General Motors just introduced the all-new, next-generation 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, two full-size SUVs that are both larger and heavier than their predecessors, but offer very little in terms of fuel economy gains. As such, the new Chevrolet SUV rollout has prompted a critique from climate groups.
GM justifies the new model rollout by pointing to market demands. “People wanted a greater ability to haul families and their cargo, so that was the baseline that set our decision-making process,” said lead development engineer Dwight Schoenefeld.
Indeed, as we covered previously, demand for utility models in the U.S. appears to be insatiable.
However, the director of the Washington environment group Safe Climate Campaign, Dan Becker, critiqued GM and other automakers, arguing that they spend billions of dollars on advertising campaigns to coax buyers into purchasing inefficient, but highly profitable, trucks and SUVs.
“GM claims that they are merely meeting consumer demand for gigantic vehicles, but most consumers don’t use their pickups and SUVs for lumber and machinery but to haul lattes home from Starbucks,” Becker told the Associated Press.
Both of the new Chevrolet SUV models unveiled this week are heavier and larger than the previous generation, with the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban growing an inch in overall length, and the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe gaining almost seven inches in overall length.
The exterior size increase adds considerable cargo room and passenger room – for example, the Tahoe’s cargo volume grows by 66 percent with this next generation, while both Chevrolet SUV models gain 10 inches in third-row legroom.
Weight hurts mileage, and as a result, the new Chevrolet SUVs post “incrementally” improved fuel economy, according to Schoenefeld. Engine options for the SUVs include the naturally aspirated 5.3L L84 V8 as standard on lower trims and the naturally aspirated 6.2L L87 V8 higher in the range. The turbodiesel 3.0L LM2 I6 also makes the options list. Each engine is paired to the GM 10-speed automatic transmission.
According to a recent report from the Associated Press, the Chevrolet SUVs are among the least fuel-efficient new passenger vehicles currently on the road.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of climate scientists and peer-reviewed research indicates that greenhouse gas emissions, including those from burning gasoline, are resulting in climate change, with more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. According to the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. National Climate Assessment, as cited by the Associated Press, nearly all of the global warming seen since the late 1800s is a result of greenhouse gases.
Source: Associated Press