2019 Chevrolet Suburban Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

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October 16, 2018

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is a superlative highway hauler, capable of lugging nine passengers, their gear, and an 8,300-pound trailer. You won’t find that capability in a crossover.

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is the anti-crossover, an old-school truck-based SUV for those looking to carry eight passengers, all of their stuff, and tow a boat or camper along for the ride.

Thanks to an excellent towing capacity and surprisingly luxurious interior, we’ve given the 2019 Chevy Suburban 6.4 out of a possible 10 points. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2019, the sporty RST appearance package introduced last year finally gets a performance boost to go with its 22-inch wheels and blacked out trim, adding a 6.2-liter V-8 and Magnetic Ride Control suspension, as well as a revamped 10-speed automatic transmission. The whole shebang is available as the RST Performance Package, similar to that offered on its shorter wheelbase Tahoe sibling. Also newly available is a Premier Plus Special Edition package, which includes the same engine and a litany of luxury features.

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The 2019 Suburban includes the same trim levels as last year, LS, LT, and Premier, and offers seating for up to nine occupants and rear- or four-wheel drive. A 5.3-liter V-8 that makes 355 horsepower is standard, and now the powerful 6.2-liter V-8 from elsewhere in GM’s stables is available, complete with 420 hp. The smaller V-8 comes equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the larger engine gets 10 speeds for the bump in power.

If the massive, 220-inch-long Suburban is a bit too big for your needs, Chevy offers the smaller Tahoe on the same platform, with essentially the same looks and equipment. Those put off by the gold bowtie up front could also opt for the GMC Yukon XL, and well-heeled customers would be wise to consider the Cadillac Escalade ESV.

Inside, the Suburban’s car-like interior puts an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system front and center, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality come standard. Cloth upholstery and a three-position bench seat are standard on the Suburban LS, but most buyers will choose the LT trim or above, which swaps in heated and cooled leather seats as an option and the second row with either a three-piece bench or two captains’ chairs. The second and third row seats fold flat for a cavernous 121.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity, and if that’s somehow not enough space, you’re probably going to need a box truck.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Styling

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban wears its clean-cut styling and car-like interior proudly for another model year.

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban sports a crisp, handsome exterior and a comfortable, car-like interior that help to hide its considerable size. That’s good enough for a 6 out of 10 points on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

We’re fans of the interior appointments and have awarded the 2019 Suburban accordingly, but the boxy exterior is beyond due for an update. The two-box design with strangely-shaped headlights and a chrome-laden grille give it considerably more curb appeal than generations past.

The RST Performance Package includes the same visual updates from the appearance package last year, including 22-inch alloy wheels and blacked-out badges and styling aspects.

Inside, the symmetrical dashboard design places the controls logically below the 8.0-inch touchscreen, which is mounted front and center. Buyers who opt for the base bench seat will find that the dashboard ends abruptly and cuts into the middle passenger’s leg space, but a front bench seat as an option in 2019 is a pleasing novelty.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Performance

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is out-paced by its more nimble rivals on backroads, but a big bump in available power helps this SUV’s case.

With nearly 6,000 pounds on its frame, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is no sports SUV, but a big change in the power department helps its case. We’ve given it a 6 out of 10 for its smooth ride and strong engines. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 5.3-liter V-8 stays put at the base of the range, making 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque with either rear- or four-wheel drive available. Power is sent to two or four wheels via a column-shifted six-speed automatic, though a new engine and transmission are available this year for the first time on the Suburban.

The 6.2-liter V-8 can be found in other vehicles in GM’s stable but finds its way to the Suburban via the RST Performance and Premier Plus Special Edition Packages for 2019. Making 420 hp and 460 pound-feet, this mighty power plant adds some oomph to what was already a potent SUV. A 10-speed automatic transmission helps to make the most of every pony and drop of fuel.

The four-wheel drive Suburban is rated to tow 8,200 pounds, while rear-wheel drive models actually manage 100 pounds more.

In the ride and handling department, the Suburban’s considerable heft is barely felt through the somewhat sloppy, soft steering rack, though turn in is direct. This big beast struggles to keep pace with more nimble independent suspension-adorned competitors on curvy roads, but the ride is cool and composed with more suspension articulation off road.

The Suburban is no thoroughbred off-roader though thanks to its extremely long wheelbase, but the Z71 package adds some beefed-up components and proper tires to the standard Suburban. Opting for the RST package nets 22-inch wheels and a magnetic ride suspension, similar to that on the GMC Yukon Denali and Cadillac Escalade.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Comfort & Quality

When it comes to hauling people and stuff in comfort and quality, few vehicles are as capable as the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban.

