Families often turn to spacious 3-row SUVs for transporting people and cargo. In that regard, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban promises to offer that in spades. Part of its 2021 update was a redesigned platform with independent rear suspension, which gives more cargo and passenger room. However, it’s possible the new Suburban may actually be too big for some people.
2021 Chevrolet Suburban specs and features
Both the 2021 Tahoe and Suburban share the same base engine: a 5.3-liter V8 producing 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. There’s also an optional 6.2-liter V8, which puts out 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. But new for 2021 is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder, rated at 277 hp and 460 lb-ft. Though Motor Trend reports that the diesel won’t be available at launch.
For 2021, the Chevrolet Suburban will be available in 6 different trims, Kelley Blue Book reports. As with the current SUV, the base trim is the LS, followed in increasing cost by the LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country. Motor1 reports the LS will start at $52,995 after destination fees. The High Country, meanwhile, which comes standard with the 6.2-liter V8, will start at $73,595. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with four-wheel drive a $3000 option. 4WD is standard for the Z71, though.
Although the move to IRS has given the 3-row SUV more room and a flat floor, it’s not the only suspension update. The Premier and High Country trims get continuously-adjusting magnetorheological suspension as standard, Roadshow reports. And both the Z71 and High Country can also be optioned with adaptive air suspension. The air springs adjust based on load, and can also raise or lower the SUV by up to 4”.
The Z71 is the trim for those looking to venture off-pavement. In addition to 4WD, the trim comes standard with skid plates, tow hooks, and hill-descent control.
The Chevrolet Suburban’s interior has been updated for 2021, as well. The standard touchscreen is now 10”, and there’s also a 15” heads-up display available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot. Forward-collision alert and automatic emergency braking are standard, Car and Driver reports. Though, blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist are optional extras.
Why the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban may be too much SUV
Although the added space is a boon, KBB reports the Chevrolet Suburban’s “massive size can be a handful.” The 3-row SUV is just under 19 feet long, and about 6.75 feet wide, GM Authority reports. Although that technically fits in the average US garage, Hunker reports it won’t leave any room for actually moving around.
In addition, the National Association of City Transport Officials reports many urban streets are only about 10 feet wide. If you’re trying to drive a Suburban through a city, it may be difficult to maneuver safely around parked cars or other road users. Not to mention, the Chevrolet Suburban’s length would turn a U-turn into a major event, even with its multiple cameras.
Also, buying based on size puts the Suburban at a somewhat disadvantageous price position. MT reports that, while its interior is indeed better, it still lags behind some other 3-row SUVs. And the High Country’s price tag puts it very close to luxury SUVs like the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS.
The 2021 Tahoe, meanwhile, gets a very similar interior, but for about $3000 less. Plus, the Tahoe rates higher in Consumer Reports’ reliability ranking than the larger Suburban.
If exterior dimensions are a concern, a minivan can haul just as many people. The Kia Sedona, for instance, can seat 8, has high CR reliability scores, and gets significantly-better gas mileage. And its most expensive trim is about $10,000 cheaper than Chevrolet Suburban LS. Admittedly, it won’t be able to tow as much as the Suburban. However, there are other 3-row SUVs to choose from.
The Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade have been consistently ranked high in comparison tests by MT and Car and Driver. The Telluride won MT’s 2020 SUV of the Year, and is a Car and Driver 10Best pick, as well. It’s about 2.5 feet shorter than the Suburban but can still tow up to 5000 lbs. It’s also more reliable, according to CR, and even the most expensive trim is about $10,000 cheaper than the Chevrolet.
But, if you were interested in the higher-end versions of the Suburban, the Mercedes GLS 450 is actually about $1000 cheaper than the 4WD High Country. Only the GLS has AWD and air suspension as standard, and even with 3 rows, it’s about 2 feet shorter. Also, Car and Driver reports, thanks to its standard hybrid-assist powertrain, the GLS 450 actually managed to beat its EPA rating during real-world driving.
Finally, for about $4000 more, you can get the Lincoln Navigator with 4WD. Car and Driver reports its 3rd-row is “one of the best examples” in the segment. It also has more standard safety features and a better interior. True, it’s also a large SUV. But if that’s the end-goal, the Navigator is arguably a better luxury choice than the Chevrolet Suburban High Country.
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