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2013 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD LTE Review By John Heilig

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2013 Chevrolet Suburban

By John Heilig

Model: 2013 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD LTE

Engine: 5.3-liter V8

Horsepower/Torque: 320 hp @ 5,400 rpm/335 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 130.0 in.

Length x Width x Height: 222.4 x 79.1 x 76.8 in.

Tires: P275/55R20

Cargo: 45.8/90.0/137.4 cu. in. (behind 3rd row, 3rd row seats down/3rd and 2nd row seats down)

Economy: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway/15.3 mpg test

Fuel capacity: 31.5 gal.

Curb Weight: 5,284 lbs.

Sticker: $63,195 (includes $995 destination charge, $3,460 in options)

The Bottom Line: The Suburban feels like the largest vehicle on the planet. While it hasn’t changed too much in a long time, it still has many redeeming qualities: cargo capacity, people carrying capabilities, and good ride quality. Its unredeeming qualities include its size and poor fuel economy.

I don’t think the Chevrolet Suburban has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. That isn’t a bad thing. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

As one of the largest vehicles available to civilians anywhere, the Suburban offers great size that can be used for several purposes.

For example, the week before we had the Suburban scheduled, my brother-in-law passed away and we had to travel three hours to assist in cleaning out his house. While much had been cleared away, there were still some family heirlooms that my wife wanted to take back to our house, if only for safe keeping. If we had a Sonic scheduled for that week we would still be making trips up and back.

With the Suburban we were able to tumble the third and second row seats forward for increased cargo capacity. We could have done even better if we could have removed these seats, but the logistics didn’t work out for us to be able to do that. Needless to say, we now have in our garage a whole bunch of stuff that wasn’t there before.

One feature that surprised me with the Suburban was its ride quality. The platform for the Sub is truck-based, yet the ride, while firm, was not at all truckish. In fact, my wife and I both commented on how good the ride was. My wife especially liked the high-riding aspects of the Sub.

Front seats are comfortable. They are power adjustable and among the choices available is a lumbar support that supported our backs that were tired from loading up the rear. With a 130-inch wheelbase and nearly 20 feet in overall length, rear seat legroom was very good. Access to the third row was fairly good with bucket seats in row 2 that are identical to the front seats, without the lumbar support.

Oddly, there are no second row cup holders, but the passengers there have their own HVAC controls that work for the third row as well.

The third row is a flat bench. Legroom is tight. For entertainment, there’s a centrally located video screen that is visible to either the second or third row passengers.

Entry and egress could have been a problem, but an assist handle on the A-pillar made entry for the passenger a lot easier. There are also assist handles on the B-pillars and above the rear doors for second row passengers. The running boards didn’t hurt either.

With a 5.3-liter engine, power is good overall. Acceleration isn‘t that great, thanks to the two and a half tons of overall weight. Once you’re under way there are no power issues. There’s some engine noise on hard acceleration, but the engine’s fairly quiet in normal operation.

Handling is not sports car nimble, but you don’t really expect it to be. As a vehicle in its own right, though, the Suburban isn’t bad. It can handle curves at a reasonable speed and isn’t that bad on dirt-covered hills.

Instrumentation is complete with round dials for the tach and speedometer and all four accessory gauges. Gee, it’s good to see that again.

Among the safety features is a blind spot warning light in the exterior rear view mirrors. With a vehicle of this size, and in our case with a full cargo load and tumbled forward seats, the blind spot warning was a necessity.

The Chevrolet Suburban is a vehicle that is instantly recognizable on the highway, both for its size and for its somewhat dated style. But while it may be less than modern, it is such a practical and useful vehicle that anyone who has ever driven a Sub smiles when they see one on the highway.

2013 The Auto Page