Today the SUV market is filled with unibody front-wheel drive crossovers based on car platforms. Although these vehicles make for highly versatile daily drivers, they lack the robustness and all-around capability of the original SUV concept. Unfortunately, your options for a true body-on-frame rear-wheel drive SUV are increasingly limited. But that is where the all-new 2021 Chevy Tahoe comes in. Bigger and more powerful than ever before, the new Tahoe remains true to the traditional SUV formula while incorporating numerous upgrades. So if you need a vehicle that can fit the whole family while still offering real towing and off-road capability, then the 2021 Chevy Tahoe is the vehicle for you.
A New Platform
First introduced in 1995 as a smaller alternative to the iconic Chevy Suburban, the Chevy Tahoe is one of the original SUVs. Since its conception, the Tahoe has always shared a platform with Chevrolet’s full-size trucks, and the 2021 Chevy Tahoe is no exception. This new model is built on the T1 platform, which was introduced with the 2019 Chevy Silverado and 2020 Chevy Silverado HD. While this new platform continues to use traditional body-on-frame and rear-wheel drive, it does have one major change from the outgoing Tahoe. This is the introduction of a new independent rear suspension. Although some may feel that the older solid rear axle offered better performance, the new independent suspension offers several benefits. While the first that springs to mind is, of course, better road handling, the most obvious improvements from the new suspension is actually significantly increased interior volume.
By changing the suspension type, Chevrolet was able to lower the floor of the rear cargo area. And because SUV owners tend to fold down at least one row of seats when moving lots of cargo, Chevy decided to take advantage of this extra space by moving the third row of seats backward. Because of this decision and its overall larger dimensions, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe now has nearly 26 cubic feet of cargo space and roughly 10” more third-row legroom. And when its rear seats are folded, that cargo area jumps to a best-in-class 122.9 cubic feet.
The Diesel Tahoe
Another significant change for the 2021 Chevy Tahoe is the introduction of a new diesel engine option. This will mark the first time a diesel Tahoe has been available since the first generation back in 1999. The engine chosen is a 3.0L Duramax turbocharged inline-six that can also be found in the new Chevy Silverado. However, this engine should mainly be considered for its fuel economy rather than its power, as it only puts out 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque in its current guise. In fact, power is perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the new 2021 Chevy Tahoe. For despite being a larger vehicle, it will not be receiving any power upgrades. Still, the current 5.3L V8 and 6.2L V8 options are both excellent engines with either 355 or 420 horsepower. So the 2021 Tahoe will not be underpowered by any stretch of the imagination. Further, all three engines will now be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that was previously only available with the top engine option.
An SUV for Towing
One reason to buy a traditional truck-based SUV is for the vehicle’s superior towing ability. Chevrolet has recognized this, and the 2021 Tahoe includes several towing features taken from the new Chevy Silverado trucks. These include individual trailer profiles, trailer tire pressure, and temperature monitoring, and a Side Blind Zone Alert that is compatible with a trailer. If that is not enough, then there will also be a Max Trailering Package that adds improved cooling, an integrated trailer brake controller, Hitch Guidance, and the Chevy trailering app. The best-in-class nine camera view surround vision system found on the 2021 Chevy Tahoe is also exceptionally valuable for maneuvering with a trailer––especially when combined with the new larger display screen. In recognition of this exceptional towing ability, the 2021 Tahoe will have an industry-first trailering label on the driver’s door jamb stating the vehicle’s exact tow ratings.
The inside of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe has also been updated. Not only does it have a roomier interior that can now comfortably fit adult passengers in all three rows, but it sports several new features and an improved infotainment system. Standard seating for the new Tahoe is seven, and the second-row bucket seats now ride on a 10” track for additional legroom. The new model will also have the option of a second-row bench seat to increase its capacity to eight passengers.
The dashboard layout of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe has also been completely redesigned for a more modern feel and unlike the old model shares virtually nothing with the Chevy truck lineup. The first thing that you will notice is that the inset 8” touchscreen that the 2020 Tahoe shared with the Chevy Silverado has now been replaced with a larger 10.2” touchscreen sitting on top of the dash. This new placement puts the screen closer to the driver’s line of sight and allows for a more central location for the middle climate control vents. A second more radical change is the elimination of the old steering column mounted shift lever with a new set of shift buttons installed to the left of the touchscreen. While it may take some adjustment to get used to shifting from park to drive with the touch of a button, this new system does have its advantages. To begin with, it declutters the interior. But more importantly, it also prevents accidental shifts.
The new 2021 Chevy Tahoe will also offer a 15” color head-up display for the first time. This will project your speed as well as navigation instructions, safety alerts, and call information onto the windshield, allowing you to make full use of the advanced technology in the Tahoe without removing your eyes from the road. And finally, there will be an optional power-adjustable sliding center console. With 10” of travel, this feature will allow you to fine-tune the cabin to fit your body and driving style.
Dual Rear Infotainment Screens
The infotainment system in the 2021 Chevy Tahoe will see more improvements than just the larger 10” touchscreen. In addition to having more legroom, passengers in the back will also now be able to enjoy a pair of optional 12.6” headrest-mounted screens. These integrate fully with the infotainment system and can share content both between each other and with the front 10” display. Options not only include allowing the front screen to monitor and choose content for the rear screens––an invaluable feature for parents of younger children––but also allowing the rear passengers to navigate by sending suggested destinations and waypoints to the driver. This unmatched level of integration helps makes for a vehicle where the back seats are far more than just an afterthought.