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Despite the growing popularity of midsize and compact crossovers, some drivers will also choose a full-size SUV. They offer as much space as a minivan but also more practicality and capability in most cases. Plus, they usually look better.
The Chevrolet Tahoe has been one of the leaders of this segment of the market for a long time now. In 2021, a complete redesign sees this vehicle becoming more appealing to families than ever. It is longer and therefore more spacious than in years past, plus it has a redesigned suspension to make the ride smoother.
Buyers will find that the Chevrolet Tahoe is available in five different trim levels. The entry-level LT starts at over $55,000 and the price tag steadily climbs up to the High Country. All models are loaded with features and power but whether or not they are worth the price tag is a question only buyers can answer for themselves.
To truly get the most out of the 2021 Tahoe drivers will have to find which model is right for them. The best way to accomplish this is to find the perfect balance between features needed and price. Buyers can read on to discover the exact differences between the trim levels and why one might be a better choice than the others.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe LT vs RST - What is the Difference?
Buyers can have the Chevrolet Tahoe LT with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. It comes standard with a sophisticated 5.3L V8 engine that pumps out 355-horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission does an excellent job of keeping up with that amount of power.
An advanced trailering package is available for the entry-level LT trim. It gives the Tahoe an in-vehicle trailering app, as well as things like trailer light sequencing and trailer electrical diagnostics. The maximum towing capacity of the Tahoe LT with this package is an impressive 8,400 pounds.
A quick peek underneath the LT trim will reveal 18-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels. Optional for this trim are also 20-inch and even 22-inch wheels as well. The exterior of the entry-level model does have some nice touches, such as heated and powered side mirrors and black assist steps.
Another nice thing about the LT is the amount of LED lighting found on the exterior. This includes headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. The windshield wipers have the ability to kick themselves on when they detect rain. Rounding out the impressive list of exterior features is a hands-free power liftgate.
The interior of the Tahoe LT does not skimp on comfort and luxury. The front bucket seats have 10-way power adjustment. They are also heated. An interior lighting package comes standard, as well as an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and the front seats have a leather trim.
Tri-zone automatic climate control helps to keep this large vehicle comfortable for everyone. Drivers can use the included remote start to get the Tahoe LT to the right temperature before they ever get inside. The universal home remote, also standard across the board, allows drivers to link their Tahoe with a compatible garage door and/or security system.
Another area that the entry-level LT really shines in is technology. A 10.2-inch touchscreen running the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus system is included. Even more impressive is the standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. This base trim also comes with a WiFi hotspot and wireless device charging, making it easy to keep the cabin of the Tahoe clutter-free.
All models of the 2021 Tahoe are Chevrolet Connected Services capable. This gives drivers access to things such as roadside assistance. Sticking with the entry-level trim will mean getting a sound system from Bose. It comes with nine strategically-placed speakers.
The LT trim level further earns its high starting price with a full suite of standard driver features. Drivers get things like automatic emergency braking, a following distance indicator, and forward collision alert. Front pedestrian braking, also included, works at speeds below 50mph during daylight hours. A rear-seat reminder and rear park assist are also included. Rather than coming with a standard rearview camera, the LT gets an HD rear vision setup.
Buyers can choose to add the LT Signature package to this trim. This groups together fancier wheels and the trailering features. It also adds some extra luxury to the entry-level LT. Some of the things drivers get include a heating steering wheel, integrated turn signals on the outside mirrors, heated rear outboard seats, and a power-folding third-row bench
As for the RST, this trim does not change much when it comes to features and power. The main difference here involves the appearance of the Tahoe. RST models get 22-inch wheels as well as a specialized front fascia. On the outside, buyers will find extra black trim. Inside, the vehicle gains special seats featuring contrast stitching.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe RST vs Z71 - What is the Difference?
Out of all of the trims, the Z71 is the one intended to be the most athletic. This is reflected in the fact that it comes standard with four-wheel drive. It is also equipped with all-terrain tires to help it be off-road ready. Other mechanical upgrades found when going with the Tahoe Z71 include a two-speed transfer case and hill descent control. A front skid plate and tow hooks help give the Z71 an adventurous feel. The front fascia also has a high-approach angle to allow it to get places other versions of the Tahoe cannot.
