2021 Chevrolet Suburban

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian Wong Brian Wong West Coast Editor
March 10, 2021

Buying tip

The Suburban is gigantic, which is good for roominess but also means it may not fit in your life (or your garage). If you don’t need quite so much room, Chevrolet also offers the slightly smaller Tahoe.

features & specs

2WD 4-Door High Country
2WD 4-Door LS
2WD 4-Door LT
15 city / 20 hwy
16 city / 20 hwy
16 city / 20 hwy

The 2021 Chevy Suburban is a super-size SUV ready for the biggest families with the most cargo. We just wish more safety features came standard.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is the latest in a long-running series of mega-sized family warships, with a name that traces back to the early 20th century when people weren’t necessarily smaller—maybe they just needed less stuff. It competes with other full-size SUVs such as the Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, Nissan Armada, and GMC Yukon.

Is the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban a good vehicle?

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The redesigned 2021 Suburban earns a TCC rating of 6.0 out of 10, due to a robust standard feature set and comfortable cabin. A poor crash-test rating and lack of standard safety features, along with a poor showing on fuel economy (as you’d expect) tempered those scores. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban?

In short, nearly everything. The redesigned 2021 Suburban is more spacious for passengers and cargo, adds a new turbodiesel engine option, and upgrades to its multimedia and safety technology that bring it up to the modern age. It also got big: 225.7 inches in length with a wheelbase of over 11 feet, increasing second and third row leg room, as well as cargo room which now maxes out at a whopping 144.7 cubic feet.

The Suburban is closely related to the 2021 Chevy Tahoe, which also got a redesign that we cover separately. Both ride on the same platform that underpins the Silverado half-ton and styling draws heavily from the pickup truck as well giving the Suburban a massive maw. The grille pinches toward the middle with daytime running lights, but it’s just as upright—just as imposing—as before. Along the sides, the Suburban plays with the available daylight with creases and bends—at least when it’s not blocking the sun. 

Under the hood is a choice between two carryover V-8 engines: a 5.3- or a 6.2-liter that make 355 or 420 hp, respectively. A 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 that makes 277 hp and 460 pound-feet of torque is available in the Suburban for the first time in two decades. A 10-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models and drives the rear or all four wheels, when optionally equipped. Fuel economy ratings top out at 23 mpg combined for rear-wheel drive turbodiesel models and 18 mpg combined for the smaller V-8 (also with rear-wheel drive).

The Suburban rides atop a four-wheel independent suspension for the first time this year, which helps the Chevy glide more smoothly over the pavement. An optional adaptive air suspension coddles passengers further with a load-leveling rear end for frequent towers. 

All Suburbans get automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection as standard equipment, with blind-spot monitors, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system optional. The Suburban earned a four-star crash test rating from the NHTSA, but has not yet been tested by the IIHS as of this writing.

How much does the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban cost?

The 2021 Suburban is available in LS, LT, Z71, High Country, Premier, and RST trim levels. Each trim level except for the Z71 has standard rear-wheel drive and adding four-wheel drive costs an additional $3,000 on the other trim levels. The LS leads things off at $52,995 (including a $1,295 destination charge), followed by the LT at $57,795, and the RST at $61,095. The Z71 comes in at $63,195, then we come to the most luxurious trims of the Suburban, the Premier ($66,595) and High Country ($73,595). 

The LS comes with a standard 10.2-inch touchscreen, automatic emergency braking, tri-zone automatic climate control, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Each trim above that tacks on a wireless phone charger. High Country models have the most standard features, with leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, and an adaptive suspension standard.

Where is the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban made?

The 2021 Suburban is made alongside the Tahoe in Arlington, Texas.


2021 Chevrolet Suburban


If you want your full-size SUV to look like a truck, the new Suburban is your cup of tea.

Is the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban a good-looking car?

The redesigned Suburban gains a point for its exterior styling, but the less daring interior design nets out to average across the trim levels and leaves us at a 6 for styling.

The Suburban displays its prodigious size instead of trying to slim it down, with boxy corners and a massive front grille leading the way. Styling borrows heavily from the Silverado, giving the ute high sides that get some needed sculpting to make them look less slabby. The high sides also have large side windows, creating excellent sightlines for passengers in all three rows and letting more light into the cabin. Off-road oriented Z71 models look the most aggressive, with a unique front fascia that provides a steeper approach angle.

The interior styling doesn’t break any new ground, but the newly standard 10.2-inch touchscreen is well placed up high on the dash where it’s easily seen and the rest of the controls are intuitively placed. A top-of-the-line High Country model liberally splashes leather around the cabin like there was a cow surplus, but lower trims will swap that out for cloth.

Review continues below

2021 Chevrolet Suburban


The 2021 Suburban drives with more balance and dexterity than its size would suggest.

Changing to an independent rear suspension has upped the Suburban’s ride quality, especially when equipped with the optional magnetic shocks. The larger 6.2-liter V-8 has more than enough oomph to move the Suburban with relative ease. We will have to test the other two engines to see if they offer the same satisfying power delivery. The Suburban’s easy power and smooth ride earns it a 7 in this category. 

Is the Chevrolet Suburban 4WD?

Rear-wheel drive comes standard on all but the Z71 trim, which has standard four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive system is available with any of the engine options on any of the other five trim levels.

How fast is the Chevrolet Suburban?

The three available engines offer enough power to get this big ship moving at a good pace, though not in any great hurry. The base engine is a 5.3-liter V-8 making 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque and it comes standard on all trim levels, except for the High Country. The High Country is the only model to get the larger 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, which comes standard. 

