As the longest running full-size SUV in the United States, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban carries on the family name with honor and distinction. While the current version bears only a passing resemblance to the 1935 version, the mission is roughly the same: Provide full-size family-hauling power and ability in vehicle that is both comfortable and stylish.
The 2019 Suburban displays a modern, fresh appearance, offering more interior room than the Nissan Armada or the Toyota Sequoia. On the flip side, some more antiquated features from the previous generation haven’t been addressed, namely a low tow rating and the third-row seats’ inability to fold flush into the floor. 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 2019 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 2019?
The 2019 Chevy Suburban gets the Rally Sport Truck package that first appeared last year on the Chevy Tahoe. Along with its unique styling, the RST Performance Package brings a 420-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine, a 10-speed automatic transmission and GM’s Magnetic Ride Control.
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 the Nissan Armada
The Suburban’s base engine is a 5.3-liter V8, good for 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission, this engine achieves 15 miles per gallon in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. Opt for the 4-wheel-drive option, and the mileage drops slightly to 14 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.
Optional with the RST Package is a 6.2-liter V8 producing 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. This engine is hooked to a 10-speed automatic and earns an EPA-estimated 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. Models equipped with 4WD attain a slightly lower 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban comes in three trims: LS, LT and Premier.
The Suburban LS ($51,895, 2WD; $54,895, 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 cell phone 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, cruise control and a tilt steering wheel.
The Suburban LT ($56,895, 2WD; $59,895, 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 ($66,595, 2WD; $69,595, 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 Premier can also be fitted with the RST Performance Package 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.
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 2019 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
2019 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.
2019 GMC Yukon XL — The Suburban’s slightly upscale twin, the Yukon XL, provides the same dimensions with the option of the 6.2-liter V8 on the luxurious Denali trim.
2019 Ford Expedition MAX — Ford’s full-size SUV newer than the Suburban, with improved safety features, an extensive use of aluminum and a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with more hp 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 and 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.