For those who need to haul the heaviest loads and don't mind a less cushy ride, there's the Chevrolet Suburban 2500, which comes with heavy-duty suspension and drive systems, but the Suburban 1500 should suit all personal uses—including rather regular towing and hauling needs. All Suburban 1500s come with a 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8, and they team the power to standard rear-drive or optional four-wheel drive through a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is flex-fuel capable and comes with cylinder deactivation, which turns off cylinders when full power isn't needed. With the six-speed auto, it's powerful and smooth, and can deliver fuel economy as high as an estimated 15/21 mpg. Tow ratings range up to 8,100 pounds.
The Suburban maintains control over the road quite well for its size, though its sheer size and mass can get in the way of maneuverability. Ride quality is more sophisticated and smooth than its truck appearance suggests, and inside it's nearly the size of a Japanese hotel room, with 137.4 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first row of seats.
The third row seat in the Suburban doesn't fold flat like the third-row seats in the Ford Expedition, but it folds down and can be removed if necessary. That said, it's bulky and heavy—really a two-person operation—and the mounting tabs stick up from the floor and can scratch cargo. In all, the Suburban can seat up to nine people-but the back three probably should be limber and small.
Just as with the Tahoe, the Suburban can be equipped in LS, LT, and LTZ trims, with either rear- or four-wheel drive—though no Hybrid model is offered. Luxury features on offer include Bluetooth connectivity (now standard for 2011); a DVD navigation system that's very easy to use and has a clear, large LCD screen; a rear-seat DVD entertainment system; real-time traffic; a rear air conditioner; leather upholstery; power-adjustable pedals; remote start; ventilated seats; heated second-row seats; up to 22-inch wheels; a towing package; luggage racks; and an Autoride electronic suspension.
For more information, see our review of the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, which includes more related news, specs and pricing, and highlights from other reviews.