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- Highs Great for large families, substantial towing capacity, impressive cargo storage.
- Lows Fidgety ride quality, unwieldy dimensions, more powerful V-8 costs a lot of money.
- Verdict An excellent alternative for those who don't want a minivan or full-size pickup.
The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban does what minivans can't: It can tow sizable loads and conquer unruly roads. With three rows of seats that allow up to nine passengers and two powerful engines that help tow up to 8300 pounds, Chevy's biggest SUV is also its best for hauling people and things. The most expensive model proffers exclusive features, and the mid-level Burban offers a rugged off-road package. While its shaky ride quality and immense proportions are drawbacks, the Suburban's excellent infotainment system and generous cargo capacity provide atonement.
What's New for 2019?
The 2019 Chevy Suburban receives a new RST performance package and a new metallic paint color called Shadow Gray. The former includes a 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic transmission along with minor chassis tuning and other upgrades.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Every Suburban represents a substantial investment, so we'd avoid the snazziest (see: priciest) models. Instead, we suggest the entry-level Suburban LS, which includes a standard 4G LTE mobile hotspot and three-zone automatic climate control. We'd add all-wheel drive ($3000) and select the Max Trailering package to unlock the highest towing capacity. The optional 20-inch wheels keep this family hauler looking respectable, and the Enhanced Driver Alert package includes automated emergency braking, automatic high-beams, lane-keeping assist, and more.
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Engine, Transmission, Performance, and Towing
Likes: Two powerful engines, excellent brake pedal and steering, pickup-truck towing capability.
Dislikes: Upgraded engine is expensive, harsh bumps upset ride quality.
Chevy supplies the Suburban with one of two engines: a standard 355-hp 5.3-liter V-8 and an optional 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8. Every model is available with either rear- or all-wheel drive, but the smaller engine pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission. The bigger V-8 uses a 10-speed automatic. Unsurprisingly, the upgraded powertrain is much quicker—charging from zero to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds versus 6.9. Still, the standard engine had plenty of giddyap to shuttle the family from A to B. The Suburban can also tow up to 8300 pounds when properly equipped. However, the Ford Expedition can pull up to 9300 pounds.
Despite large dimensions and an outdated rear suspension, the Suburban drives smaller than it is thanks to controlled body motions and accurate steering. However, its pickup-truck underpinnings diminish its ride quality versus smoother rivals such as the Nissan Armada. The Suburban RST we tested has standard adaptive dampers and massive 22-inch wheels, but it still had a lot of jittery vibrations, even on smooth roads. Thankfully, its firm and responsive brake pedal was particularly effective.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Although the Suburban's two V-8 engines utilize cylinder-deactivation technology to save fuel, this hefty SUV still guzzles gasoline. The EPA estimates the standard 5.3-liter V-8 with all-wheel drive will earn 14 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. However, we observed 19 mpg on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route. The government rates the optional 6.2-liter V-8 with all-wheel drive at 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Our test vehicle exceeded that highway estimate, earning 23 mpg on the same fuel-economy route.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Multiple seating configurations, feature-laden infotainment system, huge cargo capacity.
Dislikes: Top options reserved for top models, cramped third-row legroom.
Inside, the Suburban boasts a vast dashboard with well-placed controls. Its large center console and soft door armrests provide comfortable places to rest on long trips. The Suburban's high seating height provides a commanding perch, and its optional front bench seat offers more passenger space. Likewise, the three-row SUV can be fitted with second-row captain's chairs. The Suburban's third row has nearly 10 inches more legroom than the Chevy Tahoe, but its high floor still disrupts comfort. While the Suburban's material quality isn't exemplary, the cabin can be dressed up with multiple color schemes. Desirable upgrades include a head-up display, heated steering wheel, and ventilated front seats. However, these are limited to the top-of-the-line model.
Every Suburban has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot. Along with useful hard buttons and rotary controls, the infotainment system has a plethora of charging points that include five USB port and five 12-volt outlets. Most models also offer an upgraded Bose sound system, rear-seat entertainment system, and wireless charging.
With an immense center-console storage bin and numerous trays throughout the cabin, the Suburban has convenient interior cubby storage. A power-operated liftgate and power-folding third row are available, but the latter is reserved for the top model. The Suburban has 39 cubic feet behind the third row (24 more than the Tahoe) and up to 95 cubes with the second and third rows folded. We managed to fit 12 carry-on bags with all seats up and 44 bags with all seats down.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The 2019 Suburban earned a four-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it hasn't been fully tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While the Suburban lacks standard driver-assistance features, notable equipment is optional. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring
- Available lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Suburban has competitive warranties compared with rivals, and it's one of the few that includes complimentary scheduled maintenance. However, the Toyota Sequoia offers better complimentary maintenance at 2 years or 25,000 miles.
- Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for the first visit