Can the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe win the giant SUV battle?
I test drive the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe
Say hello to the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe. An extremely popular vehicle in the Middle East and the United States of America. In the Middle East, most people tend to have large families, and cars like the Tahoe cater to that exact need. In the US, people tend to undertake long cross country road trips, and at the same time, they tow a trailer or other equipment; hence these large spacious cars with massive engines and torque figures help make the drive much more manageable and comfortable. Low fuel prices help as well. A lot of input was given by existing customers so that Chevrolet could better its offering. So let us come check out the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe.
What is new for 2021?
This is the 5th generation Tahoe. It shares its platform with the Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and is the shorter version of the Chevrolet Suburban.
With a brand new front grille and fascia, the car looks fresh as ever. The look, however, is divisive, with people liking or not liking it. In addition, the entire exterior look is new, and so are the new interiors.
For the first time, the Z71 becomes a standalone trim rather than an additional package.
Four trim levels are offered in the middle east: LT, LS, Z71 and Premier, with only one engine as standard, which is the standard 355-hp 5.3-litre V8.
There will be six trim levels on offer LT, LS, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country in the US. The US also gets two additional engine offerings a diesel 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine and a 6.2-litre V8 producing 420-hp.
All the engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. 4WD comes as standard depending on the trim level you have chosen.
Chevrolet expects the Premium and Z71 to be the most popular trim levels in the region. I drove the Premium trim level Suburban, the Z71 trim Tahoe.
The Tahoe is one of the few remaining cars to have a body on frame chassis. Most modern SUVs are moving towards the monocoque design, such as the Defender.
Since I am in the middle east, the only engine I got to experience is the 5.3 litre V8. The engine is smooth, delivering power efficiently and when required. It feels swift enough for daily driving and could handle the off-roading when we took it throughout the dunes. However, you have to be smart while managing the weight of the car when you are off-roading.
This is where the Z71 trim level shines through, and it will be a very popular model here. The Z71 comes with a two-speed transfer case that provides traditional four-wheel drive, 20-inch wheels wrapped with all-terrain tires, and underbody protection. The Z71 also has an air suspension with magnetorheological dampers. The air suspension can adjust ride height to a maximum of ten inches from eight inches.
I also drove the car with the stock coil-over suspension. On the highways, and unless there are massive bumps, potholes or massive undulations, the stock suspension is good too. However, off-road, the composure offered by the air suspension is unparalleled. The noise insulation is good, too, and the cabin gets minimal road, wind and tire noise.
The handling and drive dynamics are still big truck like and folks who enjoy that kind of driving feel will love it. There is a sense of "big vehicle" coming through feel in the Tahoe, and I know that feeling is irreplaceable by anything else out there.
This is where Tahoe truly excels. The new interior layout of the Tahoe offers hectares of interior space. In addition, for the first time, the third row is usable by adults. This is mainly due to the rear redesign of the suspension, which gets an independent setup for the first time.
The second row can be specced with captain seats or a bench. The bench is reclinable and slideable, making sure the passengers get the comfiest seating position.
Front seats are comfortable and have a superb all-around view. You sit nice and high with a commanding driving position. Materials and build quality are decent. Plastics can be better, though. The new interior packaging helps free up room inside the car, making all the rows spacious enough. The second and third-row seats fold, making the inside cargo space available up to 123 cubic feet.
The switchgear is where the ergonomics get lost in translation. The old column shifter gets replaced by a push-button set up on the centre console. Next to it, you have the 8-inch-diagonal central colour touchscreen or 10-inch-diagonal central colour touchscreen on LT trim and above all in High Definition. Available is also an 8-inch-diagonal instrument cluster, 15-inch head-up display, dual 12.6-inch diagonal rear-seat LCDs making sure the kids do not get bored.
Below the screen, you get the HVAC control vents and on the left of the steering wheel, the towing and 4wd control systems.
A host of charging ports, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bose audio system, are some of the notable features of the car.
For the first time ever we in the Middle East get the OnStar services.
All in all, it is a solid car. Depending on how you spec it, the pricing will vary. The competition on the segment is quite strong here in the Middle East. The base price is $51,245 or aed 188,000, and it goes up to $71,000 or aed 264,000.