The current Tahoe is in its fourth-generation, and sales are still very good. Since the fourth-gen vehicle debuted in 2015, the Tahoe has sold around 90,000-100,000 units each year. But it's time for the Tahoe for a redesign rather than another update, and the brand just pulled the covers off the fifth-gen 2021 model. Borrowing cues from the Silverado and the new Blazer, the Tahoe also gets more than cosmetic changes. Let's take a closer look.
The totally new body is evolutionary but very different, at the same time. It sports curves in the body sculpting and more dramatic creases, along the lines of the Chevy Blazer. The back half gets a dramatic forward-tilted C-pillar and a semi-floating-roof. The front fascia looks very similar to the Silverado with the twin-bar grille, thin headlights, C-shaped daytime running lights, and the vertical cutouts that flank the lower fascia. The biggest change might just be the rear fascia. Gone is the blocky rectangular look in favor of a wider license plate cutout that's topped off by a chrome bar that mimics the front, blackened D-pillars to make the back look wider, and more shapely taillights with more interesting lighting elements.
Almost more important than the visual changes outside, is the fact that Chevy made the Tahoe bigger. It's now 6.7 inches longer and has 4.9-inches of additional wheelbase. That translates to more space inside. Third-row legroom grows to 34.9 inches to make it truly useful for actual humans (the 2019 Tahoe has a measly 24.8 inches of legroom, barely more than the dinky 23.8 inches of third-row legroom in the Lexus RX 350 L). The third-row legroom in the new Tahoe is actually half an inch more than the one in the 2019 Suburban. Cargo room behind the third row also grows from 15.3 cubic feet to 25.5 cubic feet.
The major contributor to the space change in the new Tahoe is the introduction of an independent rear suspension (instead of the current solid rear axle). The load height for the rear is actually lower, as well, and the change to the suspension should make the Tahoe better in the handling department, as well as the ride comfort.
The Tahoe now gets the option of a potent 3.0-liter Duramax turbodiesel with 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque just like the version in the Silverado 1500 pickup. The base engine is still a 5.3-liter V8 good for 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The bigger 6.2-liter V8 is optional and good for 420 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque. Every engine gets mated to a 10-speed automatic rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.
Three suspension choices undergird the Tahoe: the base steel coil springs and shocks, springs with Magnetic Ride Control, and an all-new Air Ride Adaptive Suspension that's optional on the pricier High Country and Z71 trims. The new top-tier suspension can be raised for improved off-road prowess and lowered for better fuel efficiency. No word on how much the option will cost.
The interior is still very much Chevy but better-looking and with improved tech. There's still way too much chrome trim for our liking, but the look is much cleaner overall with a much less bulky look. The 2021 Tahoe a large 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system across all trims, an optional 8-inch multi-info digital display in the gauge cluster, and an optional and very large 15-inch head-up display. You can also upgrade to get big 12.6-inch rear seat entertainment displays to the delight of anyone in the back.
Six trims will be available in the Tahoe, ranging from the more basic LS, and LT trims, all the way up to the sportier RST, the off-road-ready Z71, and the higher trimmed Premier and High Country. The High Country trim is a new addition at the top position (above the former top-trim Premier) and gets fancier appointments and features. The Z71 gets robust features like skid plates, standard four-wheel drive, a two-speed transfer case, rugged all-terrain tires, a skid plate, a better approach angle, and flashy red tow hooks, as well as a more aggressive grille.
Safety is also upgraded even in standard configuration. The set includes forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and automatic high-beams. The basics like airbags, traction control, stability control, and a rearview camera are, of course, standard. You can always pay more to get upgrades like lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
The larger Chevrolet Suburban is also new for 2021 and gets much of the same treatment as the Tahoe (same engines, same trim levels), but it's bigger inside. Though the Suburban's styling is similar to the Tahoe, there's some differentiation between the two other than size to set them apart. Check out the two below.
There are a few more inches of third-row legroom in the Suburban than in the Tahoe for those folks who might regularly tote teenagers or adults. Unless you need a lot more cargo space and a bit more legroom, we say go with the Tahoe and save a little money. No pricing is public yet, but the Suburban will definitely cost at least a couple of thousand more than the Tahoe in base trim. Look for it to go on sale sometime in mid-2020 as a 2021 model.