger from the driver's seat of the Expedition. And that's important, because the exterior camera system in this isn't as robust or as high resolution as what you get in the Tahoe.
It's functional, sure. It still tells you everything you need to know, but it's just not as nice as the Tahoe's. That gets back to this screen, and I'm looking forward to the day that Ford adds the larger screen that we've seen in the new F-150 to the Expedition.
Overall, though, this is a very easy, large SUV to drive, easy to maintain in your lane, and the power from that turbo V6 is really nice to explore. Granted I'm driving the high-end Expedition with the most powerful V6 you can get, of course it's going to feel good. But it is a nicer offering than what you get in the Tahoe with regard to power delivery and how that power feels. That seems to be the biggest strength of this SUV on the road.
The Expedition has the nicer feeling power train around town, but you've got to love the sound of a 6.2-liter V8. That's just satisfying. The Tahoe's advantage over the Expedition is definitely ride handling and comfort.
This is a smoother, softer ride overall versus the Expedition, with less vibration, less ride frequency coming in and shaking things around. One of the key differences between these two is how they option their suspension. While both these SUVs are available with adaptive dampers on most versions, the Tahoe goes a step further by offering air springs on both the Z71 and High-Country trim levels.
These air springs further improve ride quality and have benefits like being able to lower the Tahoe for better aerodynamics or easier access, or lift it up for improved ground clearance. In total, though, this makes for a more comfortable ride in the Tahoe. And that also relates to seat comfort.
When you hop in the Expedition, you find that the seats are very soft. When you hop in the Tahoe, you find the seats are very firm. That would make you think that the Expedition seats are more comfortable, but the longer you ride in the Expedition, you realize that that softness helps balance the additional bumps from the ride, whereas the firmness in this Tahoe feels less comfortable at first, but you realize it works over time. How that will show up to you, you really need to sit in the seats to determine for yourself. But that's been my experience.
I like that the Tahoe I can raise and lower the third rows when I'm stopped with these buttons up here. I can't drop the headrests individually, though. Another thing you notice driving the two back-to-back is that the Tahoe has a seemingly harder front view to look out of. Part of that has to do with the height of the dash, or what you perceive to be the height of the dash, and also the length of the dash. The front view doesn't seem to be as spacious or as forgiving as it does in the Expedition.
On the contrary, you have a more sophisticated exterior camera system available in the Tahoe-- higher resolution, more angles, and that gives you plenty of clearance when you're navigating tight parking lots. On top of that, to me, the ride and handling of the Tahoe also makes this an easier vehicle to maintain in its lane when you're driving on normal city streets or on the freeway. And that's an important attribute to have when you're talking about SUVs this large.
So it might be a push between the two when it comes visibility and overall driving experience. Expedition has a nicer engine, Tahoe has a nicer ride, steering, and handling, and comfort really depends on what you seek out of your seats. I'll just say I also like the fact that this Tahoe has a head-up display. I'm a big fan of those. I wish more cards had them.
So which one of these SUVs should you get? Well, in our rankings, these are the two best in the full-size SUV segment, but the Expedition has a slight edge. It's so close, though, that in reality, there are plenty of reasons why you might choose one over the other.
Let's start with the Chevy Tahoe. It has more engines available-- two V8s and a turbo diesel. It rides and handles better, and the interior has more space in terms of cubic feet. You also get newer and more modern technology appointments because it's a newer generation vehicle.
The Expedition is a bit more simple, and that can be more appealing to some people. There's fewer power trains available, and what is there is actually really good-- stronger than most of the V8 offerings in the Tahoe. You have a more functional interior with less-- let's say, gimmickry-- and ultimately, a higher tow rating. Hey, tell us your favorite in the comments below. Also click Like and Subscribe. We really appreciate it. Also visit Edmunds.com/SellMyCar to get an instant cash offer on the car, truck, or SUV you'd like to sell.