2021 Chevrolet Suburban
- The Chevrolet Suburban has been redesigned
- Available adaptive air suspension
- New optional 3.0-liter diesel
- Introduces the 12th Suburban generation
Pros & Cons
- New independent rear suspension benefits ride as well as cargo capacity
- Longer wheelbase increases passenger comfort
- Redesigned interior a substantial improvement over the outgoing model
- 3.0-liter diesel engine promises to be fairly fuel-efficient
- Large size restricts maneuverability
- Throttle response can be lazy
What is it?
The Chevrolet Suburban is Chevy's biggest SUV. It's built on the same platform that underpins the Chevy Silverado 1500, but it's got three rows of seating and enough space for the whole family. Chevy redesigned the Silverado for 2020 and has now applied that same architecture to usher in the 12th generation of this three-row large SUV. For 2021, one of the country's longest-standing SUVs has a whole new look and feel.
On the outside, the Suburban gets many of the same updates as the recently redesigned Silverado. You might recognize the new grille and headlights and much of the interior. Dig a little bit deeper, though, and you'll find changes in almost all of the Suburban's dimensions.
Bumper to bumper, the Suburban gains about an inch in length, and the wheelbase grows from 130 to 134 inches. This change translates to more interior space with about 2 inches of additional legroom in both the second and third rows.
Cargo space receives a significant bump, too, with max cargo room (with both the second and third rows folded) growing from 121.7 cubic feet to 144.7 cubes. The load floor is now lower as well, which makes loading cargo easier. Essentially, the Suburban has added the luggage-hauling capability of a small hatchback — no small feat for what was already one of the most spacious vehicles on the market.
For power, the new 2021 Suburban relies on one of three engines. There's a standard 5.3-liter V8, an optional 6.2-liter V8, or Chevy's new turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel inline-six. All three engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
The two V8s are carryovers from the previous model year, but they're updated with new fuel-management systems. The diesel engine was introduced recently under the hood of the Silverado and could be a huge fuel-saver.
The Suburban now gets an independent rear suspension, which helps to increase interior space quite a bit and should improve ride quality. Paired with the independent rear suspension are multiple suspension setups to choose from, including Chevy's Magnetic Ride Control. There's also an adaptive air suspension with a load-leveling feature that can adjust the Suburban's ride height by as much as 4 inches.
The Suburban gets tech updates too. Standard features such as forward collision mitigation and options such as an improved trailer camera systems are just the tip of the spear. Other safety items include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a surround-view 360-degree camera. Inside, the Suburban can now be equipped with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment interface and a head-up display.
What's the interior like?
There's a feeling of familiarity here. Knobs, buttons, surfaces and interfaces are all recognizable. And aside from the transmission controls becoming dashboard-mounted buttons, even the layout is similar to the previous generation. The new optional 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, however, does look very new. Rather than sunken into the dash, it's mounted on top, giving the driver a better view of the screen. It also frees up some dashboard real estate, so the center controls don't feel as if they're intruding on cabin space. It's a giant leap forward for the interior quality and a system we're looking forward to testing out.
What does it compete with?
While they aren't exactly a dying breed, truck-based SUVs are constantly being challenged by more efficient car-based crossovers. Vehicles such as the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas all offer three rows of adult-friendly seating. Truck-based SUVs such as the Suburban, however, are heavier, less efficient and more expensive than most three-row crossovers.
But no matter how efficient they are, crossovers can't compete with the sheer towing, hauling and people-carrying abilities of something as large and versatile as the Chevy Suburban. And if that's what you need, there are only a few vehicles to choose from. Aside from the Suburban, we recommend looking at SUVs such as the Ford Expedition and the Toyota Land Cruiser.
One of the biggest and most capable SUVs on the road just got even bigger and more capable. The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is now larger and more modern than before. There's a lot to like with the redesign of the Suburban, but only time — and a full in-house test — will tell if it can stack up against the competition.
