The EPA numbers are in.
The redesigned 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban and their upscale counterparts, the 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, are bigger than their respective 2020 model year predecessors but post slightly improved fuel economy. Chevy and GMC have released EPA-rated fuel economy figures for their new large SUVs with each seeing a 1 mpg improvement in the city compared to last year. More specifically, the improvement applies to both the two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, both powered by the naturally aspirated 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V8s.
The sole exceptions to an mpg improvement are the Suburban and Yukon XL equipped with 4WD.
Here's a more precise 2021 model year breakdown:
- 5.3-liter-equipped 2WD Tahoes and Suburbans return 16/20/18 mpg city/highway/combined
- 6.2-liter 2WD return 15/20/17 mpg
- 5.3-liter 4WD return 15/19/17 mpg
- 6.2-liter 4WD return 15/19/16 mpg (Tahoe)
- 6.2-liter 4WD return 14/19/16 mpg (Suburban)
To compare, here are 2020 model year ratings:
- 5.3-liter 2WD: 15/22/18 mpg
- 6.2-liter 2WD: 14/23/17 mpg
- 5.3-liter 4WD: 15/21/17 mpg
- 6.2-liter 4WD: 14/22/17 mpg (Tahoe)
- 6.2-liter 4WD return 14/20/16 mpg (Suburban)
For now, neither brand has released mpg ratings for the optional 3.0-liter inline-six diesel. Official figures for the 2021 Cadillac Escalade are also currently unavailable.
In general, what we're seeing is an improvement in city mpg at the expense of highway. It's also important to bear in mind the new Tahoe and Yukon are longer vehicles than their predecessors, specifically by about 6.7 inches. The Suburban and Yukon XL are 1.3 inches longer than before. This allows owners to stuff the SUVs with more cargo and, at the same time, not suffer too much at the gas pumps.
The bottom line here is that all four SUVs are gas guzzlers and haven't seen major mpg improvements in nearly 20 years, but given that gas is beyond cheap these days, we doubt buyers will have any complaints. Looking ahead, however, GM will eventually have no choice but to do something about these ratings, either by full or partial electrification.