Chevrolet has revealed its 2021 Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs, redesigned to use the T1 platform from the latest Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.
The T1 platform will also spawn a new generation of Cadillac Escalade.
The Z71 (above) is now a standalone trim level instead of an option package and features a higher approach angle, a two-speed transfer case, all-terrain tyres, and a front skid plate. Unlike the other models, four-wheel-drive is mandatory.
Unlike Ford, who switched to a twin-turbocharged V6 for its rival full-size Expedition, GM will retain standard V8 power.
Standard on all bar the High Country is a 5.3-litre V8 with 265kW and 519Nm, while the new flagship trim has a 6.2-litre V8 with 313kW and 623Nm.
Both V8s feature cylinder deactivation, automatic stop/start, variable valve-timing and direct injection.
There will be a six-cylinder Tahoe and Suburban, however, for the first time since the 1990s. The new Duramax 3.0-litre turbo-diesel is optional on all bar the Z71 and produces 207kW and a stout 623Nm.
Diesel market penetration is much lower in North America so GM’s new trucks will be unique in their segment in offering an oil-burner.
All three engines use a 10-speed automatic transmission.
GM has belatedly followed in Ford’s footsteps in one respect, however, switching to an independent multi-link rear suspension from the erstwhile live rear axle.
This allows for a more comfortable seating position and greater legroom for third-row occupants (up 256mm in the Tahoe), as well as a flatter load floor.
GM’s Magnetic Ride Control is standard on the Premier and High Country and optional on the Z71.
There’s also the new Air Ride Adaptive Suspension, available on the High Country and Z71, which delivers automatic load-levelling and ride-height adjustment.
The extra cabin room can also be attributed to the overall growth in dimensions. The wheelbase of the Tahoe and Suburban has grown 124mm and 104mm to a total of 3070mm and 3406mm, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, these trucks are big – the Tahoe measures 5351mm long and the Suburban 5732mm. For comparison, a Toyota LandCruiser is 'just' 4990mm long.
Even the Nissan Patrol, which rivals the Tahoe in North America under the Armada nameplate, is 5165mm long.
Autonomous emergency braking is standard on all models, as is a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There’s an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster on Premier and High Country models and a standard 15.0-inch head-up display on the latter.
Second-row passengers can also enjoy the optional dual 12.6-inch touchscreen entertainment systems which feature Android device mirroring.
The Suburban is the longest-running nameplate in the industry, first debuting in 1935. It’s been remarkably consistent, the Suburban name always used on a combination of full-size pickup platform and a wagon-style body.
It’s such a fixture in the North American market that, earlier this year, the Suburban became the first vehicle to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Though Chevrolet remains the segment leader, these redesigned SUVs have to fend off a resurgent Ford Expedition, freshly redesigned last year.
They'll also face new threats. The upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are shifting to the Ram pickup platform, which will put them in the same size class and potentially the same price range as the Chevrolets.
It's been almost twenty years since we last saw the Suburban in Australia. It was sold here from 1998 until 2001, wearing Holden badges and featuring a choice of petrol or diesel V8 engines.
With the addition of a turbo-diesel six, the Chevrolet trucks now seem more suited for the Australian market than ever but they’re unlikely to make the trip.