By KBB.com Editors
The most stylish Suburban to date soldiers on for 2009 with a host of technological, safety and comfort upgrades. The Suburban hauls more passengers and cargo than anything in its segment, a fact not overlooked by those who need such convenience or capability. Cousin to the GMC Yukon XL and Chevrolet's own Avalanche SUV/pickup, the Suburban is also related to the shorter full-size Tahoe sport-utility. The 2009 Chevrolet Suburban can be had with two- or four-wheel drive, and in regular 1500 or heavy-duty 2500 models. Depending upon the model, a variety of V8 engines are available, from a 5.3-liter Flex-Fuel V8 on 1500 models to a 352-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 on the 2500 versions.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're a fan of big passenger-carrying wagons, and can cope with the operating costs, SUVs don't get much bigger than a Suburban. Boat and trailer owners in particular gravitate toward Suburbans, which offer up to 8,100-pounds towing capacity (or 9,600 pounds for the two-wheel-drive 2500 series).You May Not Like This Car If...
Unless you really need this much passenger- and cargo-hauling capability, a smaller vehicle, such as the GMC Acadia, might be a better choice – especially if gasoline prices continue to fluctuate.What's New for 2009
The big news for 2009 is the addition of a new six-speed automatic transmission and the availability of OnStar's Destination Download on models equipped with navigation. Also new is the addition of Bluetooth hands-free communication, Side Blind Zone Alert system (LTZ only), a rearview mirror-mounted screen for the optional backup camera and an enhanced LTZ trim.Driving It Driving Impressions
Refinement, though markedly improved, shines less brightly in Suburbans than in shorter-length GM trucks. With four-wheel drive and the 6.0-liter V8, the new automatic transmission is a vast improvement over the previous unit, which sometimes seemed to shift a little abruptly. Despite an abundance of sound deadening materials, there is noticeable engine noise under harder acceleration. However, ride comfort is considerably more appealing; it's pleasantly absorbent and cushiony on smooth surfaces and copes reasonably well with bumps. Acceleration is vigorous from a standstill, if less so to pass or merge. The Suburban feels more truck-like than smaller SUVs and, on the expressway, it behaves admirably.Favorite Features
Active Fuel Management Technology
Chevrolet is one of several automakers offering V8 engines that can automatically switch to four-cylinder operation as a fuel-saving measure, and it's a welcome feature. Considering the propensity of big SUVs to guzzle gasoline, every little bit of technology that reduces consumption is a bonus.
Power-operated Running Boards
Sure, they might tap you in the shin if you're standing too close, but the Suburban's optional power running boards are wide enough to really help passengers who might have trouble climbing aboard.