2015 Chevy Suburban Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Seats up to nine people
- big cargo capacity
- quiet highway ride
- strong V8 power
- high-quality interior.
- Extra-large size requires careful maneuvering in tight quarters
- high cargo floor and load height
- lazy gas pedal responsiveness
- nine-passenger configuration only available on base model.
Traditional full-size SUVs are not without a few compromises, but for those who genuinely need their massive passenger, cargo and towing capacities, the revamped 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is a strong candidate.
In the age of crossovers with three rows of seating, you might think the end times are near for traditional full-size SUVs like the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban. But for car shoppers who need room for big families and the ability to tow big toys, the Suburban is still the premier alpha SUV. Thanks to a full redesign for 2015, Chevy's largest SUV is now better equipped to compete in the modern era, as it picks up a more fuel-efficient V8 engine, a fold-flat third-row seat and an array of new safety and technology features.
As a part of its redesign, the Suburban receives 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, which should be more than enough for most hauling and towing tasks. Another upgrade is a fully modern interior that's comfortable, stocked with the latest technology and, at the higher trim levels, quite luxurious. Notable upgrades include a new touchscreen interface with added smartphone integration and the latest electronic safety features (which remain vigilant even if the driver is not). Among them are a lane departure warning system, blind-spot monitoring and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system.
The 2015 Suburban also has a redesigned third-row seat. Whereas the bulky and heavy third-row seats had to be physically removed from past Suburbans to achieve maximum cargo space, the new Suburban gets third-row seats that fold into the floor. This convenience comes at a cost -- the load height has risen and 16 cubic feet of cargo capacity have been lost -- but such added versatility is nevertheless a welcome improvement. Plus, the Suburban continues to possess a distinct advantage over its little brother, the Chevy Tahoe: Its third-row seat is more adult-friendly and its cargo area is substantially larger.
Based on its size and capacity, the Suburban is one of the most capable vehicles on sale today, with just a few direct competitors. Options in the full-size traditional SUV realm include the Toyota Sequoia, which offers a very similar blend of functionality, performance and refinement, and the 2015 Ford Expedition, which receives a mild makeover this year. As always, the Suburban's fraternal twin, the 2015 GMC Yukon XL has a few more upscale features and an optional larger V8 engine. Smaller, more space-efficient crossover SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander can't tow as much and limit passenger seating to eight, but they have better on-road manners. If you need a large, traditional SUV, though, the all-new Chevy Suburban is a great do-anything utility vehicle that won't sell you short on everyday comfort.
2015 Chevrolet Suburban models
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is a full-size SUV that's offered in three trim levels; base LS, midlevel LT and luxury LTZ. Seating for eight is standard, but there are two optional seating arrangements. Second-row captain's chairs drop the count to seven, and an available 40/20/40 front bench seat (LS only) increases it to nine.
The LS comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, roof rails, remote ignition, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, heated power-adjustable manual-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, power front seats (eight-way driver with power lumbar, four-way passenger), a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel, OnStar emergency communications, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, two USB ports and an SD card slot. The optional Driver Alert package includes power-adjustable pedals, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning and a vibrating safety alert seat.
The Suburban LT adds the content of the Driver Alert package as well as a power liftgate, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, driver memory settings, an eight-way power passenger seat with power lumbar, heated front seats, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, additional interior power outlets and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with three additional USB ports and the 8-inch Chevrolet MyLink touchscreen interface (which includes voice control, smartphone app integration, text-to-voice capability for MAP-enabled smartphones and Siri Eyes Free capability for newer iPhones).
Second-row captain's chairs (power- or manual-release) are optional for the LT. The Luxury package gets you foglights, front parking sensors, power-folding and driver-side auto-dimming mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping heated steering wheel, heated and power-folding second-row captain's chairs (which drop seating capacity to seven), power-folding third-row seats and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts.
The top-of-the-line LTZ gets the Luxury package equipment plus 20-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive magnetic suspension, xenon headlights, heated and ventilated front seats with additional lumbar adjustment, and a premium 10-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
The Sun, Entertainment & Destinations package is available for the LT and the LTZ and adds a sunroof, a navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-Ray player. Also optional on the LT and LTZ is a Theft-Deterrent package that includes vehicle motion sensors, glass break sensors and a self-powered horn for the alarm.
All Suburbans are pre-wired for towing and feature a 2-inch receiver, but a Max Trailering package is available across all trim levels and includes specific gearing and a trailer-brake controller. On the LS and LT, the Max Trailering package adds air suspension with increased load capacity and leveling. Other notable options include 22-inch wheels, roof rack crossbars and power-extending running boards.
