The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 is the most off-road focused model in the range, and to demonstrate that we’re bringing you a real-world photo gallery of the full-size SUV being driven in a variety of road conditions, including sand dunes, in the Middle East.
The Tahoe Z71 sits approximately in the middle of the line-up, above the mid-range LT (around which it’s based) and below the street-focused RST. Compared with other trim levels in the range, this one seems restrictive in some ways, because the only engine available is the 5.3L V8 L84 gasoline EcoTec3 unit, which produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque and is mated to GM’s ten-speed automatic transmission. There 3.0L I6 LM2 turbodiesel Duramax is not available due to a restriction with the high-clearance front fascia, and the range-topping 6.2L V8 L87 is similarly not available.
Uniquely for the current Tahoe, there is also no rear-wheel-drive option, as every 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 is four-wheel drive, as it should be. If customers didn’t intend to go off-roading, they would probably buy something else.
The vehicle’s off-road credentials are boosted by a front fascia which no other Tahoe has. It gives the SUV a rugged look, partly because the grille is predominantly black, without chrome highlights. More importantly, the shorter, upward-tilting lower fascia features a skid plate, which increases the approach angle, along with a set of red tow hooks. On sufficiently rough ground, that will allow the Tahoe Z71 to keep going when drivers of less off-road-oriented versions of the Tahoe to stop and turn back.
For those who want even more ability on rough surfaces, the vehicle is offered with an Off-Road Capability Package, which consists of Magnetic Ride Control, Air Ride Adaptive suspension (that allows the driver to increase the ride height by two inches from the regular height setting) and an eight-inch diagonal multi-color Driver Information Center. It costs $2,450, but it is available only as part of the Z71 Off-Road Package, which includes Advanced Trailering System, integrated trailer brake controller, an Enhanced Cooling Radiator and many safety features such as Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Pedestrian Alert and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert. The total price change is $5,735.
The Tahoe Z71 sits on 20-inch machined aluminum wheels with Technical Gray pockets, wrapped with Goodyear Wrangler TrailRunner all-terrain tires. As with the engine and drive system, the Bow Tie brand allows customers to choose optional wheels and tires on every other Tahoe, but not on this one.
However, Chevy is more generous on the subject of exterior colors. The 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71 shown here is painted in Satin Steel Metallic, one of seven colors available at no extra cost. The others are Black, Summit White, Shadow Gray Metallic, Empire Beige Metallic, Midnight Blue Metallic and Graywood Metallic. Cherry Red Tincoat and Iridescent Pearl Tricoat add $495 and $995, respectively, to the $60,495 starting MSRP of the Z71.
The Tahoe is now in its fifth generation, following a complete overhaul (re-engineering and redesign) for the 2021 model year. Like the 2021 Chevy Suburban, which is the same vehicle but 15 inches longer, it has been designed to take Chevrolet to the top of the SUV sector.
“There are no vehicles like Tahoe and Suburban – which have starred in Hollywood movies, carried military heroes and world leaders, and helped create countless family memories,” said Barry Engle, who at the time served as executive vice president and president, General Motors North America. “We’ve taken what people love about these pioneering SUVs and made them even better – adding more room for people and cargo, more advanced technology and an unrivaled driving experience.”