2007 Chevrolet Suburban

Rating

75/100

Background

One of GM’s most popular full-size SUVs, the Chevrolet Suburban debuted back in 1936 and has long been an easy go-to choice for big families seeking a roomy, cozy car suitable for everyday use and recreation. The Suburban is essentially a longer version of the Tahoe, with a 14-inch longer wheelbase and an overall length that, at 222.4 inches, stretches some 20 inches longer than a Tahoe. The Suburban is a corporate twin of the GMC Yukon XL, and the two differ only in equipment levels and front fascia trim. For 2007, Chevy has completely redesigned the Suburban with the aim of improving everything that’s important in the large SUV segment: power, cabin space, convenience features and safety equipment.Alongside newer competitors, the previous-generation Chevy Suburban was increasingly outclassed in its later years, although its spacious interior made it an easy pick over the Expedition and Sequoia for families who needed maximum passenger and cargo space. The new 2007 Chevrolet Suburban rectifies most of the 2006 model’s deficiencies. Interior fit and finish is now excellent as soft-touch materials, tight gap tolerances and stylish design are present. On the outside, the 2007 Suburban’s slab-sided exterior styling is clean, but in profile it looks more Ford than Chevrolet. A major benefit of the new look is improved aerodynamics as the Suburban slices through the wind nearly as efficiently as some sporty coupes.Under the skin, the 2007 Chevy Suburban is still a traditional body-on-frame SUV with a solid rear axle. But the chassis’ evolution, though subtle, is significant. Chevrolet says that body stiffness has been increased significantly, and the old front torsion-bar suspension has been ditched in favor of a suppler coil-spring layout. Recirculating-ball steering has given way to a more precise rack and pinion system and the ABS-controlled four-wheel disc brakes are larger and more powerful than they were before.Because of its seating for up to nine, huge interior and powerful standard V8 engine, we suggest that consumers in need of a traditional, full-size SUV take a hard look at the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban. Other vehicles in this class, such as the Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada, still offer a few advantages, among these a fold-flat third-row seat. But overall we think the Suburban is a compelling choice for those whose passenger and cargo capacity requirements run to the extreme.

Drive

For such a big truck, the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban is fairly quick and can get to 60 miles per hour in under 9 seconds. However, the 5.3 V8 Suburban doesn’t feel nearly so quick when carrying a load of passengers. Plus, dipping into the power will quickly pull mileage down to the low teens. There are only so many ways to trick physics: depending on the model, a Suburban can weigh anywhere from 5,600 to 6,300 pounds. A new suspension with coil-over shocks up front and a five-link setup out back along with rack and pinion steering make for more composed handling and a smoother drive than before. But with its hefty curb weight, the Suburban doesn’t feel nimble around corners. Aimed for the horizon on an interstate, there aren’t many better cruisers than the ’07 Suburban. The cabin is quiet at speed, and the drive is comfortably controlled over bumps.

Exterior

There are three well-equipped trim levels in the Chevy Suburban full-size SUV family: base LS, luxurious LT and sporty LTZ. Most folks should be happy with the well-stocked LS, which counts a front split bench seat, full power accessories (including six-way driver seat), dual-zone climate control, an MP3-capable CD player and a trip computer as standard features. The LT actually comes in three sublevels: LT-1, LT-2 and LT-3. The LT-1 adds steering-wheel-mounted sound controls, front bucket seats with a center console, foglamps and color-keyed exterior trim. The LT-2 adds leather seating, an in-dash six-disc CD changer, power-adjustable pedals, remote car starting and rear parking assist. Move up to the LT-3 and these features are added: heated front seats (with 12-way driver adjustment) and a Bose sound system with XM Satellite Radio. Setting the LTZ apart are 20-inch alloy wheels, heated second-row seats, a locking rear differential, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding second-row seats, a third-row seat and the Autoride rear air suspension. Many of these features are available on the other trim levels as options. Other major options for the Suburban include a navigation system, a rearview camera and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Interior

Those used to past Suburbans will be pleasantly surprised by the 2007 version’s high-quality materials, fine fit and finish and logical control layouts. Depending on how you equip your Suburban, anywhere from six to nine passengers can be transported, and maximum cargo capacity stands at a substantial 137.4 cubic feet — a full 40 cubes more than a Nissan Armada, nine more than a Toyota Sequoia, and a few cubes more than the new Ford Expedition EL. Although the Suburban’s second row is available with a power-folding feature, the third-row seats must still be removed manually to optimize cargo space, and based on our experience, those seats are heavy and difficult to maneuver. Even with the second seat up there’s 90 cubes still available and nearly 46 with all seats in use.

Safety

Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard on all Suburbans, as is stability control, a tire-pressure monitoring system and GM’s OnStar emergency communications system. A three-row side curtain airbag system with a rollover sensor is standard on the LT-3 and LTZ and optional on all other Suburbans.

Specs

Chevrolet offers two V8s for the 2007 Suburban. Standard on the Suburban 1500 (half-ton) is a 5.3-liter V8 with 320 horsepower and 340 pound-feet of torque. Equipped with GM’s cylinder deactivation technology, this V8 promises improved fuel-efficiency over last year’s engine. A 6.0-liter V8 packing 366 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque comes on the Suburban 2500 (3/4-ton). A four-speed automatic transmission comes with both power plants. Whether buyers opt for the 1500 or 2500 models, they have a choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive. An automatic locking rear differential is optional on all trims except the LTZ, on which it’s standard. Towing capacities range from 8,000 for the 1500 4WD to 9,700 pounds for the 2500 2WD.

Value

Attractive interior with solid materials, cozy drive and seating, smooth V8, accommodates up to nine passengers, class-leading cargo capacity.

Verdict

It’s heavier than we’d like and it still doesn’t have a fold-flat third row, but the 2007 Chevrolet Suburban is much more refined than the previous truck. If you need a full-size SUV with maximum capacity, the Suburban is a compelling choice.

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