Bottom line: The Chevrolet Suburban is a full-size, special needs sport-utility vehicle. If you don’t have those special needs, such as the regular transportation of large groups, consider buying something smaller.
Ride, acceleration and handling: The ride is comfortable. This is a big, weighty vehicle. Accelerate with caution. Drive carefully.
Head-turning quotient: It is dominating. Rare is the motorist who enjoys being behind it. Drive with patience and respect for others, many of whom will not treat you in like manner.
Body style/layout: The Chevrolet Suburban is a full-size, front-engine, body-on-frame sport-utility vehicle largely based on the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck. It is available with all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel drive and is offered in three trim levels: base LS, mid-grade LT, and top-grade LTZ. It is fully enclosed with four side doors and a rear hatch, which is automatically operated on the LTZ model.
Engines/transmission: The standard engine is a direct-injection, 16-valve, 5.3-liter V-8 with cylinder deactivation technology (355 horsepower, 383 pound-feet of torque). It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that also can be operated manually. A more powerful 6-liter V-8 is available but is soon to be replaced as an optional engine by a 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 (420 horsepower, 460 pound-feet of torque).
Capacities: Seating is for up to nine people. Cargo capacity with all seats in place is 38.9 cubic feet. With middle and rear seats folded, cargo capacity is 121.1 cubic feet. The Suburban can be equipped to carry a payload of 1,796 pounds and tow a trailer weighing 8,300 pounds. Fuel capacity is 31 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade is recommended. The engine is flex-fuel, which means it can burn a mixture of 15 percent regular unleaded gasoline and 85 percent ethanol.
Mileage: Using regular gasoline and carrying a heavy load (500 pounds) and two passengers, plus dog, I averaged 23 miles per gallon in highway driving.
Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes; four-wheel antilock brake protection; electronic brake-force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; OnStar emergency communications; lane departure monitoring; blind-spot warning (in the LTZ); and side and head air bags.
Pricing: The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban starts at $47,300. Adding all-wheel-drive and the LTZ trim option boosts that starting price to $64,700 with a dealer’s invoice price of $60,171. Price as tested is $68,595, including $2,900 in options (Chevrolet MyLink with navigation, adaptive cruise control, max trailering package, roof rails) and a $995 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $63,719.