Chevrolet Suburban Review

Chevrolet Suburban Review

Suggested Suburban MSRP

$49,915 SHOP

Average Suburban Used Price

$43,702 SEARCH Review Score

Best SUV Review Ranking    92/100

Chevrolet Suburban Stats


SUV MPG Reivew
16 City
23 Highway


SUV Horsepower Reivew
355 HP
383 Torque

0-60 Time

SUV 0 to 60 Reivew
7.1 Seconds
19 to 100mph


SUV Drivetrain Review

RWD or 4WD


A Black Suburban has long been the quintessential important people hauler and for good reason. It’s large and intimidating, yet has a certain utilitarian simplicity to its design. It doesn’t scream for attention like the Escalade ESV or wear a revolting amount of chrome a la Yukon XL. It’s a mixture of luxury, comfort, and utility that has worked for business execs and heads of state alike for decades. It should work for you as well. Though your kids may not need a team of well-armed bodyguards, they will appreciate the extra space, 7 USB ports, and 4G LTE hotspot. When it comes to sheer size, carrying and towing capacity, few SUVs can compete with the Chevy Suburban.


The Suburban has been around over 80 years, making it the longest running nameplate in the United States. The model has survived two world wars and countless economic crises and remains a staple in the US auto market. This would not be possible without providing value to the consumer.

The Suburban is one of the few SUVs that provides seating for up to 9, though most will equip with seating for 7 or 8. As more and more mid-size SUVs provide seating for 7 with better driving dynamics and fuel economy, the Suburban remains a standout for its ability to tow while carrying a full family. If you need truck-like towing ability with a luxurious, quiet cabin for seven, the Suburban remains the undisputed champion.


One thing you must understand about the difference between the Suburban and many of the SUVs on the market today is the basic difference in design. Most SUVs on the market today are car-based, which means manufacturers use platforms from cars they make to engineer their SUVs, hence the “crossover” name typically attached to them. The Suburban is truck based. It uses the platform from the Chevy Silverado, as does the Escalade, Yukon, Tahoe, etc. This signifies a departure from car based driving dynamics. Don’t expect an SUV that’s heavy on the “sport” quality of the moniker.

It behaves like a truck because it is a truck with extended seating capacity. That said, there are desireable qualities inherent in truck design: towing ability, fortified suspension, and frame rigidity. These qualities make driving the Suburban an empowering experience. It feels indestructible, a feeling that inspires confidence in mothers and fathers everywhere. It doesn’t like being pushed hard through corners but steering is surprisingly nimble. The added heft means you won’t feel much in the way of bumps and road imperfection as you might in a smaller SUV. Straight line acceleration is not bad at 7.1 seconds to sixty, on par with many much smaller SUVs. Fuel economy is much worse than most SUVs, but that is to be expected in a V8 powered, 3 ton SUV. We believe the Suburban performs admirably for what it’s designed to do, don’t expect a truck to handle like a nimble crossover.


Climb inside the Suburban, you literally may have to climb, and you’ll find an exquisitely finished cabin, befitting of the brand’s flagship SUV. There are leather, soft-touch materials throughout. The MyLink infotainment system is intuitive and mimics smartphone app-based operation and design, making it simple to use. There’s an awesome hidden storage cubby behind the screen with a USB port. Seating can be configured for up to 9 passengers with three bench row configuration or as low as 7 with first and second row buckets.

The third row is better than most and can accommodate adults for short trips. There are 14 charge ports placed strategically throughout the cabin. With the standard OnStar 4G LTE wifi hotspot, you may need most of them. The one complaint we have about the driver’s seat is its lack of side bolster. Turn with any vigor whatsoever and you’ll be tossed from door to console and console to door. However, most won’t take turns with much pace in the Suburban and seats are adequate for responsible driving.

The standard rearview camera makes parking this behemoth much easier than you’d think. Pro tip: learn to reverse into spots to avoid five point turns in tight parking lots. The higher trims equip helpful driver assistance features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert that make driving the oversized SUV more livable on the day to day. Cargo capacity is outstanding at 38.9 cubic feet behind the third row and up to 121.1 cubes with second and third rows down. That’s enough space to fit an average refrigerator and a week’s worth of grocery. Of course, this is the reason why many buy the Suburban. The Suburban manages to provide a unique blend of utility, luxury, and technology that make it the de facto choice for soccer moms and dictators worldwide.


The Suburban is long wheelbase version of the Tahoe and shares the same design. The dual port oversize grille takes up a majority of the front fascia bordered by the unique, corner wrapping headlights. The lower part of the front features the adjustable air dam that provides air to the intakes and cools the engine. The air dam makes the Suburban appear lower to the ground than it actually is and severely limits the Suburban’s off road ability. The side profile of the Suburban belies it truck-based heritage, appearing similar to a pickup truck with a camper top. The rear is simple and symmetrical, with a single exhaust tucked behind the right side. The Suburban is an attractively designed, truck-based SUV that wears its weight well.


JD Power issues an unimpressive 2 out of 5 reliability rating for the Chevrolet Suburban. Consumer Reports is even less impressed and offers a 1 out of 5 predicted reliability rating. We were somewhat perplexed by these scores as there is an acceptable amount of NHTSA recalls, two, one for faulty airbag or seat belt sensors and the second for the wrong kind of mirror. No major issues. Further research revealed just 35 Technical Service Bulletins, down from 304 in the 2015 Suburban.

