You now have the option to buy the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban with the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel. That’s the same engine we told you the automaker put in its 2020 Chevy Silverado to rave reviews for its fuel economy. Plan on the fuel economy kudos to continue now that the 3.0-liter Duramax is available on these two models.
Chevy reports its rear-wheel drive 2021 Tahoe fitted with a Duramax diesel received an EPA-estimated 21/28 city/highway fuel economy rating. By contrast, the four-wheel drive Tahoe with the same engine won an EPA-estimated 20/26 city/highway rating.
The two-wheel drive 2021 Chevy Suburban with the 3.0-liter Duramax has an estimated 21/27 city/highway rating. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the four-wheel drive Suburban is 20/26 city/highway.
This is Chevy’s first diesel inline-six engine for full-size SUVs, and the brand’s first diesel offered in a full-size SUV since 1999.
“The 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel brings a refined engine experience to the already impressive redesign of the all-new 2021 Tahoe and Suburban,” said Bob Krapes, Chevrolet Trucks marketing director. “Combining the segment’s best fuel efficiency with increased space inside of the vehicle compared to the previous generation equals an all-new Tahoe and Suburban ready for the next long road trip or family adventure.”
Chevy engineers fitted Silverado, Tahoe, and Suburban with the 3.0-liter Duramax after rebuilding those trucks’ architecture. That overhaul increased fuel economy and enhanced noise abatement. Plus, an engine control module ensures optimal performance. There’s also driver-selectable stop/start technology that shuts down the engine at stoplights, traffic jams, and during other stop-and-go situations.
Why You Want a Duramax in Your 2021 Chevy Tahoe or Suburban
Many U.S. drivers and families are weary of the guidelines that caution against travel. That’s spurred people to camp in larger numbers.
A survey published in the North American Camping (NAC) Report shows almost half of respondents will replace a canceled trip with camping. NAC found 34 percent of surveyed travelers who don’t camp say they will replace one or more of their canceled or postponed trips with a road trip or a hotel/resort vacation (34 percent for each).
Before the pandemic, camping accounted for 11 percent of all trips in the U.S. Now 16 percent of trips in the U.S. involve camping.
Based on the NAC survey, Chevy is making the Duramax available for the new Tahoe and Suburban at exactly the right time. The 3.0-liter diesel ensures you won’t needlessly invest in extra fuel but provides plenty of towing power.
2021 Chevy Tahoe & Suburban Powertrain
The Duramax-fitted Tahoe has 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft. of torque. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 8,200 lbs. and has a max payload of 1,717 lbs. The two-wheel drive Suburban with the same engine can tow up to 8,000 lbs. and offer a max payload of 1,625 lbs. Both vehicles have a 10-speed automatic transmission with a tow-haul mode.
“The 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel brings responsive torque and a smooth driving experience, ideal for those who tow or spend many hours behind the wheel,” said John Barta, assistant chief engineer for the 3.0-liter Duramax. “Not only is the 3.0-liter Duramax a refined engine, but the total experience benefits from the efforts to deliver enhanced driving dynamics in Tahoe and Suburban through the independent rear suspension and available Magnetic Ride Control and Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension.”
The automaker cautions that anyone who wants to buy a vehicle for trailering should carefully review the trailering section of the Owner’s Manual. The weight of passengers, cargo, and options or accessories may reduce the amount you can tow.
Still, it’s tough to imagine why you wouldn’t want these models with this kind of power and fuel economy, especially for towing a camper on your next vacation.
Pricing & Availability
The 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel is available on the LS, LT, RST, and Premier trims with an MSRP of $995 over the base 5.3-liter V8 gas engine. It is also available for the High Country with a markup that is still $1,500 less than the standard 6.2 V8. Expects the first customer deliveries of the 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban before the end of the year.
Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.