The EPA has issued official numbers for the redesigned 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban and GMC Yukon/Yukon XL sport utility vehicles and the news is good. Rear-drive versions with the automaker's new EcoTec3 5.3-liter small-block V8 that makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque are rated at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. That reflects a gain of roughly seven percent in city economy and 10 percent on the highway compared to the 15/21 mpg figures of their 2014 counterparts. This is all the more remarkable in that the previous generation 5.3-liter Vortec V8 produced less horsepower and torque.
Among the changes in the new EcoTec3 engines that help improve fuel economy are direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system, designed to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.
On the 4WD front, the 2015 Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon with this 5.3-liter V8 -- also backed by a 6L80 6-speed Hydra-Matic transmission -- also carry 16/23 mpg numbers, while the long-wheelbase Suburban and Yukon XL earn 15/22 mpg stats when fitted with that standard engine/trans combo, a gain of 1 mpg highway over the previous model. For the moment, those figures represent the best in class for the General's full-size SUVs, although the EPA has yet to test any of their 2015 rivals.
Buyers of the range-topping 2015 GMC Denali Yukon Denali and Denali XL variants can step up to the 6.2-liter/420-horse version of the new EcoTec3. Developing 460 lb-ft of peak twist, the 6.2-liter also is standard across the redesigned 2015 Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV lineup that shares the same platform architecture. In addition to gaining 17 horsepower and 43 lb-ft of torque, this more potent alternative delivers 15/21 mpg for rear-drive variants of these premium GMC and Cadillac SUVs, a 1 mpg bump across the board and 14/20 mpg for the 4WD versions, a gain of 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway.
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