Vehicle Preview: 2015 Chevrolet Suburban

The full-size SUV icon raises the bar

The all-new 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, available soon here at Jack Maxton Chevrolet in Worthington, Ohio, promises levels of refinement, efficiency and technology never before seen in this class.

The new, 12th generation Suburban made its debut to high praise at this year’s New York International Auto Show. A few details of the production version, set to reach showrooms early next year, are still being finalized. Here is some information to hold you until then.

Chevrolet made increased fuel economy a top priority in its stem-to-stern redesign of the Suburban. To that end, designers incorporated a host of aerodynamic refinements into the truck’s new shape, including a more rounded front fascia with a full-width bumper and a signature dual-port chrome grille. Stacked projector-beam headlamps (High-Intensity Discharge units with LED running lights are available) sweep around to the sculpted front fenders for improved air flow.

New inlaid doors fit inside the body of the truck, rather than wrapping to the roof-rail and the body’s bottom edge as they did in the previous version. This switch in design not only cheats the wind, it also provides better door sealing for a quieter cabin. The hood and liftgate panel are now made from aluminum, a boost to efficiency thanks to their reduced weight compared to steel.

A full-size SUV requires premium power, and the new Suburban delivers with a 5.3-liter V8 that produces 355 hp and 383 lb/ft of torque (increases of 35 hp and 48 lb/ft compared to the previous model). Part of the ECOTEC 3 family of engines, the new V8 balances performance with fuel efficiency utilizing such advanced technology as direct fuel injection and Continuously Variable Valve Timing. The Active Fuel Management system shuts down half the cylinders during highway cruising and other light-load driving conditions to conserve fuel. EPA mileage estimates are forthcoming, but Chevrolet expects the new Suburban to offer the best V8 fuel economy in the segment.

Designed for smooth power delivery through light jaunts or heavy chores, the standard Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission features a Tow/Haul Mode and Automatic Grade Braking. For 2015, maximum towing capacity increases by 300 pounds for properly equipped rear-wheel drive models, to 8,300 pounds; maximum towing for four-wheel drive models remains 8,000 pounds.

Drivers might be surprised to find such hardcore capability coexisting with a refined ride and precise handling, but that’s exactly what they’ll get when they climb behind the wheel of the new Suburban. Features like Electric Variable Assist Steering and Electronic Throttle Control improve over-the-road performance and improve fuel efficiency, while a wider rear track and standard 18-inch wheels contribute to sharper cornering and a more planted stance.

Engineers redesigned the four-wheel antilock brake system for stronger pedal feel and switched to Duralife brake rotors, which can double service life compared to rotors used previously. For the ultimate in confidence at speed, choose the available third-generation Magnetic Ride Control system, complete with active dampers that read road conditions every millisecond and instantly adapt shock-absorber performance for the perfect ride.

The 2014 Suburban also introduces a suite of first-time safety technology to the segment. Radar-based systems such as Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control help prevent collisions; inside the cabin, the available Safety Alert Seat vibrates on the appropriate side of the driver-seat bolster to warn of a potential crash. Threats from the front or back cause both sides of the seat to vibrate. Another segment-first in the new Suburban is a front-seat center airbag that deploys between the driver and front passenger to protect front-seat occupants from rebound injuries during far-side impacts.

Drivers and their families are sure to appreciate the elevated comfort and flexibility of the new Suburban. Second-row passengers gain an additional two inches of legroom, and both second- and third-row seats now fold flat (a power-folding feature is available) to yield 121.1 cubic feet of unobstructed cargo space.

The editors at Car and Driver found the interior “vastly improved” compared to the outgoing model, praising the truck’s superior materials and craftsmanship. Leather trim and wood accents lead a long list of standard and available features that also includes Chevrolet MyLink, an eight-inch LCD touch-screen, six USB ports and up to 12 charging stations (including a 110-volt, three-prong outlet). There’s even an available dual-screen Blu-Ray rear-seat entertainment system to keep passengers entertained for miles on end.

After seeing the 2015 model at its debut, the editors at Road and Track wrote, “The Suburban is still the best SUV. And this one is going to be awesome.” Get set to experience the all-new 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, and stop in soon for more information and updates regarding availability.

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