The iconic Chevrolet twin-like siblings, Tahoe and Suburban are ready to do battle with the competition in 2021 with increased interior space and improved handling.
In the first quarter of 2021, the all-new Tahoe increased US sales 104% and took first place over competitors Ford Expedition, Dodge Durango, GMC Yukon and sibling Chevrolet Suburban, top six among 13 full-size SUV offerings.
Tahoes come in six trims – LS, LT, RST, Z71 (our test-drive with standard all-wheel drive), Premier and High Country – all with industry-leading interior space and strong driving performance.
Our tester boasted a host of features with Rear Media and Nav Package ($2,490), the Z71 Off-Road Package ($5,735), power seats ($370) and sliding console ($350) options.
Now larger (longer by 6.7 inches with a 4.9-inch longer wheelbase), Tahoe includes new rear and front lights, an expanded giant grille and updated sheet metal giving the SUV a muscular look.
Built on a full-size truck platform, we experienced smooth highway rides with an independent rear suspension paired with magnetic ride control and a new off-road Air Ride Adaptive Suspension with four inches of ride height adjustment.
Off-road adventuring features include skid plates, all-terrain 20-inch tires, two-speed transfer case, limited slip differential, hill descent control and nine surround cameras.
Towing muscle is 7,700 pounds with Z71’s Advanced Trailering System.
Handling was more sedan-like than truck-like with responsive steering, sharp braking and minimal lean for its size in turns, finally, a spare tire hangs underbody.
The stop/start system, however, part of Chevrolet’s fuel management, was noticeably clunky.
Driver safety and other convenience add-ons (Chevrolet counts 30) now include automatic emergency braking, front and rear pedestrian alert, following distance indicator and surround vision (nine camera views) for difficult parking and off-road challenges.
The Tahoe’s increased size creates best-in-class cargo and passenger space with easily accessible power fold down second and third row seats. The car’s sliding second row seat section enables easy access to the third row to offer legroom that easily accommodates adults.
Cabin design is ergonomic with easily reached knobs and a 10.2 -inch dashboard screen, perforated leather seats (first two rows are heated) and numerous cabin storage spaces, including a sliding center console.
Data processing with cyber protection is five times faster on five richly connected screens, including two 12.6-ich LCD entertainment touchscreens on the front seat backs.
Other details include excellent voice recognition; the quiet ride, and a government crash safety of four stars.;
At a Glance
LIKES: Power, interior space/comfort, handling, ride, versatility, safety, quiet, towing options
DISLIKES: Clunky stop/start, need for major options
BOTTOM LINE: Tahoe ups its game to be the top-selling full-size SUV
Fact File: Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Z71
5.3-liter Ecotec V-8
355-hp at 5,600 rpm
383 lbs.-ft. at 4,100 rpm
16 mpg city/20 mpg hwy
0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.