Sponsored cars related to the Suburban
2021 Chevrolet Suburban video2021 Chevrolet Suburban Reveal & Details
2021 Chevrolet Suburban Reveal & Details
TRAVIS LANGNESS: The Chevy Suburban is the ultimate family hauler. It's got three rows of seats. You can have eight passengers. And this thing is based on a truck, the Chevy Silverado. And guess what? It pulls like one too. This is the 12th generation of the Suburban, which means it's been on sale for almost 90 years now. And it's for any family that wants to put a lot in the trunk, have lots of passengers, and pull something along for the ride. Being one of the most iconic vehicles on the market today, a full redesign makes a big difference in their lineup. Will it be successful? Can it compete against vehicles like the Ford Expedition and the Nissan Armada? Welcome to Detroit. I'm Travis Langness, and this is the all-new, 2021 Chevy Suburban. Along with its little brother, the Chevy Tahoe, it's been completely redesigned. And we're going to give you a tour, give you a closer look, show you all the details-- what's changed and what's new. So what do we mean when we say that the new Suburban and Tahoe are redesigned? Well, underneath, it's got the new underpinnings of the Silverado 1500. So the frame, it uses high-strength steel, which increases rigidity and lowers frame weight. And under the hood, the engines have changed a little bit. Sure, the 5.3 liter and 6.2 liter V8 are carryover engines, but they get new fuel management systems. They're also paired with a new 10-speed automatic transmission. That transmission is standard across the lineup, and it's also paired with the optional 3 liter turbo-diesel, an engine you also get in the Silverado 1500. If you take a look at the Suburban, you can see, up front, the grill has changed, headlights are different. And, if you're eagle-eyed, you can see that from bumper to bumper, this vehicle's a little bit longer than the previous generation. That means more rear legroom, more rear cargo space, and just tons of space for activities. Now, this one feels a little bit premium because it is their top level, the high country. It comes with the 6.2 liter V8. And on the outside, it does look and feel a little bit more premium than the previous generation. New wheels, and the trim feels a little bit different as well. But some of the most premium stuff is actually on the inside. Now, if you've seen a review of the Chevy Silverado, the redesigned one from 2020, you knew that we thought that vehicle was more of an evolution than a revolution. But this Suburban has really changed on the inside. And the biggest piece of that is this 10-inch screen here. Instead of being kind of set into the dash and hard to see and out of the driver's view, this is a giant centerpiece. And it looks really good. It uses the same software as Chevy's other systems, but it's just bigger. And this is the high country trim, so you get a lot of nice pieces, really great piping on the seats. There's even a pattern to the ventilated seats. Clearly, Chevy has paid attention to the details here. One of the other things that's happened is, instead of a column shifter or something on the center console, Chevy has moved the transmission controls up here to the dashboard. Now, I'm not sure how that works in everyday usage. We haven't driven the vehicle yet. But I do kind of like the look of it. I like that it's away from everything, and it doesn't seem very clunky. More than just the stuff that the driver sees, though, there's a lot going on in the backseat too. From the looks on the outside, to the improvements on the interior and the front, now we're in the backseat. And you see things have changed back here as well. If you're going to get a Suburban or a Tahoe, you're going to have a lot of passengers all the time. It's why you're buying this vehicle. So it's important that these back seats have also been upgraded. And they have. You get some US ports here, HDMI, USB-C. And you get these great optional screens that have some cool features, like things where you can toss a map from the back seat to the front. So it's not just the person who's sleeping in shotgun that can tell you where to go. Thanks to the new, independent rear suspension, there's now more room in the cabin. The load floor has moved lower, and there's more legroom, both in the second and third row of the Suburban and the Tahoe. It was already one of the most spacious vehicles on the road, but it's got even bigger inside here. And your passengers will probably thank you. More than just some extra interior space, you also get new features like these sliding second row seats-- a first for the Suburban and Tahoe. They can get pretty close up here, but that just means that someone in the back has tons of space. And you have a lot of options as to where you can install your child safety seats. And this Suburban goes from 121 cubic feet, to 144 cubic feet of space behind the first row. You fold all this flat, this vehicle has gained more cargo space than some small hatchbacks have. It's huge. If you need more space, honestly, just buy an airplane hangar or something. I don't know what to tell you. But this is now one of the most utilitarian vehicles on the road, and more user-friendly, thanks to the fact that it's got a lower load floor. These changes in size and in capability are what you'd expect from an updated Suburban. And honestly, it's great to see. Just more space from something that needs as much space as it can get. While Chevy hasn't released official pricing on the Suburban yet, we expect it to start around $50,000, and range upwards of $70,000. It'll be available in the summer of 2020. And while it's got some rivals, like the Ford Expedition, the Nissan Armada, we expect the Suburban to do really well. From bumper to bumper, the Tahoe and Suburban have gotten larger. They've also gotten longer wheelbases. They've also gotten updated powertrains that we've seen before in the Silverado and in the Yukon. But, overall, these vehicles just got better. There's more space on the inside. You've got the updated, larger touchscreen interface. You've got a head-up display. You've got more standard and optional safety features than ever before. And there's more space for your kids to roam around in the back seat. Honestly, this is the evolution of a vehicle that's been on sale for almost nine decades now, and we really like it. I can't wait to get behind the wheel. This is going to be a very different Suburban, and, I think, one that's going to be really successful. For more information on the 2021 Suburban and Tahoe and all their competitors, be sure to go to edmunds.com.
In this video, Edmunds shows the reveal of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. Join host Travis Langness as he explores the exterior, engine choices and transmission of this capable family hauler.