The big and roomy 2016 Chevrolet Suburban is now in its 12th generation, recently updated in 2015 with more streamlined sheet metal, a stiffer structure, new body mounts with an improved ride, a more powerful V8 engine, new safety systems and a long list of infotainment upgrades. It’s Chevy’s biggest SUV, more than a foot and a half longer than the Chevrolet Tahoe, blending minivan-like cargo space with truck toughness. Standard fare includes the crowd-pleasing OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, in-vehicle Wi-Fi and the Apple CarPlay-compatible Chevy MyLink infotainment system, now with a standard 8-inch screen. Safety systems include crash-imminent braking, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, side blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Plus, adaptive cruise control is available. New for 2016 is an optional head-up display.
The 2016 Suburban can fit up to nine passengers or 121.7 cu ft. of cargo with the second- and third-row seats folded. Both rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive are offered. Max tow capacity is 8,300 pounds. The fuel tank holds 31 gallons.
What We Like
7-9 passenger seating; interior quality; ride quality on LTZ model; towing capacity; fold-flat second- and third-row seats; 4G LTE Wi-Fi and Apple CarPlay compatibility
What We Don’t
Shortened powertrain warranty; high load floor; won’t fit in some garages
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 2016 Suburban is equipped with an all-aluminum version of the 5.3-liter small-block Chevy V8 with direct injection. It’s rated at 355 horsepower with 383 lb-ft of torque. The engine also features active fuel management, a cylinder-deactivation system that shuts down four of the eight cylinders when coasting or highway cruising under light loads to save fuel.
The Suburban’s standard 6-speed automatic transmission features tap-up/tap-down gear selection on the column shifter, giving the driver easier manual-gear control for grades, and a tow/haul mode offers the driver improved control of transmission shift points when dealing with heavy loads. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy estimates are 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for RWD models, and 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy on 4WDs.
Standard Features & Options
The 2016 Suburban is available in base LS, midlevel LT and luxury LTZ trim.
LS standard fare includes OnStar with 4G LTE and an in-truck Wi-Fi hotspot, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with an 8-in touchscreen, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, Apple CarPlay cell phone mirroring, Bluetooth streaming audio and phone connectivity, SiriusXM radio and HD Radio, five USB ports, cloth upholstery, power front bucket seats with lumbar adjustment (a split front bench seat with fold-down armrest is optional), tri-zone automatic air conditioning, a backup camera, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel with remote audio controls, keyless remote entry, 18-in alloy wheels, a conversation mirror, an auxiliary transmission cooler, a locking rear differential, split fold-down second- and third-row seats, a security system, a 110-volt power outlet, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, intermittent wipers, automatic head lamps, ultrasonic reverse sensing, rain-sensing wipers, power windows, heated mirrors, door locks and a remote start system.
Moving up to the LT trim brings standard leather seats, heated front seats, a manual tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a power lift gate, a haptic safety alert seat, forward-collision alert and lane-departure alert. Also available is a Bose 9-speaker premium audio system.
LTZ trim adds such standard items as heated and cooled front seats, driver’s-seat memory, power-folding heated second-row seats, a touchscreen navigation system, Surround Sound, 20-in alloy wheels, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless entry, wireless phone charging, a hands-free lift gate, push-button start, magnetic ride control shocks, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, lane-change alert, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
Popular options include power-release second- and third-row seats, 22-in alloys, a Bose 10-speaker Surround Sound, power retractable running boards, dynamic cruise control, a head-up display and dual-screen Blu-ray DVD rear-seat entertainment.
The Suburban is as popular as ever thanks to its trucklike durability, roomy cabin and carlike comfort. Four-wheel-drive versions fetch higher prices, especially in mountainous areas and snowy climates.
For a good idea of the prices of used 2016 Suburbans, check out the used-car values on KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.
These safety recalls have been issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the 2016 Chevrolet Suburban:
Defective airbag sensing and diagnostic module software may fail to deploy the front airbags and seatbelt pretensioners in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.
Inadequate welds on the front suspension upper control arms may allow the bushings to separate from the arms, compromising steering control and increasing the risk of a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2016 Suburban a 4-star overall rating with four stars for front impacts, five stars for side impacts and three stars for rollover resistance.
The Independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test the crashworthiness of the 2016 Suburban.
General Motors updated the 2016 Chevrolet Suburban’s warranty to cover the vehicle for 3 years/36,000 miles, body corrosion perforation for 6 years/100,000 miles and the powertrain for 5 years/60,000 miles, including roadside assistance. In previous model years, the powertrain coverage was 5 years/100,000 miles.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Suburban undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, plus the transferable original 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage is extended to 6 years and includes roadside assistance. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Ford Expedition EL — The extended-wheelbase version of Ford’s biggest SUV is almost 4 inches shorter than the Suburban, but thanks to a lower cargo floor it beats it by nearly 10 cu ft. on cargo-carrying space. Its 9,200-lb tow rating also beats Suburban by almost 900 pounds, yet its independent rear suspension rides better than Chevy’s live rear-axle setup. A 365-hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 provides smooth, turbocharged power. New for 2016 is a more user-friendly SYNC 3 infotainment system.
2016 GMC Yukon XL — Nearly identical except for styling details, GMC’s biggest SUV one-ups the Suburban with a lively 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 in topline Denali trim.
With a legacy some 80 years long, Chevy’s full-size Suburban offers undeniable safety, security and trailer-towing ability. The LT trim comes with many standard features buyers want, such as leather seats, a power lift gate and forward-collision alert and lane-departure warning systems. Look for a 4WD version if you live in a mountainous area, snow country or must deal with unpaved roads. The Suburban enjoys a high resale value and has a solid reputation for durability. A CPO model is a good way to go. Always get a car history report before you buy, and make sure any applicable recall repairs have been performed by a GM dealer for the Suburban you’re considering.