Few vehicles can match the cargo space, passenger capacity and general entertainment and technological amenities of the Chevy Suburban 1500. With its stout engine and transmission, rugged truck-based platform, and raw power the Suburban can tow your boat, transport nine people, and haul enough groceries and luggage for your weekend outing.
Chevrolet offers the Suburban 1500 in three trim levels: the LS, LT and the LTZ. Each is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. For 2013, all Suburbans have a modified transmission that downshifts more effectively to reduce brake wear on grades.
Rear-wheel drive is standard. Four-wheel drive is optional and available in two different varieties: one with a standard two-range transfer and another with a single-speed low gear. The latter is not available on the LTZ.
Drivers and passengers will appreciate the Suburban's comfortable interior. Entertainment options are plentiful and the ride is quiet and supple. The Suburban seats eight; an optional split-front bench seat boosts passenger capacity to nine. The third row is set far back and requires a bit of agility to access; because it doesn't fold down, it must be removed to make additional room. However, when all the rear seats are removed, the Suburban boasts a whopping 137 cubic feet of cargo space.
The Suburban handles more like a large truck than anything else, which shouldn't be a surprise. While heavy, it accelerates at a fairly quick pace; when towing or carrying a full load, however, the Suburban becomes noticeably sluggish. The weight, long braking distances, cumbersome handling and extra-large body means the Suburban can be a challenge in the city or in tight parking lots.
The Suburban might seem excessive, but if you're hauling a baseball team, towing lots of things, or in need of a lot of cargo room on a regular basis, it just might be the ideal choice for you.
A 5.3-liter V8 engine with 320 horsepower and 335 foot-pound of torque powers the base LS. Rear-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. Two forms of four-wheel drive are available as optional equipment. Standard equipment includes: 17-inch alloy wheels; roof racks; six-way power front seats; Bluetooth; a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack and iPod interface; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; tri-zone climate control; heated mirrors; automatic headlights; rear privacy glass; cruise control; and rear headphone inputs with separate audio controls.
The LS has several option groups that come with features found on the LT and LTZ. Standalone upgrades include: 22-inch wheels, a sunroof, a heavy-duty towing package, a rear entertainment system with a DVD player, and power-extending running boards.
The Suburban 1500 LT features the same 5.3 liter V8 engine, rear-wheel drive and six-speed transmission as the LS. Additional standard features include: roof-rack crossbars, heated mirrors, automatic climate control, remote ignition, a locking rear differential, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, a six-disc CD changer and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.
Options are the same as for the LS, with the addition of an off-road package.
Building on the LT, the LTZ adds: four-wheel drive; a rear air suspension with automatic load leveling; a blind-spot warning system; a rear view camera; 20-inch alloy wheels; a power liftgate; automatic wipers; power folding and driver-side auto-dimming mirrors; a blind spot warning system; heated and ventilated front seats with four-way lumbar; driver seat memory; a heated steering wheel; heated and power-folding second-row chairs; an auto-dimming rear view mirror; a navigation system with real-time traffic; touchscreen display with voice controls; and a 10 speaker Bose audio system with surround sound and digital storage. The loaded LTZ has few options.
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Seats up to nine passengers, has a cavernous interior, and rides smoothly, but third row seating doesn't fold into the floor and the vehicle's weight is significant
Easy-folding seats, versatile and adaptable interior, and great towing capacity, though the V8 engine is surprisingly taxed under duress
Graceful ride for such a large vehicle with such impressive towing capacity, though it gets expensive quickly
Tows more than it should, seats up to nine passengers, and has a well-designed interior, but it has less interior space than the competition