General Motors took the wraps off its 2021 Chevy Tahoe and Suburban truck lines Tuesday at its assembly plant in Arlington — a move that reinforces the Detroit automaker’s desire to keep giant SUVs in the forefront of the marketplace.
The new vehicles are “all new from the ground up” and designed according to feedback the company heard from customers, according to Chevy design director Matt Noone.
Now in its 85th year, the new Suburban model will offer more legroom in its second and third rows as well as sliding second row seating for the first time. It’s the longest running nameplate on the road and is Dallas’ most-driven vehicle, according to a recent iseecars.com study.
Next-generation Suburbans and Tahoes will include GM’s new digital vehicle platform, which the company said boasts 4.5 terabytes of processing power per hour – or the equivalent of 72 computers working in unison – to drive the tech features inside. The vehicles come with up to five fully configurable, seatback touch screens with HDMI plug-ins that make it possible for passengers to stream video or play video games on them.
The new Tahoe will see arguably the most notable upgrades of the two SUVs. It will come equipped with sleek LED lighting on the front of the vehicle, 66% more cargo space and an interior built for the SUV experience, according to GM.
“It’s not a pickup truck interior thrown into an SUV,” Noone said.
GM also said it improved the driving experience for its Chevy SUVs with advanced suspension features. The new Tahoe’s active air suspension system can lift the vehicle 2 inches with the touch of a button for increased off-road clearance. The system can also lower the SUV nearly an inch for increased fuel efficiency and aerodynamics on highways.
The Tahoe will also feature an independent rear suspension that lowers the load floor more than 5 inches, allowing for more spacious third row seating that accommodates passengers more comfortably. That means no more knees in your chest when riding in the back row.
Both vehicles are expected to begin rolling off the assembly line in mid-2020 in various editions, which Noone referred to as “personalities.”
While in attendance, Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams praised GM’s role as the community’s top employer and its dedication to technological innovation.
“It is a great day in Arlington because of General Motors,” Williams said. He was joined by other public officials, including Texas Rep. Matt Krause, Arlington City Council members and union leaders representing the assembly plant’s workers.
At Tuesday’s unveiling, GM also showed off $1.4 billion in upgrades and renovations to the plant for the first time since announcing the expansion several years ago.
The Arlington plant is a critical part of GM’s overall production. Most of the automaker’s SUVs are manufactured there — it’s the largest plant GM operates — and Suburban and Tahoe production accounts for well over half of the total plant production.
A new body shop, completed in spring 2018, spans more than 1 million square feet and is littered with upgraded tech designed to make processes more efficient and vehicles more reliable. The expansion includes 1,447 robots assisting new vehicles along the assembly line and automated forklifts moving parts across the floor.
The company said it’s in the process of training employees on the updated equipment in the new body shop.