PINEHURST, NC — January 6, 2021 — We had a ‘beast’ this first week of 2021. Hope all of our readers have a wonderful New Year! Yes, I know it’s a week into the new year, but I needed a change, and this week’s vehicle was certainly a change. This week we drove the 2021 Chevy Tahoe Z71. The Tahoe is a new redesign for Chevy, and in their word, Tahoe is “the most versatile and advanced Tahoe ever – with bigger, more spacious cabin, better ride and handling, and a commanding presence that’s impossible to ignore.” Could not agree more. The Tahoe is a stylish, and, I think, imposing. The Tahoe is 210.7 inches long …. That’s 17.5 feet, if you’re calculating. It has a 10–foot wheel base and is 7 feet wide, so this is truly “impossible to ignore”. The ride was wonderful. If you remember the old really big, rectangular Lincoln Town Cars that we referred to as ‘Land Yachts’, you know they seemed to ‘swim’ down the road, sort of moving with the flow of the road rather than commanding it. That’s the feeling I got in the Tahoe. I was ‘swimming’ down the road. Yes, the handling was great, but twice I drove over a curb coming out of a parking lot because it’s comfortable and lulls you into forgetting just how big it is.
The Tahoe comes in three models, the High Country, the Premier, and the Z71, with three (3) trims, the LS, LT, and RST. That’s nine different make ups for the Tahoe. We had the Z71 4WD model and trim, so while the website boasts the Tahoe starts at $49K, our Z71 has a base of $59,299 and with our ‘options’, you would be looking at a price tag of $68,940 – a lot of money, but a lot of vehicle as well.
The Premier starts at $62,600, and the High Country starts at $69,900 for comparison. I also found it interesting that each of the models has a different grill configuration, which would allow anyone interested to tell which model they were noticing at a glance. See https://www.chevrolet.com/suvs/tahoe for a good perspective.
Our Tahoe was powered by their 355 HP standard 5.3L Ecotec3 V8, which was plenty of engine for the vehicle, in my opinion. That, matched to a 10-speed transmission, made for a smooth, responsive, and powerful forward motion when getting into traffic. Has traffic picked up in your area? Here, it seems that everyone is on the road again, probably some fall out from being shut down, even through the holidays. Regardless, there is a lot of traffic on the road and in town these days here. Is this my choice of vehicle for small town driving and parking? No, sorry. This attractive beast needs room and is more suited for wide open spaces. Think Yellowstone.
The 2021 Tahoe Z71 also came with ‘running boards’, but not just any running boards. In park, the vehicle lowers itself by a couple of inches to make it easier to enter and exit. Good for me. Once inside and in drive, the vehicle raises itself to give you more ground clearance. Sitting in the cab of this full-sized SUV gives you a window on the world. You definitely feel like you are looking down on your fellow drivers. Ours was the seven-passenger model with passthrough second row seating, which was also heated – nice. The third row was actually quite comfortable, maybe not for an all-day trip, but from point A to point B, I don’t think anyone would actually complain. There was both leg and head room in both rows, which certainly comes from the fact that this is a ‘large’ vehicle.
I have to say a word at least about the usual Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. “Park” is a push tab. “Reverse”, “Neutral”, and “Drive” are ‘pull’ tabs. I thought about that for a while. There is more space because you don’t have a gear shift in the center console, naturally, and I wondered about why ‘pull’ tabs instead of ‘push’. I really didn’t explore the logic, but I instincts tell me that you have to make a conscious effort to ‘pull’ the ‘Drive’ tab, plus, in reaching for the radio, you could not, inadvertently ‘push’ the Reverse or Neutral tabs, causing some pretty ‘high intensity’ moments, I think. The “Infotainment Center”, sitting in the middle of the dash, is 10.2” and plenty big enough for all your radio, navigation, and temperature control needs. Below it arethe ‘standard’ controls for the radio volume and channel selection, and below that are the individual temperature controls for driver and passenger, and fan control. Below that are the ‘seat heater’ buttons, and the ‘heated steering wheel’ button is on the, yes, you guessed it, steering wheel. All good. Second row seating also has temperature controls and heated seats as well. Nice.
Of course, you can’t have a big vehicle and not have lots of storage space – 122+ cubic feet of storage space. Seats fold flat, which make sliding that large box, ladder, dresser, or whatever much easier.
