SUV/TRUCK REVIEWS

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2017 Chevy Suburban remains a leader among the largest SUVs Featured

Jul 05, 2017 Hit: 38 Written by 
The massive amount of storage space in the 2017 Chevy Suburban is hard to ignore.
The massive amount of storage space in the 2017 Chevy Suburban is hard to ignore. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

SUVs may be all the rage now, but Chevrolet was well ahead of its time more than 80 years ago, when it introduced the 1935 “Carryall Suburban” vehicle, which must have felt tremendously out of place among the vehicles of its day with its longer wheelbase.


The nameplate is still going strong (the longest one in the business in fact) and I recently spent some time in much more recent version of the mark -- the 2017 Chevy Suburban.
With a limited number of full-size truck-based SUV competitors (Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Toyota Sequoia and Nissan Armada), plus a few that fall within the GM lineup (GMC Yukon and Yukon XL; Chevy Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade), the Suburban does quite well in this segment.

But the real question with this type of vehicle is -- who really needs it? I’m here to answer that question.

 

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2017 Chevy Suburban
  • Price as tested:: $66,020 (starts at $49,915)
  • Best feature:: Massive size allows transport for 9, and tons of cargo room with seats down
  • Rating:: 4 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: People who need lots and lots of room, but don’t need something as luxurious as an Escalade or Navigator


ROOM, ROOM, AND MORE ROOM

To say the Suburban is spacious would be like calling the Titanic “large”.

When looking through the rearview mirror, the back seat looks like it’s in another ZIP code. That’s because the Suburban is roughly 18 feet in length.

While this isn’t a true luxury ride (You’ll need to step up to a Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator for that), there is high quality and comfortable seating for as many as 9 people (even in the back row, which has decent leg room for kids) and a ton of head space in all rows.
Front row and middle rows are both extremely comfy and roomy for driver and passengers.

 

Cargo space is also a huge benefit here, as the power folding seats in the second and third rows can open up a bevy of space that will allow you to transport pretty much anything you could in a pickup truck.

If you’re a person who regularly transports the soccer team to the game, you’ll fit most of them in this vehicle. Or if you need to get all the equipment to the stadium, hide the seats and load away. This is the prototype for a Suburban customer -- someone who regularly transports large numbers of people and large amounts of stuff. If that’s not you, a more standard-sized crossover will probably suffice.


MIDNIGHT IS THE RIGHT TIME
My test vehicle featured a unique design I must point out, a paint scheme called the Midnight Edition; which was all black, all the way down to the bowtie. This design is one of the sharpest I’ve seen on a vehicle lately, and for some reason when I see these large truck-based SUVs, all-black always seems to look the best to me.

A LOT TO HANDLE

The Suburban is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 Ecotec3 engine; and offers 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s not stellar in terms of acceleration or handling, but when a vehicle weighs nearly 6,000 pounds, that’s to be expected. Once you get going though, you can really feel the power from the V8.

With the Suburban you are sitting up so high and it’s so large, that even crossovers look tiny from the driver’s seat, and small cars look like ants. Similar to driving a full-size pickup, you really feel like you’re at a different level when you’re in a Suburban.

One other note: It’s often hard to park vehicles this large, due to their size. Depending where you go, Many parking spots are simply not sized for a vehicle like this, so you may have to park out of the way.

On the plus side, you get strong towing capacity on the Suburban. RWD versions can tow 6,300 pounds; and 4WD versions can handle 6,000 pounds. If you add the Max Trailering package, you can get another 2,000 pounds of capability, moving top number to 8,300 pounds.

The design of the Suburban also means you’ll be more comfortable driving if you ever need to head off paved roads and onto the not-so-beaten path.

TECH SAVVY

One thing Chevy does well is tech, and the Suburban has all the tech and safety features you’re looking for, including some cool ones like Teen Driver mode, and the back seat reminder (a strong technological response to the stories about children being left in hot cars).

Onstar service comes standard in the Suburban, as does a rear camera. Some safety features are options on various trim levels -- including Lane Keep Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Zone Alert.

A rear entertainment system, to help keep the little ones occupied on long trips, is also offered as an option. The MyLink infotainment system is center stage and responds well to touch and voice commands, and a WiFi hotspot is offered in the vehicle too.

BOTTOM LINE

While the massive Suburban is probably too much vehicle for most people, it’s one of the best options in this class if you need the things it offers -- primarily lots of room of people and your cargo.

If you’re thinking more upscale, I would recommend the Cadillac Escalade or Lincoln Navigator, but those can run well into the $90,000 range so most people will probably want to stay at more grounded price ranges. If that’s the case, you’re basically down to the Suburban and a handful of other options, and having been there from the start the Suburban has a leg up on many of its competitors.

 

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com

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