2006 Suburban 1500 New Car Test Drive
As familiar as the family dog, the Chevrolet Suburban cruises into 2005 with the same maximum-size virtues that have kept it a best-seller for so many years. Since the 'burb first appeared, it has never wavered from its mission. It remains the first choice for anyone who needs to haul six or more people plus their cargo. Suburban offers a cavernous interior with seats that fold down for monster loads.
Suburban is based on GM's superbly engineered full-size truck frame. Its V8 engines deliver strong torque for towing heavy loads, and it's supremely stable when pulling heavy trailers through nasty, windy weather. Suburban provides a stable, comfortable ride for long-distance travel. Last but not least, it's fully capable of slogging down muddy two-tracks, whether in pursuit of the great outdoors or to get some work done.
The 2005 model year brings some minor improvements. Fuel economy is improved. A revised tire-pressure monitor is now standard, alerting drivers when a tire needs air. New options include stand-alone traction control and 17-inch all-weather tires. The Z71 off-road package is available for 2WD models. A touch-screen navigation radio is available. The OnStar telematics system is upgraded with enhanced hands-free operation. Interior trim has been revised. Running boards are more aerodynamic. There's also a new 7-to-4-pin wiring adapter for the trailer package.
Completely redesigned for model year 2000, the Suburban then received a substantial update for 2003, with more than 40 major changes designed to enhance safety and improve reliability. The StabiliTrak electronic stability program became available for improved control on slippery surfaces. New airbag systems were designed to better protect children and adults of various sizes. Adjustable pedals became available for the comfort and safety for drivers of smaller stature. Brakes were refined, and an all-new electrical architecture promised improved reliability. XM Satellite Radio became available, along with a new Panasonic DVD system for back-seat monkeys. Changes for 2004 enhanced safety with Hydroboost brakes that provide power assist even if the engine stalls or is turned off.
Heavy-duty Suburban 2500-series models can be ordered with Quadrasteer electronic four-wheel steering for dramatically increased maneuverability in tight spaces and improved control when towing a trailer.
Chevrolet Suburban comes with a choice of two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) and is available in two load ranges, called 1500 and 2500. The numbers don't really relate to anything and the term 1500 is often dropped in conversations. Most people find the 1500 models more than meet their needs.
That adds up to four basic permutations: 1500 2WD ($37,850), 1500 4WD ($40,650), 2500 2WD ($39,450), and 2500 4WD ($42,350). Suburban 1500 models come equipped with a 5.3-liter V8. The 2500 models are available with a choice of 6.0-liter or 8.1-liter V8s. No diesel is currently available.
The LS is the standard trim in either load range, which includes three-zone manual air conditioning, a 40/20/40 split bench front seat with six-way power for the driver, 60/40 split folding middle bench seat, fog lamps, assist steps, powered and heated outside mirrors, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and a rear window defogger. A Preferred Equipment Group ($1,035) adds bucket seats with upgraded cloth upholstery, a floor console, and a Bose nine-speaker audio system with rear controls and headphone jacks. XM Satellite Radio ($325) is optional.
The more luxurious LT ($5,710) brings automatic climate control, leather seat inserts, power folding mirrors with in-glass turn signals and electrochromic dimming on the driver's side, the Bose stereo, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and many other features. LT is also available for the 2500 ($5,320).
The Z71 off-road package ($6,185) includes heavy-duty springs and gas-pressure shocks, appearance items outside and LT-grade comfort and convenience features inside. Z71 is now offered on 2WD and 4WD 1500s, but not on 2500s.
Entertainment options include a Panasonic DVD player ($1,485 on LS, $1,295 on LT) with wireless headphones, auxiliary audio/video jacks and remote game plug-in. The touch-screen navigation system is optional as is an electric tilt-and-slide sunroof.