What's New for 2010
For the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban, the 2LT trim level is dropped, reducing the trims to simply LS, LT and LTZ. There are also a few equipment changes, whose highlights include new audio systems (with a standard USB port) and the adoption of front side airbags.
The 800-pound gorilla within the large SUV segment, the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban is nearly untouchable when it comes to providing an abundance of space and utility. Even in this era of the crossover SUV, the Suburban has stayed true to its roots. It still uses a robust, traditional body-on-frame truck chassis with a solid rear axle and is powered by a large V8 engine. Yet despite its formidable size, the Suburban has agreeable road manners, thanks to its easy steering, compliant ride and hushed demeanor on long freeway cruises.
Another thing that hasn't changed is the big 'Burban's thirst for fuel. Despite its V8 engines having cylinder deactivation technology (they can run on just four cylinders under light-load situations), a Suburban will be hard-pressed to average much over 13 or 14 mpg. But in fairness it's no worse than any other large SUV, and for those who truly need nine-passenger seating capacity and acres of cargo space, the Suburban is really only matched by its GMC Yukon XL clone and a few full-size vans.
That said, there are a few other considerations in this segment. The Ford Expedition EL boasts similar dimensions to the Suburban and is a bit more versatile, thanks to its fold-flat third-row seats, but it only seats eight and is down on performance compared to the Chevy. There's also the Toyota Sequoia, which has plenty of brawn but not as much room. Overall, those needing massive interior space as well as enough grunt to tow heavy loads will find a lot to like with the immensely capable 2010 Chevrolet Suburban.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 Chevrolet Suburban full-size SUV is available in 1500 and heavy-duty 2500 models, each available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. All are available in the base LS and midlevel LT, while the top-shelf LTZ model is available as a 1500 only.
The LS comes standard with 17-inch wheels, side assist steps, a 40/20/40-split front bench seat, a power driver seat, full power accessories, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat air-conditioning and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, auxiliary audio/USB jacks and satellite radio. The LT adds foglamps, luggage-rack rails, a locking rear differential, power front bucket seats, leather upholstery, rear audio system controls with two headphone jacks, additional power outlets (for a total of five), tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starting, rear parking assist and an upgraded Bose audio system with a six-CD changer.
The Suburban LTZ gets 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, the Autoride rear air suspension, premium leather upholstery, upgraded heated and cooled front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-folding second-row seats with heat and an upgraded 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system.
Many of the features that are standard on upper trim levels are available on the LS or LT via packages or individual options. Other major options for the Suburban include 22-inch wheels, a sunroof, a heavy-duty tow package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), an off-road package, a navigation system, a rearview camera, power-retracting running boards and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
Powertrains and Performance
Chevrolet offers two engine choices for the 2010 Suburban. The 1500 versions come with a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. On the 2500, a 6.0-liter V8 that pumps out 352 hp and 382 lb-ft of torque comes standard. Both V8s are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. With either the 1500 or 2500 model, buyers have a choice of either rear- or four-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the Suburban 2500 can tow up to 9,600 pounds.
Combined fuel economy for the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban ranges from about 14 mpg combined to 16 mpg combined, depending on the model and the engine. Obviously, towing and driving with a heavy load can drop these numbers significantly.
Four-wheel antilock disc brakes are standard on all Suburbans, as are stability control, GM's OnStar emergency communications system, front-seat side airbags and a three-row side curtain airbag system with a rollover sensor. A blind-spot warning system is also available on the LTZ trim.
In government crash tests, the Chevy Suburban was awarded a top five-star rating for its protection of occupants in frontal collisions. Side-impact testing with the new side-impact airbags hadn't been preformed as of this writing, but last year's Suburban still earned a top five-star rating for side-impact protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
Like other vehicles in GM's portfolio, the Suburban's interior has greatly improved over the years. Materials quality is good and controls are logically laid out. With its standard third row, the 2010 Suburban can seat up to nine people -- a total surpassed only by full-size vans. Although the Suburban's second row is available with a power-folding feature, the third-row seats must be removed manually to optimize cargo space. Based on our experience, those dense seats feel as if they're constructed of cast iron, and removing them requires not only a strong back but the ability to wrestle them out from deep inside the interior.
Cargo capacity is immense, as one would expect, with a maximum of 137.4 cubic feet. That's 17 cubes bigger than a Toyota Sequoia and a full 40 cubes larger than a Nissan Armada.
The 2010 Chevrolet Suburban is fairly quick for its size and can get to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds. However, the 5.3-liter V8 Suburban doesn't feel nearly so quick when carrying a load of passengers. And with a hefty curb weight ranging from 5,600 to 6,300 pounds, the Suburban, not surprisingly, doesn't feel nimble around city street corners. But the cabin is quiet at speed and the ride is comfortably controlled over bumps.