What It’s Like To Ride In The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban11
Last week, General Motors revealed the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban during a media event in Detroit, Michigan. We assisted the main presentation at Little Caesars arena, but we also got a chance to ride in a camouflaged pre-production Chevrolet Suburban a few hours before the unveiling. The event was held at the GM Milford Proving Grounds where no cameras or smartphones were allowed.
Here are our impressions of this first experience aboard Chevy’s new generation of full-size SUVs.
The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe are very important (read: profitable) vehicles for General Motors, as more than 340,000 units are sold each year worldwide. To put things into perspective, one Tahoe or Suburban rolls out of the GM Arlington plant every minute.
The new Suburban and Tahoe will come in a variety of trim levels, including LS, LT, Z71, RST, Premier, and for the first time, High Country. Three engine choices will be offered, notably the turbo-diesel 3.0L LM2 inline-six that’s part of the Duramax family, plus a pair of gasoline V8s that includes the standard 5.3L L84 and the optional 6.2L L87. Output reaches up to 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque for the optional 6.2L unit. All engines mate to the standard GM 10-speed automatic transmission with Electronic Precision Shift technology.
There could even be a full-on electric variant in the near future, but that has yet to be confirmed by GM. However, GM Authority has previously reported that a Cadillac Escalade EV is planned, which shares the GM T1 platform with the Suburban and Tahoe, as well as with the 2021 GMC Yukon, which will be revealed in January.
Our time in Milford was brief, but it still allowed us to paint a clear portrait of what to expect from the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. The brand’s staff first asked us to hop into a Ford Expedition Max powered by the Ford 3.5L EcoBoost engine – the Suburban’s direct rival.
What Chevrolet primarily wanted to show us was how its new independent rear suspension performed over uneven roads compared to Ford’s setup. As in the previous-generation model, the new Suburban will offer optional Magnetic Ride Control dampers, in addition to a first-in-class Air Ride Adaptive Suspension with load leveling and up to four inches of ride height adjustment.
The first run had us flying down Milford in the big Ford at fairly high speeds, driving over bumps, pavement undulations, cracks and changing surfaces. We then sat in a Suburban equipped with the air suspension, and repeated the experience twice, at even higher speeds.
From the passenger seat, we felt the big Suburban demonstrated far less chassis wobble than the Expedition when driving over uneven ground, especially while taking on a sharp corner. Driving over large speed bump-style obstacles during the exercise also proved to be much smoother in the Chevy, while the Ford exhibited far more body motions.
The Suburban also impressed us by how well it handled on Milford’s winding course as our instructor was literally nailing it through the bends. This despite the Suburban and Tahoe’s slightly higher curb weight compared to their predecessors, even though the new SUVs use aluminum body panels to save a few pounds.
While short, our experiment allowed us to observe a significantly more refined truck than the Expedition, providing a more relaxed and controlled ride throughout the run. That said, we much preferred the seats in the Ford.
From a powerplant standpoint, the Suburban’s 6.2L V8 not only sounds better than Ford’s twin-turbocharged V6, it delivers much smoother acceleration, allowing the Suburban to come through as a more polished and more mature full-size SUV.
To fully evaluate GM’s new rigs, we’ll have to wait until we drive one for ourselves, but so far, consider us impressed by the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban as a whole. We’ll have much more coverage of these new full-size SUVs, so don’t forget to subscribe to GM Authority for more Chevrolet Suburban news, Chevrolet Tahoe news, Chevrolet news and around-the-clock GM news coverage.
- Sweepstakes Of The Month: Win a 2023 Corvette Z06 Convertible. Details here.
Can’t wait to see your throughly done review on the new Suburban and Tahoe. Chevrolet has two winners on its hands in the full-size BOF SUV space, and are set to leapfrog their competitors. I also can’t wait to check them out in person as well!
I expect the technology developed for the Suburban to be passed down to the other Chevy SUVs and CUVs, such as the Equinox, Chevy’s best selling non-truck vehicle for decades.
My family has had many Ford and GM half-ton pickups/ SUVs/vans since the mid 1990s. I feel like this article could apply almost any year. The GMs consistently feel more refined in handling/acceleration and the Fords consistently have more comfortable seats.
My grandmother, who wouldn’t dare get behind the wheel of something as large as a half-ton platform, always cringed when someone said, “let’s take the Tahoe,” because she much preferred riding in the backseat of the Expedition on long trips.
I can agree. I love my Silverado much more than our F150, but I will agree that the F150 has much more comfortable seats….and its a base model.
I’ve read a lot of complaints about the T1 pickup seats. Are these the same as the trucks? Were you sitting in the back seat? Which seats did you feel were not comfortable, specifically? And why?
I wish they had described the seats for us. Somewhere GM lost their way, because the seats in my 2001 are great, and they lasted a long time before stating to show significant wear. In general, the more I see the interior, the more I like it.
“The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe are very important (read: profitable) vehicles for General Motors, as more than 340,000 units are sold each year”
That reality cannot be overstated. These vehicles are relatively cheap to produce as they use rudimentary Chevy work truck components but they’re priced like finely engineered luxury cars which allows GM to generate huge profits for each unit. These vehicles, the Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, and the Escalade keep GM in business. If the market turns against them again, as it did once before, GM will be in trouble.
I wonder if GM fixed the third row leg room issue with the revised suspension. That’s what pushed me to a 2019 Expedition. There was no comparison really with the leg room and ability to recline the third row coupled with the adjustable sliding second row seats.
Chevrolet has addressed 3rd row usability and comfort issues with the new models thx to the inclusion of IRS and the longer wheelbase of the SUVs. In fact, the new Suburban offers more 2nd and third row legroom than the Expedition. 42 inches of 2nd row legroom in the Suburban VS the Expedition’s 41.5. 36.7 inches of 3rd row legroom for the Suburban VS the Expedition’s 36.1 inches. In the cargo space department, the new Tahoe and Suburban offer more maximum cargo room compared to both the short and long wheelbase versions of the Expedition. 144.7 cubic feet for the Suburban, and 122.9 cubic feet for the Tahoe which is even more than the 121.5 cubic feet offered in the Expedition Max.
Big let down by the GM line for 2021, they got it only half right with more leg room in the 2nd and 3rd row but huge miss with not having a 3rd row reclining seats! The 3rd row seats sit at a very upright angle and the seat materials are hard and do not cushion well all around. After sitting in the 3rd row for a only a few minutes it became very uncomfortable, cant imagine seating back there for an hour or more! We passed on the Tahoe/Suburban do to the huge miss in seat comfort, none reclining 3rd row (which our expedition has as well as much more comfortable seats) and cheap goofy dashboard! GM really missed the mark! 65K for this?!
That’s a joke, right? Both the new Tahoe and Suburban offer much nicer interiors than the Ford Expedition for their price points. The Expedition’s cabin is simply an F-150 interior with a rotary dial shifter slapped on and with cheap quality plastics that do not belong on the top trims. While the reclining 3rd row is a nice addition, it takes up your cargo room behind the third row. Ford did not go far enough to differentiate the Expedition’s interior space from the F-150, where as Chevrolet pulled out all the stops in giving their SUVs their own distinct interiors.