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2012 Chevrolet Suburban 1500

Overview
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2012 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.7

Say what you will about the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV, be it praise or scorn, at the end of the day the Suburban has survived as long as it has because it fills a huge need. Whether you've got a small brood of offspring or a big toy that needs transport to the summer vacation spot, you'll need the seating space, cargo room and towing capability of the 2012 Chevy Suburban. Available in 1500 half-ton and heavy-duty 2500 3/4-ton models (the 2500 increases the Suburban's max payload and tow ratings), the 2012 Chevy Suburban SUV fears no task. Yet, despite its critics, today's Suburban isn't really the gas-thirsty hog it once was, nor does it handle poorly and drive like an old-fashioned truck. In fact, the 2012 Chevy Suburban SUV has an EPA rating of 21 mpg on the highway, is loaded with the latest GM safety equipment and, despite its bow-tie badging, is a pretty luxurious cruiser.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you require the ability to carry up to nine people and/or need to tow more than 9,000 pounds, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban is up to the job. And, since the Suburban seems to be the vehicle of choice for most government agencies (and Hollywood films portraying said agencies), your kids might actually think your new SUV is cool. Get it in black.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV achieves decent fuel economy on the highway, around-town jaunts will likely yield much lower figures. The Suburban is big and it's no joy to try and fit it into crowded shopping-mall parking spots or maneuver through narrow confines. If you don't need the Suburban's towing capability, the 2012 Chevy Traverse crossover SUV may be a better choice.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Chevy Suburban SUV receives a new navigation radio option, while the standard StabiliTrak now includes trailer sway control and hill start assist. The LTZ trim gains a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel and side blind zone alert, while the LT trims gains heated leather seats.

Driving the Suburban 1500

Driving Impressions Despite being an extremely large SUV built on a truck frame and designed to pull or carry heavy loads, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV delivers a suitable comfortable ride around...

town and on the highway. Occupants will certainly feel the bumps, but the suspension does an admirable job of absorbing them. All models benefit from capable V8 engines and a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission, though more powertrain noise makes its way to the cabin than some drivers may prefer.

Active Fuel Management Technology
This technology is also known as cylinder deactivation. In light-load situations, such as cruising on a flat highway, power is cut from eight to four cylinders in an effort to conserve fuel. As soon as more power is needed, all eight cylinders are automatically put back to work.

Power-Operated Running Boards
The available power-operated running boards, which pop out when a door is opened and retreat when closed, are of considerable help for passengers who find getting into and out of the Suburban to be difficult.

2012 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Details
Interior

With its available front bench seat, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban can seat up to nine passengers, although we suspect most will have the 8-person configuration and front bucket seats. A clever set of fold-and-tumble second-row seats makes for easier access to the third-row seats which, when not in use, can be folded flat. Unfortunately, unlike the Ford Expedition, whose third-row seat folds flush into the floor well, the 2012 Chevy Suburban's third-row seats must be manually removed, requiring some labor on your part as well as a place to store the 50/50-split seats. As for the interior itself, we'd say it's conservative yet attractive, with a few too many hard plastic bits on base trims, but a nicer set-up on the premium LTZ. Naturally Chevrolet gives the Suburban lots of storage areas, cup holders and power outlets, as well as up to 137.4 cubic feet of storage space behind the front-row seats.

Exterior
2012 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 photo

Of all the cars on your dealer's lot, the one that stands out head and shoulders (or bumpers and roof racks) above the rest is the 2012 Chevy Suburban SUV. Despite its massive size, Chevy has given the Suburban a clean-slate look, with smooth sides, flushed side glass and simple, straight lines. Its body-on-frame architecture is shared with stable siblings the Silverado pickup and Avalanche truck, but somehow the Suburban manages to come off less work truck and more limo. Chevrolet's careful attention to detail includes engineering minimal gaps between body panels and a restrained use of chrome trim. Tire and wheel packages range from the standard 17-inch set all the way to the available 20-inch chrome-clad wheels on the LTZ trim. Dealer-installed accessories include 20- and 22-inch wheels. Side step rails make accessing the roof a bit easier and big side mirrors help eliminate blind spots. If there is one weakness in the Suburban design, it's the lack of a vented rear side-glass panel, something the third-row passengers would probably appreciate.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Chevrolet offers its 2012 Suburban SUV in three flavors: LS, LT and LTZ. Shoppers considering the LS will discover a list of standard features that includes USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and complimentary access to SiriusXM satellite radio service and OnStar's Turn-by-Turn navigation tool. The LT adds upgrades such as leather upholstery, heated front seats, triple-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals and a remote-start system, while the LTZ packs on second-row bucket seats, heated and cooling front seats, Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio, a heated steering wheel, navigation with a rearview camera and SiriusXM's real-time NavTraffic updates.

