Detroit spent much of the last decade-plus promising smaller, lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. But even though that's what people often say they want, it's not what many actually choose to drive home.
Witness the demise of the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Dodge Dart and more.
So it was refreshing, in a way, to see Chevrolet unveil redesigns of its full-size SUVs with no marketing spin designed to hide the true point of these vehicles, which is to be as cavernous as possible.
Like it or not, many people fundamentally want extra space for themselves and their stuff more than they want a little bit better gas mileage. And these rolling living rooms are what General Motors fundamentally wants to sell them. One $80,000 Suburban surely helps the bottom line more than four $20,000 Chevy Trailblazers.
You can get touch screens, Wi-Fi and other technology in all kinds of vehicles today. What you can't get from anyone but GM is an SUV that is 225.7 inches long and holds 144.7 cubic feet of cargo.
The current Suburban is already the longest SUV on the market, and the 2021 version is 1.3 inches longer than that, with 19 percent more maximum cargo space.
Remember the Ford Excursion, the largest SUV ever made? It was only about an inch longer and 1.5 cubic feet bigger than next year's Suburban.
Changes to the Tahoe are even more dramatic. Ten inches more third-row legroom! Sixty-six percent more cargo space with all the seats up!
The redesigned Tahoe can haul more and boasts roomier rear seats than the current Suburban, despite being 14 inches shorter. Now that's the kind of innovation consumers can get excited about.
For years, GM executives talked about building cars and trucks people want to buy yet often had trouble figuring out exactly what that was.
Giant SUVs aren't for everyone, of course, but for those who need one, GM just showed that it's speaking their language.