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2012’s The Good 12 – Chevrolet Suburban


2011 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 4WD LTZ

Bumper to bumper, the Chevrolet Suburban is 63.4 inches longer than the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback. Door handle to door handle, the Suburban is 8.4 inches wider than the Chevrolet Cruze. On your driveway, the Suburban settles in with 2269 more pounds than does the neighbour’s Chevrolet Impala.

GoodCarBadCar The Good 12 2012

Bigger is better. For a large family, it’s hard to consider the merits of a Seneca Wallace when a Demarcus Ware is steaming through the O-line. Yes, there are people who require nine seats, towing capacity, and rough road readiness. Many of these people are friends of GoodCarBadCar. For those who find the Chevrolet Suburban to be, at the very least, essential, it delivers what’s necessary before going above and beyond their expectations.

To start with, it doesn’t need to look so good, but it does. The Suburban should handle like the 6000-pound sport-utility vehicle it is, but in fact, the Suburban handles more like a 5000-pound SUV. 320 horsepower is surely sufficient, but you can have 352 if you’d rather. 100 cubic feet of cargo capacity would probably suffice, yet Chevrolet notches it up to 137.4 cubic feet. Why? 

Why not? Suburban ownership is akin to ordering pizza every Friday night and having the delivery driver bring pizza, donairs, salad, and chicken wings. The Suburban gives you more. Scratch that: the Suburban is more.

For the majority of buyers, the words “Suburban” and “ideal” go together with about as much symmetry as the words “Obama” and “Tea Party”, or “Harper” and “unions”, or “Jordan” and “losing”. SUV buyers who discover their lives will be miserable without a Suburban will also find that the words “useful” and “accommodating” do not adequately describe 10% of what the Chevrolet Suburban brings to their lives.


Engines: 320 horsepower; 335 lb-ft of torque from a 5.3L V8 or 352 horsepower; 382 lb-ft of torque from a 6.0L V8

Base USD/CAD Price: $41,730 / $52,220

City Fuel Economy: 10-15 miles per gallon

It’s Not Perfect: Despite the fact that the Suburban is based on a truck that has a USD base price below $22,000, you have to pay nearly double that for a Suburban. Bare bones ‘Burbans don’t exist these days, so your desire to own a Suburban must mesh with the fact that you’ll be forced to accept a well-equipped interior, nice materials, and overwhelming capability. And for all this you will pay through your nose at the Chevy dealer before paying again and again at the pump.

Sales Stats: U.S. Suburban sales fell 73% from 2002 to 2009. When you hear that sales perked up 10% in 2010 and were up 6.4% through eleven months of 2011, keep one thing in mind: the yearly total will be approximately one-third of what it was a decade ago. The core of America’s new vehicle market this is not. Monthly and yearly sales figures for the Chevrolet Suburban can be viewed here.