2018 Chevrolet Suburban

2018 Chevrolet Suburban Review

Expansive cargo space and classic V8 power make the Suburban an ideal, mission-specific SUV.
7.3 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban is a vehicle with a very broad set of skills. With three rows of seating and a massive interior, it can fit up to nine passengers or carry more than 120 cubic feet of cargo. Its traditional trucklike construction and beefy V8 engine help it tow as much as 8,300 pounds in the right configuration. It's also a quiet, comfortable and relatively well-equipped vehicle. All of this means that the Suburban is a prime candidate for large families with a taste for adventure.

That utility does come with some drawbacks. The Suburban's XL size means it's a handful in tight parking lots, and its truck-based suspension can't deliver the carlike ride comfort of a crossover. Poor fuel economy means you'll be paying a lot at the pump, too. But if you're looking for a rig that doesn't compromise on size, utility or power, the Suburban is tough to beat.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Chevrolet Suburban receives no significant changes.

We recommend

Unless you need the Suburban's nine-passenger configuration (which is only available on the base LS model), we recommend going with the midlevel LT trim. It comes with a substantial amount of standard equipment and is a solid pick as is. But we'd suggest getting the Luxury package to add some useful driver safety aids and a power liftgate.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban is a full-size SUV with seating for up to nine passengers. It is offered in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier.

Standard feature highlights for the LS include a 5.3-liter V8 engine (355 horsepower, 383 pound-feet of torque), a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, seating for eight passengers (a front-row three-passenger bench seat is optional), automatic wipers, remote start, rear parking sensors, tri-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped tilt-only steering wheel and a household-rated power outlet.

On the technology front, you get Chevy's MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, five USB ports, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Also included is OnStar communications (with a 4G LTE connection and onboard Wi-Fi) and the teen-driver system (limits certain settings for young drivers).

The optional Enhanced Driver Alert package adds forward collision alert with automatic low-speed braking, a vibrating safety-alert driver seat, automatic high beams, lane keeping assist and power-adjustable pedals.

The LT trim includes all of the above, along with a power-operated liftgate, leather upholstery, heated front bucket seats (thereby reducing passenger capacity to eight), a telescoping steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a nine-speaker Bose audio system.

The optional Luxury package adds a power-operated tailgate, power-folding mirrors, auto-dimming driver-side mirror, foglights, front parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry and ignition, heated second-row seats, power-folding second- and third-row seats, a heated and power-adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Texas Edition package is equipped identically but adds badges, plus crossbars for the roof-mounted cargo rails.

The Premier trim includes the Luxury package and adds 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, an adaptive Magnetic Ride Control suspension, ventilated front seats, a navigation system, upgraded power-adjustable front seats, a wireless charging pad and a 10-speaker premium Bose surround-sound audio system.

The LT and Premier trims are eligible for second-row bucket seats (thereby reducing seating capacity to seven). You can also get the Sun, Entertainment and Destinations package on these trims. It includes a sunroof, a navigation system (LT trim) and a rear-seat entertainment system. Adaptive cruise control with enhanced automatic emergency braking, power-retractable rocker-sill passenger steps and a head-up display are available only on the Premier trim.

Many of the standard features offered by the top trim levels of the Suburban are available as options for the lower trim levels.

Offered on all trims are 22-inch wheels. The Max Trailering package, available on all trims, includes a special rear-axle ratio, electronic two-speed transfer case (for four-wheel drive models), a trailer brake controller and an auto-leveling suspension for nonmagnetic suspension vehicles. This year's new RST (Rally Sport Truck) package adds some special exterior styling details.

The Z71 Off-Road package is available only on the LT trim, and it includes all-terrain tires, unique cosmetic elements, tubular-type rocker-sill passenger steps, underbody skid plates, an off-road suspension calibration, the electronically operated two-speed transfer case, hill descent control, front parking sensors and rubber floor mats.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Chevrolet Suburban LT (5.3L V8 | 6-speed automatic | 4WD | Z71 Off-Road Package).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Chevy Suburban has received some revisions, including the addition of optional safety features such as forward collision warning and a teen-driver system. Overall though, findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Suburban.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.3 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration6.0 / 10
Braking6.0 / 10
Steering7.0 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability6.0 / 10

Comfort

8.0 / 10

Seat comfort8.0 / 10
Ride comfort6.5 / 10
Noise & vibration9.0 / 10
Climate control8.0 / 10

Interior

8.0 / 10

Ease of use8.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out8.5 / 10
Driving position7.5 / 10
Roominess7.5 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality8.0 / 10

Utility

8.0 / 10

Small-item storage7.5 / 10
Cargo space8.0 / 10

Technology

7.5 / 10

Audio & navigation7.5 / 10
Smartphone integration8.0 / 10
Driver aids6.5 / 10
Voice control7.0 / 10

Driving7.0

We like this 5.3-liter V8, as well as the standard manually shiftable six-speed automatic. It is generally well-behaved for such a large vehicle, but there's no getting around the Suburban's immense size and weight. Towing capacity and mild off-road ability are welcome attributes.

Acceleration6.0

Despite the sluggish gas pedal calibration, the 355-hp 5.3-liter V8 is up to the task of moving this four-wheel-drive Suburban. Even with its as-tested weight of nearly 5,900 pounds, this SUV needed only 7.2 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Braking6.0

Panic stops from 60 mph showed good stability. Though braking distances were longer than those of some competitors (60-0 mph in 131 feet), the pedal felt solid and inspired confidence around town.