Underneath this trim level are 20-inch machined aluminum-alloy wheels. Unlike the LT, the Z71 is not available with 22-inch wheels. Black side-mounted roof rails rather than bright ones are another feature that helps distinguish this trim level from the ones that came before it.
The Z71 is available with an 8-inch color driver information center. It is also available with the special Z71 package. This adds a sunroof, the content of the trailering package, and the same luxury features that are added to the LT by its signature package. Also added by the Z71 package are both the HD surround vision camera and rear pedestrian detection.
Otherwise, the Z71 is the same as the trims that came before it. It is aimed at those who are seeking a little more adventure but otherwise does not add much overall.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71 vs Premier - What is the Difference?
The Premier trim level goes back to being available with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. It loses all of the performance-oriented features added by the Z71. Instead, this trim level focuses on adding more luxury to the Tahoe.
For the wheels, the Premier trim goes with polished aluminum 20-inch ones. The available wheels for the LT trim level once again become an option for buyers. It also goes back to the bright side roof rails. This trim level adds an auto-dimming feature to the heated and power-adjustable side mirrors.
Power-retractable side assist steps are available when choosing the Premier. This fancy feature comes complete with LED perimeter lighting. This trim can also add the Premium Package, which gives it a panoramic sunroof along with things like adaptive cruise control and the enhanced trailering features.
Inside, the seating capacity is dropped down to seven because the Premier goes with second-row bucket seats. Rather than having 10-way, the driver and front passenger get 12-way power-adjustment. Heated rear outboard seats become a standard rather than available feature.
The 8-inch color driver information center that was optional for the Z71 also becomes standard at this trim level. This goes for the heated steering wheel as well. The screen size for the infotainment system does not get any bigger but it does add navigation. The sound system gets an upgrade to a more sophisticated 10-speaker setup from Bose.
There are more power-adjustable features to be found inside the Premier. This includes the third-row bench seat with its 60/40 fold. The tilt and telescoping steering column also gains power.
Perhaps the most convincing reason for families to go up to the Premier trim is its safety technology. Several features that were merely available for earlier trims become part of the standard equipment list here. This includes both front and rear park assist as well as a safety alert seat. Also found here are lane change alert, lane departure warning, and side blind-zone alert. Finally, the Premier trim comes standard with rear cross-traffic alert.
For those willing to spend a little more, the 2021 Tahoe Premier may offer a more complete package.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Premier vs High Country - What is the Difference?
Right off the bat, the High Country trim level sets itself apart from the rest with its engine. This model gets a 6.2L V8 that has it producing 420-horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Despite the extra power, the High Country's maximum towing capacity drops from 8,400 pounds to 8,300 pounds. Four-wheel drive is still only optional for this top trim level.
This trim level comes standard with those giant 22-inch wheels that were available for other trim levels. They feature a sterling silver finish and have chrome inserts. Other wheel styles are available, but not sizes. It is easy to identify the High Country trim thanks to the bronze inserts it has in its grille.
After all the upgrades made in the cabin of the Premier trim, there is really nowhere for the High Country to go. It does unlock the ability to add a rear-seat entertainment system. This is not an option on any other trim.
Instead, the High Country adds even more advanced driver aids. This trim level upgrades to HD surround vision as a standard feature. It also gets a rear camera mirror washer to help keep it free of debris. The High Country gets rear pedestrian detection as well. This feature only works during daylight hours and helps to detect pedestrians while the vehicle is in reverse.
The High Country also gets an impressive multicolor 15-inch head-up display. This feature projects key information just below the driver's line of sight in an attempt to reduce distractions. Drivers can choose what type of information is displayed.
When it comes to technology, comfort, and safety, it is hard to think of many features that the High Country does not come standard with.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Considering how well-equipped it is, as well as how high the price tag is, many buyers will want to stick with the entry-level LT. The Z71 does have its appeal with its off-road-oriented features. That said, buyers can find even more capable SUVs that will cost them less.
Those shopping in this segment of the market may be willing to pay extra for some little luxuries. If so, they may as well skip over the Premier and go straight up to the High Country. This fully-loaded SUV has just about every tech and safety feature currently out there.
• Compare the 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe Trim Levels