2021 Chevrolet Tahoe First Look Review: Bigger, More Power And Luxury

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The iconic full-size SUV lives on.

It may sound hard to believe, but the Chevrolet Tahoe is now in its fifth generation. 25 years on, the American automaker's latest full-size SUV continues a long-standing tradition of a body-on-frame chassis, standard rear-wheel-drive and optional four-wheel-drive, along with standard V8 power. Not only is the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe bigger than its predecessor both inside and out, but it's also packed with more premium features.

In an effort to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible, Chevy is offering a total of six trim levels and different wheel sizes. This offense strategy is to directly attack the Tahoe's chief rival, the Ford Expedition. The crosstown adversary has been experiencing a sales boom ever since it was recently redesigned a year ago, and Chevy is no doubt hoping to turn the tide.

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Stylish Yet Familiar Exterior

SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe typically sport more traditional exterior styling and the same was mostly done here. The most notable exception is the bold yet modern front end design with standard LED headlamps. LED taillights are also standard fare. Overall, the new Tahoe's crisp lines and mostly boxy, upright appearance will appeal to the faithful. Overall styling greatly resembles the latest Silverado full-size pickup truck.

The Tahoe is built on a new architecture featuring an independent rear suspension. It now sports a 4.9-inch longer wheelbase than before, as well as a 6.7-inch increase in overall length. Buyers can select one of six trim levels: LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country. There are also a total of nine exterior color options and 18-, 20-, and 22-inch wheels, depending on chosen trim.

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Bigger Wheelbase Means Larger Interior

The first thing you need to know about the new Tahoe's interior is that it features 66 percent more cargo room behind the third row than before. All three rows are more spacious, specifically the third row where passengers have an additional 10 inches of legroom.

The 2021 Tahoe can be equipped with up to five different display screens, including the standard 10-inch central touchscreen. There's also an 8-inch diagonal information cluster that comes as standard on the Premier and High Country trims. Lower trims receive a 4.2-inch screen. Also standard on those top two trims is a 15.2-inch head-up display. Rear seat passengers will also appreciate the optional rear-seat media packages consisting of dual 12.6-inch LCD touchscreens.

The overall dashboard design is modern and far more premium-looking than before. Another welcomed departure is the column shifter, which has now been replaced by a push-button shifter.

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Power, Towing, And Suspension

There are a total of three engines on offer: a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower is standard on LS, LT, Z71, RST, and Premier models. High Country models instead have a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 hp. Both V8s are paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission and have cylinder deactivation technology. All new Tahoe trims (sole exception is Z71) can also be powered by an optional Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel with 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. Chevy claims this is the only oil burner offered in the full-size SUV segment.

Towing is also a big priority for owners. There's an available Max Trailering package equipped with a high-capacity radiator and cooling fan, integrated trailer brake controller, Hitch Guidance with Hitch View, and the Chevrolet trailering app. Chevy has not yet announced official tow ratings but it is confident the final figures will surpass those of its immediate predecessor.

And because of that new longer wheelbase and independent multilink rear suspension, Chevy promises a more comfortable ride. The Premier and High Country models, for example, come with Magnetic Ride Control. The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, featuring automatic load-leveling and ride-height adjustment capabilities, is available on High Country and Z71 models.

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Pricing And Competition

Chevrolet has not announced official pricing, but we don't expect it to be a major increase over the outgoing 2020 model, which started from $49,000 and could exceed $66,000. Production for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is slated to get underway in the middle of next year at the GM's manufacturing plant in Arlington, Texas.

The most direct competition, as previously noted, will be the Ford Expedition. Both are full-size SUVs with true 4x4 off-roading capabilities with similar pricing. In the very near future, we expect the Tahoe's corporate cousins, the next-generation GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade to debut. Other potential rivals include the smaller though still very capable Dodge Durango. The dependable Toyota 4Runner can also be considered, especially against the Tahoe Z71, but it is aging rapidly. There's also the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada.

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