The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe continues its tradition of providing law enforcement with capable and dependable vehicles. The next-generation Tahoe is available in two law enforcement packages: the Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle is designed for high speeds and dynamic capability with the added comfort needed from an everyday patrol vehicle; the Special Service Vehicle is more focused on off-road and towing needs where high-speed operations are not required.
“Tahoe is the most aspirational vehicle in the law enforcement industry,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet. “By listening to the needs of officers from around the country, we have built the best Tahoe ever.”
Both the PPV and SSV models are powered by the Tahoe’s 5.3L V-8 engine paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. To meet the most demanding needs of law enforcement, the PPV engine borrows high-performance rocker covers from the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 LT4 engine. These rocker covers improve crankcase ventilation, allowing the 2021 Tahoe to handle high lateral conditions better than its predecessor. Engine oil and transmission fluid are cooled by dedicated, heavy-duty cooling systems specific for law enforcement applications.
To handle the dynamic load of police pursuits, Chevrolet worked with Bridgestone to develop a pursuit-rated all-season tire. The Firestone Firehawk Pursuit tires, mounted to 20-inch steel wheels, were tested by Chevrolet at multiple race tracks and play a large role in the PPV’s improved stopping distance, which has been reduced by 11 feet from 62 to 0 mph on dry surfaces compared to the 2020 model.
Additional performance enhancements of the PPV include:
- Specific suspension tuning with unique monotube dampers, coil springs and stabilizer bars for less body roll and more driver confidence when executing police-type maneuvers.
- Lower ride height compared to civilian Tahoes for better high-speed aerodynamics and improved vehicle stability.
- Heavy-duty braking system with large front Brembo six-piston aluminum monoblock calipers on 16-inch rotors.
- Heavy-duty, clutch-type limited slip rear differential.
- Speedometer certified at 140 mph.
New model brings major benefits
Both PPV and SSV packages benefit from the SUV’s completely new design, which offers class-leading interior space. The new Tahoe police-specific front seats provide additional hip room, allowing officers’ utility belts to fit more comfortably. 2021 Tahoe police vehicles offer 70.3 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second-row seat, which is 18.3 cubic feet more than the next largest pursuit-rated SUV competitor. Rear door openings are now 13 percent (3.5 inches) wider than the previous generation to ease the loading of handcuffed passengers.
The all-new independent rear suspension and longer wheelbase dramatically improve handling and ride smoothness for both civilian and law enforcement applications, particularly on uneven pavement and unpaved surfaces. The exterior design is based on the new Tahoe Z71 trim, which features a rugged front grille, higher approach angle and front skidplate.
Technology is more important than ever as officers can get work done while parked using an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi® Hotspot. Standard HD Rear Vision Camera* and Rear Park Assist* can help officers prevent collisions when backing up, while standard Hitch Guidance* helps officers attach a trailer. Unlike pursuit-rated SUV competitors, Tahoe offers an available Rear Camera Mirror* to provide a wide, less obstructed view behind the vehicle compared to a traditional rearview mirror. It is especially helpful with police cabin obstructions like cargo partitions, passengers and K9 kennels common in police vehicles. New to 2021 Tahoe police vehicles is standard keyless entry and push-to-start ignition, which allow police officers to leave their keys on their belts for simpler and quicker use.
Officers are tasked with constantly scanning their surroundings and are often in high-stress situations behind the wheel. An available suite of active safety features is designed to help them stay in control and avoid collisions, including Forward Collision Alert*, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning*, Automatic Emergency Braking*, Front Pedestrian Braking* and Following Distance Indicator*.
Tahoe’s police vehicle electrical architecture has been greatly improved to reduce time and complexity of upfitting. A new standard blunt-cut wire harness has 31 wire circuits to the cockpit, 56 wire circuits to the cargo area and 25 shared circuits to connect aftermarket equipment without removing major panels or components. Upfitters can repurpose the steering wheel-mounted buttons using the blunt-cut wires to perform tasks like initiating a Code 3 with lights and sirens or keying a department radio microphone. The electrical system is powered by an upgraded dual battery system with emergency equipment isolation to meet the unique needs of police. To avoid excessive engine idling, a 760-amp auxiliary battery will allow video systems, department radios, mobile data terminals, emergency lighting and more to operate without running the engine. A new high-output alternator is 47 percent more powerful than the 2020 model to support the continuous running of electrical equipment.
The powerful 5.3L V-8 engine features Dynamic Fuel Management. DFM enables the engine to operate in up to 18 different cylinder patterns – with as few as two cylinders – to optimize power delivery and efficiency. The DFM controller calculates 80 times per second how many cylinders are required to meet the driver’s requested torque.
While the Tahoe PPV is offered in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations, the SSV is exclusively 4WD. For added off-road capability, 4WD models offer a Terrain Mode, which provides performance similar to 4WD Low without the need of a two-speed transfer case. Special Service Vehicles also offer an available Max Trailering Package with a max-tow rating of 8,200 pounds. This package includes an active, two-speed electronic Autotrac transfer case with push-button controls and an integrated trailer brake controller.
A legacy of service
Tahoes have been serving law enforcement since 1997 when the first Pursuit-Rated Package was introduced. Over the years, Chevrolet has continued to listen to officers and add new features and options with their needs in mind. General Motors organized an official Law Enforcement Product Council 20 years ago to learn directly from officers how they can effectively perform their duties behind the wheel. The council is comprised of ranking law enforcement officers and civilian fleet managers, who have been instrumental in Chevrolet’s police-vehicle programs over the years.
The 2021 Tahoe Police Pursuit Vehicle and the Special Service Vehicle will be assembled at General Motors’ Arlington Assembly in Texas with globally-sourced parts in late 2020 with availability beginning early 2021.
*Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Visibility, weather, and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle’s owner’s manual for more important feature limitations and information.