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2021 Chevrolet Suburban Review

CAR SIZE: full-size
BODY TYPE: SUV
This year, the Chevrolet Suburban nameplate turned 85. For every single one of those years, the car has constantly been rolling off assembly lines in the U.S., making the Suburban the longest-running nameplate in automotive history.
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The achievement is doubled by the success of the large SUV. In the States, the Suburban is one of the best selling on the market in its class, and a movie icon as well, a trait now written in stone (literally) on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Starting in 2020, Chevrolet will begin selling a new generation, the 12th. It has been imagined as the best incarnation yet, with more space at the interior, new high-tech features, and the possibility of choosing a diesel engine, something no other carmaker is offering in this segment. 

Most importantly, the new Suburban promises to bring a complete transformation in the range.

1Exterior design & features

Large by definition, the Suburban has grown even more so thanks to the new architecture it is built on, one that provides things like a longer wheelbase (by 4.1 inches compared to the previous generation) and an independent rear suspension.

With an overall length of 225.7 inches, the Suburban is massive, and the menacing look is enhanced by the aggressive styling. 

At the front, Chevy took inspiration from the new line of Silverado pickups. Just like with that car, it features the iconic bowtie on top of an extended grille that now includes the slim headlights, and a new design for the daytime running lights. 

Looked at from the side, the car looks as imposing as ever, although the unpleasant appearance of the previous generation has somewhat been reduced. 

At the rear, a new shape for the light clusters and rear hatch is visible, and the tailgate cavity that holds the license plate number is now much wider and narrower. Here, the bowtie gets wings of sorts that extend toward the taillights.

The new Suburban will be offered in twice as many trim levels as before. The range starts with the standard LS and LT, and continues with the RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country for a total of six.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The interior of the new Suburban looks like it was made with no expense spared. It looks and feels premium and modern while retaining most of the things that make it recognizable as the iconic SUV.

On the top trim version, the design of the interior is close to what you would usually find in a more upmarket Cadillac, for instance: fine materials, careful stitching, interesting colors, and a huge glass roof. 

Compared to the outgoing Suburban, the new one brings a new shape for the dashboard, a huge, elevated center console, and two digital displays, one acting as infotainment center and the other as instrument cluster. Despite the abundance of digital interfaces though, Chevrolet did not give up the use of buttons and knobs, especially when we’re talking about climate controls. 

As far as space is concerned, the carmaker says the SUV comes with 19 percent more maximum cargo space behind the first row of seats, and the most passenger space of any SUV. For the first time in the range, the second-row seat can slide, and it does so by 10 inches forward or rearward.

As a first for the industry, each Suburban will come fitted with trailering labels: that is a label located on the driver's side door jamb that gives people all the info they need to calculate if the SUV can tow something or not.

3Gadgets

There are a total of five screens available for the Suburban, depending on the trim and options chosen by the buyers. As standard, it ships with a 10-inch one, but customers can opt for a huge 15-inch one if they so desire, or on the contrary, go for a smaller 8-inch one.

The most exciting of the screens though are the two 12.6-inch ones that form the rear-seat media system. Each comes with independent connections, and can mirror content from Android phones. 

The Suburban is an SUV of its time now, and is packed with connectivity tools: Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB charging ports, and wireless charging.

4Performance

The introduction of the diesel engine on the Suburban makes this SUV the only one in its segment equipped with such a powerplant. It remains to be seen whether this is a good choice or not.

We’re talking about a brand new in-line six-cylinder, 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel that sells on all trims except for the Z71. It is rated at 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft (623 Nm) of torque.

The backbone of the range remains however the V8 gasoline engines, and this time there’s two of them.

The entry-level, if it can be called that, is the 5.3-liter one rated at 355 horsepower and offered on the LS, LT, Z71, RST and Premier. The top of the range is the 6.2-liter unit fitted as standard on the High Country.

All engines work together with a 10-speed automatic transmission with push-button electronic shift, and the gasoline ones come with 12 modes of cylinder deactivation for engine efficiency.

5Safety

A total of 30 safety systems are deployed on the Suburban, that is if you count the optional ones as well. As standard, the SUV comes with the mandatory airbags (including seat-mounted side-impact airbag), but also features things like automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and hitch guidance for trailering. 

Optionally, customers can go for HD surround vision aided by nine cameras, rear pedestrian alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, lane keep assist, front and rear park assist, and head-up display.

6Conclusion

The 2021 Suburban is the third car to be launched by Chevrolet under its new design philosophy in the past two years, alongside the Silverado and the Silverado HD. It will be built at the Arlington, Texas assembly facility, and will go on sale in North America in mid-2020.