Chevy and Toyota are two of the most popular auto brands for American drivers, combining the best of reliable driving performance, a low starting price, and long-lasting engineering. While neither auto brand can necessarily rank first in any area, there’s no denying the enduring popularity of each brand, especially for Toyota’s sedans or Chevy’s pickup trucks. However, when you compare their newest SUVs – the 2021 Chevy Tahoe vs the 2021 Toyota Sequoia – you get some surprising offerings. One is uncharacteristic of its brand for its high starting price and low fuel economy, while one has undeniably excellent driving performance you’d hardly expect from such an affordable SUV.
Comparing the two isn’t particularly difficult since one of these SUVs is easily the better buy. However, let’s take a look at how each model, the 2021 Tahoe and the 2021 Sequoia, fared in a list of comparison breakdowns. You may be surprised where Chevy or Toyota each fell short and where they each excelled.
Which One Drives Better?
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe has several available engines, including a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder diesel offering superior gas mileage and excellent tow ratings. Its best engine, the 6.2-liter V-8, produces 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque for outstanding acceleration and a pleasurable drive. Its 10-speed automatic transmission and excellent suspension provide lightweight driving that can outperform most SUVs.
In fact, the 2021 Tahoe may be one of the best Chevy vehicles to take to the road outside of their famous performance car lineup. Add the Z71 off-road package for an adventurous exterior design, four-wheel-drive, and hordes of off-road upgrades. When properly equipped, the 2021 Tahoe is one of the most off-road-capable SUVs in its price range.
The 2021 Toyota Sequoia, on the other hand, has an unusual lack of powertrain offerings. Most auto brands offer a series of engines for each vehicle in their lineup, but your only option here is the 381-horsepower V-8 engine, which is more than capable for SUV driving but doesn’t feel particularly agile. Its 6-speed automatic transmission feels responsive and takes to highway driving well, but many drivers have complained that the steering and brakes offer poor feedback and can dampen the driving experience. The lack of a diesel or high-performance gas engine also feels limiting. As for off-road capability, you can upgrade to the TRD Pro edition for a few nimble upgrades and passable all-terrain driving.
Which Has the Better Interior?
The 2021 Chevy Tahoe is the roomiest yet, and its aerodynamic exterior conceals a veritable chasm of storage and legroom. It boasts three rows of comfortable passenger seating, a flexible second-row that improves access to the rear seats, and a load floor that’s optimized to increase interior capacity without increasing the bulk. Take the whole family on a road trip or fold the back two rows down to take advantage of a shocking 122.9 cubic feet of storage.
When optimized for storage, the new Tahoe just might be the perfect buy for outdoorsy, adventurous drivers who don’t want to relegate pricey sports equipment to a truck bed or rickety trailer. Side note, the Tahoe is also perfect for those who want the cargo storage potential of a pickup truck without all of the numerous drawbacks of driving a truck. The Tahoe’s interior appointments are surprisingly simplistic, but choose to pay for an upgrade to a higher tier, and you can have a more elegant iteration of the 2021 Tahoe, especially in the popular High Country edition with luxurious upholstery, comfort tech, and unique badging.
One step inside the 2021 Sequoia, and you may be tempted to step right out of it. There’s no doubting the long-lasting engineering of Toyota’s dependable vehicles, but they still haven’t mastered the art of the luxury interior yet, and the Sequoia is the prime example of their greatest weakness as an auto brand. Flimsy plastics, outrageous console designs, and downright strange seat proportions dominate its interior. Its upholstery looks plain and offers far less than you might expect for its high starting price of $50,100.
As for another odd choice, the second-row captain’s seats have a built-in center console that obstructs access to the third row. Someone should tell Toyota that this open space is the appeal of having second-row captain’s seats. However, there’s no denying that the 2021 Sequoia’s spacious interior can comfortably seat up to 8 adults (7 in the TRD Sport and Limited trims), and the cargo area behind the third row is more than ample. Stow all of the seats to take advantage of the Sequoia’s maximum 120.1 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Which SUV Has Better Tech?
Both the 2021 Tahoe and 2021 Sequoia may advertise their infotainment features, but they ultimately offer the standard tech you should expect in any 2021 vehicle: a smartphone-compatible infotainment system. Both offerings are fairly similar, but which one outdoes the other? First, let’s compare them inch-for-inch.
The new Tahoe’s screen is a robust 10.2-inch touchscreen that comfortably dominates the center console. Many competing SUVs require you to pay for upgrades to get such a large screen, but the 10.2-inch version is available in every 2021 Tahoe. Meanwhile, the new Sequoia’s system falls nearly 3 inches short at only 7.0 inches. If this difference sounds insignificant to you, imagine adding 3 inches to your smartphone screen.
Both offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility – both of which are barely offered in the Sequoia this year – and a WiFi hotspot. The fancy upgrades that you can pay for across both SUVs include a navigation app, an enhanced audio system, rear-seat entertainment systems that are essentially two built-in flatscreens, and, in the Tahoe, cross-screen compatibility that enables passengers to communicate and share content. The 2021 Tahoe also has an available 9-camera-view system that provides comprehensive exterior views of your SUV, a feature that easily leads the SUV class.
Advanced safety features come standard in both models, although the 2021 Tahoe does have more available offerings, including high-tech towing assistance features to protect any vehicles or trailers you have in tow. Perks of the 2021 Sequoia, however, include various driver-assist features in the base model – no paid upgrades necessary. However, this may be the only area in which Toyota is generous with its base model.
Which One Is the Better Buy?
Between the 2021 Tahoe and 2021 Sequoia, one SUV is easily the better-value buy. First, take a look at their prices: the Tahoe starts at $49,000, while the Sequoia starts at $50,100. In terms of the higher trim models, the Tahoe does have the most costly top-of-the-line edition in the High Country Tahoe, which can cost you over $70,000. However, most editions of the Tahoe and Sequoia are both in the mid-50 to 60 thousand range.
What may be more concerning about the 2021 Sequoia, though, is its less impressive base model. As said above, the Tahoe has superior upholstery, tech, and interior features. This means that, in order to drive home an SUV that feels like a good investment, you’d have to upgrade to one of the higher trim packages of the Sequoia as its base model may feel outdated and bare to some buyers. Compare that to the more attractive standard features you get in the most affordable 2021 Tahoe. To get a similar experience from the Toyota and Chevy offerings, you could potentially pay around $10,000 more for an upgraded Sequoia.
When it comes to full-size SUVs, the new Tahoe is the better option. With a better base model, more luxurious features, multiple engine options, and a style that is hard to beat, the Chevy Tahoe simply outperforms the Toyota Sequoia. There’s just no denying that you get more quality for your money in the 2021 Tahoe. When you’re ready to buy your next SUV, you don’t have to look any further than the 2021 Chevy Tahoe.