By Peter Perrotta
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the 2021 Toyota Tundra – a vehicle that gets a gas guzzling 14 miles per gallon.
Charles Skinner, one of my readers, took exception to the fact that I reviewed a “gas guzzler.”
Skinner wrote in his comments to the Princeton Packet: “He does not even hint that operating this gas guzzler – instead of a hybrid or electric vehicle – will accelerate climate change with egregious indirect costs that will be borne by human society and the natural world.
“Why does Mr. Perrotta not mention the exacerbated forest fires, drought, melting ice caps, rising sea levels and extreme weather that are overwhelming points against buying and operating this vehicle?”
These are all points well taken, Mr. Skinner.
However, my On The Road column is not meant to be a political or environmental commentary or statement on how automobiles affect climate change.
Instead, it is more a reflection of what is being offered on the current auto market and to give the consumer some type of independent judgement on what to expect from the cars or trucks I review, if they so happen to be considering purchasing or leasing that particular model.
That being said, if you go back over the past year you will also see that I have reviewed numerous hybrid, electric hybrid and purely electric vehicles.
I used this as a preamble to this week’s column because I will be reviewing another vehicle which may be perceived as a “gas guzzler” type, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD Premiere.
While not as fuel thirsty as the Tundra, the Tahoe I recently drove for one week gets a non-eco-friendly 18 miles per gallon overall – 20 mpg in city driving and 16 mpg around town.
The EPA estimates that it will cost – on average – about $2,250 per year to run the Tahoe, as it uses about 5.6 gallons of gas per every 100 miles driven.
Again, I reiterate, by reviewing this large, 3 row SUV, I am not advocating that it is good for the environment to own one or lease one. However, one can not deny that large SUVs and pickup trucks are popular in the United States.
According to Chevrolet, the Tahoe is the best-selling full-sized SUV in the United States – a title Chevy claims it has held for the past 19 years.
I wouldn’t be doing my job justice if I ignored this segment of the automotive market and only reviewed vehicles that were considered eco-friendly or safe.
The Tahoe I drove for one week was powered by a 5.3 liter, ecotec3 V8 engine that produces about 355 horsepower at 383 pound feet of torque.
Chevrolet will be making that Tahoe available with a more fuel efficient 3.0 liter I-6 diesel engine that puts out 277 horsepower and gets up to 28 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Premiere edition Tahoe I drove has a base price of $65,600. My tester had a bottom line sticker price of $71,380 as it added $4,485 for a premium package and $1,295 for destination and delivery.
Some of the items the premium package features include: power panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, enhanced emergency braking, multi color heads up display, advanced trailering system and an enhanced cooling radiator.
The 2021 Tahoe features a newly redesigned exterior and interior, more cargo room behind the third row of seats, an independent rear suspension, a 10.2-inch color touch screen, and up to nine available camera views.
I like the aggressive new look on the redesigned Tahoe – both inside and out.
There is plenty of room inside; this new Tahoe has a massive 122.9 cubic feet of cargo space with both the second and third row folded down. It also is a workhorse, featuring 8,400 pounds of trailering capability.
While it took me a bit to get used to the overall bigness of this Tahoe – while driving it – once I did get used to it, I found it to be easy to handle, and quite comfortable. The new independent rear suspension is a winner in my book.
Car and Driver gives the new Tahoe high marks for the cabin being “impressively quiet.” They add that the third row is “actually comfortable” and marveled at its ability to tow up to 8,400 pounds.
On the other hand, Car and Driver called the new front end design “divisive,” said it featured some “questionable interior ergonomics” and said its top models cost too much.
But, in the end, the editors at Car and Driver gave the Tahoe a positive rating, saying, “The new Tahoe is more spacious and sophisticated then before, which resolidifies its spot atop the large SUV class.”
I would have to agree. I think that if you are considering going out to purchase or lease a large, three-row SUV, then one would be remiss if you didn’t include the Tahoe on your short list of SUVs to consider.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. If you have questions or comments he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org