The 2021 Chevy Suburban Diesel is a real game-changer for the oversized family hauler segment. Not only has this change needed to happen for some time now, but it is also a relatively affordable option toward a more fuel-efficient SUV.
The Suburban has been a choice parent-mobile since the first-gen mini school busses took over our roads. Unfortunately, they have been wildly bad on gas and the environment until now. Granted, there was a diesel version a long time ago, but that doesn’t count. The 2021 Chevy Suburban Diesel option is an absolute no-brainer for Suburban buyers.
Does the 2021 Chevy Suburban come in a diesel?
Other than the off-road-focused Z71 trim, every trim level of the 2021 Chevy Suburban can be fitted with the turbocharged 3.0-liter Duramax inline-six diesel for a mere $995 upcharge. According to Road & Track, choosing the diesel option over the V8 will actually save buyers $1,500 on the High Country trim. The Road & Track makes it abundantly clear that the diesel option is an easy choice for anyone trying to make their 2021 Chevy Suburban a more fuel-efficient SUV.
The Road & Track testers did the most Suburban-approved activity ever; they took it from NYC to Michigan with another car in tow. A super-long road trip is what the Chevy Suburban was made for; hauling a racecar behind is what the diesel version was made for. After recently testing the V8 Tahoe, the testers almost immediately noticed how much smarter the diesel option is for such an SUV. Not only does the diesel motor make it a more fuel-efficient SUV, but it also delivers far more useful low-end power curves.
Is the diesel Suburban really a fuel-efficient SUV?
The 2021 Chevy Suburban diesel is rated at 20/26/22 mpg city/highway/combined, making it the most fuel-efficient full-size four-wheel-drive SUV on the market… this is a Chevy Suburban we are talking about. Yes, your mind should be blown.
This efficiency comes at only one real cost; it’s a bit slower than the V8. However, that isn’t a real negative when you think about it. The reality is, although the V8 has a bit more power, it doesn’t really have the torque to matter all that much. The Duramax diesel may not rev quite as high, but the low-end grunt is well worth the lack of overall horsepower. The V8 is giving 383 lb-ft of twist while the Duramax is pushing out a monster 460 lb-ft.
The diesel is well-tuned to account for the weight and assumed jobs the Suburban might be expected to do by its owners. The turbocharged diesel is paired with a slick 10-speed automatic transmission to help keep revs down and make the overall ride a bit smoother. This is yet another tick in the “fuel-efficient SUV” category.
Diesel and luxury are a surprising mix
The Road & Track testers observed that while driving the 2021 Chevy Suburban, people seemed surprised that such a fancy-looking SUV would also have such a utilitarian powertrain as a diesel. The pairing makes perfect sense in an SUV of this size, yet we don’t tend to see it.
The fuel efficiency and utility of the diesel-powered Suburban make the option barely an option and more necessary. That’s not to say that the V8 version is bad; it just will never make as much sense as the diesel.