Our Z71 Tahoe had the $2,400 ‘Rear Media and Nav Package’, which put two Rear Seat Mounted, 12.6” Diagonal, Color Touch LCD HD screens behind the front seats, among other things. Keep those passengers entertained while you concentrate on the road, I say. The other big option was the Z71 Off-Road Package for $5,735. This package included the highly touted Magnetic Ride Control Suspension. I could write about a thousand words on this as it is fascinating but truthfully, Magnetic Suspensions use an electronic current to send a voltage into an electromagnet within the shock absorber. Inside the shock absorber is a magnetorheological fluid, or a fluid with many microscopic magnetic particles suspended in it, that reacts to a magnetic field. In the presence of a magnetic field, the viscosity of the fluid increases, increase the damping of the shock absorber. And that is the simple explanation. The technology, it seems, has been around since 2002 and only gets more refined as time goes by. All of the perks are a result of buying newer vehicles. Besides Magnetic Ride Control, there is an 8” diagonal, multi color display, Driver’s Information Center; Enhanced Cooling Radiator; Trailer Brake Controller; Advanced Trailering System; Hitch Guidance with Hitch View; HD Surround Vision; Heated Outside Power Windows with Power Fold; Heated Steering Wheel; Power Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column; Memory Setting for Driver’s Seat and more; Second Row Heated Seats; Third Row Split Bench with Power Fold; Rear Pedestrian Alert; Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert; Front and Rear Park Assist; Rear Cross Traffic Alert; and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning. Lots of good safety in this package on top of the ‘standard’ Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Front Pedestrian Braking, Following Distance Indicator, and Theft Deterrent System. Again, all good.
Out ‘big’ Tahoe with the V8 still averaged 18 mpg, with 16 around town and 20 on the highway. Looking for a ‘beast’ to serve the family and your trailering/hauling needs. You probably want to give the 2021 Tahoe a really close look.
And last, how about a short video that covers the major things you will like about the 2021 Tahoe? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlPCn54Lh6Y Enjoy! Drive Safely! Here we go – 2021.
“Touring car,” “parkways,” and Sunday afternoon drives harken back to the early days, when owning a car primarily afforded a family the opportunity to get out into the fresh air and see the surrounding area. Ah, how times have changed. Today, the sole purpose of owning a car is to get from Point A to Point B. The idea of “taking a drive” for pleasure’s sake is all but lost upon us. We are too consumed by the electronic age to pause and “smell the roses,” even in these COVID times when many of us are homebound.
Which, as Johnny has already amply described, brings us to our Car of the Week, the 2021 Chevy Tahoe 4WD Z71. As I write we haven’t compared notes but here’s my take: This truly is a “touring car” and besides that, a family car that does it all. Large, roomy, yet easy to handle, the Chevrolet Tahoe first rolled off GMC’s production line in 1991 as a full-size SUV, the Yukon along with its sibling, the K5 Blazer/Jimmy. In 1994, Chevy redesigned the mid-size S10 Blazer and christened the full-size model the Tahoe. The Tahoe Z71 model as a limited edition was introduced in 1996.
This is 5th generation Tahoe is very big—built on the same GMT T1XX platform as the Silverado 1500, but instead of a truck’s live axle and leaf springs, the Tahoe has an independent rear multilink suspension setup with coil springs, which lowers the vehicle floor and affords more cargo area and 2nd and 3rd row room. This is the largest SUV in the full-size length segment, with 11 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 10 inches of third row legroom—a total maximum cargo space of 122.9 cubic feet—which further supports my contention that this is a superb “touring car” for six passengers plus driver. It’s a boxy, can-do-anything vehicle thanks to its 4WD, offroad chasispackage, Bilstein shock absorbers, a standard 3.73 rear gear ration G80 locking differential, and powerful 6.2L EcoTec V8 engine with dynamic fuel management, magnetic ride control with available four-corner air ride adaptive suspension, 22-inch wheels, FL60E four-speed automatic transmission and a powerful 420 hp. Let’s not leave it at that, though. This SUV is meant to work. Nine camera displays for enhanced towing capabilities
Inside, the dashboard and entertainment systems have it all, with a 10.25” touchscreen that is standard on all trims, and a pair of 12.6” LCD rear screens so that 2nd row passenger in their supremely comfortable bucket seats with wide center aisle can individually watch movies from their smartphones.
The pushbutton shifter column is on the dashboard. You access parking, reverse, neutral and drive with your righthand pointer finger by pulling the tab. Not as difficult as some of the “innovations” you see on other makes and models, but still some getting used to. Something I really appreciated was the running board, which makes it easy to get into this car, unlike some, where you have to pull yourself up by the handle.
The Tahoe competes with the Ford Expedition, the Toyota Sequoia, and he Nissan Armada and frankly, I am not in a position to compare but I believe, when all is said and done, a car buyer will go with his or her own experience and brand loyalty because all four have earned full marks regarding performance, safety, and drivability.
As for me, driving the Tahoe was easy, fluid, responsive, seamless and behind the wheel I never felt like I was driving a vehicle as big as this one truly is. That’s the proof of a well-designed vehicle: it goes where you tell it to go and it does it effortlessly. It is only when you are trying to get into a tight parking space at the grocery store that you realize just how big the Tahoe really is.
Commuter car? No. Long-distance car? You bet. Just the car for parents and up to three children? Yep. Sporting life enthusiast? No question. Did I love it? Is the sky blue?
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Chevrolet Dealership in Pinehurst, NC
Clark Chevrolet Cadillac, 35 Dundee Rd, Pinehurst, NC 28374
Phone: +1 910 364 9979
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Chevrolet Dealership in Yonkers, NY
Beck Chevrolet Co, Inc., 561 Central Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10704
Phone: +1 914 595 1463