If you’re looking for information on a newer Chevrolet Suburban, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Chevrolet Suburban Review
What’s bigger than a minivan, more powerful than a crossover SUV and more American than apple pie? The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban. This full-size SUV has been hauling American families around the country for more than 80 years. In fact, the Suburban lays claim to being the longest-running nameplate in production, dating all the way back to 1935.
The 2018 Suburban displays a modern, fresh appearance, offering more interior 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 2018 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 2018?
For 2018, the Chevrolet Suburban gets a new Rally Sport Truck package, or RST for short. Rally Sport models feature black trim in place of chrome, a gloss black grille and exclusive 22-inch wheels. The LS trim gets new standard features, including an 8-in MyLink touchscreen audio system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, steering-wheel controls for audio, Bluetooth and a Driver Information Center (DIC) with a 4.2-in color DIC screen and LED DRLs. An Enhanced Driver Alert package is now available on the LS. See the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban models for sale near you
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 those of the Ford Expedition MAX or Nissan Armada
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 15 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban comes in three trims: LS, LT and Premier.
The Suburban LS ($51,445 for 2-wheel drive (2WD), $54,445 for 4WD) includes a 5.3-liter V8 engine, a 6-speed automatic transmission, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, rear park assist, OnStar, Teen Driver mode, active aero shutters, MyLink radio with an 8-in touchscreen, HD Radio and SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, side assist steps, heated outside mirrors, 18-in alloy wheels, a luggage rack, Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity, tri-zone automatic climate control, front bucket seats (can be substituted for a 40/20/40-split bench 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 ($56,575 for 2WD, $59,575 for 4WD) adds forward-collision alert, a power rear lift gate, 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, automatic high beams and power adjustable pedals with memory for the driver’s seat and pedal placement.
The Suburban Premier ($66,125 for 2WD, $69,125 for 4WD) adds magnetic ride control, keyless entry and access with push-button start, 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, navigation, 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 Enhanced Driver Alert package (forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist, low-speed forward automatic braking, a Safety Alert Seat warning system, adaptive headlights and power adjustable pedals), 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 start, 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 can also be fitted with the RST and Sun, Entertainment and Destination packages. It also offers only a few options, including a power glass moonroof, 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.
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 monitoring system 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 2018 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, it 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, though it should be noted that, when equipped with the optional Heavy Duty Tow package, the new Ford Expedition does have a higher tow rating, at an impressive 9,300 pounds.
Other Cars to Consider
2018 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, however, nor is its cargo space behind the third-row seat.
2018 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.
2018 Ford Expedition MAX — Ford’s full-size SUV is all new, with improved safety features, an extensive use of aluminum and a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with more horsepower than the Suburban’s V8. It also has a flush-folding third-row seat and a higher tow rating.
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.
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 the LT’s standard suspension works fine.