With all the attention focused on General Motors' redesigned full-size suvs like the Chevy Tahoe, the next question is: when do the other sport/utilities based off the same platform arrive? The rollout has begun for the short-wheelbase 900s (Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade), each on sale by the beginning of this year. Most of the longer-wheelbase versions (Suburban, Yukon XL, Escalade ESV, Avalanche, and escalade ext) will be on sale by april. By fall 2006, the tahoe z71 and 2wd versions of the smaller (4.8-Liter) and larger v-8s (6.0-Liter) will be released. Expect a two-wheel-drive Cadillac Escalade (with the 6.2-Liter, 400-horsepower motor) to be introduced as well.
The calendar has been mapped out. Next in line is the Chevy Suburban, based off a modified version of the Tahoe platform, with 14 more inches of wheelbase. The Suburban will have the tahoe's design cues and identical interior changes and options. The new frame is stiffer and fully boxed, allowing the new coilover front suspension to be more precisely tuned. Other improvements include rack-and-pinion steering, wider front and rear tracks, and an available autoride self-adjusting suspension system. Half-ton suburbans will have 1500 to 1600 pounds of payload capacity, with the ability to tow up to 8100 pounds.
Three-quarter-ton Suburbans will share the visuals but offer a more powerful all-aluminum 6.0-Liter v-8; they'll have a slightly taller stance and will come with bigger brakes and axles. Expect payload capacities between 1800 and 1900 pounds, with a maximum towing capacity of 9700. Oddly, 2500 Suburbans will remain on the current platform--not a beefed-up version of the new gmt900 frame. Engineers say the investment in a stronger/better platform wasn't necessary. And if you're waiting for the diesel option to come back into gm's big suvs, it won't happen with this generation. To date, there are no plans to put any diesel in the Suburban or Tahoe.
Like its Tahoe sibling, the Suburban will offer the new single-unit, one-touch fold-and-tumble second row, which gives Suburbans almost six cubic feet more cargo room behind the front seats. When these land yachts hit the showrooms in early summer, expect pricing to be healthy, but understand that GM dealers will be willing to deal.