If you’ve got a lot of people and stuff to haul, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is one of the best vehicles to suit your needs and a high-end feel to top it all off. We’ve awarded above average scores for front and rear seat comfort, cargo capacity, and materials for a total score of 9 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Technically, the Suburban comes with an available nine seats, but the vast majority will have power-adjustable bucket seats up front and a wide center console. Both the standard cloth and optional leather upholstery are high quality, and soft-touch surfaces with French stitching adorn the cabin. While there is decent legroom throughout, a vehicle of this size could stand to have more of it. Thankfully, the third-row seat is easy to access with a power-folding second row and ample legroom even for adults.

Behind the third row, the Suburban offers nearly 40 cubic feet of space, with that number ballooning to 77 cubic feet when folded flat. Both aft rows folded down allow for a cavernous 122 cubic feet and a flat, wide floor that’s somewhat high off the ground.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Safety

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban offers ample crash safety tech, but a lack of full scores from some agencies and sub-par scores from others is concerning.

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban packs ample safety tech for a truck-based vehicle but hasn’t been fully crash-tested. As a result, we’re unable to give it a full score for safety. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Every Suburban that doesn’t include a front bench seat comes with seven airbags, including the thoughtful center airbag that’s designed to help keep front seat occupants from colliding in the event of a crash. Anti-lock brakes and stability control are also standard, as is the case with almost every modern car.

The Enhanced Driver Alert Package adds low-speed automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and active lane control to the LS package as an option and comes standard on the LT and Premier trims.

The IIHS hasn’t once tested the Suburban and likely will not, and the NHTSA awarded last year’s model four out of five stars overall, noting that its high center of gravity contributes to a greater rollover risk. Though the collision-avoidance tech does help ease concerns a bit, the Suburban isn’t a safety superstar.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Features

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is well-equipped and offers luxury-level options with a luxury-level price tag to match.

With three trim levels, a wide range of options, and now multiple powertrains to select, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is configurable in a myriad of ways. That’s why we’ve seen fit to give it 8 out of 10 points for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Though it does represent value to a certain extent, no 2019 Suburban is cheap. The LS trim serves as the entry point to the range and carries a $50,000-plus price tag for cloth upholstery, power adjustable front seats, three-zone climate control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

We recommend the Enhanced Driver Alert Package, which includes active safety tech like automatic low-speed emergency braking and active lane control, as an option on the base Suburban, but most buyers will step up to the LT trim.

Doing so adds leather seats (heated up front), makes the optional safety tech standard, and includes a Bose audio system and a power liftgate. The Premier trim tops the Suburban range, and adds ventilated front seats, blind spot monitors, a more powerful Bose system, a hands-free liftgate, and keyless ignition.

Last year, the RST Appearance Package gave the Suburban some needed visual flair with black accents and badges, 22-inch wheels, and more, and the look is back for 2019 with a performance boost to go with it. Z71 package buyers get off-road inspired looks, including special bumpers and all-terrain tires.

The Premier Plus package is new for 2019 as well and offers basically every option in the book with a bit of upmarket visual flair, not to mention the bigger engine.

Suburban Premier models are the only ones available with a head-up display and adaptive cruise control, and four-wheel drive is a $3,000 upgrade on every trim level. A fully-loaded Suburban can crest $80,000, which is right at the low range of the Cadillac Escalade lineup.

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2019 Chevrolet Suburban

Fuel Economy

Thanks to engines that can run on four cylinders, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is not as thirsty as its size would suggest.

Though not a gasoline miser, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban has a high-tech engine lineup that helps reduce fuel consumption when not entirely necessary. That warrants a 3 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Rear-wheel drive models are the lightest and most efficient of the bunch, with an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city, 22 highway, and 18 combined for the 5.3-liter V-8, one fewer on the highway and overall than last year. Adding an extra two driven wheels brings those figures down to 14/21/16 mpg.

The Suburban can also run on E85 but using the ethanol-enhanced fuel drops figures to 11/17/13 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 11/16/12 mpg with four-wheel drive.

The now-optional 6.2-liter V-8 is helped along by the 10-speed automatic transmission it’s mated to but makes an average 14/20/16 mpg.

However, those who average a lot of highway miles may see a slight improvement in these figures, as the Suburban’s engines have cylinder deactivation technology, transforming them into a frugal four-cylinder when under lower load.

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$50,600
MSRP based on 2WD 4-Door 1500 LS
 
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6.4
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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2019 Chevrolet Suburban Pricing Insights

  • 2019 Suburban arriving; 2018s remain in stock
  • Get 10% off MSRP or $1,250 rebate on 2018s
  • Lease a 2018 LT 4WD from $599 for 39 months
  • 3.9% APR for 60 months on 2018s continues
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