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Thursday, March 18, 2021

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD: The Brand’s Fifth-Generation Fullsize SUV

 

Highlight:  The all-new Tahoe is available with a 3.0-liter Duramax turbo diesel engine, which offers 24 and 22 combined MPG for the 2WD and the 4WD configuration, respectively, according to fueleconomy.gov. The 2WD diesel has a driving range of 672 miles. GM offers the only diesel powertrain in the fullsize segment.

Test Vehicle's MSRP: $68,135 (Base Model LS: $50,295)

Seating Capacity: 7 or 8

Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a stability control system; an automatic emergency braking; a following distance indicator; a forward collision alert system; a front pedestrian braking system; a rearview camera; an OnStar concierge safety system; a rear park assist system; automatic high-low headlights; a traction control system; a hill start assist system; a trailer sway assist system; and a tire pressure monitoring system


Standard Equipment (LS): 18-inch wheels; a 10-speed automatic transmission; a tri-zone automatic ventilation system; a rear ventilation system; a keyless entry system; a push button ignition starter system; an in-vehicle Wi-Fi system; 12-volt power outlet; cloth seats; a manual operated second-row and third-row bench seats; power front seats; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a leather wrapped steering wheel; and a manual operated rear liftgate

Standard Equipment (RST): 22-inch wheels; 4WD; an automatic start/stop engine; an automatic start/stop engine; Bose 9-speaker audio system; a wireless charging system; leather seats; a hands-free power liftgate; a lane change alert system; and heated front seats

Options: HD surround vision; heated power outside foldable mirror; a heated steering wheel; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; driver’s seat memory setting; second row heated seats; a power release second and third-row fold down seats; a rear pedestrian alert system; a lane change alert with a blind zone alert system; a rear cross traffic alert system; a lane keep assist system with a lane departure system; a rear media and navigation system; a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system; a rear seat media system; a maximum trailering tow package; a transfer case 2-speed; an enhanced cooling radiator; a trailer brake controller; an advanced trailering system; a hitch guidance with hitch view; exterior red tint coat; and second row bucket power folding seat


Other Trim Levels:

LT

Z71

Premier

High Country

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Bluetooth Connectivity: Standard

USB Connectivity: Standard

Apple/Android Connectivity: Standard

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder engine/355-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Towing: 8,600 lbs 

Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/20-hwy

What’s New: Chevy’s popular fullsize SUV has been redesigned inside and out.


Why: Chevy’s fifth-generation SUV wears new sheet metal, giving the appearance of a fresh and more evolutionary design. Unlike the Silverado truck, the controversial new grille on the Tahoe seems to wear better on the SUV than the truck.

The redesigned three-row Chevy Tahoe is available in a variety of trims, ranging from the base LS to the upscale High Country. The rear-wheel drive SUV continues to be available in a 2WD and a 4WD configuration.

Even more important, the roomier Tahoe is available with three powertrains: a 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder, a 6.2-liter, 8-cylinder or a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder Duramax turbo diesel engine. In fact, this is the first time Tahoe has been outfitted with a fuel-efficient 6-cylinder turbo diesel, which kicks out 277-horsepower. The price difference between the standard 5.3-liter engine and the optional diesel is a mere $995. We must note that 6.2-liter engine, which produces 420-horsepower, is standard on the higher end High Country model. However, for those who opt out of the diesel or the powertrain of the High Country, will find that the standard 5.3-liter produces a power-packed 355-horsepower.


Inside the vehicle, the driver and occupants will notice that both the ride and handling of this big body vehicle has been improved immensely due to the new chassis and an all-new independent rear suspension. An optional air ride adaptive suspension is available on the premium High Country trim. 

Also as a result of the longer wheelbase in this year's Tahoe, passengers seated in the second and third rows will notice the extra legroom. Furthermore, cargo room behind the third row has grown too, by as much as 10 inches, even when the last seat is occupied. 

And as it relates to the seating, for the first time, the second and third-row seats can slide a little over 5 inches, forward or rearward. The second and third-row seats are easy to fold flat too, allowing for additional loading space.

Upon climbing behind the steering wheel, one will notice that the traditional gear selector has been replaced by a piano-like push button gear selector. All the Tahoes now uses a push button ignition starter. And the easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system no longer leaves those identifiable dirty fingerprints.

Furthermore, for music lovers like us, GM’s audio engineering team has finally gotten the sound system right with this vehicle. In previous models, it seemed as though the sound system was an after thought. Although the high-quality Bose audio system was outfitted in the outgoing model, it never projected the crystal-clear concert-like sound we found in many of its competitors.

Lastly, the 2021 Tahoe is now available with the latest safety driving aids – bringing it closer to being a fully autonomous vehicle. Depending upon the trim one can outfit the fullsize Chevy with such features as a forward collision alert system to a rear park assist system to an automatic emergency braking system to a 360-degree camera. All of these features aid the driver in maneuvering the vehicle on the road or in tight parking spaces.

But: While the design and engineering team have made significant improvements with this generation's Tahoe, the seats are still too firm. GM can take a page from Ford in the seat comfort department.

Moreover, as many automakers are increasing the size of their infotainment screens, Chevy seems to be behind the eight ball. The infotainment screen size seems out of place for such a massive vehicle. As opposed to the screen being 10 inches, Chevy’s design team should expand to at least 12 inches. Also the traditional driver information gauges aren't as futuristic as those in the Cadillac Escalade.

And, we’ll shy away from discussing the price. The RST 4WD drive model we reviewed almost hit the $70,000 mark. So one knows, if they opt for the Premier or High Country models the pricing continues to ‘drive’ North. On the flip side, the Tahoe is the most affordable, when compared to its siblings from the GMC and Cadillac.

Lastly, Ford only offers a 6-cylinder engine in their Expedition. However, the powertrain garners a slightly higher miles per gallon than GM’s 5.3-liter, 8-cylinder. Also the Expedition fuel tank is slightly larger than the Tahoe too, which equates to a longer driving range.


Verdict: We expect that the current generation Tahoe will continue to be the best-selling SUV in the U.S, as long as the Texas manufacturing plant can keep up with the demand in the midst of Covid-19.

Overall, Chevy’s design and engineering team has made numerous enhancements to keep the vehicle fresh, relevant, and competitive. Its a lot of vehicle, but the multipurpose vehicle can serve many roles – from soccer duty to family road trips with a boat in tow to the beach.

Competition: Ford Expedition; GMC Yukon; Nissan Armanda; and Toyota Sequoia

 

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