$14,384 - $21,948

2013 Chevrolet Suburban Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Chevrolet Suburban was new.


Performance: 7.7

Reviewers say despite its large size, the 2013 Chevrolet 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 engine 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 the towing capacity of some full-size pickup trucks. This beats the towing capacity of 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

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