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2017 Chevrolet Suburban: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader March 2017

When it comes to moving families in full-size luxury and comfort, the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban checks all the right boxes. Its design is modern and fresh, offering more features than the aging Ford Expedition EL and more room than the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia. On the flip side, some more antiquated features from the previous generation haven't been addressed, namely the inability of the third-row seats to fold flush into the floor and a low tow rating. For sheer passenger space, however, it's hard to surpass what the Suburban offers.

When equipped with the available front bench seat (a rarity these days) the Suburban can hold up to nine people, and unlike many shorter full-size SUVs, the massive Suburban has plenty of room behind its third-row seat for storing luggage or the family pooch. The 2017 Suburban is also more luxurious than most standard SUVs, which strengthens its appeal to style-conscious consumers, but also elevates its price tag to levels many families may find out of reach.

What's New for 2017?

New features for 2017 include Teen Driver, additional shopping apps for the MyLink system and Rear Seat Reminder customization (helps remind a parent when a child may be left in the back seat). The LTZ trim is renamed Premier and now includes perforated leather heated and ventilated front seats. Premier trims can also be equipped with adaptive cruise control, while low-speed forward automatic braking, forward collision warning, Safety Alert driver's seat, lane keep assist and automatic high beam control is made standard on LT and Premier trims.

What We Like

Opulent interior; great passenger space; impressive ride and handling; good highway fuel economy; intuitive and user-friendly MyLink infotainment system

What We Don't

Third-row seats fold flat but not flush to the floor; upper-level models can be expensive for the average family; tow ratings not as good as the Ford Expedition EL or Nissan Armada

How Much?

$51,110-$75,000

Fuel Economy

The Suburban's only engine choice is a 5.3-liter V8, good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this engine achieves 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Opt for the 4-wheel-drive option (4WD) and the mileage drops slightly to 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban comes in three trims: LS, LT and Premier.

The Suburban LS ($51,110 for 2-wheel drive (2WD) and $54,110 for 4WD) includes a 5.3-liter V8 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, a trailer hitch and 7-wire harness, rear park assist, OnStar, a 6-speaker AM/FM stereo with HD and SiriusXM radio, side assist steps, heated outside mirrors, 18-in alloy wheels, a rear-vision camera, a remote starter, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, a 110-volt outlet, front bucket seats that can be substituted for a 40/20/40-split bench seat at no extra cost, a 10-way power driver's seat, a power passenger seat with power lumbar and recline, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, a tilt steering wheel, 2-year/24,000-mile free scheduled maintenance, a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The Suburban LT ($56,240 for 2WD and $59,240 for 4WD) adds forward-collision alert, a power rear liftgate, MyLink infotainment with an 8-in color touchscreen and five USB ports, Bose premium audio with nine speakers, leather seating, heated front seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, lane-keep assist, low-speed forward emergency braking and power adjustable pedals with memory for the driver's seat and pedal placement and power-adjustable pedals with memory for the driver's seat and pedal placement.

The Suburban Premier ($65,925 for 2WD and $68,925 for 4WD) adds magnetic ride control, keyless entry and access with push-button starting, front and rear park assist, power-folding outside mirrors with memory function, 20-in polished aluminum wheels, HID headlights, fog lights, a Bose Centerpoint surround sound 10-speaker audio system, perforated leather seating, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, power-release second-row seats, power-folding third-row seats, a power tilt-telescopic and heated steering wheel, rear cross-traffic alert and side blind spot monitoring with lane-change alert.

Option packages for the LS include the Driver Alert package (forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist, a safety-alert seat warning system, automatic high beams and power adjustable pedals), the Max Trailer package (a 3.42 rear axle, a rear air leveler and trailer brake control, and on 4WD models, a 2-speed active transfer case), 20-in wheels and a dealer-installed rear-seat entertainment system.

The LT can be equipped with many of the Premier's standard equipment when ordered with the Luxury package (blind spot monitoring system, keyless entry and push-button starting, a power-folding third-row seat, power-folding outside mirrors, heated second-row seats, a heated steering wheel and a power tilt-telescopic steering column). The Sun, Entertainment and Destination package adds a power glass moonroof, a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. These items can also be ordered individually. The Premier offers only a few options, including a power glass moonroof, a navigation system, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, power retractable side steps and adaptive cruise control. Also available are a configurable multicolor gauge cluster and a head-up display.

Safety

The Suburban carries a full complement of airbags, including front-seat, side-impact and full-length side-curtain airbags. Also standard is the segment's only front-seat center-mounted airbag (for models with bucket seats only), which provides greater protection to the driver and passenger in the event of a side-impact collision. Additional safety equipment includes available lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitor and a radar-based forward-collision warning and front automatic braking system.

In crash testing carried out by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban earned four stars out of a possible five. The Suburban hasn't yet been thoroughly tested by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

You already know the Suburban doesn't perform like a low-slung sport sedan. Just like a good 300-lb NFL linebacker, the Suburban will surprise you with its speed, its athleticism and its sheer will to get the job done. On narrow roads, the Suburban requires a vigilant hand at the wheel, but when the road starts to twist and turn, the Suburban proves easy to keep inside the lines. The steering responds precisely to inputs, and the gas pedal requires only the lightest touch to increase velocity. GM's StabiliTrak stability control does an excellent job of keeping the Suburban's 5,500-lb bulk in check, especially during emergency avoidance maneuvers.

Inside, we found the Suburban's interior remarkably well-insulated from the outside world, and every comfort afforded by our Premier trim was appreciated without exception. From its marvelous seats to the upscale look and feel emanating from the dash and door panels, the Suburban feels more like a prestige luxury car than a family transport vehicle. The MyLink infotainment system is especially nice with a large, vivid color screen populated by easily understood touchscreen icons. The voice-recognition software could use a bit more schooling.

As for power, the big 5.3-liter V8 has plenty to spare and is easily capable of surpassing the 20 mpg mark when driven at reasonable highway speeds. Those needing to tow should be satisfied with the Suburban's 8,300-lb max limit, although it should be noted that, when equipped with the optional Heavy Duty Tow package, the Ford Expedition EL does have a higher tow rating at an impressive 9,100 pounds.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Nissan Armada -- The Armada costs significantly less than the Suburban and has an 8,500-lb tow rating. The Armada's mileage is nowhere near as good, nor is its cargo space behind the third-row seat.

2017 GMC Yukon XL -- The Suburban's slightly upscale twin, the Yukon XL provides the same dimensions with the option of a larger, more powerful 6.2-liter V8 on the Denali trim.

2017 Ford Expedition EL -- Ford's full-size SUV is every bit the Suburban's equal when it comes to interior space, and its third-row seats fold flush into the floor. The Expedition also has a more powerful twin turbocharged V6 engine and is tow-rated at 9,100 pounds. However, the Expedition lacks modern safety features like forward collision warning and braking.

Used Cadillac Escalade -- If you like the Suburban's size and might but want more luxury, you may want to consider its upscale Escalade mechanical twin. It offers more equipment, bolder styling and a stronger brand name. Prices are steep, though, so you may want to consider a used model.

Autotrader's Advice

The best value for your money is the LT trim. It costs about $5,000 more than the base LS, but it has more features, plus a doorway to a more robust option list. The Premier's magnetic ride control feature is its only real advantage over the LT, but we think most people will find that the LT's standard suspension works fine.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Chevrolet Suburban: New Car Review - Autotrader