First Impressions: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ
Big enough? Too big? Growing up, a Suburban was the vehicle the families with more than 3 kids drove. Now, it’s moved from a utilitarian people mover to a luxe ride but does it still fit the bill for hauling?
The new for 2015 Chevrolet Suburban was given an exterior design that sharpens angles and creases which add a sophisticated element to the full-size SUV and make the large people hauler somehow look sleek.
The front wraparound fascia is new and unique to the Suburban making it look more like a distant cousin of the Silverado and less like its chubby sister. Just like the previous design, the Suburban shares very little sheet metal with Chevy’s full-size truck. The belt line crease begins at the corner of the grille and extends the length of the vehicle which serves to contribute to the modern appearance of the Chevy, but makes it look every inch of its 224.4 inches–up 2 inches from the previous model.
The overall aesthetic is an attractive vehicle that should look right at home in any presidential motorcade.
The Suburban had a wide track and curb weight over 5,600 lbs. In spite of that, it handles well. Chevy managed a level of refinement and communication between the road and the driver that strikes a balance between a harsh utility feel and wallowing land yacht.
Chevy boasts seating for up to 9 in the Suburban. While it is big, we felt that number should be 8 at the most and 7 if the occupants were adults with an expectation of comfort. And, comfort was king. There was plenty of legroom in the second row, adequate legroom in the third row, and plenty of front to back and side to side room for the driver and front seat passenger.
The center console provided enough real estate to allow resting space for a couple of elbows and the charging pad in the center of the lid–an available feature on the LT and standard on the LTZ. No seat wanted for cupholders and door and seat pockets allowed for most road trip essentials to be stowed when not in use.
The instrument cluster in all trim levels features a 4.2 inch driver information screen which can be customized to show trip information, diagnostics, or infotainment information. The LTZ comes standard with an 8 inch touchscreen to control audio and infotainment functions. The Chevy MyLink with Navigation and OnStar powered 4G LTE were also in our tester. The system was easy to use to the extent we were able to use it. Navigation was accurate even in the closed course area of the state park our test circuit was in.
HVAC controls were separate from the touchscreen system with analog controls. This is a feature more manufacturers are using, and one we have found ourselves preferring, even in the smartphone/tablet age.
The Suburban is a people hauler. A big, seating-for-9 (so says Chevy) people hauler. Our 2015 LTZ model drove like a full-size SUV. You knew it was a big sport utility, but never got the feeling you were piloting a land yacht. The refinement Chevy has worked into their design over the years–and really exhibited well in the 2015 model–makes it drive like a you expect a modern SUV, smooth and never lacking for power.
A big SUV needs a big engine, and the 5.3-liter V-8 EcoTec3 engine is up to the task. The 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque provide enough pull to eliminate any trepidation about handling the demands placed on a typical suburban Suburban.
The Suburban was truly a breeze to operate and the overall ride was enjoyable and comfortable. The comfort level was enough our front passenger tester was sitting sideways with feet tucked under her in full road trip mode within minutes of starting on our drive. If I was an SUV designer, I would mark that as a success.