It’s no secret that I like a roaring exhaust, dark wheels, and a comfortable ride. But, what I like even more is a complete vehicle, purposefully designed and well-executed from front to rear.
The 2018 Chevrolet Suburban was a thoroughly modern, attractive model when it’s current generation went on sale in 2014 as a 2015 model. The family truckster has received multiple updates throughout the last several years, including the realignment of its trims.
With the redesign of the Chevrolet Silverado, we have gotten a clearer look at what’s coming for the next-gen Suburban. What should make the cut? A week of driving the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 cued me in.
1.) A redesigned A-pillar that allows more visibility. There’s alarmingly little visibility between the front and side windows when cornering due to the heavily angled A-pillar and low roofline. Add in a sizable blacked out triangle of body paneling that encroaches on the side window from the A-pillar and heavily angled side mirrors, and you can’t see parking space lines or curbs.
2.) A hands-free liftgate. It is a feature that is quickly becoming a standard feature in high trim level SUVs and crossovers. A hands-free liftgate would be extremely helpful for the tall Suburban, whose load floor and tailgate opening is higher than most. Having a button on the inside of the rear cargo area that lowers the liftgate, as opposed to on the door itself, would also be a huge improvement.
3.) A more muscular powertrain. The 5.3-liter V8 in the Suburban is capable but lacks the oomph desired off the line. The engine is mated to a six-speed transmission, which may be part of the problem. Give the Suburban the same ten-speed automatic transmission that’s in the new 2019 Silverado and you’ll likely have a more pleasurable drive and achieve better fuel economy than the current EPA-estimated 18 mpg combined.
4.) More connectivity. The Chrysler Pacifica and Subaru Ascent have nailed it when it comes to allowing more devices to be charged throughout the vehicle than the average family hauler. With a third row that comfortably seats adults and isn’t just a generous decoration like it is in many three-row SUVs, there’s little excuse to not go ahead and up the connectivity capacity.
5.) The Suburban needs to be more agile. I hear your, “But its a 5,800 pound vehicle,” argument but if Ram can make its 2019 1500 feel like you’re driving a sedan, there’s no excuse for the Suburban not to offer less weighty steering and sharper handling.
When it comes down to it, there’s a lot that the Suburban gets right. It has one of the best ranges of intermittent wiper settings on the market. The seats are nearly as comfortable as Nissan’s Zero Gravity pads. Its touch screen infotainment system is responsive and the HVAC and radio knobs feel good to the touch.
The Suburban is a capable family hauler that functions well from the school yard to the barnyard. With a few tweaks, it could be even better. I’m looking forward to the next generation.