Performance & mpg
All 2015 Chevy Suburbans are powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine that makes 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission transmits power through the rear wheels on 2WD models or all four wheels on 4WD models.
Four-wheel-drive Chevrolet Suburbans come standard with a simple, single-speed 4WD system that will likely serve you just fine on slick winter roads. If you need more capability, a more traditional 4WD system with a two-speed transfer case and low-range gearing is available via the Max Trailering package. A locking rear differential is standard on all Suburbans.
Properly equipped, the maximum tow rating for the 2WD Suburban is 8,300 pounds, and 8,000 pounds for the 4WD models. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg combined regardless of driveline (16 city/23 highway for 2WD models and 16/22 for 4WD).
During Edmunds performance testing, a 2015 Suburban with rear-wheel drive went from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. That's one of the quickest times in the segment, and it's especially impressive when you consider the Suburban's sheer size and weight.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Chevy Suburban includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control (with trailer sway control), front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. An airbag located between the front bucket seats (when so equipped) is standard and aids in side-impact crashes. Also standard are rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
Optional safety equipment includes front parking sensors, forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, a vibrating safety-alert seat, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring.
In government crash tests, the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban received four out of five possible stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection.
In an Edmunds performance test, a rear-wheel-drive Suburban came to a stop from 60 mph in 134 feet, which is a long distance even for a full-size SUV.
As always, one major benefit of choosing Chevy's traditional full-size SUV is standard V8 power. And the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban's 5.3-liter V8 engine is certainly beefy enough to pull around a full complement of passengers and gear. It's also plenty smooth and refined. On the whole, the cabin is as hushed as a luxury car's, especially on the highway.
We're less fond of the drivetrain's lazy responses to gas pedal inputs, a result of GM's efforts to calibrate it for maximum fuel economy. There's a noticeable delay when pressing on the gas pedal, whether you're trying to execute a pass at highway speeds or accelerate from a stop.
Especially with the LTZ trim's adaptive suspension, the Suburban feels relatively secure when going through turns and it soaks up bumps with ease. We cannot recommend any of the fashionable 22-inch wheels, however, as their mass combined with their tires' lack of cushioning sidewalls adversely affects ride comfort. Also keep in mind that this is still a large and heavy truck-based vehicle, and large crossover SUVs will generally be easier to maneuver and park as well as being more composed on rough pavement.
The overall quality and design of the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban's interior is noticeably improved compared to the previous-generation SUV. Materials are of high quality, and the gauge cluster's crisp white-on-black graphics are a snap to read day or night. The central information display is intuitive to navigate and its graphics are simple and easily interpreted. Both the standard 4.2- and optional 8.0-inch central color infotainment displays feature sophisticated (and in some cases reconfigurable) graphics options. Unfortunately, MyLink can sometimes be slow to respond to your touch inputs.
Most shoppers will find the front seats comfortable and reasonably supportive. The lack of a telescoping steering wheel in the LS model will make it harder for some people to get an ideal driving position, however. Second row space is excellent, while the third row offers much better legroom than Chevy's smaller Tahoe. Keep in mind, though, that if you're looking to the Suburban for its nine-passenger capacity, remember that it's only available on the base trim level.
Given the very cumbersome nature of the previous-generation Suburban's third-row seat removal procedure (not to mention their vulnerability to smash-and-grab thieves), we're happy to see Chevy has finally integrated the third row firmly into the truck's floor. The fact that both the rear rows are power operated is an added benefit. The downside to these stow-away seats is a higher cargo floor loading height, which makes it more difficult for shorter owners to load strollers or bigger shopping hauls.
Even with the reduction in maximum cargo space for 2015, the amount of room in the back of a Suburban remains truly impressive. With all seats occupied, you'll have 38.9 cubic feet for luggage, which is substantial for any three-row vehicle. Fold the third-row seats down and there are 76.7 cubic feet; fold both rear rows and it increases to 121.1 cubes. These figures are several cubic feet more than Chevy's Traverse crossover and on par with big SUVs like the Toyota Sequoia. The Ford Expedition EL offers more.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover3 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover21.2%
More About This Model
The Chevrolet Suburban 4WD Z71 is redesigned for 2015 with numerous improvements inside and out. Among the highlights are a vastly improved interior, a more powerful and fuel-efficient V8 and a host of new advanced safety and convenience features. If you need eight-passenger capacity and the ability to tow a substantial amount of weight, the Suburban is still one of the top contenders in the full-size SUV class.
What Is It?
