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The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Finally Feels Like a True Luxury Truck

1556 Views 0 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Duffy
Road and Track released their review of the new Tahoe and they do a good job pointing out how refined it is compared to previous models.

The ubiquity of the black Tahoe has never quite added up. It's a $50,000 truck that's often seen in government convoys or municipal lots, not to mention a proto-luxury option for executive limo service or Uber Black. It always seemed too expensive for its service roles and too unrefined for its VIP duties. For 2021, though, the Tahoe finally matures into the luxury SUV it always wanted to be, without sacrificing the practicality that made it a hit.

The 2021 Tahoe is an all-new design, and a lot of its newfound refinement comes from this generation's big leap forward: independent rear suspension. It's more complicated and expensive than the solid rear axle that the Tahoe has always had, but it also gives this new generation more cargo space, more passenger room, and a far better ride. Our loaded tester—an $81,845 High Country model—had magnetorheological dampers and air springs, turning massive potholes into tame thumps. The suspension can raise or lower the ride height through four inches of adjustment, while the dampers and springs are controlled through multiple drive modes.

Over broken pavement, this suspension is one of the most impressive systems I've experienced in a full-size SUV, representing a massive leap forward over the unsteady and bouncy previous-gen Tahoe. The only problem is that the body still jiggles over bumps and shudders on harsh impacts, a body-on-frame quirk that makes the whole thing feel a touch sloppy. Unlike the stick-axle Silverado, though, the Tahoe won't bounce sideways on a mid-corner bump; it's stable and planted even in tight corners, with reassuring body control.

Of course, it's not a particularly sporty vehicle. Our tester had a 6.2-liter V-8 (lesser Tahoes come with a 5.3), but the upgrade engine doesn't deliver crazy acceleration or high-rev thrills. This is a truck motor, making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque in this application. It's got more than enough power for the job, but it's a burly, lazy V-8 designed for low-down torque. Those who want a fast SUV are still better served by the Germans.

That was never the Tahoe's game, though. It's a cushy, American truck with body-on-frame toughness and minivan space. On the capability front, the Tahoe's aggressive Z71 trim offers a limited-slip rear differential, raked bumpers for better approach and departure angles, skid plates, and standard four-wheel drive. Configured correctly, you'll get an 8400-lb towing capacity. Perhaps more importantly, it can swallow up to 1834 lbs of payload, good for service duty and armored conversions.

The new Tahoe is 6.7 inches longer than the previous generation, with a 4.9-inch gain in wheelbase. (The new Suburban, which launches simultaneously, grows its wheelbase by 4.1 inches, with an overall length increase of just 1.3 inches.) The added length, plus the switch to independent rear suspension, have paid off in terms of space. The Tahoe gets 66 percent more space behind the third row of seats and ten full inches of added third-row legroom. At 5'6", I could sit comfortably in the third row. The floor is still a little high back there, but the seats are easy to access and usable for adults in around-town drives. Both rear rows fold flat.

Up front, the interior looks much more upscale. The Tahoe's cabin is far ahead of its platform mate, the Silverado, and among the best Chevy has ever done. But it's still a Chevy. That means the wood-like trim is fake, there are large swaths of flat gray plastic, and little details like auto-up rear windows are missing. All of the important stuff is here, from two rear-seat entertainment displays to cooled seats and an electric, sliding center console that motors rearward to serve as a set of second-row cupholders—gimmicky, but neat. And whether your device charges via USB-A, USB-C, wireless Qi, or a household outlet, the Tahoe has you covered.

So with the new generation, the Tahoe unquestionably becomes a better family vehicle. It's got more space, dozens of little cubbies for storage, and lots of charging and media options. As a service vehicle, it still offers big payload numbers, tried-and-true V-8 power, and enough space for as much private security as you need. And as a luxury truck, it makes a huge leap forward with its massively improved suspension and interior. The Tahoe has always had a wide-ranging mandate, but for 2021 it finally feels up to its many varied roles.

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