2011 Chevy Suburban Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Seats up to nine people
- class-leading cargo capacity
- lots of standard and optional features
- comfortable ride
- smooth V8.
- Third-row seat is bulky and doesn't fold into the floor
- acceleration is sluggish under full load
- portly curb weight hampers handling.
The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is a compelling choice for those who need a traditional full-size SUV with massive passenger, cargo and towing capacities. We just wonder how many people really do.
At the risk of ticking some folks off, we'll come right out and say it: Most people don't really need a V8-powered full-size SUV. If you are one of the few who do, however, the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban should be at the top of your "must test-drive" list.
The Suburban -- which celebrated its 75th birthday last year -- does an awful lot of things well. That includes things you expect, like hauling lots of people and cargo and towing heavy trailers and boats. As far as traditional full-size SUVs go, the Suburban is actually surprisingly pleasant to drive thanks to a comfortable ride and beefy V8 power.
Of course the Suburban isn't the only full-size SUV game in town. Buyers interested in more upscale trappings may want to have a look at its fancier 2011 GMC Yukon XL and 2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV cousins. The 2011 Ford Expedition EL is similar in size and offers a slightly more versatile interior thanks to its fold-flat third-row seat, but its seating capacity maxes out at eight passengers. The eight-passenger Toyota Sequoia is more powerful than both, but not as roomy inside.
As long as heavy-duty towing isn't a priority (which goes back to our point about most people not needing a V8 SUV), you might also look at a large crossover like the 2011 Chevrolet Traverse, which is still quite roomy yet more nimble and gets better fuel economy. But for maximum seating, cargo and towing capacity, you're not going to go wrong with the Chevy Suburban.
2011 Chevrolet Suburban models
The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban full-size SUV is offered in 1500 and heavy-duty 2500 models. Both are available in the base LS and midlevel LT, while the top-shelf LTZ model is available as a 1500 only. All Suburbans can be had in either two- or four-wheel drive.
The LS comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, side assist steps, roof rack side rails, power front bucket seats with a center console, a 50/50-split third-row seat, tri-zone manual climate control, full power accessories, Bluetooth, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, rear-seat audio control with headphone jacks, and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, auxiliary audio/USB jacks and satellite radio. The LT adds foglights, roof rack crossbars, a locking rear differential, heated outside mirrors, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starting and an upgraded Bose audio system with a six-CD changer.
The Suburban LTZ gets 20-inch polished alloy wheels, a power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, the Autoride rear air suspension, premium leather upholstery, driver seat memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, power-folding heated second-row seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium 10-speaker Bose surround-sound system with satellite radio capability.
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, power-retracting running boards, a heavy-duty towing package (with an integrated trailer brake controller), an off-road package, a navigation system, a rearview camera and a rear-seat entertainment system.
Performance & mpg
Chevrolet offers two engine choices for the 2011 Suburban. The 1500 model comes with a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. A 6.0-liter V8 that pumps out 352 hp and 382 lb-ft of torque is standard on the 2500. Both V8s are mated 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.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban ranges from a high of 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 17 mpg in combined driving for two-wheel-drive 1500 models to a low of 10/15/12 mpg for the four-wheel-drive 2500.
The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban's list of standard safety features includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, 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.
The government's safety testing regimen has become more strenuous for 2011, but under the previous 2010 test the Chevy Suburban was awarded a top five-star rating for its protection of occupants in frontal collisions.
For a vehicle that weighs roughly 3 tons, the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban performs surprisingly well. Without passengers or cargo, a 0-60-mph sprint takes just 9 seconds. Load it up, however, and the 5.3-liter V8 produces acceleration that's best described as adequate. The Suburban's size and weight also impacts its handling -- nimble it's not. The suspension does manage to provide a fairly smooth ride just the same, a quality enhanced by the relative quiet of the passenger cabin.
Like many of the latest GM models, the Suburban's passenger cabin looks remarkably good. Both the design and the quality of materials have improved and controls and gauges are both easy to see and simple to operate.
With the available 40/20/40-split front seat, the Suburban can seat up to nine passengers, a total bested only by some full-size vans. Passenger capacity drops to eight with the standard front bucket seats and just seven on LTZ versions equipped with standard second-row buckets.
Cargo capacity is equally impressive, with 137 cubic feet of storage -- 17 more than the Toyota Sequoia and 40 more than the Nissan Armada -- behind the front seats. Making use of all this space can be a hassle, however, as the heavy 50/50-split third-row seats must be removed, an outdated process that's both strenuous and awkward.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover23.7%
More About This Model
Here in the bigger-is-better U.S.A., a 32-ounce soft drink is considered a "regular" size. Some families of four somehow require a 4,000-square-foot McMansion. And large, thirsty, truck-based SUVs such as this 2011 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 1500 have likewise become symbolic of our country's excessive ways. When was the last time you saw a Suburban carrying a full load of passengers or pulling something massive? Yep, a Suburban is blatant overkill for most folks. But for the few who have a genuine need for this gentle giant's impressive capabilities, it could make sense.
The Suburban shines (especially if it's the 2500 with the, umm, bigger V8) when it is put to work pulling really heavy things, like a horse trailer large enough for four of Secretariat's descendants. Plus it can also carry their handlers and their cargo in comfort. The Tahoe's bigger brother also excels at taking big families on road trips and serving as a beast of burden on Home Depot runs where (once you wrestle the seats out) you could probably transport enough materials to build a barn for those horses.
If you've got your sights set on a large, rugged SUV, you might also consider the Ford Expedition EL or Toyota Sequoia, the former having a more comfortable third-row seat that also easily folds into the floor and the latter boasting more refined handling and ride dynamics along with strong performance.
But for most people, a more fuel- and space-efficient minivan such as a Honda Odyssey or large crossover such as the Chevy Traverse is a better choice. The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban only holds an appreciable advantage if you plan on heavy towing. A minivan's maximum towing capacity is about 3,500 pounds and a large crossover's is 5,200. A Suburban 2500 can pull up to 9,600 pounds.
That said, we have to admit the big lug grew on us. Once you've acclimated to its size, the Suburban is actually pretty pleasant to drive with its comfy ride, precise steering and solid tracking on the highway. It's all good until you have to park on a crowded street or in a small parking lot. Yes, the park assist is a big help and greatly reduces stress, but you still have to find enough space to use it. Then there's the matter of the Suburban's feeding requirements — we averaged 13.6 mpg.
In other words, if you honestly need a Chevrolet Suburban, then you have our blessing. But if not, we'd suggest considering a less thirsty and more practical alternative.
Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban Overview
The Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is offered in the following submodels: Suburban SUV. Available styles include LTZ 1500 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT 1500 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LTZ 1500 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT 1500 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LS 1500 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LS 1500 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT 2500 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl 6A), LS 2500 4dr SUV 4WD (6.0L 8cyl 6A), LT 2500 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl 6A), and LS 2500 4dr SUV (6.0L 8cyl 6A). Pre-owned Chevrolet Suburban models are available with a 5.3 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 320 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban?
Price comparisons for Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban trim styles:
- The Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban LT 1500 is priced between $9,500 and$21,998 with odometer readings between 116496 and190151 miles.
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Which used 2011 Chevrolet Suburbans are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Chevrolet Suburban for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2011 Suburbans listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,500 and mileage as low as 116496 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Chevrolet Suburban.
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Find a used Chevrolet Suburban for sale - 5 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $17,074.
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Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Suburban for sale - 3 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,568.
Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $8,997.
Should I lease or buy a 2011 Chevrolet Suburban?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.