General Motors is starting the holiday season early with its debut of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe. Can you believe that the Suburban is entering its 12th generation? The Tahoe, which is almost identical save for length, enters its fifth generation.
These trucks are extremely important to Chevrolet’s lineup. Over fifty percent of vehicles sold in the segment are from GM. Not only has the Suburban been around for 85 years, but the Tahoe is the bestselling full-size SUV for the past 19 years. The automaker is looking to continue this dominance with the new-generation products. Here are five things you need to know about the new Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban.
1. Platform and suspension
The most important part of the two SUVs is the new platform, which is related to the T1 body-on-frame platform used in the Chevrolet Silverado pickup. The newer platform is lighter to help improve fuel savings.
However, unlike the pickups, the new Suburban and Tahoe arrive with an independent rear suspension, and will offer a Magnetic Ride Control suspension system as well as an air suspension. The air suspension features 101 mm of ride height adjustment, and will help with cargo and tow load levelling. It even lowers at highway speed to improve aerodynamics as well.
The latest-generation Magnetic Ride Control suspension is quicker to respond than before, which allow the Suburban and Tahoe to ride more comfortably. The goal is to get the SUV to feel less like a floaty pickup truck and more like a big family cruiser or limo.
Under the hood, you’ll find a few choices similar to the Chevrolet Silverado. The standard engine is the 5.3-litre making 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, which is also paired with a ten-speed automatic. The 3.0-litre inline-six-cylinder diesel will also be offered on the new Suburban and Tahoe, with 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque which should return excellent fuel economy thanks to its 10-speed automatic transmission. The 6.2-litre V8 is found only on the highest trim level of the vehicles. This motor arrives with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, paired with a ten-speed transmission. As usual, 4WD is offered, with 4-High and 4-Low settings.
The exterior is a bit conservative, with an emphasis on the new grille, using a design language that, again, is similar to what’s found on the Silverado.
The interior, however, receives a much-needed update, looking far more modern and up to date in comparison to the 2020 model year vehicle that’s currently on sale. The column shifter is nowhere to be seen; the SUVs use a push-button gear selector instead. There is a 10-inch infotainment screen in addition to an available digital gauge cluster and head-up display. The available rear-seat entertainment system comes with two 12.6-inch screens to keep kids and passengers happy. There are several USB ports hidden around the vehicle’s interior for charging various devices, and even a wireless phone charger as well.
The passengers in the back are greeted with more space. The cargo area of both vehicles looks extremely practical as well with a flat load floor that is lower than before. The Suburban has a total of 1,164 litres behind its third row, 2,632 L behind the second row, and 4,097 L of storage when all rows of seats are folded. The Tahoe on the other hand isn’t too far behind, with 722 L behind the third row, 2,058 L behind the second row, and 3,479 L of storage when all seats are folded flat. Chevy boasts that the rear seats and cargo area of the Suburban exceeds that of the Ford rival, the Expedition Max.
4. Safety technology
The two SUVs are receiving plenty of safety equipment and technology, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, blind spot monitoring, and even a display in the rear-view mirror which provides a feed from a rear-mounted camera, a helpful feature for those driving with a vehicle full of passengers or cargo which can block the rear window.
There is a bunch of new towing-related features as well, including cameras that help you keep the load in check. Chevrolet counts nine new angles for drivers to see their vehicle and the surrounding road via the new camera systems. Chevrolet even offers a hitch guidance system as well. However, the automaker has been a bit shy about figures, like how much we can expect the Tahoe and Suburban to tow.
5. Trim levels and manufacturing
The new Tahoe and Suburban will be offered with some similar trim levels as the Silverado. Chevy revealed that a Z71 model will be on tap, as well as a High Country model. The Z71 is the off-road-focussed model with a unique design that allows for higher approach angles and slick-looking red tow hooks. The High Country is the only model that comes equipped with the 6.2-litre V8, and is loaded with high-tech features and luxury equipment. These trims will be alongside the usual LS, LT, RST, and Premier models. The six-cylinder diesel is offered on all models except the Z71.
The new Suburban and Tahoe will be built at the GM Arlington plant in Texas, and is expected in dealerships by summer 2020. This plant provides vehicles for the whole globe, pumping out 340,000 vehicles a year. The plant has been upgraded in a number of ways, including a body shop now with twice as many robots as before and a Leica laser system that will ensure accuracy with the vehicles dimensions and gaps.
In addition to all this news, it should be pointed out that the Tahoe and Suburban are also the starting points for the GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, both of which are expected to offer plenty of premium and luxury features.
Expect pricing and full trim details to arrive closer to the on-sale date in 2020.