New for 2021 is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-6 that makes 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, matching the larger V-8. On the High Country, even though this engine is optional it is actually $1,500 cheaper than the larger V-8 (and more efficient as well). This engine is available on all trims except for the Z71. A 10-speed automatic is the only transmission option, and all models have standard two-wheel drive, with four-wheel drive optional except (again) for the Z71 which is four-wheel drive only. Towing capacity maxes out at 8,300 pounds.

For the first time, the Suburban features a four-wheel independent suspension which helps to improve ride quality. The High Country layers an adaptive air suspension on top of that with auto leveling, giving it an impressively smooth and balanced standing on the road. It’s a vehicle that can be driven for hours without complaint, eating up potholes and expansion joints in the road with ease. The suspension also helps the Suburban feel composed in corners. Some body roll is present, but the SUV never feels sloppy or out of control unless you really throw it around recklessly.

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2021 Chevrolet Suburban

Comfort & Quality

The super-sized Suburban features seating space across all three rows for adults and more cargo room than ever before.

With seating for eight adults in comfort (or nine on base fleet models), the most cargo room of any SUV, and roomy rear seats, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban earns an 8.

The Suburban’s additional 4.1 inches in the wheelbase pushes the wheels out further and adds more than two inches of leg room to both the second and third rows, expanding each to 42 and 36.7 inches respectively. That gives the third row more leg room than some compact sedans and, unlike the cramped third rows found in mid-size SUVs, this one feels like a legitimate seating area with plenty of head room as well. 

Seating capacity maxes out at nine passengers on the LS, which offers available bench seating across all three rows. The rest of the trims max out at eight, with a second row bench or available mid-row captain’s chairs to seat seven total. 

The third row is not quite wide enough to fit three adults across for anything longer than a quick trip, but for two folks it’s truly plenty of space. The air vents are also rightly located in the ceiling, helping to circulate air around the cabin for all. All seats could use more thigh support, with bottom cushions that are slightly abbreviated for taller passengers.

Behind the third row, the Suburban has more than 41 cubic feet of cargo room—more than nearly any crossover on the planet with two rows. With the seats folded forward, the 2021 Suburban’s cavernous 144.7 cubic feet is 23 more cubic feet than last year and more space than most of Rhode Island. 

Cloth seating is standard, with leather upholstery added to the RST and above trim levels. On higher trim levels, the plasticky center console controls don’t quite live up to the Suburban’s quickly rising price tag. 

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2021 Chevrolet Suburban


The NHTSA gives the Suburban a four-star overall score.

How safe is the Chevrolet Suburban?

The NHTSA gave the Suburban a four-star overall rating, with the SUV performing well in most crash tests but getting a three-star rollover rating. These low scores, along with the limited availability of advanced safety options brings the Suburban’s safety score down to a middling 5, despite its great outward vision and standard automatic emergency braking.

Standard safety features are limited on base models to automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and rear parking sensors. The standard automatic emergency braking system only works at speeds below 50 mph, and a more robust system is available only on Premier and High Country models. This is a common theme for the Suburban, with safety features that are standard on competitors’ base models aren’t even standard on the highest trim levels. Adaptive cruise control, for example, is not standard on any Suburban trim, but is found on every Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada. 

Also available are front parking sensors, rear camera mirror, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system.


2021 Chevrolet Suburban


The new Suburban’s standard technology features are impressive.

The 2021 Suburban’s robust standard features list and good infotainment system, which includes a 10.2-inch touchscreen and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, push it to a solid score of 7 out of 10. Also standard are power front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, 120-volt power outlets, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. 

With six trim levels and several different options packages, the Suburban can be outfitted in the way you want though the price jumps quickly as you move up to the higher trim levels. The Suburban offers a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, one maintenance visit, and a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Which Chevrolet Suburban should I buy?

The top trim levels don’t quite offer enough luxury to justify their price tags and the base model is locked out from some safety features you’d like on a larger vehicle, like a surround-view camera system, and it doesn’t offer second row captain’s chairs.

The $57,795 LT is a good starting point, adding heated front seats, auto-dimming rear view mirror, a Bose 9-speaker audio system, and a wireless charging pad on top of the base content. On top of that, the ideal configuration would also add the Luxury and Driver Alert packages for $2,820, which add helpful features for parking the giant Suburban such as front and rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera system. It also comes with a power-folding third row, blind spot monitors, and heated outboard second row seats among other features. That pushes the price to $60,615, which is still less than the starting MSRP of the next trim level up, the RST. For four-wheel drive, add another $3,000.

How much is a fully loaded Chevrolet Suburban?

The High Country model with four-wheel drive and the big V-8 that is the most expensive of the three engine options costs $73,595, including destination. Crank up the options with larger 22-inch black wheels and an expensive shade of paint, and you can push the price to $90,000. For some context, that’s nearly $15,000 more than the starting price of the more luxurious Cadillac Escalade which has a better interior and more technology. For this reason it’s hard for us to recommend going for the higher trim levels of the Suburban.

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2021 Chevrolet Suburban

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is not the strength of this giant vehicle.

Is the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban good on gas?

The Suburban with its base 5.3-liter V-8 rates at a 3 out of 10 on our scale, with an EPA-rated 16 mpg city, 20 highway, 18 combined with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive models drop each of those figures by 1 mpg, to 15/19/17 mpg.

Moving up to the larger 6.2-liter V-8 doesn’t harm fuel economy too much at 15/20/17 mpg with rear-wheel drive and 14/19/16 mpg with four-wheel drive.

The turbodiesel offers the best ratings, with 21/27/23 mpg (rear-wheel drive) and 20/26/22 mpg (four-wheel drive). 

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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 5
Features 7
Fuel Economy 3
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