What's New for 2006
Only minor changes occur to the 2006 Chevrolet Suburban. Updates include a redesign of the optional camping/towing mirrors and, for all trim levels, the addition of OnStar, a tire-pressure monitoring system and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Stability control has also been added to 1500-series models. Also note that Quadrasteer is no longer available.
Introduced way back in 1936, the Suburban SUV is Chevrolet's longest-running nameplate. The original was merely a standard panel van with a few extra seats and windows, but its reputation as a sturdy people mover made it a popular vehicle. Now 10 generations later, the tradition continues as the Suburban is still known as a stout, spacious vehicle that can take up to nine people just about anywhere they want to go.
Last redesigned in 2000, the current-generation Chevy Suburban rides on a modern chassis that has all the strength of previous models while providing a more comfortable ride and improved overall performance. A lineup of three Vortec V8 engines is available depending on your needs, and a laundry list of interior options allows you to add as much or as little luxury as you might want. Modern advancements like a stability control system make the Suburban safer than ever before. Although there are a few capable competitors out there, the 2006 Chevrolet Suburban remains the most popular SUV for those looking for maximum passenger capacity and solid towing capability in a comfortable, easy-to-drive package.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Chevrolet Suburban SUV is offered in half-ton (1500) and three-quarter-ton (2500) configurations with either two- or four-wheel drive. Four trim levels are available: LS, Z71, LT and LTZ. Standard equipment for LS models includes tri-zone manual air conditioning, cruise control, a driver message center, OnStar, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel and an AM/FM/CD stereo. The Z71 adds off-road suspension tuning, leather seating with 10-way power adjustments for the driver and front passenger, Bose audio system and unique trim. LT models add automatic climate control and XM Satellite Radio. The LTZ includes an automatic adjusting suspension, side airbags and power-adjustable pedals. Options like a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD video system make the Suburban a family-friendly vehicle.
Powertrains and Performance
All 1500 Chevy Suburban models feature a 5.3-liter V8 rated at 295 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. 2500 versions can be equipped with either a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 335 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque or an 8.1-liter V8 that produces slightly less horsepower (325) and 447 lb-ft of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard on all Suburbans. Equipped with the 6.0-liter engine, the Suburban can tow up to 9,900 pounds, while the 8.1-liter engine can pull up to 12,000 pounds when properly equipped. The maximum tow rating on half-ton models is 8,400 pounds.
Standard dual-stage front airbags deploy based on crash severity, and a passenger seat safety system can sense the presence of a child riding up front and disable the airbag to prevent injury. Standard on all half-ton models is the StabiliTrak stability control system. Front-seat side airbags are optional, but full-length side curtain airbags are not available. In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Chevrolet Suburban received four stars (out of five) for protection of the driver and three stars for the front passenger in front-impact crashes.
Interior Design and Special Features
All Suburban interiors are spacious with solid ergonomics and plenty of creature comforts. There's room for nine if you stick with bench seats; ordering the optional captain's chairs drops capacity to seven passengers. There's a little more plastic than we would like in the cabin, and build quality could be better, but overall it's still a pleasant environment for a family vehicle. The Suburban leads the class in cargo capacity (132 cubic feet) but doesn't offer fold-flat seats as in the Nissan Armada and Ford Expedition.
We've always been impressed with the current-generation Chevy Suburban's smooth, comfortable ride quality and easy-to-drive nature. Thanks to a stiff frame and a well-insulated cabin, Chevrolet's big SUV is generally quiet and rattle-free, making it a great long-distance cruiser. The ride of the heavy-duty 2500 models is a little less forgiving for rear-seat passengers, but they're still comfortable enough to be daily drivers.