GM’s big SUVs improve towing power, city fuel economy

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DETROIT — General Motors says its next-generation full-size SUVs can tow more and get better fuel economy in city driving than the current versions, despite being significantly bigger. Highway mileage decreased by up to 2 mpg, however.

Standard towing capacity for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban with a 5.3-liter V-8 increased to 7,900 pounds for two-wheel drive and 7,700 pounds for four-wheel drive, GM said Monday. The increases range from 20 to 28 percent.

EPA city fuel economy for the Tahoe and Suburban rose 1 mpg to 16 mpg in the 2wd configuration for the 5.3-liter as well as a 6.2-liter V-8, GM said. The highway fuel economy was 20 mpg, and the combined rating was 18 mpg.
The 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL achieved identical ratings as the corresponding Chevy versions. All four SUVs are scheduled to go on sale this year.

A new 10-speed automatic transmission, dynamic fuel management and stop-start helped improve the Tahoe and Suburban’s city ratings, Chevy and GMC spokesmen said.

The highway rating was dragged down because the SUVs are larger than previous generations and equipped with more technology, such as bigger infotainment systems that include rear-seat media systems, air adaptive suspension, magnetic ride control, independent rear suspension, nine camera views and a 15-inch head-up display, the spokesmen said.
The GM SUVs’ ratings slightly trail those of the 2020 Ford Expedition, which is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 and gets 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the 2wd version.

The 2021 Tahoe is 6.7 inches longer than the previous generation. It can carry up to 66 percent more cargo behind the third row and 30 percent more behind the first row.

The redesigned Suburban is 1.5 inches longer than its predecessor and has 19 percent more maximum cargo capacity. Both vehicles are about 1.5 inches taller.

The 2wd Yukon with the 5.3-liter V-8 has tow ratings identical to the Tahoe with the same engine. For the Yukon XL with the 5.3-liter engine and 2wd, standard towing capacity is 7,800 pounds, a 24 percent increase.

The standard Yukon’s maximum cargo space expanded 30 percent to 28.2 cubic feet, with 41 percent more legroom and 67 percent more cargo room behind the third row.

The Yukon XL gained 19 percent of maximum cargo space. It has 4.6 percent more cargo room behind the third row and 6.4 percent more legroom in the third row.

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Saurabh Shukla

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