SEE ALSO: Chevrolet Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 25,921 Price As Tested $ 29,109 Engine Type OHV 16-valve 5.3 Liter V8 w/SMFI* Engine Size 325 cid/5300 cc Horsepower 285 @ 5200 RPM Torque (lb-ft) 325 @ 4000 RPM Wheelbase/Width/Length 130.0"/78.8"/219.3" Transmission Four-speed automatic Curb Weight 5589 pounds Fuel Capacity 32.5 gallons Tires (F/R) 245/75R16 all-season Brakes (F/R) Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS) Drive Train Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive Vehicle Type Eight-passenger/five-door Domestic Content 76 percent Coefficient of Drag (Cd.) N/A PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 14/18/16 0-60 MPH 9.0 seconds Maximum cargo capacity 1610 pounds Maximum towing capacity 7000 pounds * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
BRENDAN - When I think of the classic sport/utility vehicle, I always picture the Chevy Suburban. It's been around since 1935, long before the term "SUV" came into existence. It's the ultimate family machine and it's big, powerful and robust, which makes it popular with superdads and soccer moms. Even the fictional character Tony Soprano of the highly touted HBO Mafia series "The Sopranos" drives a Suburban around New Jersey during mob hits and while dropping his kids to school. The 2001 Chevrolet two-wheel-drive Suburban 1500 we tested was so huge that it made us feel in control of the road and it gave us more than enough room for our daily and weekend errands and jaunts.
MIKELE - Although the 325 cubic-inch engine that powered our loaner isn't the biggest available in the Surburban, it was plenty powerful enough at 285 horses. And its pulling power is awesome at 325 pound/feet of torque, a towing dream. The four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission is the only type available in the Suburban and I guess that you don't really need a stick-shift in a machine like this. But for people who want to shift for themselves, there's a five-speed stick-shift available. It had a better ride than I expected in a big SUV. Chevrolet has gone to great lengths to make the ride on the Suburban as car-like as possible and it works. Its Smooth Ride suspension package includes a rear five-link coil-spring system for improved smoothness, and an independent front suspension with softened spring rates.
BRENDAN - One of the features I liked on the Suburban is the Electronic Traction Assist. It works with the locking differential to help provide controlled acceleration and better stability on slippery roads. Although our recent rainy weather here only made the roads icy in a few spots, it helped keep me from following many of my fellow highway travelers backwards off to the side of the road.
MIKELE - Inside, it could be a little more fancy, but all things considered, it's a comfortable interior. Its six-way power adjustable seats were fun to use, and I found a good setting for myself. Cup holders are always a main concern with me, and I liked the old ones that were in past Suburban models a bit more. The 60/40 split rear seats fold down to form an armrest and a storage area with dual cup holders and a storage tray. Pretty cool idea. The third row seat is removable, but it would be nice if it would fold into the floor. Still, it seats a lot of people, and it would make a perfect big-family car.
BRENDAN - The interior was ok for me. It wasn't too fancy and had all the basic trimmings I like. It has three power outlets and its stereo system was easy to use. The outside has a basic "big" look, but it's supposed to be that way. Its 16-inch silver-painted steel wheels are nice because if the Suburban takes a hard one against a curb, it wouldn't cost a small fortune to replace them. Its dual, fold-away outside mirrors are also nice. On a rig this big, it's easy to bump them in a crowded parking space. I often see Suburbans hauling all kinds of trailers and to make connecting them easy, they come with a seven-wire trailer harness for towing.
MIKELE - The Suburban's Vortec V8 engines can go up to 100,000 miles before their platinum-tip spark plugs are scheduled for replacement, and its accessory drive belt is designed to operate for up to 150,000 miles, meaning you shouldn't have to visit Mr. Goodwrench too often. Safety-wise, the Suburban features enough goodies to satisfy even the pickiest parents. Front and rear crush zones and steel side-door beams make it a sturdy vehicle in case of collisions, and driver and passenger air bags all around make it a safe cabin. Child seat top-tether anchors on the second-and third-row seats help with the kiddies, and four-wheel disc antilock brakes top it off, making it a safe haven for the whole family.
BRENDAN - But it' s still a good "dude" truck.
MIKELE - Even a "dude" needs safety, Brendan.