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#3

in 2009 Affordable Large SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $20,819 - $33,250
Original MSRP: $40,370 - $53,460
MPG: 14 City / 20 Hwy
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2009 Chevrolet Suburban Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Though the Suburban's size may give some buyer pause, reviewers say that it is relatively easy to live with around town. While any large SUV requires extra care to drive, the Suburban is outfitted with a range of powerful engines, as well a suspension that helps make it easier to handle than other large SUVs.

  • "Among the best of any SUV, crossover or traditional truck-type. Suburban exhibits car-like comfort over bumps and isn't prone to floaty motions like their shorter counterparts." -- Consumer Guide

Acceleration and Power

The half-ton Chevrolet Suburban comes with a standard 5.3-liter  V8 engine and has a 6.0-liter V8 option. On the three-quarter ton model, the 6.0 is standard. The 5.3-liter makes 310 horsepower with 335 pound-feet of torque. The 6-liter makes 352 horsepower with 382 pound-feet of torque. Most reviews find the 5.3 adequate and say the bigger engine might appeal to those who need the power for heavy-duty towing.

All engines come with GM's Active Fuel Management System, intended to improve the truck's fuel economy. The system works by switching automatically from eight to four cylinders when full power is not needed, and improves fuel economy by about 10 percent. Most reviewers seemed impressed, especially given that the system doesn't sacrifice power. The 5.3 liter 2WD V8 gets an estimated 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The 5.3 liter 4WD "E85 FlexFuel Engine," which is available as an option on the 2WD, gets an EPA estimated 14 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway, but can operate with either unleaded gas or a cleaner-burning though less efficient ethanol/gasoline mix. The 6.0 liter 2WD and 4WD get an EPA estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and, depending on configuration, the Suburban can tow up to 9,600 pounds.

  • "The 2009 Chevrolet Suburban is fairly quick for its size and can get to 60 mph in less than 9 seconds." -- Edmunds
  • "The 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine in the Suburban I tested was really a pleasure with such little weight onboard. It moved the SUV with authority and made it easy to merge into highway traffic or pass in the left lane." -- Cars.com
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If anyone says he can tell when four of those eight cylinders deactivate, he's lying."-- AutoWeek

Handling and Braking

The 2009 Chevrolet Suburban draws nearly universal praise for its improved steering and handling capabilities, with some reviewers saying the Suburban offers a best-in-class ride.

  • "Among the best of any SUV, crossover or traditional truck-type. Suburban exhibits car-like comfort over bumps and isn't prone to floaty motions like their shorter counterparts." -- Consumer Guide
  • "This Suburban rides and handles much sweeter than any before it: less undulation and more precision." --New Car Test Drive
  • "Smooth ride and enough ground clearance for dirt roads; ponderous but competent dynamics." -- Car and Driver
  • "But despite its size, the Suburban boasts decent road manners," -- Edmunds
  • The Suburban was "composed when traversing the various washboard surfaces we came across in our Death Valley-adjacent photo locale."-- Motor Trend

Next Steps: 2009 Chevrolet Suburban

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