$38,193 - $50,322

2017 Chevrolet Suburban Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban was new.


Performance: 7.9

Whether you're using it to take the kids to school, bring back furniture from weekend flea markets, or tow a boat to the lake, the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban has a comfortable ride and ample power to get you there. There are more fuel-efficient 3-row SUVs on the market, however, and some competitors have higher towing capacities.

  • "… the Suburban is an eager partner in all kinds of outdoor adventures, and few vehicles deliver so much capability at this price point." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Chevy Suburban is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 engine that delivers 355 horsepower. The V8 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A rear-wheel drive Suburban gets up to 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Optional four-wheel drive drops fuel economy by 1 mpg in both city and highway driving. The Suburban's fuel economy estimates are typical for the class. If you want to save at the pump, buy a midsize crossover SUV like the Honda Pilot or the Volvo XC90.

The Suburban has no problem carrying a full load of cargo or passengers thanks to the beefy V8. It can tow up to a maximum of 8,300 pounds, which is a bit low for a truck-based large SUV. The Ford Expedition and Nissan Armada can both tow more than 9,000 pounds. While the engine has plenty of muscle, Chevrolet tuned the throttle to maximize fuel efficiency, which means you may find yourself slamming the gas pedal to get up to highway speeds quickly. The Suburban's automatic transmission makes timely shifts to give you the right amount of power.

  • "The stout 5.3-liter V8 under the 2017 Suburban's hood is easily up to the task of hauling a full complement of people and cargo, although the heavy effort of the throttle pedal (a measure to improve fuel economy) makes the vehicle react sluggishly. The lethargy that results means that the driver needs to get on the gas pedal earlier and more aggressively when merging onto a highway or passing slower traffic." -- 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 (2016)
  • "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 (2016)

Handling and Braking

When you're cruising down the highway or along country roads, the 2017 Suburban is easy to control. Its steering feels precise, and the SUV stays level around corners, with little body lean despite its large size. However, one byproduct of the Suburban's size is that driving in smaller spaces like suburban parking lots or narrow city streets can be challenging. Compared to large crossover SUVs like the Kia Sorento and Honda Pilot, which are based on car platforms, the Suburban is built on a truck frame, so it's much bulkier and feels less maneuverable.

Overall ride quality is good, with rough patches of pavement easily absorbed by the suspension. For a more cloudlike ride, opt for the Premier trim, which features the Magnetic Ride Control adaptive suspension. It continuously reads the road and adjusts the suspension to provide the best possible comfort. As an added bonus, it makes the Suburban feel even more composed on twisty roads.

  • "The 2017 Chevrolet Suburban is one massive SUV, and this is readily apparent when you're behind the wheel. As a truck-based SUV, it's not nearly as agile or maneuverable as car-based crossovers, and multiple-point turns will be a common occurrence in tight confines." -- 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 (2016)
  • "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)

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