in 2011 Affordable Large SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $25,924 - $40,754
Original MSRP: $41,335 - $56,580
MPG: 15 City / 21 Hwy
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Used Car: 2011 Chevrolet Suburban Review

Review Last Updated: 7/11/12

The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is powerful and has a cavernous interior that can seat up to nine, but unless you’re committed to V8 power or need to tow a heavy trailer, you might be better served by a minivan or crossover SUV.

The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is ranked:

When it was new, reviewers praised the Suburban for its smooth ride, composed handling and powerful engine. They also liked the Suburban’s interior quality and generous passenger space. However, reliability is a bit below average, meaning the Suburban may cost more in repairs than some other affordable large SUVs.

The base Suburban comes with a 5.3-liter V8 and either rear- or four-wheel drive. Both models get 15/21 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA. While many three-row crossover SUVs or minivans do better, the Suburban’s mileage is very good compared with other large SUVs. The base Suburban 1500 can tow up to 8,100 pounds, while the heavy-duty Suburban 2500 can tow up to 9,600 pounds.

While the Suburban has lots of passenger space, maximizing cargo capacity can be difficult. You’ll have to remove the third row to expand cargo space. Since the seats are bulky and cumbersome, reviewers preferred the third rows in many competitors, which fold flat into the floor. However, once you remove the rear seats and fold the middle row, the Suburban, along with its corporate cousin, the 2011 GMC Yukon XL, tops the class with 137.4 cubic feet of cargo space. All trim levels come standard with power windows, door locks and mirrors, Bluetooth and a USB jack, while LT and higher trims come standard with leather upholstery. The Suburban hasn’t changed much since its 2007 redesign, so you might be able to save some money by getting an older model.

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Other Cars to Consider

If you’re considering a used 2011 Suburban, but don’t need as much interior space, consider the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, which is basically a shorter version of the Suburban. None of the Tahoe’s middle or rear seats offers quite as much legroom, and critics commented that the third row felt somewhat cramped. Additionally, total cargo volume is about 30 cubic feet less than the Suburban, and the third row must also be removed to expand cargo space. However, the Tahoe’s slightly smaller packaging means it’ll be a bit more maneuverable in a tight parking lot.

Another smart alternative to consider is the 2011 Ford Expedition. Buyers can choose from a standard-wheelbase version, or a long-wheelbase EL, which more closely rivals the Suburban’s size. Either way, reviewers noted that the Expedition’s third row was one of the most comfortable in the class. In addition to comfort, they also appreciated that the third-row seats fold into the floor to increase cargo space. The 2011 Expedition is also available with Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, which reviewers generally liked.

Compare the Suburban to the Tahoe and Expedition »

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