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The Chevrolet Suburban has been with us for a very long time. In fact, its 80 years of continuous production is the longest of any nameplate in the automotive world. That popularity has helped to shape the way sport utility vehicles are made to this day.
Now in its eleventh generation, the 2014 Suburban is mostly a carryover from last year and features the same underpinnings and major body components used by the SUV since 2007.
In order to keep up with its ever-evolving competitors, some interior and exterior enhancements like power pedals, rear park assist and a new paint color have all been made standard for the 2014 model year. A new Suburban arrives in 2015, so it's safe to assume Chevy didn't want to change too much between last year's model and this year's.
The interior's appearance is a bit long in the tooth, so the redesign for next year will be welcome, but it is one of the most spacious sport utility interiors money can buy -- up to 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats down and room for as many as nine people when they're up.
Under the Hood
The Suburban 1500 is powered by a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 engine producing 320-horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard in all three trim levels, but all three can also be had with all-wheel drive for an extra cost. The 1500 can tow as much as 8,100 pounds and achieves a fuel efficiency rating of 15 mpg city 21 mpg highway, which is pretty economical for a vehicle this size.
While the Suburban is by no means a sporty SUV, it has enough utility to make up for it. The power and torque is plentiful and the four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes do a good job stopping the Chevy's considerable heft. The Stabilitrak stability control system helps to keep the vehicle's bodyroll in check through the corners and the standard suspension package rides comfortably and handles towing without a bother.
Even though the Suburban 1500 isn't cheap, with prices starting at $45,065, it is a good value when you take into account the vehicle's size, power and capabilities. All in all, the Suburban has been around so long because it does exactly what its owners have needed it to do -- and more -- for decades.
The base-model LS is the most affordable trim level offered for the Suburban 1500, with prices starting at $45,065. Power comes from the 5.3-liter Vortec V8, which produces 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive comes as standard, but four-wheel drive is also available.
LS seating allows for nine total occupants -- one more than the higher trim levels can handle. Standard features are better than you'd expect from a base model, with Onstar, Bluetooth and a USB port all included.
The LT shares its powerplant, transmission and many other major components with the LS. Significant differences include an available Z71 suspension package upgrade and an automatic locking rear differential -- especially useful if you opt for four-wheel drive.
Other upgrades include tri-zone climate control, a vastly improved Bose nine-speaker sound system and exterior items like fog lamps.
Prices for the LS start at $48,215, a very reasonable price considering the number of extras. If you're looking at a well-optioned LS, you'd be wise to take a look at the LT and see if it has what you're looking for.
If you're shopping for a Suburban and want as many amenities as you can get, then the LTZ is for you. Starting at $56,900, it's significantly more expensive than the LS and LT, but you get quite a bit more for your money. Luxury-class amenities include 20-inch polished wheels, heated and cooled seats for the first two rows, and a power liftgate.
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The Sequoia features seating for eight and a competitive price, but fuel economy lags behind the Suburban
The Armada's towing capacity in its standard trim comes in just above that of the Suburban, and with a starting price well below $40,000, the Nissan is a competitive choice