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2010 Chevrolet Suburban ReviewThe Good
The 2010 Chevrolet Suburban combines decent towing capability, V8 oomph, styling pizzazz, an abundance of standard and available goodies, cavernous cargo space, a better-than-average ride, and one of the roomiest cabins in its class, resulting in a versatile and capable full-size SUV.The Bad
Unfortunately, tepid gas mileage, often-sluggish acceleration, cramped third-row seating, shaky interior materials, reliability issues, and iffy demand continue to dog the 2010 Suburban.
The CarGurus View
For those needing the stature, towing ability, nine-passenger seating, cargo room, and off-road capability of a full-size SUV, the 2010 Chevy Suburban more-than-adequately fills the bill. Trouble is, how many drivers out there, besides celebrities and politicians, really need or desire all that?
At a Glance
Big, brawny, and, at least to most eyes, beautiful, the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban full-size SUV claims one of the roomiest cabins and the most capacious cargo area in its class. This five-door behemoth can carry up to nine passengers on its truck-based chassis, and, after a hefty redesign in ’07, features smoother styling, more efficient drivetrains, and upgraded standard amenities and options. Questions remain, however, about just how many drivers out there have to have – or are willing to pay for – an oversize leviathan that is not exactly easy on gas and, despite standing tall and having a tolerably tight turning radius, can present a significant challenge to maneuver and park in the big city.
For 2010, the Chevy Suburban is available in three trim levels, the base LS, midlevel LT, and top-shelf LTZ. Both the LS and LT are available in either the half-ton 1500 edition, or the three-quarter-ton 2500, while the LTZ is available only in the 1500 edition. All trim levels are also offered with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or part-time four-wheel-drive (4WD) configurations. The 2LT trim has been dropped for 2010, with its features distributed between the LT and LTZ trim levels.
The Suburban’s 137 cubic feet of cargo capacity is tops in its class, but rumblings have been heard about inferior cabin trim materials and inadequate interior storage spaces. At least one review also questions the Suburban’s reliability, based on past history. Features-wise, however, the 2010 Suburban is tough to beat, with even the base LS offering more-than-adequate creature comforts and appearance amenities. Add on a plethora of options, stand-alone as well as packages, and it's plain that Chevy intends to woo fans of such competitors as the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia.
Two V8 engines are available for the 2010 Chevy Suburban, depending on which edition, 1500 or 2500, is selected. Two six-speed automatic transmissions are also offered, one a straight automatic, the other featuring a shiftable auto-manual configuration. Both engines additionally feature the economical deactivation of four cylinders at cruising speed, but, considering the Suburban’s weight, some 5,600 to 6,300 pounds, depending on trim, mileage figures remain tepid, at best. One reviewer mentions a 0-60 time of approximately 9 seconds for the 5.3-liter V8, about average in its class.
For the half-ton 1500 Suburbans, a 5.3-liter, Flex Fuel-capable (FFV), variable-valve-timed (VVT) V8 is standard. When managed by its accompanying six-speed automatic, this capable powerplant puts out 320 hp at 5,400 rpm and 335 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. This power translates to 8,100 pounds of towing capacity for RWD trims and 7,900 pounds for 4WDs when properly equipped. Mileage from the 5.3-liter V8 is estimated at 15/21 mpg for RWD, and, of course, somewhat less with 4WD.
The 2010 Suburban 2500 trims pack a 6.0-liter VVT FFV V8 and six-speed auto-manual transmission that are capable of 352 hp at 5,400 rpm and 382 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. The 6.0-liter will tow 9,600 pounds in RWD configuration, with the 4WD trims capable of some 9,300 pounds. Mileage figures for this big V8 are unavailable, but can’t be very pretty.
Ride & Handling
Most GM products are noted for their generally civilized ride, and the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban is no exception. Regarded by many professional reviewers as having one of the most comfortable rides of any full-size SUV on the market, the Suburban’s truck-based underpinnings soften most minor bumps, and rarely allow any sway or wallow over uneven pavement. Rear leaf springs on the 2500 series make this trim the obvious choice for towing heavier loads.