This vastly improved figure should correlate with a higher reliability rating. However, reputable sources like Consumer Reports have reported several electronics and powertrain problems that begin in vehicles with low miles, even brand new ones. It seems that affected vehicles continue to have problems while non-affected units appear to work more or less flawlessly. This means you should be wary of the specific Suburban you’re planning on purchasing. If it’s new, drop it at the first sign of trouble. If it’s used, carefully inspect the vehicle history and maintenance records for signs of trouble. Transmission problems or reports of vibrations are the biggest red flags. If the vehicle in question is unaffected by these issues, it’s safe to assume it will be as reliable as any other vehicle. We can’t outright recommend all Suburbans as reliable, but we wouldn’t rate the Suburban as unreliable either. We advise you do your homework to ensure the Suburban you’re looking at doesn’t suffer from these known issues.


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash-tested the Suburban in several years, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested the Suburban. The NHTSA offers a 4 out of 5 overall rating, giving a 4 out of 5 for frontal impact and a 3 out of 5 rollover rating. Standard full side curtain airbags and front-seat side airbags offer excellent protection in the event of a collision. A teen driver feature allows you to set volume and speed limits for young drivers, giving you peace of mind. OnStar automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, and remote unlocking are welcome safety features as well. We think the optional safety technology should be standard in a vehicle of this size. Lane departure warning and blind spot warning are especially useful in this 19 foot long SUV. The Suburban weighs in at over 3 tons so you should be aware that it will require plenty of distance and time to brake, both the Yukon XL and Escalade ESV offer larger, better brakes that should be available on the Suburban.


Competitors that combine luxury with carrying capacity like the Suburban are few and far between. The most sensible alternative is the Expedition EL, the long wheelbase version of the Expedition. In recent years, Ford has drastically improved this model to better compete with the Tahoe and Suburban. The Ford’s interior and technology still lag behind the Chevy. You won’t find the upscale materials, Apple Carplay, or Android Auto in the Ford, nor will you find 4G LTE connectivity. What you will find is a cheaper, more reliable alternative that also has a class-leading tow capacity of 9,300 lbs.

The Ford is equipped with a twin turbocharged 3.5 Liter V6 that makes 365 hp and delivers very similar performance and fuel economy to the Suburban’s 5.3 Liter V8. Both handle similarly with their truck-based construction that prioritizes towing ability over corner carving. The active dampening suspension available on the Expedition EL dramatically improves handling, as does the Magnetic Ride Control on the Premier trimmed Suburban. Considering both those models are priced well into the 60k range, we’d opt for the Suburban’s more refined interior and safety technology. The Expedition EL can still be had much cheaper than the Suburban, making it the practical choice for the value-concerned consumer. If we had to choose between the two, we’d still choose the Suburban.


Suburban RWD
5,328cc V8 engine with direct injection and variable valve timing 355 hp @ 5,600rpm 383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100rpm
16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds

Suburban 4WD
5,328cc V8 engine with direct injection and variable valve timing 355 hp @ 5,600rpm 383 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100rpm
15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds


The Suburban LS trim has a starting MSRP of $51,210 and arrives equipped with a rear vision camera, Chevrolet Mylink, rear park assist, remote start, Bluetooth compatibility, Onstar 4G LTE wifi, keyless entry, and occupant sensing airbags. For $3,000 more, four wheel drive is available on all trims. An Enhanced Driver Alert Package is available for $695 that installs a safety alert driver seat, power adjustable pedals, IntelliBeam headlamps, forward collision alert, and lane keep assist. A $2,280 dollar All-Season Package furnishes the Max Trailering package, all-weather floor mats, cargo mats, roof-rack cross rails, and upgraded 20in wheels.

The LT trim starts at $56,450 and adds forward collision alert, IntelliBeam headlamps, power rear liftgate, a Bose 9-speaker sound system, lane keep assist, automatic forward braking, and leather-appointed seating. The $2,995 dollar Luxury Package provides keyless entry with push-button start, heated second-row bench, power third row, memory power-tilt steering wheel, hands-free liftgate, fog lamps, front and rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, and blind zone warning. The Sun, Entertainment, and Destinations Package affix Navigation with SiriusXM traffic, power sunroof, and rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system for $2,980. A Texas Edition Package is available for $3,245 and endows your Suburban with upgraded mirrors, keyless entry, front and rear park assist, power tilt steering column, wireless charging, hands-free liftgate, heated second row seats, 20in wheels, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, heated steering wheel, fog lamps, and power folding second and third row. The LT Midnight Edition is a $1,835 dollar appearance package that adds black wheels, black bowties, black integrated roof cross rails, and requires black paint.  

Lastly, the Premier package is available from $66,135 and equips an upgraded magnetic ride control suspension, push-button start, upgraded mirrors, upgraded 20in wheels, fog lamps, HID headlamps, hands-free power liftgate, MyLink with Navigation, Bose 10-speaker surround sound system, heated second-row bucket seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt and telescopic steering column, wireless charging for mobile devices, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear park assist, and lane departure warning. The Sun, Entertainment, and Destinations Package is also available on the Premier trim at a discounted price of $2,485 and supplies a rear-seat Blu-ray entertainment system, power sunroof, and additional 9 months of SiriusXM radio and traffic services.

   Published by Elizabeth Jeneault on Oct 16, 2018  

SUV Competitors
Acura MDX
Audi SQ5
Audi Q7


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