It doesn't involve a lack of interest.
The all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Suburban were unveiled earlier this month and there's no reason to believe both won't be huge sellers. Among the several trim levels offered, one, in particular, stood out to us: the off-road-focused Z71. Although not initially revealed in the Suburban, we just learned that a Suburban Z71 will join its Tahoe Z71 sibling in due time. That's the good news. The not so good news is that neither will be offered with the brand's 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine. In fact, this oil burner is offered on every trim level except for the Z71. How come?
GM Authority learned from Chevy SUV engineers that the Z71's unique front fascia - a necessary design element in order to have a higher approach angle and improve off-road capabilities - obstructs the intercooler and other necessary Duramax components.
It was simply a bad fit and, at least for now, there's no workaround. It's probably not impossible to reconfigure the intercooler piping or, even more simply, redesign the front end, but it may boil down to whether it's financially justified. The take rate for an oil burner off-roader may not be high enough to justify the cost. It's a shame because the Tahoe Z71 looks pretty darn good. And a turbo-diesel option would be the icing on the cake, which is already made up of 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain rubber, a front skit plate, red tow hooks, and black chrome exterior accents.
If that's not enough, the automaker's Air Ride Adaptive suspension and Magnetic Ride Control are optional. Still, the Z71's 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower is certainly no slouch, but the added grunt of the oil burner definitely would have been nice. But Chevy chose to give the Z71 SUVs the front end look and features that best suit its off-road nature.