Large vehicles have always been a staple of American culture. Very few places around the world have the open space and infrastructure to facilitate land barges, so why not do your best to knock it out of the park for the few places you sell to? The Chevy Suburban is the longest-running car nameplate in the US and has grown larger and larger as the decades’ progress, leading to it gaining two siblings, the GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade ESV, in the late 90s. Despite the presence of two identical stablemates, the Suburban has still been able to outsell both models year after year. So, let us find out if the newly redesigned Suburban holds up.
There is no getting around the sheer size of the damn thing. At 226 inches in length, it’s bested only by the Escalade ESV at 227 inches, and the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer XL at 226.7 inches, meaning that this is one of the longest passenger vehicles you can buy today if you exclude vans or fleet sale commercial vehicles. This is one of those cars that loaded up with people and cargo, would require an HGV license in some European countries. Being a behemoth, it is essential to carry your size well, and fortunately for the new Suburban, it does just that. In all black, this car looks mean. This is the type of car in which you can idle outside of someone’s house and they’ll give you money out of fear. Liam Neeson wishes he had the presence of a black Suburban.
The chrome grille and accents provide a nice contrast from the shiny black paint, and the light bronze accents INSIDE the chrome accents add a nice bit of class. For the 2022 model year, the Suburban received a new front and rear fascia, while its side profile looks generally the same as the previous generation, albeit slightly sleeker. A chrome “High Country” badge rounds out the major exterior quirks (am I Doug Demuro yet?) along with large “Suburban” badging on both the front doors.
The moment you climb inside the Suburban, you are reminded once again of how massive this thing is. The interior is spaced out so much that I, a 6’2 male with a large wingspan, couldn’t even reach the passenger door handle. That is how large this interior is. Like the previous generation Suburban, the center console is still a large flip-up piece that can house many different cords for many different devices and has the same strange rubber grip in the middle which I still haven’t found a use for other to break up space.
Unlike the previous generation Suburban, the interior feels swanky. GM is pretty hit or miss with interiors, so to see something this high quality shows extreme effort was put into this car. Sure, some of the wood fittings squeaked and some typical hard plastics were present in some pretty obvious places but overall, the cabin was a very nice place to be. One of the other main ways the new Suburban impressed me was by the amount of technology in the car. For starters, you get a fully digital dash in the High Country model with a fully configurable screen that can show you your speed, map, or any other useful things you would like to know. The infotainment screen is also a major leap forward from previous Suburbans. Gone is the recessed, small screen and in its place is a new responsive unit with built-in Google play support. Other luxury features have been added as well, such as USBC ports, a wireless charging station, radar-guided cruise control, heated AND cooled seats (always amazing), and a rear-view mirror that can flip between an actual mirror and a camera mounted in the rear tailgate. My only main complaint about the interior is a lack of sunroof, which on an almost $80k car is mildly questionable.
The new 2022 Suburban High Country can be had with either a 3.0 liter Duramax with 277hp and 460lb of torque or a 6.2 liter V8 making 420hp and 460lb of torque with either rear or four-wheel drive. This Suburban had the 6.2 V8 with four-wheel drive. Never in my life would I expect a car with a curb weight of over 6,000lb to accelerate as quickly as this did. I can only imagine the opportunities this engine could give you if you optioned it in standard rear-wheel drive. Anyway, driving the Suburban feels quiet and composed. It turns in tight, moves out of its own weight, and in sport mode will spin its wheels. As to be expected, the ride is Dove chocolate creamy. Driving on some distraught Vermont roads in this bus, the Suburban was just as comfortable and smooth. This vehicular equivalent of the Boeing 747-8i irons out bumps. It is glorious.
So, where’s the catch? Looks good, feels nice, drives well and isn’t overly expensive. Well, that 6.2 might be fun, but it will cost you. 14mpg city, 19mpg highway. In a world where the average price of a gallon of gas has exceeded the $5 mark, a car like this becomes almost a burden to own. Yes, it has a very large fuel tank (28 gallons) but that is roughly $140 to fill up. Sure, not everyone will find this to be a dealbreaker. However, to the common American, SUVs like the Suburban are becoming less and less realistic to own. It’s a sad reality. I do genuinely like this car. GM has done an excellent job with it, I just cannot see a future where normal Americans will be able to own a car this heavy on fuel.
Massive thank you to Michael Countermarsh of Key Chevrolet White River for letting me come down and drove their only Suburban. They’re good people. Click here to view their website.