Stopping Distance: How did GM’s Full-Size SUVs Beat the Mazda 3?

Automobile publication Car and Driver has been running tests on vehicle stopping distances for several decades now. They recently looked at the new generation of GM’s large SUVs, including the Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Tahoe. The results were impressive and show an incredible progression in vehicle technology.

Although these next-gen GM full-size SUVs are larger and heavier than previous models, all of the tested models stopped in 184 ft or less. The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban High Country came to a complete stop in just 166 feet, a better stopping distance than the Mazda 3 compact sedan and the Audi RS6 Avant performance wagon.

These results were shocking even to Car and Driver, who typically anticipate modest gains from generation to generation – not substantial improvements like this. For comparison, the 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe stopped in 248 feet during testing. The 2016 Cadillac Escalade tested at a little over 202 ft. And now, just a few short years later, we see stopping distances under 184 ft.

So why has GM been able to make huge strides in an area where other manufacturers have struggled? Car and Driver usually attributes stopping distance success to tire quality, but that’s not the only factor at play. GM says tire tweaks have helped, but improvements can also be ascribed to a new independent rear suspension system and improvements made to braking systems over the years.

So why is this important? Stopping distance is exactly what it sounds like – how quickly your vehicle can come to a complete stop while driving. Just a few feet can mean the difference between a safe stop and a disastrous collision. GM has managed to reduce full-size SUV stopping distance by nearly 100 feet in just two decades, improving safety by a significant amount. Want to learn more about GM’s full-size SUVs? Ask a member of our Preston Sales team and they’ll be happy to find the right SUV for you!