Traditional full-size SUVs may attract fewer buyers today, but for those who need massive passenger, cargo and towing capacities, the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban will rate as one of the more compelling choices.
Seats up to nine people; voluminous cargo capacity; fold-flat third-row seat; comfortable ride; improved V8.
Current model requires long braking distances; size requires careful maneuvering in tight quarters; new folding third-row seat diminishes some cargo capacity.
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is fully redesigned.
You'd think the end times might be near for hulking full-size SUVs like the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, but you'd be wrong. For drivers who need room for big families and the ability to tow big toys, the Suburban is still the premier alpha SUV.
For 2015, Chevrolet fully redesigned the Suburban. The big SUV will still ride on a traditional body-on-frame architecture, based around the structure of the new Chevrolet Silverado. The Suburban also lifts Silverado styling cues, including a new grille, full-width bumper and sculpted sides and fenders for a more modern, even aerodynamic look.
More importantly, Chevrolet will endow the base Suburban with a new 5.3-liter V8 featuring direct injection and cylinder deactivation for better power and efficiency. The new V8 produces 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque and sends it through a six-speed automatic transmission equipped with a tow/haul mode and automatic grade braking function.
For heavier workhorse duty, GM's latest 6.2-liter V8 is a likely replacement for the current 6.0-liter option. Chevy hasn't confirmed this engine for the Suburban yet, though. It will first show up in the more upmarket GMC Yukon Denali, generating 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The new Suburban is rated to tow up to 8,300 pounds; expect even more capacity if and when the 6.2-liter arrives.
A diet of extensive aluminum and high-strength steel helped shed around 250 pounds from the new Silverado pickup, but the Suburban's weight loss is more modest. An aluminum hood and liftgate panels help trim some flab, although new features and technologies negate some of the losses. Among them: a standard center airbag between the driver and passenger, active cruise control, blind-spot warning, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and adaptive suspension on LTZ models.
To diminish the Suburban's appeal to thieves, Chevrolet adds available sensors for window or glass breakage, vertical movement and interior movement. When triggered, sensors will sound the Suburban's alarm and shut down key systems that allow it to start or roll.
Upgraded upholstery quality, improved dash and door panels, 5- and 8-inch touchscreen displays, and Chevy's MyLink smartphone integration align the new Suburban interior with the classy offerings of its Ford and Toyota competitors. The Suburban also finally gets third-row seats that fold into the floor. This convenience -- past Suburbans required the removal of the third seat for maximum cargo space -- comes at a cost, however: 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity are lost, leaving a mere 121.1 cubes to work with when the second row is folded flat.
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban should be available by next summer with a base price around $45,000. Check back for a full review of the 2015 Suburban, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.
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