GM And Ford’s 2021 Large SUVs Dominated Consumer Reports’ Road Test

Savvy shoppers gather all the information they can before making a purchase. That’s why rankings, reviews, and analysis from industry experts are vital to the buying process. Thankfully, Consumer Reports gives drivers an in-depth look at what it’s like to drive each model.

The publication got behind the wheel of nearly every 2021 large SUV, and the results aren’t too surprising. Toyota led the way in reliability. However, General Motors and Ford’s models dominated the road test, proving that America still knows how to make ‘em big.

Notably, the road test isn’t the end all be all when it comes to complete analysis of a model. In fact, Consumer Reports only recommends buying one of these top-performing SUVs. Let’s take a deeper dive into Consumer Reports’ data so you can make a more informed buying decision.

Larger bodies equal a bigger score

A black 2021 Chevy Suburban large SUV towing a white and blue RV on a highway road
The 2021 Chevy Suburban towing an RV | Photo via Chevrolet

GM’s extended-wheelbase models took home the top spots in Consumer Reports’ rankings. The 2021 Chevy Suburban earned a 76/100 rating, while the 2021 GMC Yukon XL scored just one point below its cousin.

Considering the models’ shared platform, Consumer Reports issued nearly identical reviews for the newly redesigned SUVs.

The publication praised the standard 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 and 10-speed automatic transmission that moves the Suburban and Yukon XL. It also commended the models’ serene, spacious cabin and intuitive infotainment system. 

However, the publication’s praise ended there. Consumer Reports found plenty of issues with these models, including inadequate brakes, a lack of agility, and terrible fuel economy.

The publication’s most concerning revelation had to do with the 2021 Chevy Suburban and 2021 GMC Yukon XL’s shifter. The driver must push a button to put the SUV into park, reverse, neutral, or drive. This process sounds easy enough, but it’s actually quite frustrating in reality.

Consumer Reports’ review said the push-button gear selector is “tricky to operate without looking directly at it.” The last thing you’ll want to do when operating the vehicle is to take your eyes off the road just to shift into drive.

Unsurprisingly, it placed the Suburban (60/100 overall vehicle score) and Yukon XL (59/100 overall vehicle score) toward the latter half of the large SUV class.

Three models tied for third place in Consumer Reports’ large SUV road test

A black 2021 GMC Yukon Denali large SUV driving in the snow
The 2021 GMC Yukon Denali in action | Photo via General Motors

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Unfortunately for shoppers, Consumer Reports didn’t want to split hairs when it came to its on-road performance analysis of large SUVs. The 2021 Ford Expedition, 2021 Chevy Tahoe, and 2021 GMC Yukon all earned a 73/100 rating in the publication’s road test.

The Tahoe and Yukon are the standard-wheelbase versions of the aforementioned Chevy and GMC models. We won’t analyze these vehicles’ results in too much detail, as both share many of the same positive and negative attributes. 

Consumer Reports ranked the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon last among all 2021 large SUVs with an overall vehicle score of 58/100. Notably, the publication hasn’t yet tested the Nissan Armada, which finished dead last for the 2020 model year.

There’s more to the 2021 Ford Expedition than its road test score

A white 2021 Ford Expedition large SUV driving over a dirt hill
The 2021 Ford Expedition showing off its rugged capability | Photo via Ford

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Meanwhile, the 2021 Ford Expedition is the shining star of Consumer Reports’ testing. It graded out at the top of the class with a 69/100 overall vehicle rating. Additionally, the Expedition and Toyota Sequoia are the publication’s only recommended buys in the large SUV segment.

The 2021 Ford Expedition shared some of the same highs and lows as GM’s large SUV. It’s incredibly roomy – as you’d expect a vehicle of this size to be. Meanwhile, its standard 375-hp twin-turbo V6 is surprisingly quick off the line. 

Like most three-row SUVs, the 2021 Ford Expedition isn’t very agile, and its fuel economy leaves something to be desired. However, Consumer Reports found that this model’s positives outweighed the negatives. The publication gave the Expedition a higher predicted reliability rating (3/5) than its GM rivals (2/5). 

Plus, this family SUV comes with a more comprehensive suite of standard driver-assistance technologies. It includes vital features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist. You’d have to pay extra for those three systems in a GM large SUV.

Do other outlets concur with Consumer Reports’ findings? 

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The 2021 Ford Expedition is an industry favorite. The U.S News & World Report listed it first in its large SUV rankings with an overall vehicle rating of 8.4/10. Additionally, the publication named it one of the Best Cars for Families. Notably, U.S. News gave the Expedition the highest grade in the class in performance (8.1/10.)

This model is the clear-cut winner in its class for the 2021 model year – even if it wasn’t the top road test performer. Shoppers will also be delighted to learn that Ford cut the price of the 2021 Expedition, making it cheaper than the 2020 iteration.

If you’re looking for alternatives to the 2021 Ford Expedition, then there are plenty of options. While Consumer Reports favored the 2021 Toyota Sequoia, the U.S. News preferred the 2021 Chevy Tahoe. Chevrolet’s standard-wheelbase large SUV ranked second with a vehicle score of 8.3/10, and the publication had far fewer concerns about the vehicle’s predicted reliability.