- Smooth ride
- V-8 engine power
- Seating for up to nine
- Serious truck-based SUV capabilities
- Roomy first- and second-row seats
- Access to tight third-row seats
- Six-speed automatic available only on the 2500
- Ride height is high
The 2008 Chevrolet Suburban stands out as being a highly capable and usable full-size sport utility vehicle that drives well.
The 2008 Chevrolet Suburban is an extended-length version of the capable Chevrolet Tahoe. Like the Tahoe, the Chevy Suburban is based on the GMT900 truck platform, and it was introduced in its current form in late 2006 as a 2007 model.
The 2008 Chevy Suburban is offered in two series: as a 1500 and a heavy-duty 2500. Each series can be decked out in LS, LT, and LTZ trims, with either rear- or four-wheel drive. StabiliTrak stability control, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and curtain airbags for all rows are standard. These features, combined with the Chevy's curb weight of nearly three tons, should make you feel very safe and secure.
The 2008 Chevrolet Suburban is really all about size and towing capabilities. Inside, the Chevy Suburban is nearly the size of a mobile home, with 137.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first row of seats. Should you need to trailer more gear, the 1500 models can tow a maximum of 8,100 pounds, while the 2500 models can tow up to 9,700 pounds.
For 2008, the Suburban engine lineup for the 1500 series includes three V-8s. Two displace 5.3 liters, and one is E85 capable. Horsepower differs between two- and four-wheel-drive models, with slightly lower numbers (320 vs. 310) for the 4WD versions. The larger V-8 is an all-aluminum 6.0-liter that features sophisticated variable valve timing and is rated at 366 horsepower. The 1500-series engines get matched to a four-speed automatic transmission. Heavy-duty 2500-series models get a different 352-horsepower, 6.0-liter V-8 matched to a fuel-saving heavy-duty six-speed automatic. All engines feature fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, and this feature was totally imperceptible as it turned off cylinders when full power wasn't necessary. Every Suburban engine is powerful and smooth, but TheCarConnection.com's team prefers the 6.0-liters, especially with the six-speed. Fuel economy suffers accordingly.
Inside, the well-equipped Suburban LTZ features a beautiful interior that could have been lifted from a premium sedan. The quality of the materials is, overall, very good. The switchgear also works well and is easy to use. (GM's corporate non-navigation radio, by the way, is among the most intuitive and simplest to use--period.) Seating configurations differ by model and trim, but include variations that seat six, seven, eight, or nine. Comfort in the first two rows is excellent, and a three-person front bench seat is available; however, the optional third row is not perfect in comfort or function. And unlike some other SUVs, this seat is a pain to remove (it doesn't fold into the floor like on the Ford Expedition), and the remaining mounting tabs stick up from the floor and can scratch cargo.
When facing off against the two full-size SUV imports, a properly equipped 2008 Chevrolet Suburban can tow five tons, besting the Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada in this important category.