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2019 Chevrolet Suburban Overview
Since its debut in the 1930s, Chevrolet’s full-size Suburban SUV continues to appeal to buyers with its size, flexibility, towing capabilities, and overall functionality. Its 11th generation came onto the market in 2015, so the 2019 Chevy Suburban receives only minor updates. However, for this model year, Chevy has added the RST Performance Package option for the Suburban, which includes an upgraded V8 engine, a cutting-edge transmission, and a number of performance and design enhancements.
On the outside, the Suburban maintains its classic look, emphasizing function over flash. Features like side assist steps and roof rails come standard on all Suburbans. Although the LS has just a manual liftgate, LT comes with a power liftgate, and Premium gets a hands-free gesture-operated liftgate that can be opened with the wave of a foot under the bumper. Premium also comes equipped with HID headlights, fog lights, and heated side mirrors. The LS and LT ride on 18-inch wheels while the Premium gets 20-inch polished aluminum wheels. A number of optional 20- and 22-inch wheels are available for all three trims.
Power for all trims comes from the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 generating 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque, linking to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The V8 posts fuel economy numbers of 16 mpg city, 31 highway, and 23 combined. When equipped with AWD, fuel economy slips slightly to 15, 31, and 22, respectively. The Suburban comes standard with a massive 31-gallon fuel tank to minimize trips to the gas station. The Suburban can also tow payloads of up to 6,300 pounds. When equipped with an optional Max Trailering Package, its towing capacity rises to 8,300 pounds, making the Suburban a true workhorse for commercial and recreational use.
Chevy offers the Suburban with both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) platforms at all trim levels. For a large vehicle, the Suburban handles well with tight steering, minimal body roll in corners, and a smooth ride over rough roads. The LS and LT come standard with a Premium Ride Suspension designed to minimize road imperfections while the Premium upgrades to a Magnetic Ride Control system. All trims include a locking rear differential, which improves traction on rough terrain.
Like previous models, Chevy offers the 2019 Suburban at LS, LT, and Premier trim levels in both rear-wheel drive (RWD) and 4-wheel drive (4WD) configurations. The new RST Performance Package is available as an add-on to the top-level Premier trim. This new performance package replaces the Premier's standard 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine with a more powerful 6.2-liter EcoTech V8, boosting horsepower from 355 to 420 and torque from 383 pound-feet to 460. To channel the additional horsepower, Chevy swaps out the Suburban's usual 6-speed automatic transmission for a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic with shorter shift points to maximize acceleration. The RST package also includes an upgraded Magnetic Ride Control active suspension, which features performance calibration. The system adjusts damping in the electronically controlled shock absorbers within a few milliseconds to absorb road imperfections and ensure a smooth ride. Performance calibration enhances ride comfort and responsiveness even more by improving body control, which is helpful for such a large vehicle.
The RST package also adds a high-capacity air cleaner, a trailer brake controller, an upgraded alternator, and a revised rear axle ratio, which are all designed to improve the SUV's performance. Outside, the RST variant gets a black gloss grille, black roof rails, and black gloss mirror caps as well as unique badging. It rides on exclusive 22-inch wheels.
The Suburban's biggest selling point is its expansive interior space. Behind the third row of seating, the Suburban offers 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space - enough for sports gear or a massive grocery run. With the third row folded down, space expands to 76.7 cubic feet. Cargo space maxes out at 121.7 cubic feet with both rows folded down, making plenty of room for storage.
The SUV seats between seven and nine passengers in three rows, depending on the trim and seating choices. In its standard configuration for LS and LT, the Suburban comes equipped with a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, and 60/40-split manual-fold second- and third-row bench seats, which provide seating for eight passengers. On the LS trim, buyers can add an optional front bench seat, which raises seating capacity to nine. The front bench seat splits 40/20/40 for flexibility and features a power-reclining seatback, 6-way power adjustment for the driver's seat, and a fold-down center armrest. On the LT, buyers can upgrade to manual-folding second-row bucket seats, seating seven. The Premier comes equipped with front bucket seats, heated bucket seats in the second row, and a power-folding third-row bench seat with a 60/40 split. The LS comes equipped with cloth upholstery while the LT and Premier both get leather upholstery.
To make this expansive cabin as comfortable as possible, all Suburbans come equipped with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tri-zone climate control, cruise control, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, a rearview camera, and remote start. The LS gets a 6-speaker audio system while the LT upgrades to a 9-speaker Bose system, and the Premium adds a 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint system. All trims come standard with an 8-inch touchscreen, Chevy's MyLink infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay capability. Premium’s MyLink system includes navigation. The mid-range LT comes equipped with power-adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and memory settings for the powered front seats while the Premium adds a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-and-telescopic steering column, and keyless door openers.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Suburban a safety rating of four out of five stars while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it a Marginal safety rating partially due to the ease of using its child seat latches. Standard safety features for all trims include rear park assist, and the Premier adds front park assist. The LT and Premier also come with forward-collision alert. Buyers can add adaptive cruise control as an option, and all trims get GM's OnStar system as standard equipment, which includes automatic crash response, emergency services, and stolen vehicle assist.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.
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