2015 Chevrolet Suburban Review

The Biggest Bow Tie SUV is Better Than Ever

2015 Chevrolet Suburban Review

The Chevy Suburban is all new for 2015, but its mission remains the same as it has for decades: It can seat up to nine, carry up to 121 cubic feet of cargo, and pull a four-ton trailer (though not all at the same time). It does this by mating a station-wagon body to Chevy’s half-ton pickup chassis — the same formula the Suburban has been using since 1935.


Engine: 5.3L V8 Makes 355 hp, 383 lb-ft of torque.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic.

Fuel Economy: 16/23 City/Highway (2WD) or 15/22 (4WD).

Price: $48,295 to start or more than $75,000 for top-of-the-line models.

Styling-wise, the ‘Burb has been edging away from the Silverado pickup on which it is based; this year it not only gets a unique front clip (fenders, hood and fascia), but unique doors as well. The door thing may sound trivial, but it opens up more possibilities for the stylists, who were able to emphasize the Suburban’s big, blocky lines. Forget about small and svelte: Suburban buyers say they like to live big, so Chevy built them a ‘Burb that looks large and in charge.

Vastly Improved Cabin

We expected the Suburban to have the same dash layout as the Silverado, but we were happy to be wrong. Though the basic control layout is the same, the dashboard’s shape and style is completely different. There’s a massive amount of real estate on the Suburban’s dash, and Chevy makes the most of it with big vents and clearly-labeled controls. Even the top-of-the-line Suburban LTZ — which features the MyLink touch-screen stereo and multi-zone air conditioning with separate controls for the back seats — manages to keep its dash largely uncluttered.


Storage spaces abound; thanks to a column-mounted transmission shifter, there is plenty of room on the center console for cup holders, up to six USB and six 12-volt power ports throughout the cabin and a wide armrest covering a large storage cubby. The entry-level LS model can be had with a 40/20/40 split-bench front seat, making the Suburban a true nine-seater. Our test vehicle had front bucket seats, which we found big, comfortable and supportive. While LS models get manually-adjustable cloth seats, the LT gets leather, heat and power, and our LTZ tester added extra adjustment and seat cooling as well. Most seat warmers heat back and butt together, but the Suburban’s allow you to heat them separately, a real boon for those with back problems.


The ‘Burb we drove had optional bucket seats in the second row as well. Our reporter said he preferred the standard-fit three place bench, as a two-passenger second row seems a waste of space in such a big vehicle. But as the father of two boys, he could appreciate the role the broadly-spaced buckets play in separating warring siblings. The seats fold down flat and flip forward, which eases access to the third row.

Said third row is one of the big changes for 2015: While previous Suburbans had a removable seat, the new one folds down flat into the floor — and it does so electrically, with buttons conveniently located in the cargo bay. The seat itself is not terribly comfortable; we liked the height off the floor (most fold-flat seats are mounted too low), but we were surprised at the lack of legroom, owing to the non-adjustable second row seats.

A Convoy of One


What sets the Suburban apart from most full-size SUVs is that there is plenty of cargo room even with all three rows in place: 39.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which is more than most five-seat SUVs and crossovers. Folding the third row down opens up 76.7 cubic feet of space, while folding and flipping the second-row seats — which can also be done at the press of a button in the cargo bay — provides 121.1 cubic feet. The cargo floor is flat over the folded third row, with a slight rise when the second-row seats are folded down. Access is through a top-hinged tailgate, with glass that can be opened separately to drop in groceries. And speaking of the tailgate, the rear wiper is now concealed up top, behind the spoiler, which not only cleans up the styling, but keeps the wiper free of snow and ice.


So what’s it like to pilot this behemoth? It’s more pleasant than you might imagine. Chevy put strong emphasis on improving the Silverado pickup’s ride quality, and the Suburban reaps the benefits. It has a similar front-end setup, but the rear suspension, though still based around the pickup truck’s solid rear axle, uses coil springs in place of leafs, which gives a steadier ride. LTZ models get GM’s Magnetic Ride Control shock absorbers, which are filled with a high-tech fluid that stiffens when a magnetic field is applied, allowing near-instant changes to shock damping rates. Translated to English, that means that if you swerve suddenly to avoid a car pulling out of a driveway, the Suburban responds more like a small SUV than a three-ton truck.

It’s a 5.3L V8 or Nothing

The 2015 Suburban offers a single powertrain setup: Chevy’s 5.3 liter direct-injected V8 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of rear- or four-wheel-drive. The engine puts out 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque on gasoline, but can stretch to 380 hp and 416 lb-ft when fed on E85 ethanol. It features a cylinder deactivation system that seamlessly switches between four- and eight-cylinder operation, which boosts fuel economy to an EPA-rated 16 MPG city/23 MPG highway with 2WD and 15/22 with 4WD. (Clearly this is no Prius, but those numbers aren’t bad considering the Suburban’s size and weight.) Acceleration is strong, accompanied by a reassuring V8 roar, though it’s unfortunate that there isn’t an option for a bigger engine — GM does have a 420 horsepower 6.2 liter V8 that fits, but it’s reserved for the pricier versions of the Suburban sold by GMC (Yukon XL Denali) and Cadillac (Escalade ESV).


What can you do with all that power? For starters, you can haul right around 1,650 lbs of stuff, more than enough for seven 170-lb adults, each with a 50-lb suitcase. And if you opt for the $500 Max Towing Package — which includes an integrated electric trailer brake controller (a rare find in an SUV) and an air-leveling suspension — you can tow 8,000 lbs with the 4WD Suburban and 8,300 lbs with the 2WD version. Those tow ratings are actually 200 lbs lower than the Tahoe, the short-length version of the ‘Burb, but the Suburban’s extra fourteen inches of wheelbase provides extra stability when towing long trailers.

Capability That Doesn’t Come Cheap

But all of this capability comes at a cost: The cheapest Suburban — the rear-drive LS — is priced at $48,295; four-wheel-drive adds $3,000 to the price.  The mid-line leather-upholstered LT model starts at $56,695, and a 4WD LTZ with all the fixings — including navigation, a rear-seat BluRay player, an alarm with interior motion detectors, and retractable running boards — can run well over $75,000.

We urge potential buyers to think carefully about whether they need this much capability, because if they don’t, they can save themselves a lot of money. Chevy’s eight-passenger Traverse can’t tow like the Suburban, but it has plenty of interior space, costs less and gets better fuel economy. And if you only need five seats with an occaisional stretch to seven, the short-wheelbase Tahoe is smaller and sprightlier and easier to park. There are also higher-lux versions of the Suburban from other GM brands; the GMC Yukon XL offers few advantages apart from the top-of-the-line Denali trim, but the Cadillac Escalade ESV really is a step above.


The Verdict

In a changing world, we’re pleased to see that the Suburban is still doing what it does best. There’s no substitute for an American original, and that’s exactly what the Chevrolet Suburban is. If you really need a vehicle with this much towing and hauling capability, there’s nothing quite like the Suburban.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked