The world has just become a better place, because not only are two of the most popular full-size SUVs—the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban—getting diesel engines, but they’re getting inline six diesel engines. And we all know that that’s the best kind of diesel engine, especially when it can make 460 lb-ft of torque.
The same 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six diesel offered in the Silverado 1500 is now making its way into the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe. GM’s estimates the motor cranks out 277 horsepower and a healthy 460 lb-ft. of torque.
That’s the same torque figure as the 6.2-liter gas V8 also offered in the new SUV twins, though the 6.2-liter twists it out at 4,100 RPM versus the diesel’s 1,500. Also, unsurprisingly, the gas engine makes way more power, at 420 horsepower. The third engine option is a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 353 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. All of these numbers, in case you were wondering, are exactly the same as those of the Silverado 1500, which offers an identical smorgasbord of engines.
I welcome the return of the diesel, not just because I’m a fan of the drivability associated with low-end grunt, but also because I bet these two SUVs will get solid fuel economy for the big-ass SUVs that they are (the Tahoe is 6.7 inches longer than its predecessor and the Suburban is up 1.3 inches—overall curb weight is up between 50 and 200 pounds, Chevy told me). You may recall that the Silverado 1500 with this same engine managed 33 MPG highway. That’s best in class among half-ton pickups.
But before you cry out for joy that Chevy has graced this earth with more compression-ignition motors, there is disappointing news. Per The Bowtie’s press release, “The optional Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo-diesel is available on all models except Z71.”
Dammit Chevy. Of all vehicles to stiff us on, it’s the off-road-ish one.
Update Dec. 10, 2019 9:55 P.M.: I asked a GM engineer why the Z71 won’t get the diesel, and he told me the vehicle’s front fascia—which yields an improved approach angle—creates packaging challenges for the diesel motor. He specifically mentioned the intercooler as a key constraint.