Texas has a well-deserved reputation for big things, from the size of the state to portions of barbequed brisket. So, it was fitting on a recent trip to Dallas for a family wedding that we had an opportunity to drive around in a 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ. 

This 7-passenger SUV is outsized, riding on a 130-inch wheelbase and measuring 224.3 inches overall. It was great at hauling a lot of people, and on the open road was fairly easy to maneuver. However, in tighter parking garages, it is truly a handful- that's where the rear-view camera and parking sensors with built-in vibrating seat warnings helped tremendously in avoiding contact with other vehicles or stationary objects.

SUV usefulness, Corvette pricing

The 2015 model year marks the 80th anniversary of the Suburban nameplate but the latest edition is a far cry from its forebear. There is plenty of the utility part of being an SUV, particularly the load space behind the third row. But there is also a huge luxury component that was never dreamed about when these rather Spartan vehicles first came on the scene. Our test vehicle was richly appointed with stitched leather seating and dash surfaces, beautifully turned out wood trim and classy chrome accents.

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The Suburban LTZ model we drove had a base price of $64,600 base price and when equipped with the Sun, Entertainment, Destination package that added a power sunroof and navigation, as well as retractable running  boards , adaptive cruise control, and a trailering package, the all-in price came to an eye-popping $72,835.

Dressed to impress

Despite, or maybe in Texas, because of the sticker, the Chevrolet Suburban LTZ, clad in black, looks the part of being the preferred ride of a Texas oilman or former U.S. president. It has an impressive size and aggressive good looks thanks to the huge chrome grille and projector beam headlamps. The new design of GM's full-size SUVs have a linear, tailored look that comes off as being more formal than the previous generation that had softer contours.

The 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 engine, with 383 lb-ft of torque, provided plenty of power through the smooth-shifting 6-speed transmission.  We never felt that powertrain was ever overwhelmed by the size and weight of the vehicle.  

While the basic seating and control layout was well-laid out and in most cases easy to use, the touch screen and nav system took a little patience in mastering. There are other easier and more intuitive touch screens out there-the Chevy's took more steps to enter even basic addresses and wasn't very good at offering up lists and alternatives when inputting addresses or points of interest.

These minor nits aside, the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ has the looks, features and performance that would give many luxury full-size SUVs from European manufacturers a run for their money.

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