Both the LS and LT trims ride on 17-inch alloy wheels, while the LTZ comes with standard 20-inch wheels. The Suburban’s 2500 trims also are equipped with standard all-terrain tires, in case some back-country travelling is in order. All trims have an independent, short-and-long-arm front suspension and solid live rear axle, with front and rear stabilizer bars. Steering is hydraulic rack-and-pinion and, of course, the Suburban is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes.
While its high stance and hefty weight keep the 2010 Suburban from behaving like a sports car, a relatively tight (43-foot) turning radius helps maneuverability in smallish parking lots and in city traffic. A few reviewers, however, note some touchiness in the steering feel at highway speeds, which may take a bit of getting used to. This tendency, it appears, is more noticeable with the LTZ’s 20-inch tires. Otherwise, this big SUV proves itself adept in its response to steering and braking commands, though brake pedal adjustment could, according to a number of reviewers, use some improvement.
All 4WD Suburban trims feature auto-locking hubs, electronic hi-lo gear selection, and a mechanical center-mounted locking differential. The available Z71 Off-Road Package, only available with the half-ton trims, features specially tuned springs, monotube shocks, skid plates, and 18-inch aluminum wheels.
Cabin & Comfort
Reviewers are, for the most part, impressed with the number and variety of standard amenities offered with the 2010 Chevy Suburban. The base LS 1500 trim, for example, offers a trailer hitch, roof rack, and step running boards as part of its standard appearance package, with such cabin comfort and convenience features as tilt-wheel steering, nine-passenger, three-row seating, premium cloth upholstery, a six-way power driver’s seat, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, cruise control, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, dual-zone air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, single-CD player with six speakers and satellite radio reception, USB connection, and OnStar telecommunications with hands-free phone also included in its base price.
The LT trim, though it carries only eight passengers, adds standard front bucket sets, leather upholstery, remote start, three-zone climate control, and nine Bose premium speakers, as well as infusing the OnStar communications system with Bluetooth technology. For the seven-passenger LTZ trim, extra standard amenities include a power liftgate, heated, eight-way-adjustable power front seats, rear heated bucket seats, reverse-tilt outside mirrors, memorized driver’s settings, a universal remote garage door opener, a rear-view camera system, and 10-speaker Bose premium audio technology.
Options for the Suburban lineup include 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, Bose premium audio with a 6-CD changer, remote start, a power sunroof, rear-seat DVD entertainment, the Z71 Off-Road Package, a Heavy-Duty Tow Package, memorized driver’s settings, universal remote, and DVD navigation, as well as power-retractable side steps for the LTZ trim level.
The Suburban’s cabin is described by most reviewers as extraordinarily roomy, with more than sufficient leg and headroom in the first and second rows. The cabin is also touted by virtually all professional reviewers as reasonably quiet and liberally endowed with storage cubbies, consoles, and pockets. Reviewers do note, however, a lack of soft interior surfaces, as well as indistinct gauges and the placement of some controls at an uncomfortable distance for drivers with short arms.
Besides its sturdy frame and excellent visibility, the 2010 Chevy Suburban offers such standard safety features as four-wheel disc ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, traction and stability control, dual front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, daytime running lights, and the OnStar post-collision safety system. Additionally, the LT and LTZ trims offer standard fog lights, with the LTZ also offering rain-sensing wipers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the 2010 Suburban five stars in front crash testing and three stars for rollover safety. Side impact testing was not available. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has no test results for the Suburban, which is not surprising given this big SUV’s size and weight advantage over just about everything else out there.
What Owners Think
Owner reviews of the 2010 Chevrolet Suburban are few and far between, thus the bulk of sources are found in consumer reviews of the nearly identical ’09 version. Most complaints about Chevy’s full-size SUV involve tepid mileage numbers, somewhat lackadaisical acceleration, less-than-top-quality interior materials and workmanship, and a disturbing tendency in both the six-speed automatic and the six-speed auto-manual transmissions to buck and shudder. A further complaint is that the second row of seats does not fold flat to the floor, thus making things difficult when loading cargo.
On the plus side, owners of the ’09 Suburban are well-pleased with its looks, ride comfort, and handling. Despite its lackluster acceleration and dubious shifting abilities, owners praise the two V8s as well up to their towing tasks and capable of providing sufficient power to easily merge and pass on the highway. According to virtually all owners of the ’09 Suburban, by far its most appealing feature is the sheer size of its cabin.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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