Chevrolet Suburban — A big SUV for big needs

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

(March 27, 2022) The Chevrolet Suburban has been an incredible people and cargo hauler for generations — it came on the scene in 1934 as a 1935 model — and it has grown into the epitome of the ultimate go-anywhere family hauler. Now with three powerful engines and six trim levels to fit the needs and pocketbooks of buyers the 12th generation Suburban is in a class by itself.

The Suburban is essentially a larger and longer-wheelbase version of the Tahoe, which we reviewed last year and found it very likable. The Suburban rides on the same platform as the Silverado 1500 pickup truck and offers seating for up to nine passengers while still providing 42 cubic feet of storage behind the third-row seats. And get this — cargo space is a copious 94 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 145 cubic feet with all seatbacks folded.

The Suburban was completely remade in 2021 with fresh styling, increased exterior and interior dimensions, more third-row passenger space due in part to a new independent rear suspension, upgraded infotainment and safety technology, and a new diesel engine option.

The new multi-link suspension has not only improved third-row seat comfort, but ride quality and handling traits as well. And the new six-cylinder diesel, which we recently drove in a Silverado, has improved mileage to 23 mpg combined for rear-wheel drive and 22 for AWD. The diesel increases towing capacity to 8,300 pounds compared to the 6.2-liter V-8 at 7,900 pounds.

Our test-drive Suburban came with the new RST Performance Package with includes Magnetic Ride Control and a Brembo performance braking. The Suburban can also be fitted with adaptive dampers and adjustable air suspension, which can adjust the SUV's ride height as needed. The RST has a sporty appearance that includes blacked-out exterior trim and 22-inch wheels. They made our Cherry Red SUV a real head turner.  

We were impressed with big vehicle's ride quality and its on-road handling, which includes good steering feedback. Our truck was outfitted with the big 6.2-liter V-8 that makes 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, a good fit for our more than 6,000-pound vehicle. It surged off the line and easily and confidently merged with fast traffic, and handled passing chores on two-lane roads with aplomb.

The 2022 Suburban can be purchased in six trim levels — LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier and High Country — starting at $54,095. While the LT is a good buy starting at $62,495, we think the new RST is the best overall buy considering the excellent selection of standard equipment and its head-turning stance at $65,695.

The three available engines are the 3.5-liter V-8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder diesel making 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and the 6-2-liter V-8. All three engines are more than sufficient to motivate the big truck.

But beware — Gas mileage is rather breathtaking, especially in this new age of extremely high gas prices. The 5.3-liter, which is probably what most buyers will purchase, is rated at 15 mpg city, 20 highway and 17 combined in rear-wheel format and 15/19/16 in AWD; the 6.2-liter is rated at 14/20/16 in rear drive and 14/19/16 with AWD. The 5.3-liter takes regular, but Chevrolet says the 6.2-liter needs premium. The diesel is rated at 21/27/23 rear wheel and 20/26/22 all-wheel.

A 28-gallon gas tank will mean fewer trips to the gas pump, when you need to stop just know that 20 gallons of regular gas will cost in the neighborhood of $80 - to - $100 depending on the section of the country you live.

The Suburban carries an attractive version of the new-look Chevrolet front end with pinched-in standard LED headlights with a bar running through the middle of the grille carrying the Bowtie emblem. The Suburban has crisp lines with a traditional big SUV boxy, upright stance. With the exception of the grille treatment — which has grown on us, but has been the subject of some criticism — the new look should appeal to the Chevy faithful. Inside, the overall dashboard design is modern and more premium-looking than before.

The Suburban is spacious inside with adult-like room for all three rows. The third row adds 10 more inches of legroom, and the second-row seats can now slide fore and aft providing more seating flexibility. Chevrolet has done a commendable job with easy-to-use switchgear. For 2022 Chevrolet has replaced the 10.2-inch touchscreen with a 12.3-inch screen on upper trim levels that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a Wi-Fi hotspot. A good-sounding nine-speaker Bose audio system with SiriusXM capability and leather upholstery are standard in all but the base LS trim.

Chevrolet has safety covered with standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, and available features such as blindspot monitoring with cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Our test truck also came with adaptive cruise control.

You may not like the stop-start feature, which cuts the engine off when coming to a stop, because some systems are intrusive. If so, you may find it interesting that our test truck did not include that feature and there was a $50 credit.

Our AWD RST carried a bottom line of $75,145 with several options including a $3,815 sport performance package, which include the 6.2-liter engine and magnetic ride control; and a $2,525 luxury package, which included such things as HD surround vision (very useful in a big vehicle), power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and heated steering wheel. The appealing Cherry Red tint coat added $495.

2022 Chevrolet Suburban


Base price: $54,095; as driven, $75,145
Engine: 6.2-liter V-8
Horsepower: 420 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 460 pound-feet @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Drive: four-wheel
Seating: 2/2/3
Wheelbase: 134.1 inches
Length: 225.7 inches
Curb weight: 6,016 pounds
Turning circle: 43.3 feet
Towing capacity: 7,900 pounds
Luggage capacity: 41.5 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 144.7 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 28 gallons (premium recommended)
EPA rating: 14 city, 19 highway, 16 combined
0-60: 6.1 seconds (Car and Driver)
Also consider: GMC Yukon XL, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada

The Good
• Massive interior
• Three excellent engine choices
• Drives smaller than its massive size

The Bad
• Hard to maneuver in parking lot

The Ugly
• Gas mileage under 20 mpg