2012 Chevrolet Suburban Review
For shoppers who need its brawny towing abilities, cavernous interior and chart-topping passenger capacity, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban is a good choice.
Reviewers acknowledge that most people who shop for a Chevy Suburban could get by just fine with an all-wheel drive crossover or minivan. However, if you have your heart set on a big SUV with real four-wheel drive, lots of towing ability and seating for the whole baseball team, test drivers say the Chevrolet Suburban is a good choice.
Its base V8 engine might not be quite as muscular as the larger eight-cylinder engine found in three-quarter ton models, but the Suburban gets better fuel economy than most, and test drivers say it has plenty of power for most drivers. They also love its comfortable ride and say that it is easy to drive, which makes this behemoth feel a bit more manageable. Additionally, the Suburban’s well-equipped interior earns praise for its high-quality feel.
However, the Suburban has some significant drawbacks. The optional larger V8 engine, though more powerful, comes with a major drop in fuel economy, so test driver only recommend it for shoppers who need to tow or haul big loads. Its heavy third row of seats must be removed and stored elsewhere in order to maximize cargo space, and this process seems like even more of a pain when you consider that most of the Suburban’s competitors have third rows that fold down into the floor. Finally, its third row is barely big enough for teenagers, so if you plan to chauffer adults in those seats, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Though the market for full-size, truck-based family haulers may be dwindling, there are still plenty of people who want lots of utility and seating capacity out of their SUV. Reviewers say that these people would do well to put the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban at the top of their shopping lists. In fact, the Chevrolet Suburban does such a good job combining cargo space, rugged utility and value that it earned our 2012 Best Affordable Large SUV for the Money award.
Other SUVs to Consider
If your main priority is lots of seating, and you can do without the Suburban’s brawny towing capacity, you’ll be better served by a crossover like the Ford Flex. It has some of the roomiest third-row seats in the class, and it costs significantly less than the Suburban, even after opting for a fully-loaded Flex in the Titanium trim. The Flex can only tow about half of what the Suburban can, and can’t seat quite as many people, but reviewers guarantee your passengers will be more comfortable in the Ford than in the Suburban.
Shoppers who have already decided that they truly need a large SUV should also consider the Toyota Sequoia. Its interior isn’t luxurious, but it’s well-made, and reviewers like its third row much better than the Suburban’s, since it’s more spacious for passengers and it can be folded flat into the floor. Testers also say that the Sequoia is a bit easier to maneuver around parking lots than other full-size SUVs. Plus, its starting price is a bit less than the Suburban’s and it comes with comparable standard features.
Details: Chevrolet Suburban
The half-ton Chevrolet Suburban 1500 is available in LS, LT and LTZ trims, while the three-quarter ton Suburban 2500 is available in LS and LT trims. The Suburban doesn’t see any significant changes for 2012.
See the full list of 2012 Chevrolet Suburban specifications.
- "Should you be in the majority of SUV shoppers that don't need the Suburban's simultaneous combination of heavy-duty skills, we would strongly recommend looking at a large crossover. But should you actually need maximum seating, cargo and towing capacity at the same time, it doesn't get much better than the iconic Chevy Suburban.” -- Edmunds
- "For smooth power, terrific utility, and surprising overall refinement, Suburban is a Best Buy.” -- Consumer Guide