Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
Many moons ago, I was a Tahoe owner and it was one of the best vehicles that I ever owned. It was a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe LT with the barn doors in the rear. When the 2021 Tahoe 4WD Z71 came into my possession for review, I felt a bit of nostalgia and was excited to check out all the new features. And the tester model came with the Z71 package that is designed to be an off-road suspension package.
The Chevrolet Tahoe is the full-size SUV from General Motors, offered since 1994 after they renamed the full-size Blazer as the ‘Tahoe’. The name Tahoe comes from the area surrounding Lake Tahoe in the western United States. The Tahoe has routinely been ranked as the best selling full-size SUV in the United States. The Z71Tahoe was introduced in 2000.
When you see the Chevrolet Tahoe, you can’t help but to notice that it is much bigger on the outside. Even the grill seems more prominent with the bowtie emblem. The LED headlights are smaller than previous years and now have a slant design. Being sent the Z71 model, it came equipped with both red tow hooks, 20-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, tubular assist steps and a skid plate. The model that we tested came in a Summit White hue.
The interior is nice and spacious. There is now a push-button-and-slider setup to out the SUV in the drive modes. There is a motorized, retractable center-console lid, heated steering wheel and a panoramic sunroof, that has a bit of a fancy touch. The cabin is quiet from road and outside noise. The three-row SUV has been stretched to provide more cargo and passenger space. Legroom increases by more than 10 inches and the second-row captain seats move and fold forward to provide access to the third row. The third row is comfortable for adult size passengers. With triple-zone climate control and air vents in all three rows, everyone should feel good.
The infotainment system is equipped with a large 10.2-inch touchscreen in the dash that includes Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot. There is also a lot of interior charging ports, a crystal clear sounding Bose audio system and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 12.6-inch displays that are mounted on the headrests behind the front seats. There are five USB-C plugs as well as a rear window that opens independent of the hatch. This vehicle is ideal for family road trips.
Chevrolet offers high-tech towing assists in addition to its loaded roster of driver-assistance technology such as standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, available lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, a rear seat reminder system, Teen Driver driving report card technology and OnStar Safety & Security subscription services that includes automatic collision notification and SOS emergency calling.
The Tahoe is powered by a 355-hp 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V8 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy with the Tahoe comes in at 16 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined. The Z71 model that I tested has air springs, adaptive dampers and a two-speed transfer case four-wheel drive. The Tahoe had ample acceleration and the transmission shifted smoothly. A tree fell in my yard, so I decided to use the off-road package on the Tahoe to get rid of it. When going off-road, switching from 2-wheel drive into 4-wheel drive was easy, using the electronic controls on the lower left side of the dashboard. I wrapped the chains and around the tree and connected them to the tow hitch, switch the Tahoe in 4wd and pulled off with ease. The adaptive damping Magnetic Ride Control suspension and the Air Ride 4-corner adaptive suspension were part of the Z71’s off-road package.
When it comes to towing and hauling, the Tahoe Z71 is limited to 8,200 pounds of trailer and 1,746 pounds of payload. Towing is made easier with trailering apps and aids that can share trailer tire-pressure monitoring, hitch guidance system, store multiple trailer profiles and brake gain settings, nine different trailer-mounted camera views and check trailer lighting. I tested these features out for a short distance and was pleasantly surprised as I towed a GMC Sierra to the shop just a few miles away. The gas mileage did drop down to around 11.2 mpg.
The Tahoe sits in a competitive class, going up against the Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon, Jeep Wagoneer, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada. Chevrolet sits on top of the SUV segment with the Tahoe and Suburban models. The model that we tested is priced at $68,940.00. Chevrolet offers a limited warranty that covers three years or 36,000 miles, a powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles and complimentary maintenance that is covered for the first visit. I really enjoyed the Z71’s standard four-wheel drive, rugged appearance, and exclusive off-road equipment. Please enjoy the photo gallery.