2011 Chevrolet Suburban Review

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Kurt Ernst Kurt Ernst Contributor
August 1, 2011

When it comes to full-size SUVs, there’s large and there’s extra large. The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban leans towards the extra-large side of the fence,  and it’s so big that it may not even fit in your garage. On the other hand, only a full-size van will haul more passengers or cargo, and the Suburban can be equipped to tow up to 8,100 pounds.  If you need that kind of capability, the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is worth a look. 

Thanks to the Suburban’s wide range of models and options, and long list of safety features, we’re giving it a rating of 7 on FamilyCarGuide. It’s not perfect and it’s not for everyone, but if you have a need for the kind of capabilities that the Suburban delivers, few other vehicles can match it. Thanks to technologies like cylinder deactivation, the Suburban isn’t quite as thirsty for gasoline as it used to be, but we’d still like to see it offered in a Hybrid version.

The NHTSA has not yet fully tested the 2011 Chevy Suburban, but it did get a three-star rating in rollover protection.  That’s on par with other large, high center of gravity SUVs, and it’s a reminder that they need to be driven with a bit more care than a sedan or station wagon. The IIHS has not yet rated the 2011 Chevy Suburban.

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All 2011 Chevy Suburbans  come with safety features comparable to the 2011 Chevy Tahoe, including anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, front seat side airbags, curtain airbags and GM’s OnStar system. Suburban models can be equipped with four-wheel drive and a number of additional safety features, such as a rearview camera, blind-spot detection system and rear parking sensors.

The primary reason to opt for the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban over the Tahoe is passenger and cargo room. It’s 20 inches longer than the Tahoe, and 14 of that comes in the wheelbase. That helps the Suburban deliver a larger third-row seat, more cargo room and easier cargo loading thanks to large rear doors. If you really need an extra-strong, full-size SUV the Suburban 2500 comes with a heavy-duty suspension and drivetrain, at the expense of ride quality.

All Suburban 1500 models come with a 5.3-liter V-8, good for 320 horsepower. The engine is flex-fuel (E85, or 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) ready, and delivers 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway thanks to GM’s cylinder deactivation technology. If you do opt for the heavy duty Suburban 2500, the truck comes with a 6.0-liter V-8 that puts out 352 horsepower. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Suburban drives smaller than it is (until you try to park it). No one will confuse the ride quality for a luxury SUV, but that’s not to say the Suburban’s cabin isn’t well-built or well equipped. In fact, you can get all the trappings of a luxury SUV inside a Suburban; there’s only so much you can do with a body-on-frame SUV the size of a college dorm room to address ride quality, though.

The 2011 Chevy Suburban comes in a dizzying array of trim levels and configurations, so we’ll just say that if you need an SUV this large, there’s bound to be a Suburban variant to fits your needs. As with most of Chevrolet’s product line, key features from the next trim level up can generally be ordered as individual options, saving the buyer a significant amount of money.

If you want full details on the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban or 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, see our full reviews on TheCarConnection.

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Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 5
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