2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
- The Chevrolet Tahoe has been redesigned
- Optional 3.0-liter diesel makes 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft
- This marks the first year for the Tahoe's fifth generation
Pros & Cons
- New independent rear suspension benefits ride and cargo capacity
- Longer wheelbase increases passenger comfort
- Redesigned interior a substantial improvement over the outgoing model
- 3.0-liter diesel engine promises to be fairly fuel-efficient
- Lacks maneuverability in parking lots and city streets
- Engine response can be sluggish
What is it?
The Chevrolet Tahoe is a three-row large SUV. It's built on the same truck platform that underpins the Chevy Silverado 1500 and the Tahoe's big brother, the Suburban. That means it can tow and haul like a full-size pickup, but it's got three spacious rows of seating so you can bring the family along, too. The Silverado was redesigned for 2020, and now the Tahoe uses that same architecture as the foundation for its 2021 redesign.
Take a look at the photos, and you'll see there's a new grille, new headlights, updated exterior sheet metal and a redesigned cabin. The Tahoe is now 6.7 inches longer than before (up from 204 inches to 210.7) and has a 4.9-inch-longer wheelbase (up from 116 inches to 120.9). On the inside, this means more legroom in the rear: an additional 3 inches in the second row and more than 10 inches of added legroom in the third row. Max cargo room gets a significant boost, going from 94.7 to 122.9 cubic feet of space with the second and third row folded. Notably, that 122 cubes in the new Tahoe is even more than the previous-generation Suburban offered, and it's helped along by a lower load floor that will make loading big items easier.
Two of the Tahoe's available engines are updated versions of last year's engines. The new 2021 Tahoe will get a standard 5.3-liter V8 or an optional 6.2-liter V8. Also on tap is Chevy's new turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel inline-six. All three engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The two V8s are carryover engines from the previous model year, but they're updated with new fuel-management systems. The diesel engine was introduced recently under the hood of the Silverado, and it could be an impressive fuel-saver.
The Tahoe now gets an independent rear suspension, which helps increase interior space quite a bit and should improve ride quality. Paired with the independent rear suspension are multiple suspension setups to choose from, including Chevy's Magnetic Ride Control. There's also an adaptive air suspension with a load-leveling feature that can adjust the Tahoe's ride height by as much as 4 inches.
The Tahoe receives some tech updates too. Forward collision mitigation is now standard, and options such as an improved trailer camera systems are available. Other safety items include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a surround-view 360-degree camera. Inside, the Tahoe can now be equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment interface and a head-up display.
What's the interior like?
There's a feeling of familiarity here. Knobs, buttons, surfaces and interfaces are all recognizable. Aside from the transmission controls becoming dashboard-mounted buttons, even the layout is similar to the previous generation. The new optional 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, however, does feel very new. Rather than sunken into the dash, it's mounted on top, giving the driver a better view of the screen. It also frees up some dashboard real estate, so the center controls don't feel as if they're intruding on cabin space. It's a huge leap forward for the interior quality and a system we're looking forward to testing out.
What does it compete with?
The list of available three-row SUVs that still sit on pickup truck platforms is short. The Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada and Toyota Land Cruiser all compete with the Tahoe. However, if it's just family-hauling capabilities you need, and you don't plan on pulling a trailer anytime soon, consider crossovers such as the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas — they're generally more efficient and less expensive.
No matter how efficient they are, though, crossovers can't compete with the sheer towing, hauling and people-carrying abilities of something as large and versatile as the Chevy Tahoe.
One of the biggest and most capable SUVs on the road just got even bigger and more capable. The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is now larger and more modern than before. And instead of just being a Suburban with a smaller trunk, it's a real competitor to its three-row stablemate. There's a lot to like with the redesign of the Tahoe, but only time — and a full in-house test — will tell if it can stack up against the competition.