The 2021 Chevy Tahoe loves the open road!
This big bruiser may be a bit cumbersome in tight urban quarters, but point it down the highway and it comes into its element. Two things in particular contribute to such excellence when long drives call: a thrifty yet powerful diesel engine, and an independent rear suspension.
The 2021 Tahoe comes in six trim levels and drivetrain configurations. There are three engines. The standard engine on all but the top trim is GM’s venerable 5.3-litre V8. The High Country trim gets a 6.2-litre V8.
A new 3.0-litre turbo diesel is a $1,995 option across the board, except for the High Country where it is a no-cost alternate. The beauty of a diesel is two-fold: massive amounts of torque, and exceptional fuel economy.
There is a reason every large commercial truck is powered by a diesel engine!
The new turbocharged six-cylinder diesel produces more torque than the 5.3-litre V8 and matches that of the bigger 6.2-litre unit.
Maximum power is available from the get-go with a diesel, no waiting for the revs to build. Maximum torque of the 3.0 turbo diesel in the Tahoe is produced at only 1,500 rpm, while the gasoline engines have to twist to 4,600 rpm before reaching peak power.
The diesel is rated at 8.9 litres/100 on the highway giving it a 33 per cent advantage over the 5.3 V8 and 40 per cent over the bigger gasoline engine. I easily achieved those numbers with no effort.
It is a bladder buster as well, capable of 1,000 kilometres between fills!
Math was never my strong suit, but it doesn’t take an advanced degree to see where the diesel will pay for itself in short order. In fact, if you order the High Country trim, the 40% savings start immediately.
For the other five trim levels, the added cost for the diesel option is $1,995. After 50,000 km, the diesel will have used 4,450 litres of fuel, 1,450 fewer than the 5.3 litre gas engine. At the time of this writing, regular unleaded gasoline and low sulphur diesel prices were within one cent of each other at $1.43 per litre.
That’s a savings of slightly more than $2,000.
The diesel is the gift that keeps on giving as the Tahoe and its slightly larger Suburban sibling often tally hundreds of thousands of miles. Higher mileage drivers take note.
Vehicles like the Tahoe are often used to tow trailers carrying adult toys. The diesel is right at home in this environment, able to haul up to 8,000 pounds of ‘stuff’.
The new independent rear suspension takes the truck out of the Tahoe. It trades some extreme work ability for creature comfort – as in a much more pleasant ride and a semblance of handling not available with the old solid rear axle.
By allowing each rear wheel to operate independently, the new Tahoe has a more comfortable ride and an alacrity in the turns unheard of in previous generations.
The ability to soak up road blemishes is significantly improved. You no longer have to deal with a rear end that wants to change lanes when encountering a bump mid-corner. The new Tahoe simply soaks it up and maintains its poise.
The other big advantage of the new independent rear suspension is the improvement in interior space.
The Tahoe is a body-on-frame vehicle. With a solid rear axle, the load floor has to clear a giant lump of a differential. The new suspension allows a much lower floor benefitting both third row seating and cargo area. Third row occupants can now sit in a normal manner, without their knees up around their ears. The lower cargo floor makes loading easier and provides greater height for loading below the window line.
The 2021 Tahoe has grown significantly in several key areas. Overall length is up 17 centimetres and the wheelbase is 12.5 cm longer. This benefits both passenger and cargo space. Second row occupants will find a limo-like 107 cm of legroom, 7.6 cm more than the older model. Folks in the third row, in addition to the lower floor, get an additional 26-cm of legroom for a very useful and comfortable total of 88.7cm.
The Tahoe makes an excellent ‘office on the road’. You can find a parking space, plug your laptop or other device into the 110-volt outlet, log onto the included 4G LTE WiFi hotspot and go about your business. A passenger can do the same while underway, whiling away the miles and time.
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe is a great family vehicle, with plenty of space for people and cargo. It also offers plenty of towing capabilities. In addition, the ride and handling are vastly improved.
The frosting on this cake is the availability of a thrifty and powerful diesel engine.
Road Trips in a 2021 Chevy Tahoe
Matthew Guy drives on the ocean floor in New Brunswick
Garry and Lisa follow fall foliage around Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail
FACTS & FIGURES – 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Premier
As tested: $88,983 including freight
Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium system with connected Navigation, 26-cm” diagonal HD colour touchscreen, AM/FM stereo, Bluetooth audio streaming for two active devices, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capable, enhanced voice recognition, additional memory for in-vehicle apps, cloud connected personalization for select infotainment and vehicle settings. Subscription required for enhanced and connected services after trial period, wireless charging+, two 120-volt outlets, four Type A and four Type C USB ports, four charging only USB ports
Maximum trailering package, (hitch guidance with hitch view, trailer brake controlled, extended side blind zone alert, extra capacity colling system), perforated leather seats, 12-way power driver’s seat with two memory positions, eight-way power passenger seat, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, power release second row seats, power folding third row seats, heated, power tilt & telescope, leather-wrapped steering wheel; remote keyless entry, power windows and locks, universal home remote control, tri-zone automatic climate control
Enhanced automatic emergency braking, rear pedestrian alert, trailer side blind zone alert, trailer brake controller, front and rear park assist, following distance indicator, rear cross traffic alert, front pedestrian braking, lane change alert with blind zone alert, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert
Diesel engine, $1.995; Premium package, ($5,100), includes panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, extra cooling system, surround vision, 38-cm heads up display, rear camera mirror, rear camera washer, rear pedestrian alert, hitch guidance with high view, trailer brake controller, and extended side blind zone. Illuminated Chevy emblem in mirror, $165; rear seat media system, (dual rear seat-mounted 32-cm diagonal colour-touch LCD HD screens, Wi-Fi wireless projection capability, two 2-channel wireless infrared digital headphones with 2 HDMI ports on the back of the centre console; compatible with Bluetooth headphones) $2,295; trailer tire pressure monitor, $60; Graywood metallic paint, $495; power sliding floor centre console, $400
Turbocharged, 3.0 litre in-line six-cylinder diesel, 277-horsepower, 460 lb.ft. of torque. 10-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel-drive. NRCan rating (litres/100km city/highway): 12.0/8.9
Length, 5,352 mm; wheelbase, 3,071-mm; width, 2,057-mm w/o mirrors; weight, 2,693-kg
Ford Expedition Max, GMC Yukon XL, Nissan Armada, Toyota Land Cruiser
Chevrolet Tahoe with the Diesel engine, the ultimate SUV.