If big is better, then the redesigned 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe betters what it’s been. The full-size SUV expands in length, cargo room, and third-row passenger room to seat up to eight passengers in comfort, abetted by a softer suspension setup.
Built on the Silverado pickup truck platform and mechanically similar to the larger 2021 Chevy Suburban, the Tahoe can be less efficient than the outgoing model despite nifty fuel-saving tricks. Some features such as adaptive cruise control are not available on LS, LT, RST, and Z71 trims, and are only an option even on the priciest Premier and High Country trims. Nitpick withstanding, it earns a TCC Rating of 6.8 out of 10.
Taking the broad, bold design cues from the Silverado pickup truck, the Tahoe might intimidate rear-view mirrors and deer alike. A wide vertical grille and boxy bod on big wheels belie the more refined touches inside.
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A familiar duo of V-8 engines power the 2021 Tahoe, but are now paired with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive is optional, as is a forthcoming 277-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel that should pick up highway fuel economy where the bigger Tahoe has fallen off. The big 5.3-liter and 6.2-liter V-8s ride on a new independent rear suspension with available adaptive dampers and a four-corner air suspension.
Growing longer, the 2021 Tahoe gets 30% more cargo space, roomier third-row seats with a better seating position and more leg room, and heated bucket seats up front with power-adjustable lumbar support. All of that makes for comfier road tripping and less complaining.
Crash-test results aren’t in but Chevrolet equipped the 2021 Tahoe with standard automatic emergency braking. Other safety features are limited to the highest trims, but we kvetch about that later.
Aside from that bungled safety bundling, the 2021 Tahoe comes well equipped with a large 10.2-inch touchscreen, smartphone compatibility with wireless charging, power liftgate, and other features. The base LS and mid-grade RST trim are delayed until after the launch of the more popular trims. Available options run the gamut from the expected, like rear-seat entertainment center and a sunroof, to the unexpected, such as a power-sliding center console that moves 10 inches.
Even with fuel-saving technology such as cylinder deactivation and automatic start-stop, the 2021 Tahoe isn’t much more efficient than last year and in some cases it is worse.
But that’s the consequence of bigness: physics. The big Tahoe cocoons passengers from the road in an immersive cabin that resurrects the adage about getting there as part of the fun.