Steering7.0

Steering effort is predictable but feels overly light and doesn't offer much feedback. While the Suburban's reactions are a bit slow, you can guide it down most roads with confidence.

Handling6.5

There's no getting around just how big and heavy this Suburban is, but the chassis maintains composure right up to the limit. The all-terrain tires, standard on the Z71, can't be expected to do much more with such a heavy SUV.

Drivability6.0

The engine and transmission are smooth and the ride relaxed. The lazy gas pedal is frustrating. The cruise control system does not hold speed downhill, but tow/haul mode does a much better job. The outside mirrors are too small for such a large vehicle.

Off-road7.5

A locking differential is standard, as are a set of all-terrain tires, skid plates and a low-range transfer case. Standard running boards combined with the Suburban's enormous wheelbase discourage any off-roading beyond an uneven gravel road.

Comfort8.0

It's very quiet and, in the front two rows of seats, very roomy and comfortable. The third row will still handle two adults, but only for shorter trips. The ride is generally good on smooth surfaces, but minor road imperfections and ripples cause the rear of the cabin to shimmy and shake.

Seat comfort8.0

The front seats are comfortable and support a wide range of body types. The second row doesn't adjust much because of the seat-folding mechanism, but it's still comfy. The third row is thin and flat.

Ride comfort6.5

Over smooth pavement, body motions are well-controlled and the all-terrain tires absorb sharp impacts. Rippled and imperfect roads can send vibrations through the body and create a shudder in the rear of the cabin.

Noise & vibration9.0

It's exceedingly quiet at idle and low speeds with only light wind noise on the highway. Credit the new triple-perimeter door seals for the silence. All-terrain tires are as hushed as the 5.3-liter V8.

Climate control8.0

Typically powerful General Motors air conditioning battles a heat wave with ease. Our test vehicle did not have cooled seats, but it was hardly an issue. The big blower makes big blower noises when it's moving a ton of air to cool the cabin after the truck has baked in the sun, but it quickly cools off and quiets down.

Interior8.0

The redesigned interior is attractive with good ergonomics. Second-row passengers enjoy ample space and visibility, along with heated seats (included with optional Luxury package). The solid-axle rear suspension robs third-row legroom and results in a high load floor.

Ease of use8.5

Major and minor controls are clear and all within easy reach. The MyLink touchscreen system is greatly improved. Instrumentation is easy to read and configurable thanks to a new screen.

Getting in/getting out8.5

The long rear doors make getting into the second row very easy. Access to the third row is helped by folding the second-row seats. The available hands-free liftgate with height-adjustable opening aids cargo access, but the load floor is high.

Driving position7.5

It offers a typical big SUV driving position with a wide range of seat height and fore-aft adjustment. The steering wheel telescoping range is not great, but this is offset somewhat by the LT's power-adjustable pedals.

Roominess7.5

Some drivers might find the large center armrest to be intrusive when steering. The second row is spacious but doesn't slide fore and aft. The third row is limited by its high floor and so-so legroom. The Ford Expedition Max's third row is much better.

Visibility7.5

Lots of glass and a good seating position provide good outward visibility. A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard on all Suburbans. The exterior mirrors are much too small for a vehicle of this size.

Quality8.0

Interior quality and ergonomics are improved from past versions, as are the materials used. Everything from the switchgear to the power-folding seats has a solid, positive feel. Outside, the fit-and-finish hides the Suburban's truck origins.

Utility8.0

The flat load floor and power-folding second- and third-row seats are welcome features, but the extremely high liftover height makes for difficult loading. Just like the smaller Tahoe, in-cabin storage for small items is quite good and it has a strong tow rating.

Small-item storage7.5

You'll find a decent array of nooks including a cavernous console bin, a well in front of the two front cupholders, two amply sized pockets per front door, and two flat slots on the transmission tunnel near your knees. The back seat has large door pockets and a storage bin on the rear of the console.

Cargo space8.0

The cargo area has a high floor just like the shorter Tahoe, but it offers a sizable 39.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row. The handy power controls quickly fold the second- and third-row seats to reveal a truly massive cargo space of 121.7 cubic feet, which just slightly edges out capacity in the next largest competitor, the Ford Expedition Max.

Towing8.0

A concealed receiver hitch comes standard. The two-wheel-drive version is rated to tow up to 8,300 pounds when properly equipped.

Technology7.5

It's up-to-date with today's consumer demands — its Apple CarPlay integration and a quick-acting touchscreen cover a lot of ground when it comes to daily use of the infotainment system. Some of the driver assistance features are mediocre in their execution.

Audio & navigation7.5

The screen graphics are on the cartoonish side, but the touchscreen responds quickly. The navigation prompts are intuitive and react instantaneously to touches with quick load times. The audio system does not scale volume — an iPod needs a near-max setting for normal volume. But the sound quality is somewhat canned-sounding.

Smartphone integration8.0

Apple CarPlay connects quickly and works as expected. Initial Bluetooth pairing was very quick and easy. The cabin includes multiple USB jacks.

Driver aids6.5

The Safety Seat, which issues lane departure and forward collision warnings as vibrations only the driver can feel, is interesting, but the systems that feed into it tend to be oversensitive. Fortunately, it can be switched off. The backup camera has a rather muddy display.

Voice control7.0

Voice controls require a rigid input structure and took two attempts to navigate to an address, but it was successful on the second try.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.