With the recent addition of the 3.0L Duramax to GM full size truck engine options, a big question lingers – will there be a 2021 diesel Tahoe or Yukon? While demand for a half ton diesel has grown exponentially through the years it also seems more and more consumers want to see a diesel SUV from GM. As more and more of these queries for a GM diesel SUV are requested we decided to look into the probability of a – Durahoe?
After some initial digging of previously reliable sources, evidence of a 2021 diesel Tahoe doesn’t seem to be likely. Although this may let some airflow out of your turbo lets observe some areas that offer slight hope for this diesel unicorn.
How Many People Would Buy A 2021 Diesel Tahoe?
While to most diesel enthusiast it would seem that a GM diesel SUV would be a no brainer – but – to understand actual demand we have to look at hard numbers. Currently GM has diesel offering in:
- Sedan (Chevy Cruze, 1.6l Diesel)
- Compact SUV (Equinox & Terrain, 1.6l Diesel)
- Mid Size Truck (Colorado & Canyon, 2.8l Diesel)
- Full Size Truck (Silverado & Sierra, 3.0l Diesel)
- Heavy Duty (2500, 3500, 4500 – 6.6l Diesel)
So as it appears GM is willing to put a diesel in most all of its market offerings. Is the general public in search of a diesel Tahoe? We took a look at google to see if people are truly interested.
As you can see from the above screen shot there is a good amount of people searching for both diesel SUV and diesel Tahoe. With a little deeper research we found a more accurate number of about 5,000 searches a month. That seems like a solid enough number of people that not only want the Tahoe but also people that are looking for a diesel SUV option.
There is a good probability the new 2021 Tahoe will share a very similar or exact engine bay and chassis as the 2020 full size trucks. That being said based on the above data we personally feel testing a diesel Tahoe or Yukon could prove to be a smart move for GM.
Being The First Full Size Diesel SUV
For the big 3 US automakers (GM, Ford, Chrysler) the full size SUV segment is not only one of the top selling lines but also the most competitive. While GM and Ford are at the forefront of this competition Chrysler is chomping at the bit for a bigger piece of the pie. For many recent years the Tahoe and Yukon were top selections for those looking for a full size SUV. Recently Ford has regained some market share with updated Expedition and Navigator models.
To be the first, full size US market diesel SUV, GM would likely create a stir in the segment. While diesels have been tested in mid and entry level SUVs none have tested the waters in recent history in full size models. This test could prove to be the a monumental step or a muffled attempt to differentiate. To many people a diesel Tahoe would be a long awaited addition to their garage. In most households where a full size SUV is present there are often 1-3 children and 2 adults. The children often need transport to school or events not to mention the SUV is usually picked for trips. As most know, a diesel will offer greater full economy over a gas counterpart. Another plus would be the increased towing capability of a torque heavy diesel Tahoe.
Offering a diesel in the 2021 Tahoe to make it the first full SUV with a diesel presents a great opportunity in our book. While there are more logistics to this than the obvious it seems that it would be a worthwhile test.
Failed Diesel SUV Offerings Through The Years
When attempts to add a diesel engine to popular models in the past have failed in most cases it was due to circumstances that have since been resolved, in most cases. GM hasn’t always been deficit of a diesel in its full size SUV segment – case and point – the Suburban pre 1991. The Suburban featured a diesel as a engine option from 1978 to 1991 and a brief resurgence from 1994 to 1999.
5.7L LF9 Diesel
The early iteration of the Suburban diesel was the 5.7L LF9 that was present in models from 1978 to 1981. The LF9 was a engine produced by Oldsmobile that saw use in in almost 30 GM models. This diesel engine was very weak in terms of power with a feeble with 120 HP and 220 lb-ft of torque. Due to diesels inherent traits of combustion and lack of a turbo, this engine had lackluster fuel economy as well. To simplify the demise of the LF9, inefficiency would have to be the culprit.
6.2L Detroit Diesel
The next diesel to grace the full size GM SUV was the 6.2L which also founds its place in the Suburban. The 6.2L Detroit Diesel only was used in about 6 GM models including the Suburban. The primary focus with this engine was fuel efficiency with towing ability. The 6.2L Detroit was not outfitted with a turbo but saw power numbers higher than the LF9 at 160 HP/285 lb-ft. While this was a better engine overall it was eventually replaced by the by the 6.5L Detroit Diesel.
6.5L Detroit Diesel
The 6.5L Detroit Diesel made its full size SUV debut in the Suburban and Tahoe models in 1994. This was the first Tahoe diesel for Chevy and even then it was detuned to limit power. The 6.5L Diesel was the best diesel yet to grace GM SUV’s as focus numbers had only increased. The 6.5L Detroit Diesel provided a maximum 215 HP and 440 lb-ft which really provided the first diesel for GM that truly made sense. The full size SUV market at this point was seeing more and more use of these models as family haulers often helmed by soccer moms. The diesel SUV’s had made quiet the progression but still weren’t the most functional with their noisy engines and mediocre efficiency.
The Likelihood Of A 2021 Diesel Tahoe
After deep thought and discussion plenty of points can be made as to why its time for another Tahoe diesel or even Suburban for that matter. The 3.0L Duramax is a quieter, more powerful modern day diesel that offers many advantages over gas counter parts. Numbers show that consumers are interested in the possibility of a full size diesel SUV which deepens the argument for the need.
So while we are anxiously waiting for this version of Tahoe there is no real promising indication we will see it. If and when we receive word that this diesel SUV will make it debut you rest assure you will see it here first.