Chevy Suburban: More Versatility, Value

By Sue Mead, February 14th, 2015

The Chevrolet Suburban is an American icon. This full-size SUV -- and its stablemate, the GMC Yukon XL -- command 75 percent of the market; more than two-thirds are four-wheel-drive models.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2015 Suburban represents the 80th anniversary and 12th generation of the original SUV
Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2015 Suburban represents the 80th anniversary and 12th generation of the original SUV

The new 12th-generation 2015 Suburban hit the road last year, and, rather than rest on its laurels, Chevy has already added updates.

New connectivity features include OnStar 4G LTE with a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless phone charging. Standard on the Suburban LT and LTZ, OnStar 4G LTE makes the nine-passenger SUV a mobile hub.

A new hands-free liftgate feature adds convenience by allowing the driver to open and close the liftgate waving the foot under a sensor at the back. The hands-free liftgate and wireless phone charging come with the Luxury Package on LT models and standard on LTZ.

A new 2015 Suburban Texas Edition, with exclusive badging, is available in LT ($2,195) or LTZ ($1,095) trims, and adds a Max Trailering Package (with a 3.42:1 axle ratio and trailer brake controller in addition to the standard hitch receiver and seven-wire harness); 20-inch polished aluminum wheels on LTs; and 22-inch premium painted aluminum wheels on the LTZ.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2015 Suburban represents the 80th anniversary and 12th generation of the original SUV

A new 2015 Suburban Z71 Edition -- geared toward off-road performance -- is available on the Suburban LT 4WD. Added are a front skid plate, off-road tires mounted on 18-inch wheels, a unique grille, running boards, and "Z71" badging along with fog lamps, front tow hooks, and front parking assist.

The latest 2015 Suburban has new advanced technologies, enhanced ride refinement, and better fuel economy. Also included are a programmable power-opening liftgate, a rear-view camera, and Chevy MyLink for devices from phones and tablets to music and navigation, real-time traffic, weather and gas prices.

Three trim levels are LS, LT and LTZ, starting at a slightly increased base price for the newest 2015 models of $49,445, plus $995 destination for 2WD and $52,445 for 4WD. Updated exterior styling with improved aerodynamics aids fuel economy and makes a quieter interior that's also been redesigned with new materials, attractive styling, and clever bins and storage solutions.

The remodeled interior has increased comfort and functionality. MyLink, which has an 8-inch color touch screen, as well as a new text-to-voice feature or Siri Eyes Free for iPhone add connectivity.

Suburban is powered by a new 5.3-liter V-8 with Active Fuel Management, variable valve timing and direct injection that brings nearly 10-percent greater efficiency and is E85-capable.

Manufacturer photo: The all-new 2015 Suburban represents the 80th anniversary and 12th generation of the original SUV

It delivers 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with a towing capacity of 8,300 pounds.

The EPA-rated fuel economy for the 2WD is 16/23 mpg; the 4WD achieves 15/23 mpg. A fully locking, automatic rear differential is standard on 4WD models.

Notable is the whisper-quiet interior that allows easy-to-hear conversation from front to rear seats. Our Suburban LTZ tester had leather-appointed front buckets that could be heated and cooled, with second-row heated bucket seats.

New electric power steering gives direct steering, especially with the larger tires. Four-wheel-disc ABS brakes with Duralife rotors stop the half-ton with ease. Pedal feel is improved for both throttle and brakes; we also appreciated the power adjustable pedals and height/telescoping steering wheel, allowing different-sized drivers to find the right ergonomic fit.

Power/retractable running boards aid with entry and exit. Despite its large size and 130-inch wheelbase, we found no body roll in corners as a result of the stronger frame and wider rear track. The LTZ's include third-generation magnetic ride control and a real-time damping system engineered for more precise body motion control that "reads" the road every millisecond and changes damping in a rapid-fire 5 milliseconds.

Specifications

Base price $64,700 (as tested: $65,695)
Curb weight 5,896 lbs.
Displacement 5.3-liter
Engine type OHV V-8 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 15 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 31 gal.
Horsepower (net) 355 at 5600 rpm
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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