The Suburban is Chevrolet’s full-size SUV, and icon since 1935. Featuring seating for up to nine passengers and enough power to tow 8,300 pounds, the Suburban still returns an impressive 23 mpg.
Laden with safety and infotainment features, the capacious Suburban is perfect for families on the go. The body-on-frame construction speaks to it’s truck DNA and the rugged utility that brings. One engine is offered, a 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It can be mated to either rear- or 4-wheel drive.
What's New for 2017
A new Teen Driver feature allows parents to check the vehicle’s maximum speed, distance driven, and how many times the active safety features were activated during a drive. Upgrades to the rear-seat entertainment include an additional USB port, digital headphones and device projection, an HDMI/MHL connector, and a new video voiceover to benefit the visually and hearing impaired. Chevrolet’s app MyLink now includes in-car shopping. Low speed automatic braking is now available. Active shutters on the front of the vehicle enhance aerodynamics on the highway. he Premier trim replaces last year’s LTZ.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Suburban
The Suburban’s massive capacity tops the list for big families or those who simply need to haul a ton of stuff. Second-row captain’s chairs are standard for seven-passenger seating, with a bench on the option list to bring to the total up to nine.
Passengers have myriad entertainment options with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, an available eight-inch color touchscreen radio, Bluetooth, up to seven USB ports and six power outlets, and wireless charging.
Cargo space is abundant at 39.3 cubic feet behind the third row, and a whopping 121.7 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. A convenient power liftgate helps to load the big ute with ease.
Buyers considering the Suburban Premier should also consider it’s General Motors twin, the Cadillac Escalade. Mechanically, the vehicles are nearly identical, but the Cadillac has a slightly more luxe feel and comes with a more powerful engine, 420 horsepower compared to 355.
With a history dating back to the mid-1930s, Chevrolet’s massive Suburban is one of a handful of truly full-size, truck-based SUVs. Fully redesigned for the 2015 model year, it’s closely related to the GMC Yukon, on a wheelbase 14 inches longer than Chevrolet’s similar Tahoe.
Pricing and Equipment
Starting at $51,110 (destination charge included), the Suburban comes in base LS, midrange LT, and top Premier trim – the latter starts at $65,925. All Suburbans hold a 6.3-liter V8 engine, with direct injection, that develops 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic is the sole transmission. Four-wheel drive replaces the standard rear-drive configuration for a $3,000 premium.
Standard LT equipment includes:
Leather-appointed front and second-row seats
Bose premium audio
Tri-zone automatic climate control
MyLink infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen
Lane-keep assist and forward-collision alert
V8 powertrain feels strong in just about every situation, whether merging onto an expressway, passing on a two-lane road, or grinding up long grades in mountainous terrain.
Magnetic Ride Control (standard on Premier) can alter suspension damping. thereby yielding a smooth, supple ride even when the pavement surface gets rough.
Properly equipped, a Suburban can tow as much as 8,300 pounds.
Fuel economy wins no prizes, as expected in a vehicle this big and heavy. With rear-drive, the EPA estimates 16 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, and 19 combined. Four-wheel drive drops the figures to 15/22/18 mpg. Cylinder deactivation can shut off half the cylinders in light-duty situations.
Although the base suspension, with rear leaf springs, does a reasonably good job, body lean through turns is inevitable. Few would call the Suburban agile.
Because of its mammoth dimensions and abundant weight, the Suburban isn’t so easy to maneuver through crowded spaces, periodically qualifying as cumbersome.
Refined, neatly-sculpted cabin seats seat seven, eight, or nine passengers, depending on whether a front bench and/or second-row captain’s chairs are installed.
Especially in top trim, a Suburban comes across as agreeably upscale – though at a substantial cost.
Even though the third-row seat is more welcoming than in earlier Suburbans, and folds flat, it’s still most appropriate for children or, at best, adults of shorter stature.
Simply because this is a big SUV, getting inside inevitably requires a bit of a climb.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Continued availability of a front bench seat may surprise a lot of folks, and please those who want their Suburbans to be fitted for maximum passenger capacity. Anyone who hasn’t experienced a haptic-type safety alert is likely to be surprised, and to recognize its value when the Suburban deviates from its lane, though the actual seat vibrations may or may not seem pleasant.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
In crash-testing by NHTSA, the Suburban earned only a four-star rating in frontal crashes with the same rating overall. The side-impact test went better, with a five-star score. Active safety features are available, but mainly as options.
The Bottom Line
Indisputably a traditional SUV, flaunting utterly angular styling, the Suburban is one of the biggest vehicles on the market – more than 220 inches long. Clearly, most families don’t really need this level of three-row seating. For those who don’t, its Tahoe cousin or even a midsize crossover SUV might suffice nicely.
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