The Chevy Suburban boasts the title of the nation’s longest automobile nameplate in continuous use, carrying that model name since 1934. Now in its 11th generation, the Suburban is recognized as the biggest, toughest, non-commercial vehicle on the road. It is most iconically associated with the FBI, S.H.I.E.L.D., and other powerful, high-tech, and high budget covert government entities who use the biggest and toughest vehicles on the road. When it comes to getting everything you could want from a vehicle in terms of power, performance, pleasure – and just about anything else where money isn’t an issue – the Suburban leads the pack, and has since 1934. Without further ado, let’s see what the 2020 Chevy Suburban has going for it and what it lacks.
One thing to note before going too far is that the 2020 Suburban is essentially the same as the 2019 Suburban, with a few less color choices, so anything that goes for the 2020 model will apply to the 2019 model, and vice versa.
There’s Nothing “Sub” About the Suburban
As a large workhorse vehicle, the Suburban is a horse you really want to make sure you’re putting to work. The price will definitely make you think about how much work you’ll be getting from it, starting at $51,700, $56,500, and $65,500 for the LS, LT, and Premier trim levels, respectively, and tacking on another $3,000 if you want four-wheel drive. Gas economy is 14 MPG in city, 23 MPG on the highway for two-wheel drive, and 14 MPG and 20 MPG respectively for four-wheel drive. However, with everything that makes up the Suburban, there is absolutely return on the investment if you’ve got plans to load up the vehicle with people, cargo, and a trailer to boot (or various combinations of the three).
Between a 355 horsepower 5.3 liter V8 engine and 6-speed transmission as standard, or 420 horsepower 6.2 L V8 engine and 10-speed transmission as an optional upgrade, there are plenty of muscles to flex. Despite being so massive, the Suburban can go from 0 to 60 in 6.9 seconds for the standard engine and transmission, or 6.2 with the upgraded powertrain.
Like many large SUVs, it gives a commanding view of the road and has spacious room for passengers, while sporting a comfy interior with lots of little storage spaces. The 2020 Chevy Suburban has tri-zone temperature control to keep the whole crew happy, along with five very convenient USB ports and five 12 volt outlets. Even with all the seats up, there is 39 cubic feet of storage space for carrying the family luggage on road trips, plus underfloor cargo storage for a couple odds and ends that don’t fit.
As you’d expect with a classy SUV designed to make the driving experience empowering, the 2020 Chevy Suburban has automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, and forward collision alert available, with excellently performing disk brakes and a very responsive brake pedal. A rear vision camera, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, lane change alert with blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, and more state-of-the-art driving assistance technologies can be found. Because it’s GM, you will have OnStar as well, and one of the nicer infotainment systems available, including options to control from your phone and a teen driver setting for preventing reckless driving habits when unsupervised.
How the Competition Stacks Up
One area of contention is that the Suburban has a higher cargo floor than competitors. All trim levels come with assist steps for getting into the vehicle yourself, but loading up bricks or lumber into all of the 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space is going to make you feel those extra inches of lifting over and over. The raw size of the vehicle is another factor to consider – being the biggest isn’t always the best. Whether it’s navigating parking lots or squeezing into the right lane on the highway, or even trying to park in your own garage, there are smaller full-size SUVs to consider when looking at what you need from your vehicle, and that will save you on fuel too. However, for many people looking at such a large SUV, the size and height are a big draw, allowing for a safer feel, better ground clearance, and plenty of room inside.
While the Suburban does have impressive towing numbers at the top of the line, the more recently redesigned Ford Expedition with its 3.5L V6 is capable of 9,300 pounds of towing capacity, which is 1,000 pounds more than the Suburban. With base trims, the gap narrows to 6,300 for the Suburban and 6,600 for the Expedition. Having a V8 in the Suburban means a little better acceleration, handy for getting up to speed on highways and in town, but if you want to trade that for a little more towing power you have the option to do so, or to wait a year for the Suburban’s updates.
Between power-adjustable pedals being available on the LS model and standard on the LT and Premier trim levels, wifi service in the vehicle, and file folder organizer setup in the center armrest storage areas, Chevy has done their best to make the vehicle versatile enough to be used by a broad range of people who want to make use of the diverse strengths of the Suburban. Hill descent control gives you extra security with grade braking and shifting gears in and out of parking to help smooth out difficult transition points in hauling heavy loads. The features of Teen Driver technology allows you to trust the vehicle to your teen in training a little more easily. Active fuel management helps the engine drop down to 4 cylinders when cruising on the highway to increase efficiency where technologically possible. The list of benefits goes on, and the reasons why competitors may beat out the Suburban shrinks.
Fancy Toys You Can Add On
With an RST performance package on the Premier trim, you can add in a Heads Up Display rising out of the dash and a bigger and more detailed screen to work with. Also available on the higher trim levels is an infotainment screen that will rise up above the dash, revealing an area with a USB plug and a small space where you can stash objects, which you can keep extra secure with a valet mode.
If you’re looking for something that isn’t a minivan but can haul the kids like one, that isn’t a truck but can do the work of one, with intimidating presence, and that can tow your camper, or some combination of those criteria, then the 2020 Chevy Suburban is one of the few 3-row SUVs capable. It’s got the longest history of any SUV on the market and is due for some updates next year. It’s not at the head of every category, but it is still a leader in the market with some powerful options to consider.