Since the introduction of the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, General Motors has molded the shape of the personal SUV space. Arguably for the better, large personal vehicles such as the original Chevy Blazer have become part of the Americana vehicle archetype. Right up there with muscle cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, to the Corvette, adventurous Jeeps, and the full size pickup truck such as the F-150 and Silverado. These are vehicles that people still romanticize about, both in America and abroad, in the face of an autonomous vehicle doomsday clock, fueled by lack of driving passion and Silicon Valley micro-dosing.
To wit, Chevrolet’s marketing team will openly admit the differences between customers of the Tahoe and Suburban nameplates. For the uninitiated, the Tahoe and Suburban may appear as the exact same vehicle, and to offer both marques simultaneously is pointless. But looking at the unfiltered data, and the demographics of the Tahoe and Suburban couldn’t be more different, and their places in the market couldn’t be more distant.
Those buying a 2018 Chevrolet Suburban, with an MSRP of $50,200, are likely a structured single-income family household, with one spouse averaging a salary well above $100K annually. The Suburban is used as a multi-role family carryall, that needs to fit the whole family, plus copious containers of cargo, to wherever it is they’re going. They might even be towing something, as well.
As for the $47,500 MSRP Chevrolet Tahoe, which features a shorter wheelbase, buyers likely represent a dual income household. Maybe there are kids, but it’s not for sure. The towering Tahoe has three rows of seating, despite owners largely using it for personal daily use, such as commuting. Customers buy the Tahoe out of discretion, not out of necessity, unlike the Suburban. It’s a vehicle that sold nearly 100,000 copies in 2017 based on preference and taste, to make a statement. A personal vehicle. Like a Camaro, or a Corvette.
So why does it feature a barely usable third row?
Reader Richard ponders the same.
“I think a third row seat delete should be an option. Not everyone needs three rows,” Richard notes in an email to GMAuthority.
At the moment, the only three-row vehicle that deletes its least-used row is the midsize GMC Acadia, with the All Terrain trim level. The notion is that it frees up more trunk space for those involved in the coveted “active lifestyle.” Which, if we’re honest with ourselves, that normally amounts to needing space for a duffle bag, a cooler, and a tent. Yet it’s the kind of personal adventurousness that the original Chevrolet Blazer pioneered fifty years ago, before the nameplate downsized and made room for the Tahoe in its previous space.
Deleting a third row in vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, and short wheelbase Escalade could indeed give a more personalized vibe to these American money machines. It would eliminate what is, in our opinion, an essentially redundant feature of the cramped third row seats, while opening the trunk space up to more Suburban-level capabilities. As it stands, the trio of short wheelbase GM fullsize SUVs provide neither ample third row seating nor practical trunk space, unless the seats are folded flat. The flat folding is made possible via a raised loading floor, compared to the previous generation.
There’s more potential here than simply removing a set of seats. General Motors could make the second row of the Cadillac Escalade more luxurious by putting more focus on the second row of seats, such as giving them greater reclining abilities and more leg room, made possible by setting the seat frames closer to the back near where there is no longer a third row. It could give the Chevrolet Tahoe a more tactical feel with a less cluttered interior. Same goes for the Yukon or Yukon Denali.
Let us know how you feel about Richard’s third-row delete idea in the comment section below.