2019 CHEVY SUBURBAN How’s the ride?
Full-size SUV is among most affordable options for larger families
The 2019 Chevy Suburban isn’t just big. It’s not just very big.
It’s absolutely massive. It’s too big for some people, probably most people.
But the truck-based full-size SUV is great for large families (and sports teams) and can seat up to nine people comfortably, a claim not many vehicles can make. It’s also very adjustable, with the second and third rows folding down for maximum storage space. You can either pack in a bunch of people or a bunch of stuff, or sometimes both. You’ll find 39.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row (which is actually comfortable for adults to sit in), and 121.7 cubic feet with the 2nd and 3rd rows folded down.
The downside of this size is maneuverability (or lack thereof) in tighter spaces, as well as the difficulty of finding a proper parking space at times. Once you’re parked though, you won’t have any trouble finding this big boy in the lot.
I often just parked farther away, which is generally a wise move anyway.
It terms of the interior, you’ll find in the Suburban a well-appointed design that is sharp looking but just shy of luxury level materials that you’ll find in its GM cousin Cadillac Escalade model. All passengers have plenty of leg and head room, seats are comfy, there’s lots of charging locations for your devices, and tech setup/controls are intuitive.
The Suburban includes either a 5.3-liter, V8 engine that offers 355 horsepower, or you can upgrade to a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 420 horsepower. The base engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the upgraded power plant gets a 10-speed auto. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but you can upgrade to 4WD.
Even with a powerful engine, which is an accurate description of both offerings, the Suburban is definitely a lot of vehicle to move around, somewhat lumbering at times when you first get moving. But once you are moving the power kicks in nicely and you can maneuver without much issue.
The ride is generally quiet inside, with limited outside noise intruding.
Towing capacity is also impressive at a max of 8,300 pounds.
Technology is a key in a vehicle this large. You will likely be transporting lots of people, so options like the rear entertainment system can help keep the peanut gallery — young or old — entertained with DVDs on long trips. An in-car wi-fi hotspot is also offered to keep you connected.
Government safety ratings are generally strong (4 out of 5 stars overall), with rollover below the lowest rating at 3 stars.
The Suburban’s infotainment system is among the most welldesigned and easy to use in the industry, from music controls to navigation and everything in between, and voice commands work excellently. OnStar is available if you need a hand at any point too.
Among safety features either standard or optional on the Suburban are: Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Low Speed Forward Auto Braking, Rear Vision Camera and Tire Pressure Monitor.
Fuel mileage is never going to be the strong point on these big palookas.
Official numbers on the AWD 2019 Suburban are 14 city/20 highway/16 combined, and in my real-life testing I averaged 16.
That’s about as good as you’re going to get in a vehicle this big, with maybe a 1 or 2 mpg improvement on some competitors at best.
If you’re being honest, you’ll go into buying a full-size SUV knowing that it won’t be easy on your pocketbook at the pump, and if that’s a major concern you should step down to a crossover that’s less heavy and more fuelefficient.
Price, bottom line
The Suburban I tested, a 4WD ½ ton Premier model, was priced just under $82,000; and the base price for that trim level starts at $68K.
If you’re willing to shed most of the bells and whistles, the base Suburban model starts just north of $50K. Those are not small numbers, but when compared to the more luxurious models in the full-size SUV class, like the Escalade, they can be a bargain by comparison.
If you’re in the market for one of these massive land boats, and prefer to spend toward the middle five figures instead of nearly six figures, the Suburban is time-tested and up to the task of transporting even the biggest families in comfort while showing off some impressive technology.
The 2019 Chevy Suburban can seat up to nine people comfortably.