Chevrolet’s full-size Tahoe SUV marks its 25th anniversary this year in a big way, with the presentation of a fully redesigned version for 2021.
The new Tahoe’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer, overall length is 6.7 inches more, third row legroom is increased by 10.1 inches, and cargo space behind the third row is up by 10.2 cubic feet. Maximum cargo room is now 122.9 cubic feet, exceeding the previous Tahoe’s capacity by 28.2 cubic feet. With an extra 10 inches of legroom, third row passengers can now be actual adults.
New architecture and the introduction of independent rear suspension allow for these expansions, along with game-changing improvements to Tahoe’s body-on-frame ride quality. Magnetic ride control and air ride adaptive suspension (standard or optional depending on model) bolster the smooth ride.
There are three engine choices for the 2021 Tahoe: a 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V8, a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8, and a new 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbodiesel producing 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque.
All Tahoe models have a 10-speed automatic transmission and are available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.
There are six trim levels: LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country. Pricing starts at $50,295 including a $1,295 destination charge.
Scads of new features for infotainment, convenience, driver assistance, safety, and trailering are part and parcel of the new Tahoe. The top-tier Tahoe 4WD High Country with 6.2-liter V8 ($73,895) is packed with them, and my test vehicle took it over the top with $7,950 in optional equipment. Chief among them is the High Country Deluxe package adding a panoramic sunroof, air ride suspension, power retractable side steps, adaptive cruise control, enhanced automatic emergency braking, enhanced cooling radiator, and several towing-related features.
A $1,995 rear seat entertainment system includes two seatback-mounted 12.6-inch touchscreens. The power sliding center floor console ($350) seems like a good option if rear seats are occupied on the regular, especially by young children. With the push of an overhead button, the massive center console moves backward, providing easier access for those passengers.
The High Country infotainment system includes a glorious Bose 10-speaker audio system, able to be enjoyed to the utmost because of Tahoe’s quiet cabin. Other components of the system include a 10-inch touchscreen, navigation, voice recognition, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, wireless charging, Wi-Fi, and SiriusXM.
Operation of the infotainment system is frustration-free, and there are lots of options for how to control it: voice, screen touch, steering-wheel buttons, and dash-mounted dials and buttons.
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe is a huge but gentle beast with enough room for nine passengers. The High Country model I drove weighed 5,845 pounds even before I loaded it with 40- and 50-pound bags of wild bird seed. It can tow up to 8,100 pounds (8,300 pounds with 2WD). The 6.2-liter engine is burly enough to mobilize all that mass like it’s a mere bagatelle. Fuel economy numbers are 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, and for the capability we’re talking about here, those are good numbers.
2021 CHEVROLET TAHOE 4WD HIGH COUNTRY
Base price, including destination charge: $73,895
Price as driven: $81,345
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.