2013 Chevrolet Suburban Performance
Reviewers say despite its large size, the Suburban has a smooth ride around town, but is light-years away from being fun to drive. The majority of test drivers note that it is adequately powered and has a smooth-shifting transmission.
- "From behind the wheel, the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban feels surprisingly civilized for a truck that tips the scales at 3 tons." -- Edmunds
- "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 its shorter Tahoe counterpart." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
- "Despite being an extremely large SUV built on a truck frame and designed to pull or carry heavy loads, the … Chevrolet Suburban SUV delivers a suitable comfortable ride around town and on the highway. Occupants will certainly feel the bumps, but the suspension does an admirable job of absorbing them." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)
Acceleration and Power
Regular Suburban 1500s have a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 320 horsepower and 335 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through a six-speed automatic transmission. The Suburban 2500 uses a similar transmission, and has a larger 6.0-liter V8 that makes 352 horsepower and 382 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and four-wheel drive is optional. Suburban 1500 models get up to 15/21 mpg city/highway with either rear- or four-wheel drive. The Suburban 2500 gets a dismal 10/16 mpg.
Reviewers say the Suburban is adequately powered. One critic says it may become strained when loaded with either cargo or a lot of passengers, while another test driver says that the Suburban has adequate power no matter the situation. Reviewers agree that the transmission is smooth.
- "The 5.3-liter V8 and 6-speed automatic transmission are both incredibly smooth. Power is adequate at all speeds." -- Consumer Guide
- "Both V8 engines offered do a capable job of getting this SUV up to speed, and the Suburban's 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The 5.3-liter V8 delivers good acceleration with a light load, though performance with a full complement of passengers and cargo or towing a large trailer is just adequate." -- Edmunds
- "The Suburban's standard six-speed automatic finds the right gear more often than not, but even as the V-8 roars to its highest revs, the acceleration is modest. At least it's a consistent sensation, regardless of load: Five adults and a few weekend bags invoked similar performance." -- Cars.com (2012)
Handling and Braking
A few auto critics say that the Suburban handles like most heavy SUVs, noting its body lean and troublesome handling in tight spaces. Other reviewers are a bit more forgiving, saying the Suburban performs well given its size, and delivers a comfortable ride and good maneuverability around town. One critic notes that it has strong brakes as well.
- "Clearly not car-like, and some testers say the steering is too sensitive. Still, the body does not lean excessively in fast turns, and the turning circle is surprisingly tight for a vehicle this huge. The brakes deliver good stopping control." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Suburban's hefty curb weight makes its handling ponderous, and its plus-size dimensions can make it a handful when maneuvering in tight quarters like downtown parking garages." -- Edmunds
- "Although the Chevy Suburban is built on a truck frame that's intended to pull or carry heavy loads, the big SUV offers a relatively comfortable ride around town and on the highway." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Less forgivable is the Suburban's tentative composure. Boatlike handling comes with the territory, and the SUV corners like its nautical full-size SUV peers." -- Cars.com (2012)
All Suburban models can tow at least 8,000 pounds, and when properly equipped, the Suburban can tow up to 9,600 pounds, which rivals some full-size pickup trucks. This beats top-ranked competitors like the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia by a healthy margin.
- "Properly equipped, the Suburban 2500 can tow up to 9,600 pounds, which is best in class." -- Edmunds