Chevrolet reveals the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban – gird yourself…

The current Suburbans have only been around for 5 years. The previous generation was 7 years. The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban were revealed last night. The reaction from the Hooniverse staff was not a good one.

Quick Takes

Both models look like Ford Expedition and Expedition Max, but with Chevy bowties on the front. The front; Lord have mercy. The GM team took the Silverado’s universally despised frontend and applied the same treatment to the Suburban/Tahoe. They will still sell these trucks, but they will be ugly.

There are three engines available: the standard 5.3L V8, an optional 6.0L V8, and a 3.0L Duramax inline-six. All engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic. Probably the unit that Ford/GM designed together. We’ll have to ask @hoonable is that is the case for certain. I drive a 25-year-old inline-six, and I love that the inline is making a comeback. 


Trim Levels

There are SIX trim levels overall. I had a hard enough time trying to figure out the different trims for the 2007-14 models that only had LS, LT, LT(Z71), & LTZ. Now there are still LS, LT, and Z71, but also RST, High Country, and Premier. I think. Until we see an actual configurator, it is confusing. 

The interior looks nice, and they have talked about second and third-row seating getting more space. Either the truck is even longer, or the cargo area is now smaller. We will have to check the dimension sheet when it comes out. 

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Interior

The big announcement is that the rear suspension is going to be a standard rear independent suspension. Magnetic Ride Control and Air Ride Adaptive Suspension will also be options. The Air Ride system is going to act much like the air suspension from the Ram Ecodiesel from a couple of years ago. I see parts that can fail in the woods and make it hard to get back to civilization. 

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71

Take it away, Ross.

It’s about damn time. The prior-gen Tahoe and Suburban were around for seemingly forever. Good news: GM stepped it up with the powerplants and drivetrain as a whole. Bad news, though: look at the thing. The new Tahoe and Suburban share fascias similar to those on the newest Silverado. This isn’t a good thing. To call it aggressive would be the best compliment I can pay it. To my eyes, it’s trying too hard. Over-styled and under-designed.  And it’s not even like they pushed the boundaries here; to the untrained eye the 2021s could very well the pickup’s front end slapped on the last-gen Tahoe/Suburban, stretched it a bit, and that’s where they called it a day. It also would not be a stretch to say they looked closely at Ford’s full-size SUVs when doing the rear-end styling – maybe too closely – but that’s nowhere near as questionable as the front end.

The interior, too, is lacking. I’m sure it will be “fine,” but that’s not enough in this segment. There’s no “wow,” nothing exciting. Maybe that’s what the test-market buyers are saying they want, but I still can’t see this interior living up to its likely $50-80k price tag on either the quality or “modern” metrics.

Honestly, I was expecting more. The Z71 finally looks like it will provide worthwhile off-road chops, and the engines will undoubtedly be great as they always are in full-size GM vehicles. But something doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t think the Tahoe or Suburban needed to grow in length or weight, which they both have, and the price tags will inevitably be higher than the already-shocking prices of the last generation of these vehicles. That said…I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do and how they fare versus the competition.


2021 Tahoe & Suburban models will be available Spring 2020.

Images courtesy of Chevrolet.

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16 responses to “Chevrolet reveals the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban – gird yourself…”

  1. Kamil K Avatar

    I will disagree with my esteemed-ish *colleagues* (corrected) for the following reasons:
    – The didn’t put that crap four-banger into it.
    – Diesel!!!! Eff yeah!
    – They reduced the height of the load floor – the floor on the previous gen rig raised about 5″ above the floor opening.
    – Looks good as long as you ignore the front, which is not great but it’s not a total disaster like the Silverado HD.
    – Independent rear suspension – in a vehicle of this size and mass it doesn’t really matter to me. The previous gen rode and drove very smoothly. Hopefully in increases the cargo area.
    – Air suspension is good; allows for higher towing capacity, higher pay load, and still retains a smooth ride. Allows raise of ride height when needed or a drop to allow people to easily get in and out. Reliability blah blah, yea, shocks go bad, too.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    I miss a photo (-shop?) showing their relative size to people. Will the wheel wells be on eye-level? Can you rent out the mirror housings as billboard space?

