First Drive: 2019 Chevrolet Suburban Premier

by Michael Satterfield 

I have never really considered myself a "Suburban guy" growing up they were mostly driven by soccer moms or dads who are Boy Scout leaders and while they were always functional I wouldn't have called a Suburban cool. Flash forward 20+ years and I finally get behind the wheel of a Suburban for the first time, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban Premier.

Chevrolet dropped the car off and invited me to drive up later that week to their Arlington, Texas assembly plant to see how these iconic SUVs are made. We would also be going to dinner at the house from the TV show Dallas and touring around North Texas with some other journalists, and staying at a swanky hotel on Mockingbird Lane in Dallas, not a bad gig for a few days, and to make sure that the ride as equally as ostentatious they sent over a fully loaded Suburban with an MSRP of $80,870, this wasn't the same Suburban we took camping in Joshua Tree back in my Boy Scout days.

First, there is the size of it, one of the largest production vehicles currently sold, seeing it parked next to my little BMW 1 series and Austin Healey Sprite really gave me a better idea of the scale. But it is easy to see the appeal of having what amounts to your own limo, complete with three rows of seating, massive cargo space, and full-size rear doors. 

Climbing on board, the interior is nice, not overly dramatic, the leather and nice wood accents on the console and doors. The seats are trimmed in Mahogany brown leather while the rest of the interior is Jet Black. It, of course, has heated and ventilated seats, sunroof,  power-retractable running boards, a very nice heads-up display, and everything you would expect in a luxury SUV. But because it is a full-size SUV it also has a heavy-duty tow package with integrated trailer brakes, meaning this luxury cruiser can also do some work.

Pulling the Suburban up next to the much shorter Tahoe I was surprised just how much longer it looked, with the full-size rear door and larger cargo area it is, I was surprised that there is just 20 inches longer overall. But that added length translates to an extra 10 inches of leg room in the third row and 24 additional cubic feet of cargo space. It seems to me if you are going to get a vehicle as big as the Tahoe you might well spend a little more and go with the Suburban.

Driving the Suburban was surprisingly easy, the camera system and sensors are helpful when parking (once you get used to the vibrating seat warnings), and on the highway the 420hp 6.2-liter V8 is smooth and when possible it deactivates four of the cylinders to be more fuel efficient. The standard engine a 5.3-liter making 355hp is more than enough for most drivers while the larger motor is part of the RST Package which gets a number of performance upgrades for those who are looking for a little more performance.

While I enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the Suburban, I don't know if it would be something I would use enough to justify buying one. Sure it made taking friends out to dinner much easier and I even used it to haul a pool for the dog. But for every day, I could see the size being a bit burdensome in urban parking lots and just driving around town. It won't fit in our garage meaning it would always be outside, which would be a shame since the blue velvet metallic is very pretty and hail can be an issue at certain times of the year in Texas.

Overall the Suburban is a well-made vehicle that is designed for a specific purpose if you need a large SUV with seating for up to 9 passengers and the ability to tow up to 8,300lbs, and still, have ventilated seats and Apple CarPlay the Suburban is hard to beat, if you are looking for your next daily driver to take into the city, you might consider nearly anything else.

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