Chevrolet Suburban Performance

#3 in Large SUVs Performance Score: 8.1 / 10
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2016 Chevrolet Suburban Performance Overview

The 2016 Chevrolet Suburban's standard V8 engine delivers plenty of power, according to testers, and they note that its automatic transmission is responsive. Most reviewers say the Suburban has a comfortable ride and composed handling for a vehicle its size. Still, some think it can feel bumpy over uneven pavement.

  • "Just like a good 300-lb NFL linebacker, the Suburban will surprise you with its speed, its athleticism and its sheer will to get the job done." -- AutoTrader
  • "Science works. Chevrolet's 2016 Suburban, at close to three tons, drives pretty much like a luxury car with a lot of room inside. Clearly, the engineers have spent quality time on ride and handling, and all models of the Suburban deliver an exemplary driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Despite their size, all versions of these SUVs are surprisingly easy to drive. The strengthened and boxed ladder frame has been improved and made stiffer, giving the vehicles a strong and stiff foundation. The electric power steering is smooth." -- Motor Trend (2015)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 2016 Chevy Suburban is a 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the Suburban gets up to 16/23 mpg city/highway, which is average for the class. The Suburban has a maximum towing capacity of 8,300 pounds, according to Chevrolet.

Reviewers report the V8 generates ample power for hauling full loads of people and cargo. Some add that the six-speed automatic transmission is responsive.

  • "The only engine choice is a fine one: the familiar and long-proven 5.3-liter V8, which is seamlessly competent, strong, quiet and smooth." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "One major benefit of choosing Chevy's traditional full-size SUV is standard V8 power, and the 2016 Chevrolet Suburban's 5.3-liter V8 engine is certainly beefy enough to pull around a full complement of passengers and gear. It's also plenty smooth and refined." -- Edmunds
  • "As for power, the big 5.3-liter V8 has plenty to spare and is easily capable of surpassing the 20 mpg mark when driven at reasonable highway speeds." -- AutoTrader
  • "Behind the wheel, you immediately appreciate the additional power. In the cut and thrust of urban traffic, the greater muscle and quicker reactions of the recalibrated six-speed automatic transmission make the big machine feel far more responsive than before." -- Car and Driver (2015)

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Suburban is easy to drive considering its large size, according to critics, and it feels stable though turns. Most reviewers think the Suburban has a comfortable, smooth ride, though a few say some bumps are noticeable. Test drivers report the steering is responsive and the brakes are strong, with good pedal feel. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and four-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Suburban feels relatively secure when going through turns, and it soaks up bumps with ease -- all the more so if you opt for the LTZ model, which gets an adaptive suspension with magnetic-fluid shocks that automatically reacts to driver input and road conditions." -- Edmunds
  • "On narrow roads, the Suburban requires a vigilant hand at the wheel, but when the road starts to twist and turn, the Suburban proves easy to keep inside the lines. The steering responds precisely to inputs, and the gas pedal requires only the lightest touch to increase velocity." --AutoTrader
  • "The electric power steering provides reduced steering effort in parking lots and surprisingly good on-center highway feel, as well as nice effort build-up on winding roads. A redesigned braking system provides solid, confident pedal feel while remaining easy to modulate." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "In … the LTZ [trim] … the ride was very jittery even on roads that appeared smooth, though the suspension did a good job of absorbing larger bumps, controlling bounce over pavement swells, and limiting body lean in fast turns. Other drivers we spoke to noticed the same thing, and a couple who had a chance to drive 'lesser' models had no such complaints. The nervous ride was surprising. … it was enough to make us encourage people to ‘Try before you buy.’ But in other ways, these big SUVs - while hardly nimble - don't feel as ponderous as their generous size would suggest." -- Consumer Guide (2015)
Review Last Updated: 5/2/16
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