The 12th-generation Chevrolet Suburban turns 80 this year and continues to be Chevrolet's solution for shoppers looking for a vehicle that can accommodate up to nine people along with the ability to tow a sizable trailer. It comes in three trim levels, all of them available with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The sole engine is a 5.3-liter V8 that comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The entry-level two-wheel-drive LS trim begins at $50,195, with the heavily optioned premium LTZ trim bumping that figure to $64,980. Our midlevel LT trim with four-wheel drive splits the difference in both price and standard content at $58,400, before options. It'll hold up to eight occupants, tow up to 8,000 pounds, and does so with much of the modern comfort and convenience expected in today's SUV offerings. The base LS model can be ordered with a front bench seat for nine-passenger capacity, while all two-wheel-drive models have a maximum tow rating of 8,300 pounds.
What's Included in the Z71 Off-Road Package?
Our test vehicle has the Z71 Off-Road package ($1,695) which is available on LT trim vehicles only and paradoxically requires opting into the $2,940 Luxury package. The main off-road supporting hardware includes a Z71-specific suspension, shorter 3.42 axle ratio and a two-speed transfer case. Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires take the place of standard all-seasons and are wrapped around larger 18-inch, Z71-exclusive aluminum wheels. Completing the treatment are a protective front skid plate, black tow hooks, foglamps, a parking assist system and oval side-step rails.
The requisite Luxury package includes passive entry and remote keyless start, power-folding second- and third-row seats, a power-adjustable heated steering wheel, wireless inductive phone charging, hands-free liftgate operation and the latest suite of GM's active safety technologies (see Safety section below).
All in, the grand total of our Suburban LT test vehicle comes to $63,035.
What's New Under the Hood?
Chevy replaced the previous pair of available V8s with a single EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8, the latest generation of GM's long-running V8 engines. Its most notable new feature is the addition of direct fuel injection, which helps it deliver more power while also increasing efficiency. Total engine output jumps to 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, up from 320 hp and 335 lb-ft.
Chevy also does away with the E85 Flex Fuel option, but retains its Active Fuel Management (AFM) feature that allows the engine to selectively deactivate cylinders and operate as a V4 engine under light load conditions. A vacuum-controlled exhaust valve, improved engine mounts and electronic throttle control collectively mitigate noise and vibration to allow more frequent operation in fuel-saving V4 mode.
Longer periods spent in four-cylinder mode coupled with improved aerodynamics translate directly into improved EPA fuel economy ratings. The Suburban is now rated at 18 mpg in combined driving (15 city/22 highway) versus 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) for the previous year's model. Two-wheel-drive models get the same 18 mpg rating despite slightly higher individual ratings for city/highway (16/23) driving.
What Else Is New?
Aside from a more powerful and efficient engine, the Suburban receives a much-needed interior revamping. The exterior also sports a more sophisticated design with bolder style elements, like new headlights that help break up the blockier styling of the previous generation.
Viewed in profile, the 2015 Suburban appears much longer than its predecessor. It gains a couple inches of length, but stands 2.5 inches shorter, and features larger rear door openings that ease access to the back cabin. With these new proportions, the elongating effect is more visually pronounced than its physical dimensions indicate.
Another feature added this year is a hands-free liftgate. Extending a leg underneath the center of the rear bumper signals the liftgate to open or close — a saving grace for those who've overestimated their ability to multitask with arms full of groceries. We did unwittingly manage to activate the closing function once, in the middle of unloading some items — a little unpleasant but not enough to outweigh the benefits.
The Suburban now features non-removable second- and third-row fold-flat seats: power-operated in our Luxury package-equipped example. Having a flat cargo loading area has many benefits beyond being a great place for napping. But it also comes at the expense of a higher lift-over height and a significant loss in cargo volume — 16.3 cubic feet less.
And though not equipped on our midlevel LT trim model, premium trim LTZ Suburbans receive new magnetic ride suspension. This third-generation system provides even quicker response to changing road conditions, improving both ride comfort and handling characteristics.
What's the Interior Like?
The interior of our midlevel LT trim test vehicle shows vast improvements over the previous generation, and delivers more of the look and quality you'd expect from a vehicle at this price point.
The center console and switchgear are much more attractive and thoughtfully integrated, freeing up an abundance of storage space, some of which you may struggle to find use for — like the hidden compartment behind the motorized 8-inch color touchscreen.
Also included with the LT trim's infotainment system is a 3GB/three-month WiFi hotspot data trial. This provides 4G LTE Internet access to any passenger with a WiFi-enabled device. With no fewer than five USB ports, five 12-volt plugs, a 110-volt AC outlet and a wireless induction phone charger, the Suburban is a virtual trough of energy, providing nourishment to any mobile device that needs it. Surprisingly, a navigation system is still optional at this level.