  3. outback_ute Avatar

    Is this the first time the Tahoe has a substantially different design from the Suburban, with the upswept window line in the rear door?

    The dashboard is different from the pickups, so there is the opportunity for it to be more upscale in finish. With the IRS and air suspension it seems they are adding sophistication to match the price tag levels; but I’m not sure that all buyers will appreciate it! Surely a big part of the market want the simple, rugged SUV-version-of-truck?

    If it was my decision, I’d be looking at reintroducing a 2500 version with leaf sprung axle (increased ride height would be ok) and also putting the IRS/air in the top truck trim levels, because why not?

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      The 2500 has been in production this whole time but it was government and fleet sales only.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Thanks Kamil, can you guess how much the ‘Burb occupies my thoughts normally?

  4. William Byrd Avatar
    William Byrd

    I will agree with my esteemed colleagues (spelled correctly) for the following reasons.

    – That’s just awful. You can’t not look at the front. It’s just as bad as the Silverado.
    – See above.
    – Also I have had to replace the air suspension on my wife’s GL recently, $2000 PER SIDE at a Euro shop where a good friend did the work. So yeah, shocks go bad too but they aren’t as expensive. I know, Mercedes prices blah blah, still.
    – Diesel is cool, agreed.

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      – *finger*
      – MB, Euro shop, blah blah. Chevy will be a quarter of that price.
      – diesel is cool

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Chevy, quarter of the price, tenth of the quality.

        Never understood why they threw me out of copywriting.

        1. Kamil K Avatar

          I don’t think that’s possible!

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            I also thought that was a safe job.

    2. Smaglik Avatar

      From reading about my e61, when the rear air suspension soils the sheets it can be done with parts from any supply house. Cheap.

      I look forward to that breaking?

  5. GTXcellent Avatar

    What is wrong with the GM design team? Their current corporate “look” is universally despised. The Camero Camaro was so hated they had to make an immediate change. The trucks are lagging in sales, and constantly being mocked and ridiculed. So what do they do? Double down and throw that look on the big SUVs. The other aspect that has me completely dumbfounded – how did they create wheel openings that are simultaneously too big AND too small? These trucks just look weird and uneven (just like everything else from Chevrolet these days)
    I’m far from a GM hater – we have a Chevy in the garage right now, and I’ve owned Bow Tie trucks in the past. But at this point I just cannot foresee me ever buying one again.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      At least the wheel wells aren’t square?

  6. Maymar Avatar

    I’m pretty sure most of the buyers who spring for the air suspension won’t be going too much further into the woods than a campground or horse farm, so getting stranded isn’t probably something they’re thinking much about.

    It’s not pretty, exactly, but it looks respectable, and I will also echo the sentiment that the IRS is a good thing if just for the space gained, as the old third row was an afterthought.

  7. joshuman Avatar

    As an owner of a 2012 Suburban LTZ, I am not excited by this exterior design. The C pillar is too thick. The 3rd row window is too small. The front is ugly. The rear trim looks like a bad mod. The interior however, finally looks like it belongs in this century. Maybe not quite 2005 Volvo levels but much better than before. The cargo space in the photos of the new one looks great to me. Air suspension is fine on the 2012 but feels a little wobbly and unsettled sometimes mid-corner. The independent rear set up on the 2021 should be better.

    I am not planning on trading in the 2012.

  8. Zentropy Avatar

    I’m generally not a fan of GM design, and Chevrolet in particular seems to provide plenty of opportunity for harsh criticism. I will say that the Suburban grille above, with its horizontal chrome, does a better job masking the train wreck of a front end than does the Tahoe’s (I’m sure that’s just a trim-level thing, and not unique to either truck).
    Chevrolet appears to have at least two distinct camps designing their lineup, because I noticed a Traverse yesterday and actually found it modestly attractive. At the very least, I couldn’t say it was ugly. Same goes for the Equinox, Colorado, and Malibu– not beauts, but they don’t make me cringe. The Suburban/Tahoe, Silverado and HD pickups, Camaro, and Blazer, though, are suffering from some pretty unfortunate styling lately (I’m not particularly enamored with the new Vette, either). They’re unfortunately the newer designs, too, which doesn’t bode well for the future.

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