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2021 Chevrolet Suburban Performance

#3 out of 6 in Large SUVs

U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Performance Review


Performance: 7.7

The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban has a lineup of powerful engines that enables brisk acceleration and heavy-duty towing. The Suburban is composed around turns, and its ride is mostly comfortable, but its size makes it difficult to navigate through narrow streets.

  • "Thankfully the new Suburban has the powertrains to back up its mass. GM’s regarded 5.3-liter V8 is the standard partner for this rig, and we’ve found it suitable for most tasks. Even better is the optional 6.2-liter V8 … the new inline-6 turbodiesel is optional on every trim except the Suburban Z71 off-road version. We’ve been impressed with this engine’s smoothness, low-end grunt and efficiency in other applications such as the Silverado pickup truck." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "While there's no getting around the sheer size of the Suburban, the new independent rear suspension, as well as the addition of an available air-spring suspension with adaptive dampers, greatly improve the Suburban's ride smoothness and handling response. The steering is pleasingly direct, as is the feedback from the brake pedal." -- Edmunds
  • "The new Suburban's ride is super-soft, gentle and floaty, and yet it feels steadier than the previous-gen model. But there was also an odd jittering over nearly every bump—a strange quiver in the structure that reminded me of badly designed convertibles." -- Automobile Magazine

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Base engine: 5.3-liter V8 with 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque
  • Available engines:
    • 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline-six with 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque (late availability)
    • 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque (High Country)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive (RWD); available four-wheel drive (4WD)
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic

The standard 5.3-liter V8 engine and optional Duramax diesel both scoot the Suburban up to speed swiftly and provide strong passing power. The big 6.2-liter V8 never feels short on power, and it bestows the Suburban with surprisingly rapid acceleration. Shifts from the 10-speed automatic transmission are smooth and prompt.

  • "With 10 forward gears to pick, the 5.3-liter V8 (355 horsepower, 383 lb-ft) that you'll find in most Suburbans generates easy speed, while the thrust and sound from the optional 6.2-liter V8 (420 hp, 460 lb-ft) in the High Country can make you smile." -- Edmunds
  • "With the big V-8, acceleration to freeway speeds was not a problem; keeping my speed from drifting too far above the legal limit was." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Optional on all but the Z71 is a new turbodiesel option. It is among our favorite modern diesel because of its smoothness, quietness and low-end grunt. We think it’s a great partner for this full-size SUV. All engines are tied to a 10-speed automatic transmission that both seamlessly goes about its business and is quick to kick down gears when you plant your right foot." -- Autotrader

MPG Estimates

The Suburban gets pretty good fuel economy for a large SUV. At the time of writing, estimates for the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine are not available.

  • 5.3-liter V8, RWD: 16/20 mpg city/highway
  • 5.3-liter V8, 4WD: 15/19 mpg
  • 6.2-liter V8, RWD: 15/20 mpg
  • 6.2-liter V8, 4WD: 14/19 mpg

Handling and Braking

The Chevrolet Suburban is a big SUV, and it handles as such. It can be awkward to maneuver along tight city streets and through parking lots, and some critics say its ride quality is unsettled. Others praise the Suburban’s composure around turns at higher speeds.

  • "Most noteworthy is the Suburban’s switch to an independent rear suspension from the old live-axle setup. This equates to a smoother ride. For buyers seeking further refinement, the Suburban is available with magnetic ride control and — for the first time in a Suburban — air suspension." -- Autotrader
  • "The new suspension was great over rougher roads and seemed to hold the road better around corners while keeping the body vehicle flatter. That said, I did get a little sense of jiggle on the expressway, which I don’t remember from the last-generation Suburban. Are we to the point where an unloaded monster SUV is like driving an unloaded monster pickup? I hope not. This one also had Chevy’s Air Ride Adaptive Suspension air springs, in addition to the Magnetic Ride Control. And the ride was never harsh by any stretch of the imagination. It also lowers when parked, which is helpful for getting in and out." -- Autoweek
  • "… I was dismayed to find, when loafing around city streets and then zooming along on smooth-enough Southern California freeways, the Suburban's ride proved to be akin to a marshmallow—wallowing and lumpy and not what I was hoping for, nor what all that fancy suspension tech should deliver." -- Motor Trend
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2021 Chevrolet Suburban

MSRP: $51,700 - $75,300

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