Optional Equipment

There's no shortage of optional equipment available for the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV, as Chevy offers the 2012 model with a variety of stand-alone features and equipment packages. The options include a power sunroof, power-retractable running boards, a remote-controlled rear DVD unit with wireless headphones, a blind-spot system and chrome wheels measuring up to 22 inches. For a more aggressive look and added capability, the Z71 Off-Road Package fits the Suburban with off-road tires and suspension components, skid plates, an automatic locking rear differential, and a chrome grille.

Under the Hood

Chevrolet equips its 2012 Suburban 1500 with a 5.3-liter V8 that delivers 320 horsepower when running on gasoline or 326 horses if the fuel tank is filled with E85 (a mixture of 85-percent ethanol and 15-percent gasoline). The heavy-duty Suburban 2500 packs a bigger punch with its 352-horsepower 6.0-liter V8. Both engines feature Chevy's Active Fuel Management system, which cuts power from eight to four cylinders under light-load situations. This technology, along with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, serves to improve the efficiency of Chevrolet's heavy-hauling SUV.

5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel
320 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (gasoline)
326 horsepower @ 5,300 (E85)
335 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (gasoline)
348 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 (E85)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (gasoline), 11/16 (E85)

6.0-liter V8
352 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
382 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/16 (2WD), 10/15 (4WD)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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2012 Chevrolet Suburban Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 252 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Excellent vehicle. Selling due to new purchase

By on Monday, November 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Excellent vehicle and selling due to new vehicle purchase. Mileage is a little high but highway miles"

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

All around great truck!

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Ride/handling, good looks, people/cargo capacity"

Cons: "MDS cyl switching not as smooth as it could be"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My 2013 Suburban gives me all the utility and comfort I could ask for. From hauling the family and dogs around town and occasional 9-hour road-trips for work to getting extra kids to and from sports and other school activities our 'Burban cannot be beat! The LT interior is excellent with leather seats for comfort and easy cleaning but yet I can still haul 4x8 sheets of plywood or drywall, mulch, or a couple dozen flats of flowers for the flower beds at home without any problem. I used to own full size four-door pickups before I moved to the GMC/Chevy full-size SUV's, and other than hauling very tall items (like large appliances) I have found nothing I used to haul in a pickup that I cannot with my Suburban. For anything really tall that will not fit inside I just hook up a small utility trailer and take advantage of the effortless towing the Suburban provides. Yes, the third-row seats are heavy to haul out if you need maximum cargo space but GM has made them very easy to roll in and out. It is an easy one-person job. No issues driving in any weather. I can count on one hand the number of times I needed to switch out of 2WD to the "auto" setting for 4WD including during several winter trips in heavy snow across PA on I-80 or during the numerous snow storms here in lower Michigan last fall. And most of those times were more to soothe my nerves than for actual traction or control issues. Smooth and responsive at highway speeds but agile enough to easily handle the local shopping mall or home improvement parking lots. Gas mileage is not an issue for me. It's a full size truck with a 320 horse 5.3L V8. What do you expect? Overall a great truck with outstanding utility you will not regret owning."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

My Chevy

By on Monday, October 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love my vehicle but it should have heated mirrors for the price. I have a LTZ without heated mirrors"

3 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Overall best car value on the market today

By on Sunday, October 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 256,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Overall best car value on the market today"

Cons: "Nada - zip - none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best vehicle I ever owned. I had a 2001 Suburban before this one and put 244,500 miles on it before I traded it in. For value and quality, a Chevy Suburban has no equal. I changed oil every 3,500 miles on each car and took good care of both cars. I'll be in another Suburban when I trade this one in."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've ever owned!!!

By on Monday, October 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 300,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "most functional and comfortable vehicle on the roa"

Cons: "door lock failures"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I'm still driving my 2008 model at 300,000 miles with only a recent oil pump repair. Drives like new and is as durable as they get. Only real problem with these vehicles is the door locks go out from time-to-time. Gas mileage is about 17 mpg. Love this vehicle."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

NOT COMFORABLE FOR LONG TRIPS

By on Saturday, October 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,400

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"LOUSY CRUISE CONTROL DOES NOT MAINTAIN SPEEDS WHETHER TOWING OR NOT CORPORATE SUGGESTED USING TOW MODE WHEN DRIVING WITH OR WITHOUT TRAILER EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATING BENEFITS OF S 6 SPD TRANNY W/OD NO REAL BENEFIT IS THERE? LUMBAR SUPPORT ON CLOTH SEATS LOUSY THIS VEHICLE SHOULD BE SOLD AS A BUS NOT A HIGH END SUV."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?