I take this new 2021 Chevy Tahoe on a 1,000-mile family vacation road trip and got it a bit stuck while trying to drive through a 2,400-year-old redwood tree. Here is what happened.
We flew into San Fransisco, picked up this Tahoe High Country luxury SUV, and drove it over 340 miles up the coast toward Eureka, California, and the beautiful redwood forests.
The Tahoe is America’s best-selling full-size three-row SUV. It has been completely redesigned for this year. It’s now slightly bigger with much more interior passenger and cargo space. It has a new independent suspension for better road handling. It is also loaded with the latest convenience features. This long family vacation is the ultimate test.
While you can get several engine options in a Tahoe, this High Country model is equipped with a 6.2-liter gas V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Near sea level and on the beautiful California coast, this engine offers very impressive acceleration. The 10-speed automatic transmission does the shifting and it is super smooth.
After driving over 340 miles on a single tank of fuel, I verified 16.8 MPG at the pump. The Tahoe has a 24-gallon fuel tank, and the big V8 prefers premium fuel that I used throughout the trip. While a Tahoe with the 3.0-liter turbo-diesel I6 would be much more efficient on a long trip like this, I still prefer the 6.2L V8 for its effortless and quick acceleration and the V8 sound. I would recommend the diesel engine if you plan on towing a trailer or go on many long road trips. If you do shorter trips – then the V8 is my recommendation.
As a kid, I remember many images and video clips of people driving their cars and SUVs through a giant redwood tree. I wanted to do this myself in this new Tahoe! I went to two different designated “drive-thru” trees. I was turned away from the first one by the attendant. He said the Tahoe or any full-size truck would not fit width-wise. I was allowed to attempt driving through the second one.
Approaching the tree, I lowered the Tahoe’s air suspension to its lowest “egress” level. I folder the power-folding mirrors. I opened the shade on the panoramic sunroof for a better view. It was going well until I realized that the folder mirrors were still too wide to fit. I would have to completely remove the side mirrors for a tight fit.
A line of tourists, waiting to drive through the tree, were giving me dirty looks. I apologized and took the bypass to drive around the tree. When the crowd cleared. I decided to back up into the tree again to check the height. Indeed, the Tahoe fits height-wise. So close yet so far!
In the end, the Tahoe made our long trip much more enjoyable. It’s very roomy. All four of us and all of our stuff fit in with no issues. At one time, we had seven people in the Tahoe when we met some friends. The suspension was indeed very comfortable and smooth, even on a very curvy Highway-1.
The new Tahoe 2WD starts at around $52,000. This fully-optioned Tahoe 4WD High Country has a sticker price of nearly $80,000. It is an expensive SUV, but a pleasant family vacation is priceless.