Will the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra get an independent rear suspension?
Now that the Tahoe and Suburban SUVs have given their live axles the heave-ho, could GM's popular pickup trucks be next?
Craig ColeFormer reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban are launching next year with an advanced, independent rear-suspension design. This arrangement not only improves ride quality and vehicle handling, but also enabled engineers to dramatically increase cabin space for both passengers and cargo. But will this feature ever make its way to GM's trucks?
The rear suspension supporting these full-size
should certainly be robust enough, at least for half-ton pickup duty. The durability schedules for Tahoe and Suburban have been "incredible," according to Tim Asoklis, chief engineer of both rigs. "These vehicles will have over 4 million miles of … additional road exposure compared to just doing the durability [testing]," he said. "And once we're done, we take these vehicles and we completely dissect them," added Asoklis. "We look for any and all issues," correcting problems along the way.
When asked if this particular independent rear-suspension design is durable enough for use on pickup trucks, whether it's able to withstand the abuse of extreme towing, hauling and off-road driving Asoklis said, "Oh, absolutely," though he declined to mention whether they're working on adding it to the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models. If this suspension system were to be grafted onto the rear of these pickups, Asoklis noted it would likely have to be completely reevaluated since the application is different from a full-size SUV.
Still, the idea of a Silverado or Sierra with magnetic dampers and adjustable air bags is mighty enticing. When it comes to over-the-road refinement, this is something that could propel these pickups ahead of even the smooth-riding
, which offers an air suspension system, but still has a live rear axle.
After brief, back-to-back spins around GM's Milford, Michigan proving ground in a similarly equipped
and 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, this rig's new independent rear seemed to deliver a superior ride with near-luxury levels of refinement. "We've done all the development on this system," said Asoklis. "[And] it's beyond my initial expectations." It kind of seems like a no-brainer, but it will still be interesting to see if this feature ever finds its way into the Silverado and Sierra models.