Chevrolet says the Suburban is the original SUV. It was introduced in 1935 and is the longest-running nameplate in the industry. For the 2019 model year it is offered in LS, LT and Premier trims, in 2WD and 4WD configurations. Metro Creative photo

Chevy Suburban lives up to name, with big appeal, for big SUV

Dominating the suburbs

I was born and raised in the suburbs. You can take the suburbs out of the kid, but you can’t take the kid out of the ‘burbs. That’s not quite how that saying goes, but it’s nevertheless apropos to my tester this week.

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban is a goliath of a family vehicle. It’s named after the suburbs, where I’m most comfortable. And certainly, comfort is a major focus of this large SUV. But, if I may reveal a bit of bias, I’m not a big fan of these full-size SUVs. They’re just too big for me. They drive big. They’re challenging to park. But that’s a given with any half-ton vehicle like this.

Focusing on what the Suburban does well is easy.

It’s a large SUV that fits your entire family in comfort and can also tow your boat or camper with ease. That’s why these behemoths are so popular. I get it.

For 2019 there’s not much new with the Suburban as far as appearance. It looks like something a federal agent would drive. That’s especially true for my tester this week which was the Premier trim, with a black exterior and jet-black interior. The Suburban is almost 75 inches high. Thank goodness for running boards to make getting in and out easier. The wheelbase is 130 inches. And the width (without mirrors) is 80.5 inches. To make it clear: it’s a big SUV. The overall looks remain modern and stout, but on the conservative side, with no flashy styling. Look to the equally big Cadillac Escalade if you want flashiness.

What is new this year with the Suburban is a 6.2-liter V8 engine. My criticism in the past of the Suburban was that the engines felt underpowered due to the overall weight of the SUV. But this new 6.2-liter engine, available only on the Premier trim, cranks out 420 horsepower and feels perfectly powered. It’s surprisingly quick off the line. With the outstanding 10-speed transmission, the Suburban’s performance is flawless.

For a non-luxury brand, the Suburban sure offers plenty of refinement and comfort. Inside there’s very little difference between the Suburban and the Escalade. Seven passengers can comfortably fit inside the Suburban with capacity for eight people even. Leather-appointed seats are comfortable. Touch points are soft and of high quality. It all adds up to a quiet, smooth ride, with little to no road noise.

Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is a good one. It’s easy to use and the layout is well organized. The 8-inch touchscreen integrates with smart phones through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There are five USB ports.

With all seats upright there is 39.7 cubic feet of cargo room in the back, which leads the segment. Fold the third row flat and there’s 76.7 cubic feet of room. With the second-row seats collapsed, the cargo area expands to 121.7 cubic feet.

The two-wheel drive, basic trim Suburban has a reasonable starting price of around $50,000. My tester, the top-of-the-line Premier trim, had a starting price of $68,300. With options that included the new 6.2-liter engine, active noise cancellation, running boards and 22-inch wheels, my tester had a final MSRP of $80,700. Gulp!

The four-wheel drive Suburban with this new engine has an EPA rating of 14 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway. I was never able to achieve 20 mpg even on smaller trips. Rather, I averaged only 15 mpg in a week’s worth of average suburban driving (in a Suburban).

As a lifelong suburbanite, I should have more of an appreciation for the Chevy Suburban. It has many praiseworthy features and even for being so big and bulky, it drives so nicely. The new engine and the interior comfort make it perform like a luxury SUV.

2019 CHEVROLET SUBURBAN PREMIER

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $68,300/$80,700
  • Mileage…………………………………… 14 mpg/city; 20 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 6.2-liter V8
  • Horsepower…………………………… 420 hp/410 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 10-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. Four-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Arlington, Texas

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