With cars, trucks, road rockets, and full-electrics on the menu, it’s hard to narrow down the best Chevrolets of 2021, but we’ll do our best.
Chevy, the Bowtie brand, has a long and storied history in America with plenty of diehard fans. Trucks, sports cars, lately EVs, and of course SUVs are part of their broad and diverse vehicle lineup. So, what constitutes the best Chevrolet? Well, it’s hard to pick just one, so how about a short-list of which vehicles wear that bowtie best.
The Chevy Suburban, in a sense, stands alone amongst that American phenomenon of gigantic, gas-guzzling SUVs. Sure, Ford makes the Expedition Max (formerly the Excursion), but the Suburban has been around far longer and is arguably the standard bearer in a very small segment. It’s almost comically huge at three tons of heft, nearly nineteen feet in length, and almost seven feet of width without the mirrors. However, when it comes to hauling people and cargo, there’s not much else like it on the road, which makes it an icon within the Chevrolet lineup.
It’s come a long way over the years, both in price and features. The 1995 Chevy Suburban I inherited from my parents was essentially a Silverado with a factory-integrated cargo cap. Granted, the current model is also based on a truck platform, but the magnetorheological dampers and air-cushion suspension found in a 2021 High Country Suburban were most certainly not used 25 years ago. Neither was the $83,000 purchase price, which is what you can dole out for said High Country trim today. But boy, it is nice!
Cherry Red paint, black and mocha perforated leather, 22” wheels, and that aforementioned suspension wizardry make the new Chevrolet Suburban a straight-up luxury barge. Additional fancy amenities are the panoramic moonroof, power-deployable running boards, heated everything, and acoustic glass. Not to mention the 10” infotainment screen, hands-free liftgate, Wi-Fi hotspot, and heads-up display. Now, all that glitz contributes to its 6,016-pound curb weight. Fortunately, the 4WD model comes with Chevy’s 6.2-liter V8 beast making 420 horses and 460 lb-ft of torque, more than enough to move this bruiser with alacrity.
It’ll also tow 7,900 pounds, hold 1,600 pounds of your payload, and swallow 94 cubes of cargo with the second and third row folded flat. It also swills gas to the tune of 14 mpg around town and 19 on the highway is also noteworthy, in a not exactly positive way. However, with all that space, power, and tech, the Chevy Suburban is hard to beat for that all-American pastime of long road trips, making it a shoe-in for one of the best Chevrolets on the market.
On as far to the other side of the spectrum as one can get from a Suburban is the all-electric Chevy Bolt. It makes the list because Chevrolet has been at this fully electric game since 2016, putting them ahead of the curve. Though the mid-90s EV1 technically refutes that, it was a bit too far ahead of the curve. Tesla gets all the press, but Chevy isn’t exactly a newcomer on this eco-conscious front. Plus, I appreciate how the electrified vehicle site that Chevy hosts the Bolt on has the EV from Chevrolet highlighted in blue.
In fact, the Bowtie brand has been selling EVs long enough and with enough success that the latest 2022 Chevrolet Bolt does not qualify for the federal tax credit. With that selling point nullified, the new Bolt is about $5000 less than the outgoing model. If the government won’t hook you up, Chevy will.
This latest Bolt iteration continues in similar fashion from the previous model while dressing up the sheet metal and interior. From the efficiency side, that means 259 miles of range on a fully charged battery that delivers 200 hp and 266 torques to the front wheels. Chevy touts a 6.5-second sprint to 60 and the ability to add 100 miles of range in 30 minutes thanks to standard DC fast-charging capability.
Other cool tech includes a button to enable one-pedal driving. Step on the gas to get going like you normally would, but when you ease up, the Bolt starts to slow down as it captures braking energy to recharge the battery. It will even come to a complete stop, which is ideal for around town trips.
Chevy will cover standard, household installation of a Level 2 charging outlet for eligible customers to ease cost concerns. The vehicle itself comes with leather, Wi-Fi, and heated side mirrors on a 2LT model that costs about $36,000 when you add in the Bose audio system and wireless phone charger. Not too bad for a five passenger car that’ll run hundreds of miles without gasoline.
Pickup trucks are an American staple, and the Chevy Silverado is a key vehicle in the never-ending game of one-upmanship between Chevrolet and its two Detroit rivals. As such, the Silverado is the recipient of constant improvements. It’s also a critical component in the Chevrolet organization so is a must-have for this best Chevrolet list.
You can spend ages perusing the cab styles, engine options, bed lengths, trim levels, and packages available on a Silverado, not to mention dollars. Certainly, the top trims are slathered in luxury and command high prices. But if we’re talking about pickup trucks, it seems a mid-pack version that offers a comfortable drive with the capability to get real work done is apropos.
A 2021 Chevrolet Silverado LT with 4WD, the Duramax diesel power plant, and a crew cab with the seven-foot bed is about $50,000 without any packages. That’s no cheap date, but there are a host of amenities like dual-zone, automatic climate control, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and heated seats. Those seats will be upholstered in cloth, but don’t forget that this is a pickup truck.
Four-wheel drive gives you go-anywhere capability and the crew cab configuration offers a set of four full-sized doors. The standard-sized bed stretches overall length but ensures ample volume for most projects. And how about that turbodiesel? Chevy has been perfecting their Duramax motors for 20 years and now that you can get it in the light-duty Silverado, so why wouldn’t’ you?
It churns out 460 lb-ft of torque and EPA estimates put it at 33 mpg on the highway. Properly equipped, your new diesel-powered 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will pull 9,000 pounds and handle 1,800 payload pounds. All that and more places the Silverado on this list of best Chevrolets.
Oooh, Chevy’s halo vehicle, the Corvette. It’s fast, it turns heads, and only recently became mid-engined. Yes please. The fact that you can get into one for sixty grand is just icing on the cake. The Chevrolet Corvette’s sub-3-second 0-60 sprint comes from the current 495 horse V8 hooking up the rear-wheels via an 8-speed dual clutch transmission. And those are all naturally aspirated horseys, which translate to spine-tingling sounds.
If you’re Corvette shopping, it would be hard not to ogle the 3LT trim in convertible form. A limited slip differential, that mighty 6.2-liter motor, and piles of tech like a heads-up display and 12” digital gauge cluster are part of the deal. As is the retractable hardtop that you can operate up to 30 mph, whee! Tack on the $6000 Z51 package for full track-attack ability and the magnetorheological suspension plus delivery at the Bowling Green museum and you’re out the door for $89,425.
You could buy two or three loaded brand new 2021 Chevrolet Corvettes for the price of a single mid-engine Ferrari. The value is absurd and so is the performance. If Chevy could find it in their hearts to equip this latest creation with a manual transmission, enthusiast hearts everywhere would be set aflutter. Regardless, the Corvette is easily a defining Bowtie brand vehicle so makes it on this list of best Chevrolets for 2021.