With the extended wheelbase of the Suburban, the second row of seats is comfortable enough for the average-size adult. Third-row occupants also gain livable legroom compared to Chevy's Tahoe, mostly due to the relief section ahead of the solid rear axle suspension.
How Does It Drive?
The Suburban is sized for wide-open spaces, so it feels a little unwieldy within city limits — like navigating a hallway with a king-size mattress. However, with the new variable-assist electric power steering, steering effort is light, easy and stable at any speed, which helps temper the Suburban's size and mass.
The Z71-specific suspension feels well planted on the road, trading some cushy ride compliance for better motion control. The ride may feel a little on the stiff side with an empty cabin, but the all-terrain tires remain surprisingly quiet and composed.
Chevrolet says overall structure strength has been improved through the use of more high-strength steel in the construction and new mounts that attach the SUV body to the frame. Though this may be the case, we still experienced some low-frequency vibration, which makes the cabin sound boomy at times.
Power from the new EcoTec V8 is more than sufficient, as evidenced by our track performance numbers. Zero-to-60-mph sprints are delivered in 7.2 seconds, and the shifts along the way are firm and quick. Considering the Suburban weighs more than 3 tons with a full fuel load and driver, these are solid acceleration times.
We are, however, let down by the engine's response to anything short of full throttle. The throttle pedal feels artificially heavy and conservative, from initial tip-in through the first 30 percent of its travel. We imagine this benefits fuel economy, but it makes for a very sluggish driving experience. A fully loaded cabin and a trailer in tow would likely make the issue even more annoying.
Could You Take It Off-Road?
On paper, the Z71-package equipped Suburban appears ready to blaze new trails. The reality is a little different. Its combination of a very long wheelbase, sidestep rails that hang below the rockers and limited ground clearance mean this SUV is ill suited to serious off-road duty. Its four-wheel-drive system and two-speed transfer case are likely to be more helpful when launching a boat on a slick launch ramp or navigating a steep, snow-covered driveway.
What About Safety?
Active safety features can even prevent accidents from occurring, and the LT Suburban comes standard with a good number of them.
Forward Collison Alert uses a forward-facing camera behind the rearview mirror to detect a possible head-on impact, warning the driver visually while also sending pulses through the seat cushion. This same camera can also detect if you're drifting out of your lane without signaling, and will alert the driver in a similar fashion (Lane Departure Warning).
Three additional active safety features included with the Luxury package utilize short-range radar sensors in the rear-quarter panels. These features warn you if a vehicle is in your blind spot (Side Blind Spot Alert) or if someone is approaching quickly while you're initiating a lane change (Lane Change Alert). It will even detect approaching cross traffic when you're backing out from a parking stall (Rear Cross-Traffic Alert).
All Suburbans receive comprehensive airbag protection, with side and curtain airbags for all rows. A new inboard side airbag protects against collisions between the driver and front passenger in addition to the traditional frontal airbags.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
The number of full-size SUVs with serious towing capability has dwindled in the last decade, but there are still a few competitors for the Suburban. The Ford Expedition EL is similar in size, and like the Suburban the Expedition was updated for the 2015 model year with a new engine, revised styling and additional features.
Although slightly smaller and more expensive, the Mercedes-Benz GL offers three rows of seating and a 7,500-pound towing capacity. The Infiniti QX80 is sized and priced like the Mercedes-Benz and it offers an 8,500-pound towing capacity.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
You want maximum passenger capacity, coupled with the ability to tow a sizable trailer. Or maybe you like the idea of having more space and capability than you'll ever need.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
It's not easy to park, doesn't get great mileage and has limited off-road prowess due to its size. There are also several slightly smaller and less expensive SUVs that are more comfortable for daily driving while still offering some measure of towing capacity.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban Overview
The Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is offered in the following submodels: Suburban SUV. Available styles include LTZ 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LT 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), LS 4dr SUV (5.3L 8cyl 6A), and LS 4dr SUV 4WD (5.3L 8cyl 6A). Pre-owned Chevrolet Suburban models are available with a 5.3 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine, with output up to 355 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2015 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 2015 Chevrolet Suburban?
Price comparisons for Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban trim styles:
- The Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LT is priced between $31,990 and$41,998 with odometer readings between 50988 and120771 miles.
- The Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ is priced between $31,995 and$43,998 with odometer readings between 49032 and133135 miles.
- The Used 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LS is priced between $27,434 and$39,998 with odometer readings between 32614 and110903 miles.
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Which used 2015 Chevrolet Suburbans are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 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.