2020 Suburban New Car Test Drive
For the seemingly simple duties of hauling people and their possessions in comfort, with plenty of room to spare, few vehicles are as capable as the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban. Still traditional in design and body-on-frame construction, and powered by a potent V-8, the Suburban conveys a surprisingly high-end feel for an SUV beneath the Chevrolet banner.
Suburban history dates all the way back to 1935; the full-size SUV was last redesigned as a 2015 model.
For the 2019 model year, the sporty RST Appearance Package introduced for 2018 earns a performance boost, provided by a 6.2-liter V-8. Billed as the RST Performance Package, the bigger-engine option is similar to the one offered for the Suburban's shorter-wheelbase Tahoe sibling. A Magnetic Ride Control suspension is included, along with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
A Premier Plus Special Edition Package also is new, with the same engine and a sizable helping of luxury features.
Trim levels continue as before: base LS, LT, and top-end Premier. Suburbans can seat as many as nine occupants.
Chevrolet's 5.3-liter V-8 develops 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, mating with a column-shifted 6-speed automatic transmission. The available 6.2-liter V-8 cranks out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet, driving a 10-speed automatic. Rear-drive is standard, but four-wheel drive is offered for each trim level.
For a truck-based SUV, the Suburban contains, or can be equipped with, an ample amount of safety technology. Seven airbags and a rearview camera are standard. An Enhanced Driver Alert package adds low-speed automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Standard on LT and Premium models, it's optional for LS trim. Premier is the only version available with adaptive cruise control.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has never crash-tested the current Suburban. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 model a five-star side-impact score, but only four-star ratings overall and for frontal impact. Rollover prevention (a calculated figure, not derived from testing) rated only three stars, due to the Suburban's high center of gravity.
If the massive Suburban, measuring 220 inches, is excessive in size, the smaller Tahoe sits on the same platform and looks similar. GMC offers the Yukon XL, which is a close copy of Chevrolet's Suburban. Also related is Cadillac's posh Escalade ESV..
Prices do not include $1,295 destination charge.
LS ($50,600 with rear-drive, $53,600 with four-wheel drive) comes with the 5.3-liter V-8, nine-passenger seating, cloth seat upholstery, power front seats, 8.0-inch touchscreen, tri-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
LT ($55,600 with rear-drive, $58,600 with four-wheel drive) adds leather-appointed seat upholstery (heated up front), Bose 9-speaker audio, and a power liftgate. Safety technology that's optional for LS is standard on LT, including low-speed automatic braking, lane-keep assist, and forward-collision warnings.
Premier ($65,300 with rear-drive, $68,300 with four-wheel drive) adds Magnetic Ride Control, heated and cooled front seats, blind-spot monitors, 10-speaker Bose audio, hands-free liftgate, and keyless start. Safety features include blind-spot monitors.
A Suburban may be fitted with the Z71 package, featuring all-terrain tires and off-road-inspired appearance..