Buying a used car can save you a lot of money -- you just have to be willing to do a little homework. For example, the Chevrolet Suburban is a great choice if you're looking for a big SUV that can handle just about anything. It's been around a long time, and for good reason: It's one of GM's most profitable models. Given the significant changes for the 2015 Suburban, there are some real deals to be had with older Suburbans, specifically the 2007-2013 models.
Powerful and Capable
Seating up to nine passengers, this full-size utility is perfect for big families, especially ones that also need some serious towing capacity. The Suburban comes in a 1500 and 2500 model, but you can't tell the difference between the two just by looking at them. Basically, the 2500 model weighs more and packs more punch for heftier towing.
The Suburban comes standard with a powerful V8 and offers 4-wheel drive for cold climates and off-road action. But keep in mind, this is a large, hulking vehicle. Maneuvering a full-size SUV like this through cramped parking lots isn't for everyone.
And, yes, it drinks a lot of gas, especially in town. Its highway fuel economy, however, is not so bad.
Improvements from the Past
In 2007, Chevy made some much-needed improvements to the braking, steering and overall agility, giving the Suburban a more smooth, solid ride. It also received a more aerodynamic, modern look from the top down, which definitely helped boost its aesthetic appeal.
As for overall reliability across the board, the 2011 and 2012 models get the highest marks. And the 2011 model year is when interior styling and dash details became noticeably more refined. Some 2012 and 2013 models even offer integrated trailer brake and electronic sway control -- nice for when you have four tons of fun trailing along behind you at 65 miles per hour.
Owners of 2007, 2008 and 2009 models reported some occasional engine and fuel system issues. So don't be shy about having your own mechanic give it the once over before you buy.
Comfort and Convenience
When it comes to comfort and convenience, the Suburban has a lot to offer, depending on the year and trim level. The 1500 model Suburban was offered in three trim levels, while the 2500 sports two. And just because it's not brand new doesn't mean you won't find some pretty impressive features. Rear park assist, remote starting, a power lift gate and rearview cameras are just a few of the convenient options that have been available.
Cargo Room and People Space
Everyone seems to agree that the Suburban's cargo area is more than sufficient. It has plenty of room for bikes, sports gear or whatever else you like to haul around. But beware, the third-row seats are far from perfect. They're hard to get to, hard to remove, don't fold flat into the floor and aren't all that comfortable. Also, some report the steering wheel tilt is too limited, which can be frustrating when you're trying to get comfortable behind the wheel.
Safe and Secure
As for safety, the 2007 to 2013 Suburban has pretty decent report cards. Its emergency handling is average, but it has done very well in government crash tests over the past several years.
The Final Say
Overall, if you're in the market for a roomy, comfortable, full-size SUV with high resale value and impressive towing capacity, check out the Chevrolet Suburban. It's worth a look.