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2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500

Overview
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2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 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 2500

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 2500 Details
2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 photo 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 2500 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)

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2012 Chevrolet Suburban Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 262 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
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

3/4 Ton SUV...once you get over the gas mileage...

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Go anywhere, haul anything"

Cons: "Drinks Gas and can be hard to park"

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

"This is my 3rd large GM SUV. I started with a 2003 GMC Yukon, then a 2008 Chevy Suburban Z71, and now a 2010 Chevy Suburban 2500. I'll admit I love these things and I may be biased! This vehicle isn't for everyone. Some people don't like big cars and this is big. Some people don't like gas guzzlers and this thing has a major drinking problem. The prior two half tons got much better mileage but the raw power of the 6.0 liter when hauling lots of people and gear and/or a trailer over mountain passes can't be beat. I got the 3/4 ton because they don't make them anymore and I have a large family, large dog, and we travel and tow a travel trailer a lot. This beast does the job and is comfortable, luxurious, and a pleasure to drive. And in a winter environment in Montana, just put some 10 ply Blizzaks on her in the winter with around 6000 lbs of weight (GVW) for traction and you can go just about anywhere. GAS MILEAGE: We can get over 15 mpg on a long trip with no roof accessories or trailer and worst case scenario with roof box and trailer on the windy plains is 8 mpg (but what do you expect when you are towing a sail?). HAULING PEOPLE: Ours holds 7 with the middle captains chairs. No problem with adults and kids and plenty of luggage. And add a 90 lb German Shepherd... HAULING GEAR: We have a Yakima Skybox 18 for extra gear on trips and skis in winter. Box is steady on the roof and solid. Have also put bikes on the roof and hitch mount. Never any issues with hauling those. One advantage of the Suburban's length over the Tahoe/Yukons is that there is a massive amount of room behind the 3rd row seat for luggage/groceries, etc. TOWING: Most trailers are no problem. Brake controls are integrated stock. And with most trailers, especially short distances, there is no need for weight distribution. We got the 3/4 ton because the 1/2 ton was always overloaded and with the trailer it looked like the rear was going to hit the ground. I always opt for safety in a vehicle and I've yet to be able to overload this one with our current gear and trailer. Our trailer is a 18-20 ft class travel trailer and there is no need for a weight distribution hitch on it. Overall, we love our Suburban. They've been a family staple for 12 years and I don't see that changing."

Best vehicle I've ever owned.

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 176,000

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: "Did the job I bought it for dependably."

Cons: "None"

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

"I ordered this Chevrolet Suburban 2500. My experience with this vehicle tells me General Motors has significantly improved the quality of the vehicles they build. It has 176,000 miles and I never had to put brakes on it. I never had to do anything to transmission or engine. It has been a great vehicle."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Chevy has made a mess of the Suburban

By on Monday, May 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 136,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"I had a 2003 Suburban that I loved and traded it in with over 250,000 miles (I bought it used). I purchased a used 2007 with only 78,000 miles on it. I've made less than 2 years of payments and have put only 60,000 miles on it, and it's had a new transmission put in it (thankful for the extended warranty I purchased) and it now needs a new engine. The engine in the 2007 is a mess. There is a problem with excessive oil usage. Chevy's aware of it and won't back it. Which leaves both the dealers and the consumer holding the bag. I hear Chevy has corrected this design flaw, but make sure you do your research before you buy one."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

ENGINE IS HORRIBLE

By on Monday, January 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Size, convenience, appeal"

Cons: "engine, gas guzzler"

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

"We bought this car with 100,000 miles on it, and haven't even had it for 2 years, we are now in the process of having the motor replaced because of the issues caused due to the flexfuel(which we never use anything other than regular fuel). We have had it to numerous shops for this issue and told the same from all- "the engine is a nightmare" We LOVE the size of it, its great for our family- but not owning it for even 2 years and having this many issues is very frustrating"

30 people out of 59 found this review helpful

3rd Suburban

By on Saturday, January 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great for carrying large items, Great on the road"

Cons: "getting way too expensive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Great for hauling large objects for my work, Great on long distance on the highway, This last one had many things go wrong with it."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

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

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

"My wife and I have had this car for over 7 years and not a single problem. We love it and will buy another now that the body style has changed."

17 people out of 28 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

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