Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Full-size, Truck-based SUVs in America for 2021

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
buy drive burn the cheapest full size truck based suvs in america for 2021

We continue the Cheapest Of series today on Buy/Drive/Burn, and check out the least expensive full-size truck-based SUVs on sale in America in 2021. And we’ve been generous today and equipped each of them with four-wheel drive to avoid any usability concerns. Today’s trio is very close in price but diverges elsewhere. Let’s go.

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Tahoe is new for 2021, is the cheapest vehicle here. This year it gains a host of updates including an independent rear suspension and some very in-your-face-styling. General Motors believes more trims are better, and offers Tahoe in LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country variations. At the lower end, an LS starts at $49,600, and a High Country is $68,200 before options. Unlike the others here, the power plant depends on trim and is provided via the stalwart 5.3-liter V8, a 6.2-liter V8 (High Country only), or a 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel. The 5.3 and diesel are both available at the LS level, and the V8 is slightly cheaper. A 4×4 LS is available in eight different free colors, most of which are grey-ish. Seats are covered in cloth here, but buyers can choose between Jet Black and “Very Dark Atmosphere,” or as you’d call it light gray. A bench seat can replace the front console, but that’ll cost you $250. With no options selected and after the freight charge of $1,695, the Tahoe asks $54,295.

Ford Expedition

Ford’s Expedition is F-150 based as you’d expect and has been on sale in its current guise since the 2018 model year. It’s available in five different trims presently: XL STX, XLT, Limited, King Ranch, and Platinum. Prices range from a base of $49,025 to nearly $74,000 for the Platinum. All trims feature the same 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which produces 375 horsepower. In XL STX trim, all six available paint colors are free of charge, and one of them is brown. All seats are covered in cloth at this level, and the only color on offer is Ebony. The 4×4 upcharge is added to the acquisition fee of $656 and the destination charge of $1,695 for a grand total of $55,385.

Nissan Armada

The most expensive entry of today’s trio is also the only one from Japan. The Nissan Armada in its current guise is sold as the Patrol elsewhere in the world and shares a body with the more expensive QX80 and a platform with the Nissan Titan. Available in four trims, S, SV, SL, and Platinum, the Armada ranges from $48,600 to over $65,000 before options. All trims share the same naturally aspirated 5.6-liter V8 used across Nissan’s truck line that’s good for 400 horsepower. Colors available for free on the SV 4WD trim include black and silver. Interiors are dark gray or tan, and the leather has an -ette at the end of it. The four-wheel drive and shipping fee add up for a base price on the Armada of $57,095.

Three big SUVs, all of them ask for around $55,000 of your dollars. Which one goes home with you?

[Images: GM, Ford, Nissan]

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  • Dan Dan on Apr 18, 2021

    Who am I kidding that I'd buy any of these over a truck and if I had too many kids for that it'd be a van but I'll play. Buy Ford. It has most the big classy presence that the Tahoe used to have before GM ruined it. Turbo motor wafts with the best of them. Didn't like the dial shifter in my Ram and don't like it here either. Do like the 31 gallon tank. Drive Nissan. The best motor and the tallest tires. The cloth interior is actually nice. Fugly and a foot too small but still a no brainer. Burn Chevy. Don't like these at all. The 5300 motor has been worst in class by a lot for what, 15 years now? The styling hasn't grown on me at all either, the hideous new Silverado in front and their rental grade crossovers everywhere else. Hard pass.

  • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 19, 2021

    In this day of global warming, should we be burning anything? LOL I'd buy the Tahoe, drive the Ford and scrap the Nissan. If I got a better deal on a Ford, I'd reverse that sequence.

  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
  • Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
  • Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.
  • Alan In Australia only hairdressers would buy this Monaro as its known as. Real men had 4 door sedans and well hung men drive 4x4 dual cab utes with bullbars and towbars. I personally think this is butt ugly. Later iterations of the Commodore were far better looking.
  • Jeff As a few commenters on prior articles on this site about the UAW strike mentioned many of the lower tiered suppliers could go bankrupt and some could possibly go out of business if the strike is prolonged. Decades ago Ford and GM owned many of their own suppliers but as we all know over the years manufacturers have been outsourcing more parts and with just in time supply there is little room for any interruptions to production including strikes, natural disasters, and anything unforeseen that could happen. When the strike ends there will be delays in production due to parts shortages. It costs suppliers money to just keep making parts and stockpiling them especially when many parts have razor thin profit margins.