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  • 2012 Chevy Suburban Review

    I just got my hands on the new 2012 Suburban and my first thought is, "wow! am I really getting 22 MPG on the freeway in this thing?" Yes, I was. Keep reading to learn more.

    2012 Chevy Suburban Review


    2012 Chevy Suburban Review

    Everyone knows the Suburban, right?

    2012 Chevy Suburban InteriorIf you're like me the "Chevy Suburban" brings to mind an image of the old-school Suburban, a massive beast of a box on four-wheels with an unrefined ride-and-drive, cheap interior fit-and-finish and terrible fuel economy to boot.

    "Sure," you think to yourself as you ponder getting a minivan, "the Suburban will give me a huge amount of cargo room and I can carry my entire family (including grandma and the dog) and still have room for groceries, a cargo carrier on the roof while I tow a boat to the lake. But how will I be able to afford the fuel costs???"

    If you resemble that remark, then perhaps you should take a minute to get introduced to the newest generation of this iconic full-size SUV, and take note of the huge increases in fuel economy and ride-and-drive comfort, as it may surprise you.

    Overview Of The 2012 Suburban

    9-passenger Chevy Suburban 2012The 2012 Suburban is Chevrolet's full-sized four-door SUV with room to seat up to nine passengers. Largely a carry-over from the 2011 model, it does offer some significant improvements in fuel efficiency, especially when compared to any of the previous generations of Suburban. (More about that later ...)

    The Suburban can be decked out in any of 10 trim levels available which range from the base-model LS 1500 2WD all the way up to the fully-equipped LTZ 1500 4WD with multiple variations of color, trim, and options packages.

    The standard powerplant is a sturdy 5.3-liter V8 generating 320-horsepower attached to a 6-speed automatic transmission. With the advancements in computer-driven engine and transmission combinations, the Suburban delivers a very impressive EPA rated 15/21 mpg for city/highway driving.

    What's It Like to Drive?

    There's no denying it. This is a big vehicle. You sit up high, but this lets you see the road very well - it also may make you feel like you the captain of a tug boat. However, it's a comfortable feeling and it's plain to see that many improvements have been made to increase driver comfort and control for typical city driving.

    Don't make the mistake of comparing the Suburban to a large sports sedan, mid-size SUV or a light-body offroad pickup truck. The Suburban is engineered differently, so you will feel the moderate body-roll and understeer of this 5,800 lb (curb weight) beast when making a tight corner. Even once you begin to get adjusted to the way it handles, you still might forget about about it's length or girth (that's a good way to explain the Suburban ... It's "girthy") when backing up or pulling into a parking garage. you know you're in a vehicle with a 5800 lb curb weight.

    That being said, it's also a very comfortable ride and drive. It's whisper quiet, even with the powerful engine and significantly meaty rubbers rolling down the pavement. Plus, the adjustable power seats and pedals on our review vehicle allow for just about anyone to be in control behind the wheel, certainly drivers from 5'4" to 6'8" with normal proportions should expect to feel accommodated.

    What type of Fuel Economy

    2012 Chevy Suburban EngineSo my last Suburban, you know the one with the 1970's box design and the big 4-bbl carbed 454 (7.4 L) engine ... yeah, that didn't do very well with fuel economy. City driving was in the low teens, highway was perhaps 16 and let's not even talk about towing (maybe 8 or 9 at best).

    So, let's enter the second decade of the 21st century with some improvements, shall we? Perhaps the most shocking revelation of the new Suburban is the massive improvements in fuel economy that can be seen. Our test vehicle easily equaled the EPA 15 mpg city, but we were almost always able to beat the 21 mpg highway.

    In fact, for long and straight stretches of highway we were easily able to reach into the mid-20's over a stretch of over 10 miles. And all that while sitting in a very quiet and extremely comfortable full-sized SUV.

    Overall Conclusion

    The Suburban is not for everyone. Maybe you've got a small garage, maybe you only have a couple of kids or you're empty-nesters. There are plenty of reasons why you might not be a good candidate for the Suburban.

    However, if you've got a young family at home, need to be able to haul a bunch of people and/or a bunch of cargo, or just want to be able to tow your trailer or boat in style. Then perhaps you should consider looking into the Suburban again.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2012 Chevy Suburban Review started by Steve View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. bradn4's Avatar
      bradn4 -
      Is there a way to get the 2500 suburban with a duramax. I would totally buy it if i could get a diesel suburban.


      1995 suburban still running strong 103k miles on it.
    1. nikkeshelton's Avatar
      nikkeshelton -
      Don't believe a word! Although I drive my truck hard and have a performance chip, And a Gear Vendor 2 spd. gearbox I only get 14 mpg. Simply don't believe the mpg stated (unless it was being towed)