A grey 2021 Chevy Suburban is driving down a dirt road in a desert.

2021 Chevy Suburban: A Big Enough Upgrade?

Sometimes patience is a virtue, and this is highly accurate with the automotive industry. Last year, some shoppers may have been turned off by various models sporting incremental upgrades with the underlying news that bigger changes were inbound. For the 2021 Chevy Suburban, this is exactly what has occurred as this year’s model has been fully redesigned with extra bells and whistles that simply weren’t included with prior iterations of the Suburban.

This year’s emphasis has been strongly placed on both accessibility and choice, and the changes that have been made both inside the vehicle and to its powertrain will be enough to spring for the upgrade for some drivers. With the addition of a new turbo-diesel engine, the 2021 Suburban can also be the most efficient version to date, and the new Suburban also offers far more passenger room and cargo space than ever before. Add in the new panoramic sunroof and updated technology, and this vehicle is a real winner. And even with all of these upgrades, we still haven’t mentioned that the available number of trims to choose from has also doubled since last year.

The base trim this year keeps the same LS name as the year before but is a much more suitable SUV in regards to performance and versatility. The other two trims from last year, the LT and Premier, are also still available for the 2021 Suburban and see their own upgrades. This year’s new trims include the RST, Z71, and High Country. The RST brings a sportier look with exterior details such as a darker vehicle trim and larger 22-inch wheels. The Z71 is the Suburban that best supports off-road adventures with its all-terrain tires, tow hooks, and more. Finally, the High Country brings a new level of luxury to the Suburban, putting it in the same league as the prestigious GMC Yukon Denali.

Performance Upgrades

The entirety of last year’s powertrain configurations made their way over to the latest Suburban, with a few extras and the addition of an entirely new engine. The 5.3L V8 engine that came standard with last year’s model will still come included with your base 2021 Suburban, and it’ll produce the same 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque as last year. What’s different about this year’s base powertrain is that the new model pairs the V8 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission instead of last year’s less enjoyable 6-speed automatic. With the proper trailering packages, this engine can still tow upwards of 8,200 lbs, which will be plenty for any personal towing purposes.

Like last year’s Suburban, the 2021 model also offers an optional 6.2L V8 engine, which is again paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. No performance gains are seen on this front as this V8 engine produces the same 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque as last year, although we don’t see this being a problem for the average driver. As was the case last year, this V8 engine is less fuel-efficient than the base model, but against the newest turbo-diesel 3.0L I-6 engine, even the 5.3L V8 can’t keep up.

The new turbo-diesel engine produces 277 hp and the same 460 lb-ft of torque as the larger V8, but what sells this engine is its fuel efficiency. Depending on which configuration you’ve opted for, whether it’s front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the ratings will differ slightly. But this engine can get up to 23 MPG combined, compared to the 18 MPG combined of the standard gasoline V8. That means lower fuel bills and fewer stops at the gas station while still enjoying incredible power.

A silver 2021 Chevy Suburban is driving down a two lane road.

More Interior Space

Climbing inside the 2021 Chevy Suburban is a familiar yet distinctive enough experience to separate it from its predecessors. However, if you have a model with the available brand-new panoramic sunroof, you will feel like you are in a whole new world – particularly if you are sitting in the back seats. With glass stretching over both the first and second rows, this sunroof is a welcome addition that eliminates the formerly cave-like feeling of the back seats. When combined with the new luxury features available in the 2021 Suburban, everyone will enjoy the journey.

The shift to an independent rear suspension has also greatly increased the interior volume, and the back seats are no longer cramped and uncomfortable for anyone larger than a small child. For the second row of seats, the 39.7-inches of legroom in the 2020 model has been increased to 42-inches for the 2021 model, which will be noticeable to taller passengers. The third row of seats, which are typically the tightest of the bunch, used to have only 34.5-inches of legroom but now offers 36.7-inches of legroom. Those extra inches of legroom mean that the third row is now as roomy as the second row in many smaller SUVs.

Ask any driver why they’re shopping for an SUV, and you’ll likely hear answers relating to cargo space and storage capabilities. We’ve already mentioned that the 2021 Suburban can tow 8,200 lbs, but what about the luggage that you can keep inside the cabin? Full-size SUVs such as the 2021 Suburban are the perfect fit for those who need any extra space, allowing you to handle jobs that no sedan or compact SUV could even dream of tackling.

In addition to a Power Sliding Center Console that allows for secure storage for your most important and valuable belongings, the 2021 Suburban offers almost 20% more cargo space than the previous model. The 2020 Suburban had 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space when both rows of back seats were folded down, but the new 2021 Suburban boasts an impressive 144.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space. If you need to fit passengers as well, folding down only the third row of seats will still net you 93.8 cubic feet of space instead of last year’s 76.7 cubic feet. And with all three rows of seats fully upright, the 2021 Suburban still has 41.5 cubic feet of space.

A red 2021 Chevy Suburban is shown from the back driving down an open road in front of a mountain.

Worth the Wait?

All things considered, we don’t imagine that drivers who purchased the 2020 Suburban are going through buyer’s remorse with their purchase. This is because last year’s model was a fantastic vehicle, and its only real fault was the looming update that the model was expecting to undergo by the 2021 model year. But for those who chose to wait on the Suburban last year, or even those who didn’t begin shopping for a new vehicle until recently, there’s not much reason to settle for last year’s model unless it’s at an unbeatable price.

We’ve been impressed with the redesigned 2021 Suburban, and with this model year, its name continues to hold true as it remains the ultimate suburban SUV. If you’re on the fence about the 2021 Suburban, we can’t decide for you, but this vehicle undoubtedly receives our recommendation, especially over last year’s model. To help assist you in making your decision, visit your local Chevy dealership and ask for a test drive to see if the 2021 Suburban is something that you will be interested in driving long-term.