A Quick Look into Suburban’s History
We have at least one reason to take the Suburban seriously: It is the longest lasting sub-brand in the world which has been in use since the 1934-35 model year. Being an iconic part of Chevrolet legacy as a full-size SUV, the original name was “Suburban Carryall”, but Chevrolet eventually dropped the second name. Since many other manufacturers were using this name, General Motors acquired the intellectual property rights for the brand in 1988, thus Suburban became solidly associated with the bow-tie brand.
Now with the 12th generation on sale, you can see the Suburban (and its cousin GMC Yukon XL) more in public services ranging from police to firefighting and EMS with a small market for private use. You will always spot more than one Suburban serving the secret service protecting President Obama. It doesn’t look bad either as a high-profile company car.
I drove the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban’s top of the line LTZ version with the powerful, 5.3 liter, EcoTec, V8 gasoline engine. With 355 HP and 383 lbft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive, this powertrain is just enough for moving the nearly three-tonne (2,650 kg) body. Direct injection and variable-valve-timing help to deliver the necessary power output efficiently. However, do not expect much sportiness and that is okay for this type of vehicle. If you can treat the Suburban gently enough, you can even drive in four-cylinder (V4) mode with almost seamless switch on and off of four cylinders. However, this engine will tell you right away: “I can hardly breathe with just four cylinders.” Even with a silky smooth push on the gas pedal, the resting cylinders will jump in.
The electric-assisted steering is responsive enough unless you dare to compare it with a BMW 3 Series car.
With a MSRP of CAD 82,800 (including a 10K option package), my test vehicle’s target clientele is a narrow group who looks far beyond a Ford Escape or a Toyota RAV4.
I ask myself everytime I drive a full-size SUV in North America: When will we see a diesel engine under the hood, so appropriate and overdue for a vehicle of this calibre where high torque and towing capacity matter more than anything else. Maybe, GM is testing the waters with its compact Chevy Cruze Diesel. By the way, do I remember correctly that GM has something in its engine portfolio called “Duramax Diesel”. My test drive delivered an average consumption of slightly above 16 liters.
The capabilities are simply impressive: The Suburban can tow 3,625 kilograms. The cargo volume behind the front seats (with folded-down second and third row) is 3,430 liters.
In one week I drove the Suburban for nearly 800 kilometers in and around the GTA for different purposes. It provided an excellent level of comfort when transporting six adults (including the driver). During a big before-winter cleanup at home, we transported lots of stuff from old furniture to appliances and scrap metal to Halton Recycling Centre.
The ride quality is superb thanks to its length of 5,7 meters and Magnetic Ride Control, standard on our LTZ model, electronically senses the road surface and “notifies” the shocks instantaneously as to how they ought to respond.
It’s quiet inside the well-insulated and well-crafted cabin with special glass, and new inlaid doors whose seams flank the sides instead of over the roof.
General Motors offers its super-sized SUV’s under three different brands: Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade (not in the picture)
Even if Mr. David Suzuki will not feel very happy about the new Suburban, vehicles of this size will always occupy a niche of the market, since private and public users will need them. And there is still room to be more environmental-friendly with some technology upgrade, such as a modern Diesel engine. Well, GM can save this investment at least until the oil prices bounce back.
Type of vehicle: Full-size SUV
Engine: 5.3 liter, EcoTec V8 gasoline engine, 355 HP, 384 lb-ft
Transmission: 6-speed, automatic
Price (base/as tested): CAD 70,785 / 82.800
Destination charge: CAD 1,650
Natural Resources Canada fuel economy (L/100 km): city; 16.3 highway;11,8 as-tested; 16.2
Optional features: Rear-seat entertainment system: 2,095, power retractable assist steps: 1,920, adaptive cruise control: 1,780, Power sliding-tilt glass: 1,325, MyLink Audio and navigation: 995, 22″aluminium wheels: 986, trailering package: 630, theft protection package: 435, engine block heater: 100
Article: Varol McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, Burak McKars, Erol Halicilar
Test vehicle was provided by General Motors Canada
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