When individuals noticed me within the 2017 Chevrolet Suburban final week, resplendent in black-on-black leather-based, they usually had one of some reactions:
“My God, why is that factor so large?”
“Why did you lease such an enormous car?”
“Roberto? Wait, you’re not my UberXL driver?”
In all three circumstances, they weren’t flawed to ask. After I stepped into the rental automobile storage at Miami Worldwide Airport this weekend, I used to be confronted with three choices.
Having only in the near past rented the Expedition in Raleigh, and never ever wanting to place myself via the joyless train of driving a Journey once more, I opted for the mighty GM. It’s, dare I say, a sublime car, usually reserved for doing necessary issues like shuttling the members of the President’s safety element round or choosing up massive teams of individuals from the airport (Hello, are you my UberXL? STILL NO). It’s additionally probably the most costly automobiles you’ll ever discover on rental row — a Suburban LT, optioned precisely like mine, begins at $56,575 at your neighborhood Bowtie supplier.
It’s additionally one of many only a few Common Motors merchandise that’s universally thought to be being extraordinarily nicely performed. The Suburban has no competitors, merely individuals who by chance wandered into the neighboring Ford lot and in some way winded up shopping for an Expedition. The ‘Burb outsells the Expedition by a margin of over 2 to 1, and it didn’t take lengthy for me to determine why.
House is plentiful all through, which comes as no shock. What was considerably stunning, nevertheless, was the standard of fabric all through the cabin. Whereas GM appears challenged with interiors on passenger automobiles, it appears to get it proper within the bigger, BOF SUVs. The leather-based seating surfaces mixed a way of luxurious with spectacular sturdiness — my rental had over 20ok miles on the clock, however one would by no means have identified it from the diploma of inside put on. Chevy will get this proper in the identical method that Ford will get it so very, very flawed. An Expedition with 20,000 miles seems prefer it’s performed time preventing ISIS. Not so with the Suburban.
Ahead visibility from the motive force’s seat leaves a lot to be desired. The reasonably vertical and surprisingly small windshield, mixed with the large hood, means gadgets generally tend to easily disappear in entrance of the Suburban. Whereas my rental was outfitted with entrance and rear parking help, my Technology X eyes nonetheless need to have the ability to see any potential obstacles.
The Suburban gives that just-right mixture of old-world reliability and performance with a touch of recent know-how. Whereas Apple CarPlay was a bit fussy in my rental (solely labored with considered one of two USB ports, and solely then after unplugging and replugging the cable a number of occasions), it’s a nice addition to the remainder of the Suburban’s sprint, which largely seems like, nicely, this:
The Suburban has one of many extra archaic dashboards in any car that may be bought in 2017. This wouldn’t be fairly so odd aside from the truth that the Suburban/Tahoe/Escalade Holy Trinity underwent a redesign in 2015. If I airlifted you straight into the motive force’s chair, you would possibly suspect that the large Chevy was really a 2007 mannequin, not a 2017. Every thing from the dials to the transmission selector on the steering rack simply appears a tad archaic.
Nevertheless, as I discussed above, this feels excellent. All of it works, in a way that horse farm homeowners and livery drivers alike have develop into accustomed to over the past twenty years. Utilizing the stalk to position the six-speed automated transmission into Drive creates a thunk that may solely be described as “satisfying.” When mated with the direct-injected, Bozi Tatarevic-Authorised® EcoTec3 5.Three-liter V8, the transmission by no means appears to search out itself within the flawed gear. Grunt and energy are immediately out there all through the powerband, due to a 355 horsepower ranking and 383 lb-ft of torque.
Sadly, there are a number of different thunks to be discovered when driving the Suburban, they usually come straight from the suspension. My rental instance was not outfitted with the elective Premium Trip Suspension, and as such, each velocity bump was met with an audible “oof” from the heart of any and all passengers. On the comparatively respectable roads of Miami-Dade County, that is an inconvenience. In Detroit, it will trigger curvature of the backbone.
It goes with out saying, in fact, that the Suburban is downright gargantuan, and when making an attempt to navigate city streets and highways, the motive force feels each inch of its measurement. Lane Change Alert, together with Lane Preserve Help, each obtained a severe exercise in SoFlo. Whereas Miami is not any New York on the subject of City Site visitors Fight, the Suburban can solely make headway within the metropolis by saying its intention with a quick flip sign, after which by making an apparent, purposeful transfer into an adjoining lane whereas different drivers scatter. In Miami, no one permits you to in. The Suburban lets itself in, taking its rightful place on the high of the meals chain amongst the glittering luxurious automobiles.
The mixed gas financial system this rental noticed over the course of its life was 17.Three mpg, and I didn’t fare significantly better, averaging about 18.5 mpg across the streets of South Florida. To be truthful, that is roughly the gasoline mileage I get out of my Ford Focus RS, which has nearly precisely the identical quantity of energy and isn’t shoving round almost as a lot weight.
I can’t overstate, although, simply how visually spectacular I discovered the Suburban to be. If solely GM may get the remainder of its lineup to be this proper. It’s masculine, however not poisonous. It’s refined, nevertheless it has presence. It seems equally at dwelling in entrance of the EPIC Resort and Keeneland Race Course. Panel gaps are nonexistent. Paint high quality is flawless. Exterior accents are tasteful. The one factor my rental wanted to look even higher was a much less utilitarian wheel choice, and Chevrolet has no scarcity of elective wheels from which the potential Suburban intender might select. If the Chevrolet SS had regarded extra like a Suburban, and fewer like a Cruze, perhaps it will be on its approach to a second era as a substitute of oblivion.
As a matter of reality, as I’ve mentioned earlier than, if GM may do passenger automobiles in addition to it does full-sized vans, it will be king of the automotive hill. The Suburban is dear, sure, nevertheless it’s a halo car, and halo automobiles ought to be costly. Moreover, that fifty massive will show to be cash nicely spent if you’re nonetheless driving it fifteen years from now. The Suburban is the head of automobiles that TTAC readers have been saying for years that they need — low key, understated however wonderful, the final word Q ship. It’s the chosen technique of transport for the really rich in Flyover Nation.
Sure, there are some outdated bits, and the bottom suspension will not be nice, however there’s a purpose Suburban from 2017 capabilities and appears very similar to a Suburban from 1997. Because the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t repair it.
And the Chevrolet Suburban undoubtedly ain’t broke. I find it irresistible.
[Images: Mark “Bark M.” Baruth/The Truth About Cars]