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The Chevy Suburban is a stalwart. Hatched as a carry-all companion to pickup trucks, the 'Burb hasn't shifted focus at all since it was new in 1935. It isn't just the oldest SUV nameplate on the road today, it's the oldest SUV and the oldest nameplate.
For this year's new 2015 Suburban, Chevy has turned to some traditional touches--big shoulders, big V-8 engines, big towing capacity--and some crossover cues like fold-flat rear seats, to bring the Suburban into the same modern family as the recently revamped Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup truck.
Chevy says the new Suburban doesn't share any sheetmetal panels with the Silverado, but like its close kin--the 2015 Chevy Tahoe SUV and the 2015 GMC Yukon--the Silverado's roots are common to the big new SUV, from its frame construction to its V-8 powertrain.
While GMC puts all its full-size SUVs under one umbrella, the Suburban leaves the short-wheelbase duties to the Chevy Tahoe. The long-wheelbase model in Chevy's portfolio is 130 inches long in wheelbase--as it was in the previous generation--and more than 220 inches long overall, slightly stretched from the last Suburban.
Tradition is the keyword for the Suburban's new styling: it's a highly angular, creased-and-pressed look. Still, GM says the design is more aerodynamic than the 2007-2014 Suburban. The interior's where the conservative movement takes a breather: it's a suavely sculpted place, with a large touchscreen interface for audio controls, and a curved console countering the square-jawed exterior.
There's just one powertrain on tap for the 2015 model year--no six-cylinder, no hybrid drivetrains, not even the new 6.2-liter V-8 found in the companion 2015 GMC Yukon Denali. The Suburban gets the same 5.3-liter V-8 found in the Silverado; its output of 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque is channeled through a six-speed automatic, to either the rear wheels or all four wheels.
No EPA estimates have been released, but Chevy says the Suburban should be the most efficient vehicle in its class, thanks to standard cylinder deactivation and direct injection.
Electric power steering also helps improve gas-mileage figures, as does a stronger frame with more high-strength steel--which also gives the Suburban a stiffer body structure, GM claims. The suspension--like the Silverado--remains a leaf-spring design in the rear, though the Suburban LTZ can be ordered with Magnetic Ride Control, a sophisticated setup that uses magnetically charged fluid to change suspension damping rates. The Suburban can tow up to 8,500 pounds.
With the Suburban, Chevy has one of its most popular people carriers--but until recently, accessing its third-row seat has been a chore. GM says it's made the trip to the way-back easier, with more second-row leg room, and with flat-folding third-row seats with power assistance. The cabin's storage bins are more useful too, with a center console bin deep enough to hold tablet or small notebook computers.
The Suburban buffs up its safety credentials with GM's new front-center airbags, on models with front bucket seats. Adaptive cruise control is an option, as are a lane-departure warning system with seat-mounted haptic alerts, blind-spot monitors, forward collision alerts, and front parking sensors.
Other available features include keyless entry; pushbutton start; an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen radio with Chevy MyLink connectivity; a head-up display; a power tailgate; a cargo-management system; and up to six USB ports and six power outlets. A Blu-Ray DVD entertainment system will also be an option on the Suburban, as will wheels sized up to 22 inches.
The new Chevy Suburban goes on sale in the first quarter of 2014. Pricing has not yet been announced.
- Unabashedly an SUV
- Much-improved cabin
- Excellent new V-8 drivetrain
- More safety and better infotainment features
- Very angular styling
- One powertrain fits all
- One of the biggest vehicles you can buy