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Chevrolet Suburban A ‘True Truck’ SUV

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The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban is one of the few remaining truck-based sport utility vehicles on the market. This means it brings the capability of hauling more cargo, towing more weight and carrying more people than pretty much anything else out there.

Further, with four-wheel drive and the Z71 Off-Road package, there are very few places you can venture in a Suburban and worry about your ability to return. For 2017, improvements to Chevrolet’s flagship SUV include automatic low-speed braking, and a driver location management system. Additionally, the top of the line trim level formerly known as LTZ has been rechristened Premier.

Power comes from a 5.3-liter V8, good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission, routing power to the rear wheels through a locking differential, is the standard offering. Four-wheel drive, fed through a single-speed transfer case is optional, as is a two-speed transfer case with the Off-Road and Max Trailering packages.

As you might expect, fuel economy is on the low side by modern standards at 16 mpg in the city, 23 on the highway and 19 overall for the rear drive configuration. The four-wheel drive setup is capable of delivering an estimated 15 mpg in the city, 22 on the highway and 18 overall. While not exactly stellar, given the size and capability of the Suburban, it’s reasonable.

Speaking of size, we’re talking 18 feet of overall length, seating for up to nine passengers and a tow rating of 6,300 pounds with rear-drive (6,200 with four-wheel drive). The Max Trailering Package increases those figures to 8,300- and 8,200 pounds respectively. Cargo capacity comes in at 121.7 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded. Leave the second row deployed and it’s 76.7 cubic feet.

Given the overall dimensions of the Suburban, you’ve every right to expect a spacious interior and it delivers – for the most part. The first and second rows provide ample room all around for long-distance comfort. Larger adults will definitely want to claim one of those positions though.

The third row is light on cushioning and legroom. Put your youngest and smallest children back there, you’ll be OK. Bucket seats are offered as an option for the second row, but they reduce overall passenger capacity by one person.

Starting at just under $50,000, Suburban’s standard comfort and convenience features include tri-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a six-way-adjustable front passenger seat and 60/40-split folding second- and third-row bench seats.

Other electronic niceties include a WiFi hot spot and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which provides an eight-inch touchscreen interface, mobile apps and a rearview camera, along with Bluetooth streaming audio and telephony.

Going over the road, the Suburban easily gets up to speed, though we found the stiff response of the throttle made it feel somewhat sluggish,

The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban is well suited for its design mission. If you absolutely have to haul a multitude of people, drag very heavy loads, and/or cart an abundance of materiel, Chevy’s biggest SUV accommodates handily.

  – Lyndon Conrad Bell, Motor Matters