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Iconic Chevy Suburban is All-New for 2015

By Sue Mead, April 12th, 2014

At 80 years old, no other vehicle in the automotive industry has been in continuous production as long as the Chevrolet Suburban. Chevy calls it an American icon -- and we have to agree.

Manufacturer photo: A more-efficient, direct-injected EcoTec3 powertrain coupled with improved aerodynamics help offer greater estimated highway fuel economy based on GM testing while preserving overall performance and capability
Manufacturer photo: A more-efficient, direct-injected EcoTec3 powertrain coupled with improved aerodynamics help offer greater estimated highway fuel economy based on GM testing while preserving overall performance and capability

The Chevrolet Suburban was originally named the Suburban Carryall when it debuted back in 1935. It boasted an all-steel wagon body mounted onto a commercial chassis for toughness and durability.

Today's all-new 2015 Suburban caters to families with a collection of new advanced technologies, enhanced ride and drive refinement, and improved fuel economy, which, to the original engineers of the 1930s might make this Suburban seem like an unimagined spaceship.

The Suburban can carry up to nine people, offers up to 121.1 cubic feet of stowage, and comes in two-wheel and four-wheel-drive versions. The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is available in three levels -- LS, LT, and LTZ -- with a starting price of $48,295 for 2WD and $51,295 for 4WD models.

Under the hood is a new 5.3-liter V-8 with Active Fuel Management, variable valve timing, and direct injection that contributes to nearly 10-percent greater highway efficiency. Chevrolet's EcoTec3 powerplant offers 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is rated at 8,300 pounds for 2WD versions and 8,000 pounds for 4WD. The EPA-rated fuel economy for the 2WD is 16/23 mpg; the 4WD achieves 15/22 mpg.

Manufacturer photo: A more-efficient, direct-injected EcoTec3 powertrain coupled with improved aerodynamics help offer greater estimated highway fuel economy based on GM testing while preserving overall performance and capability

On a recent drive, we motored in a manner and location befitting of this model, traveling from Reno, Nevada, to a Lake Tahoe ski resort on narrow and winding two-lanes, to bustling Sacramento. Anticipating slick road conditions, we selected a 4WD top-of-the-line and fully optioned LTZ model priced at $73,805.

Inside is a remodeled cockpit-like cabin with increased comfort and functionality, pleasant and attractive styling, and clever bins and storage solutions. Just as the other GM trucks have been upgraded with inlaid doors and improved aerodynamics, the Suburban is notably whisper-quiet and allows easy-to-hear conversation between front- and rear-seat passengers.

Our LTZ model had leather-appointed front buckets that could be heated and cooled, along with second-row bucket seats that could also be heated. Greater connectivity comes from MyLink, which has an 8-inch color touchscreen. Redesigned fold-flat second- and third-row seats have an available power-folding feature.

Of note are the improved pedal feel of the both the accelerator and the brake. We also appreciated the power adjustable pedals and height/telescoping steering wheel adjustment, allowing different-sized drivers to find the right ergonomic fit to motor with comfort; power/retractable running boards aid with entry and exit. We also appreciated the new electric power steering, which provides confident steering. Four-wheel-disc ABS brakes with long-life Duralife rotors stop the half-ton utility vehicle with ease.

Despite its large size and 130-inch wheelbase, we found no body roll in corners as a result of the Suburban's stronger frame and wider rear track, as well as the LTZ's third-generation magnetic ride control, a real-time damping system that's engineered for more precise body motion control by "reading" the road every millisecond and changing damping in a rapid-fire five-millisecond intervals.

Manufacturer photo: A more-efficient, direct-injected EcoTec3 powertrain coupled with improved aerodynamics help offer greater estimated highway fuel economy based on GM testing while preserving overall performance and capability

Most notable on the long list of what's new for the 12th-generation Suburban is that GM's sport utility vehicles no longer share sheet metal with GM's trucks. Updated exterior styling includes power running boards, power heated outside mirrors, power sunroof, and luggage rack roof rails among the available or standard upscale exterior features, depending on trim.

Specifications

Base price $65,695 (as tested: $73,805)
Curb weight 5,896 lbs.
Displacement 5.3-liter
Epa mileage rating 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 31 gal.
Horsepower (net) 355 at 5600 rpm
Motor type 16-valve OHV V-8 w/DI
Overall length 224.4 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 383 at 4100 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Vehicle type 9-passenger 4WD full-size SUV
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