A white 2021 Chevy Suburban High Country is shown from the front at an angle.

How Chevy and GMC Stack Up Against Legacy Luxury Nameplates

Chevy and GMC have been making waves in the luxury car market in recent years, with a handful of premium models and trims that deliver premium features and unrivaled comfort. Unlike traditional luxury players like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, Chevy and GMC have developed an appealing lineup of high-end vehicles with a more budget-friendly price tag. From plush Chevy trims like the High Country to top-of-the-line GMC Denali models, these manufacturers have proven they can give European luxury brands a run for their money.

Chevy and GMC have figured out the formula for providing top-of-the-line features at a more affordable price, making luxury-level vehicles more accessible to budget conscious buyers. Though Audi and others offer lower-priced entry sedans and small SUVs, finding reasonably priced larger models isn’t as easy, which explains why luxury seekers are more likely to visit a Tullahoma Chevy dealer when price is as important as premium features.

Buyers also appreciate Chevy and GMC vehicles for their toughness. Along with 15-speaker premium audio systems and ventilated seats, large SUVs like the Tahoe and the Suburban are equipped with truck-like suspensions and rugged four-wheel drive systems designed to tackle all types of weather and road conditions, as well as soundproofing to ensure that drivers and passengers can enjoy a quiet and comfortable ride. Below are the newest Chevy and GMC models that offer the fanciest trims and the most bang for the buck.

The Chevy Suburban High Country

With a standard 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel Engine, an optional 6.2L V8 gas engine, available four-wheel drive, and a throaty dual exhaust, the Suburban at first seems to favor buyers looking for capability. However, once you slide into the driver’s seat of a Suburban High Country, its rugged handling might end up being a pleasant bonus. In fact, you might think you’re inside a high-end Mercedes SUV with a mid-six figure price tag instead of an American-made SUV.

The High Country boasts a standard 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen that runs on the industry-leading Chevrolet Infotainment 3 software system, a massive digital driver information center, and a 10-speaker Bose premium audio system with Surround and CenterPoint sound innovation. Chevy now offers SuperCruise, a hands-free cruise control system, on newer models, along with a plethora of advanced safety equipment. Elegant, perforated leather seating with heat and ventilation provide comfortable accommodations for all occupants.

Chevy also equips the High Country with innovative extras like a power sliding center console and an illumination package that adds ambient accent lighting throughout the cabin. It also includes a smattering of USB ports, in-vehicle wireless tech that connects smartphone and smart home devices, and a near-infinite collection of available wheels and tires, from chrome to carbon, flat matte to high gloss. It’s these small touches that elevate the Suburban High Country to high-end premium luxury status.

Given Chevy’s existing dominance in the SUV and pickup categories, it’s unsurprising that the automaker has cracked the luxury code. What’s surprising is how the newest Suburban is now considered aspirational, much in the way models from BMW and Mercedes have been for decades. Add to that a price tag that comes in sometimes tens of thousands of dollars below the competition, and the Suburban High Country feels like a unicorn in the large SUV category.

A black 2022 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is shown from the front at an angle after leaving a Chevy dealer.

The GMC 1500 Denali Pickup

The full-size pickup category remains elusive for luxury imports, and for good reason. American truck brands dominate. Known for their off-road capability and job site utility, trucks like the GMC Sierra 1500 leave traditional pickup buyers wanting for nothing. Still, a new crop of luxury-seeking buyers has emerged in recent years, challenging the old guard to reinvent the pickup as a more premium version of itself. Enter the GMC Sierra 1500 Denali.

The Sierra 1500 Denali combines all the utility of a traditional truck with high-end bells and whistles like leather seating surfaces and oversized infotainment touchscreens. GMC even outfits the 1500 Denali’s cabin with real wood accenting, a feature not commonly found on any luxury vehicle anymore, let alone a pickup truck.

GMC bills the Sierra 1500 Denali as “the most advanced and luxurious pickup in its class,” and rightfully so, thanks to a long list of standard and available features. These include a 13.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, perforated leather seating, and 16-way power driver and passenger seating designed for comfort. The cabin’s ultra-quiet acoustics combine with over 40 inches of futuristic diagonal displays to create a modern oasis unique to the segment.

Opt for the Denali Ultimate, and accommodations and capability increase even more. Special exterior trim pieces and a massive chrome grille set this trim apart. Inside, the 12-speaker Bose premium audio system produces concert-grade sound. The same hands-free SuperCruise system is found on the upper-level Suburban trims is also present on the Sierra 1500 Denali and Denali Ultimate, and even works when towing.

The Iconic Corvette 3LT Coupe

Outfitted with an exhaustive array of high-end luxury cabin appointments, Chevy’s top-of-the-line Corvette offers bespoke performance for buyers looking to keep their sports car investment well under six figures. Why spend $200,000 for an Italian version you’ll have to handle with kid gloves when the gritty American-made Corvette delivers just as much capability on the track? Chevy’s expansive dealer network means easy service and support, so ownership is a lot less stressful.

The 3LT Coupe is no slouch in the luxury department, with a custom suede microfiber headliner, heated and ventilated Napa leather seating, and a Bose Performance Series audio system boasting 14 speakers and crystal-clear output. A 12-inch digital driver information center combines with an eight-inch infotainment screen to create a modern, minimalist dash. Buyers can select from eight available interior color schemes to dial in the right vibe. Among them is a startling Adrenaline Red that works surprisingly well with the ‘Vette’s overall aesthetic.

Alongside its luxury-oriented cabin and advanced tech, the Corvette holds its own on the track against other elite sports car brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini. With an available (and insanely powerful) 495 horspower V8 engine that pumps out 470 lb-ft of torque, otherworldly performance becomes achievable for ordinary buyers. Absent the exotic pedigree, the Corvette also works as a daily driver, which explains Chevy’s decision to make convenience features like a wireless charging pad and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard.

A red 2021 Chevy Corvette is shown from the front at an angle.

Premium Luxury from American Car Brands

Once upon a time, American auto manufacturers like Chevy and GMC were value focused, churning out millions of vehicles with mid-range features and low price tags. Specifically designed for the masses, these cars, trucks, and SUVs embodied the tenets of practicality and affordability. Still, buyers looking for a little something extra could often find it at the high end of the trim range, particularly with vehicles like the Suburban and the Tahoe.

Ultimately, Chevy’s and GMC’s collective goal was to give these buyers good reason to stay in the GM family. The sales numbers indicate that this has worked, since sales of higher-end Suburban trims outpaced entry versions by a large margin. In fact, in the 2021 model year, industry website GM Authority reported that purchases of the upper Premier and High Country trims represented over 35% of total Suburban sales. These more expensive versions kept American buyers in the General Motors family even after graduating to a more luxurious price point.

If you’re searching for an affordable vehicle but still crave upscale appointments, don’t dismiss Chevy and GMC. Surprisingly, both brands do luxury with a European twist, minus the six-figure price tag.