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Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

The automotive landscape might be trending toward smaller vehicles and hybrid/electric vehicles, but there is still a needed place for full-size family haulers. That being said, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe has been completely redesigned, and it aims to prove that big, body-on-frame SUVs can be just as stylish, comfortable and advanced as anything else on the market. To see just how good this big Bow Tie is, I spent a week in a Tahoe decked out in the sporty RST trim.

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2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Exterior

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

As polarizing as Chevrolet's current design language might be on the Silverado pickup, the styling elements really work on the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe. The new body is still big and boxy like previous Tahoe designs, but it has a more energetic appearance. Up front, there's a big grille and narrow headlights with C-shaped LED lighting for the daytime running lights and turn signals. Reflecting modern design trends, the Tahoe has a floating C-pillar, while the upswept beltline and clear-lense taillights add a hint of sportiness to the body.

This sheet metal fits the new Tahoe really well, and it looks best when paired with the RST package. This version of the Tahoe starts with 22-inch aluminum wheels that fill out the wheel wells perfectly, and it also replaces almost all of the exterior chrome with blacked-out trim. In my opinion, this package looks even better when paired with the $495 Cherry Red Tintcoat as shown in these photos. The RST's sporty design might benefit from a slightly lowered stance, and some exposed exhaust outlets, but that's about it.

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2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Interior

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

The Tahoe has always been a spacious and accommodating SUV. But the 2021 model brings even more space for passengers and cargo, thanks to four extra inches of wheelbase, seven extra inches of overall length and an all-new rear suspension setup. The front row and second-row captain's chairs (a $370) are business as usual when it comes to maximizing passenger space. Third-row occupants benefit most from this design. Even better, the new Tahoe's bigger size allows for more cargo space, as there's an extra 10 cubic feet (25.5 cu. ft. total) behind the third row, and 30 more cubic feet (a maximum of 122.9 cu. ft.) with the second and third rows folded flat.

As we saw in the redesigned Silverado, the interior design of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe isn't as extreme as the exterior. It takes some time to get used to the push-button gear selector. But other than that, the interior is pretty straightforward, extremely practical, and well equipped. Even without options, the RST comes with a leather interior, nine-speaker Bose audio system, and three-zone climate control. This tester felt like a Cadillac, as it was decked out with the $2,820 Luxury Package and $2,490 Rear Media and Nav Package.

The Luxury Package brings heated mirrors, a heated leather steering wheel with power tilt and telescope, heated second row seats, and a power-folding third row. The aptly named Media and Nav Package adds a tablet-style 10.2-inch touchscreen navigation system and a pair of 12.6-inch rear displays for the rear entertainment system. That said, there's no DVD player for this system, as only USB and HDMI inputs are available.

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2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Performance

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

Even though the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is available with a 420-hp 6.2-liter V8, the sporty-looking RST trim level is not offered with this potent engine. Instead, buyers can choose between the base 5.3-liter direct-injected gas V-8 and the fuel efficient 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six. My Tahoe RST tester was fitted with the gas engine that produces 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.

In an era when you can get exactly double that horsepower amount in the Durango SRT Hellcat, this engine delivers plenty of power to motivate the 5,661-pound SUV. On top of that, the engine features cylinder deactivation to improve efficiency, which is why this 5.3L 4WD model received EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. Not only is this just slightly lower than the V6-powered Ford Expedition 4WD (17 city, 22 hwy), it returned impressive real-world figures, with the trip computer showing an average of 19.3 mpg after a week of mixed driving. 

Despite being an old-school, body-on-frame SUV (riding on 22-inch wheels, no less), the new Tahoe is a smooth cruiser. This is thanks in large part to the independent rear suspension setup, instead of the live axle found on previous Tahoes and Suburbans. On long highway cruises, the Tahoe soaks up the road without a problem, and the overall suspension tuning makes easy work of speed bumps and potholes. The Tahoe might be one of the largest vehicles you can buy, but the steering system is so responsive that this big SUV is surprisingly maneuverable in tight spaces. While the Tahoe loses the towing battle to rivals such as the Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Nissan Armada, the 2021 Tahoe is no slouch when it comes to maximum towing capacity.  In its 5.3L/two-wheel-drive configuration, it'll haul up to 8,400 pounds, and this 4WD tester topped out at 8,200 pounds.

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2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Safety

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

The redesigned 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe received a 4-Star Overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Standard safety features on the Tahoe RST include Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert and Front Pedestrian Braking, while the optional Luxury Package adds Rear Pedestrian Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Front and Rear Park Assist, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning.

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2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Overall

Exterior view of the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD

Americans might be switching to smaller, more-efficient vehicles, but for those who need a three-row SUV that can tow just about anything, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is about perfect. Equipped with the RST trim level, the new Tahoe is quite a looker, and even though it lacks the performance to back up its style, the interior is exactly what buyers should expect from a full-size SUV.

Considering how expensive new vehicles have gotten, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is priced reasonably, with a starting MSRP of $49,600. Opting for the RST raises the price to just under $60,000, and the optioned-up 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD used for this review had an as-tested price of $68,135. Not bad considering the compact Audi SQ5 we just drove tipped the scales at just over $70,000.

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Jeffrey N. Ross | Jun 29, 2021

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST 4WD Specs


4-door, 7-passenger, 4x4


5.3L V8, 355 hp, 383 lb-ft
Ten-speed automatic


16/20 mpg (city/hwy)

NHTSA Safety Rating

★ ★ ★ ★    

AutoNation Drive Test Drive Review: ★ ★ ★ ★

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