Chevy finally did it. It finally made me love the Tahoe. My affection for this brute has been hot and cold over the years, but the redesigned 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe won my heart. Yes, it is the best Tahoe since the first generation rolled into showrooms in 1995. A freshened skin, a big boost in cabin space, a new independent suspension, a new 10-speed transmission and a full range of safety/driver-assist technologies, what’s not to love? Even the new front end caused me to suck in my breath the first time I saw it. I could envision this three-row beauty parked in my driveway, not just for a week, but full time. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty before I really embarrass myself.
To accommodate the new independent rear suspension, Chevy created a new architecture. It stretched the wheelbase by nearly 5.0 inches and the overall length by 6.7 in. Stretching the exterior length, opened up the interior, as well. This added more legroom to all three rows, but the third row got a whopping 10 more inches of leg space. Although cargo space behind the third row isn’t exactly cavernous, this area got a 66-percent bump in space.
What Engines Does Tahoe Offer?
Chevy offers Tahoe in six grades: LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier and High Country. All but High Country derive their go from a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8. Not available for the Z71, the LS, LT, RST and Premier grades can also be armed with the all-new 277-hp 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder turbo-diesel engine. It produces an impressive 460 lb-ft of torque. The top-of-the-line High Country trim gets a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8. All three engines send output to the wheels via an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission.
Both V8 engines use a unique new Dynamic Fuel Management technology boasting more then 12 modes of cylinder deactivation. This promotes optimum fuel efficiency across a wide range of driving conditions, including towing. This is in addition to start/stop technology. Government-estimated mileage for the 5.3L with 2WD is 16 mpg city, 20 mpg highway and 18 mpg in combined driving. For the 6.2L V8, that drops a tad to 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway/17 combined. Opting for 4WD with the 5.3L doesn’t affect mileage. 4WD with the 6.2L scrubs off a little to 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway/16 mpg combined. Fuel economy for the turbo-diesel is somewhat better at 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway/24 mpg combine for 2WD, and 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined with 4WD.
When appropriately equipped, the Tahoe can tow up to 8,400 pounds. This is down a little from the previous model. Borrowed from the Silverado is the Max Trailering package. Not only does it include a high-capacity radiator and cooling fan, but an integrated trailer-brake controller, the Hitch Guidance with Hitch View feature and Chevy’s trailering app. A trailering label is located on the driver’s-side door jam displaying all the information necessary to calculate that Tahoe’s exact capabilities.
What Is The Tahoe Interior Like?
A bit more luxurious and certainly more up to date than the outgoing model, the new interior provides more passenger and hauling space. With strong lines and plenty of soft-touch surfaces, the cabin walks the fine line between muscular and premium. The seats are full-size, supportive and comfy. There are scads of storage options scattered around. The infotainment system is easy to use. Even in the base LS trim it comes with a 10.2-in touchscreen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, HD radio, satellite-radio capability, OnStar capability, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
What Are Tahoe’s Safety Technologies?
Standard safety and driver-assist technologies consist of rear-parking sensors, Teen Driver, forward-collision warning with emergency braking, daytime front pedestrian alert and braking, hill-start assist, LED headlights, taillights and daytime running lights, and rain-sense automatic wipers. Optional or standard on upper grades are 360-degree surround-vision cameras, bind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, rear pedestrian alert and trailer-side blind-zone alert.
What Is Tahoe Like to Drive?
Chevy left me a 2021 Tahoe 4WD Z71 for a week of driving. Its 5.3L V8 was strong and smooth. It operated in perfect sync with the new 10-speed automatic tranny. The longer wheelbase and new rear independent suspension collude to greatly improve ride quality. I was amazed at just how quiet this big SUV is. Roomy doesn’t quite describe the cabin. It would be an ideal place to spend several hours adding miles to the odometer.
How Much Does Tahoe Cost?
Base pricing, including the $1,295 destination charge, ranges from $50,295 to $70,895.
There is no question, Tahoe remains at the top of its game.
Russ has covered the automotive industry for more than 30 years. He is also a long-time bourbon and craft-beer drinker who also produces the BEER2WHISKEY channel on YouTube.