While horsepower and torque typically get the lion’s share of attention, stopping power is every bit as important, especially in an emergency situation. To that point, the latest full-size GM SUV models have shown impressive stopping performance gains over the previous generation, with some models stopping shorter than even small sedans like the Mazda 3.
In a recent post, Car & Driver unveiled stopping distances for several next-gen GM SUV models, as collected by the publication during testing (70-mph-to-0). The results point to some major improvements for the big utility vehicles.
“As of mid-December 2020, we’ve tested six members of the newest generation of [the large GM SUV] family (we doubled up on Escalade and Tahoe),” Car & Driver reports. “They’re larger and heavier than the trucks that came before, but all of them stopped in 184 feet or less.”
Impressively, the publication also said that the 2021 Chevy Suburban High Country posted a 70-mph-to-0 stop distance of just 166 feet, besting the stopping distance of several smaller vehicles, including the Mazda 3. That 166-foot figure is also just 6 feet off the figure put down by the performance-minded Audi RS6 Avant.
By comparison, the publication reports that it recorded a stopping distance of 248 feet in the same 70-mph-to-0 brake test for the Chevy Tahoe in 1999, as well as a 200-plus-foot result for the 2016 Cadillac Escalade.
Clearly, the new GM SUV models have improved massively with the latest generation. It bears to reason that a lot of the improvement could be boiled down to advances in tire technology, but as the publication points out, there’s more to it than that, as even the Tahoe Z71 and its off-road rubber managed to post impressive stopping performance, while the tires on the other vehicles tested have similar specs and ratings as the tires equipped on older SUV generations.
General Motors points to a variety of advances as the driving force behind the stopping distance improvements, such as a new independent rear suspension, specially tuned optional magnetorheological adaptive suspension, and GM’s eBoost brake-by-wire system. Interestingly, Car & Driver also points out that GM’s full-size pickups, which are based on the same GM T1 platform, showed only modest braking improvements compared to the next-gen GM SUV models.
Regardless, shorter stops are definitely a huge part of what keeps the latest GM SUV models safe, which will no doubt provide peace of mind for new buyers.
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