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2022 Chevrolet Suburban Test Drive Review

The 2022 Chevrolet Suburban continues to deliver the space and capability today's families crave.

7.5 /10
Overall Score

After launching a redesigned new Chevrolet Suburban for the 2021 model year, Chevrolet further enhances its biggest SUV for 2022. Most of the changes relate to technology and safety upgrades, including a larger digital instrument cluster on LT and above trim levels, standard Google built-in software, standard park-assist and lane-maintenance features, and available reverse automatic braking. In the powertrain department, the big 6.2-litre V8 is now available on RST, Z71, and Premier trims.

Look and Feel

5/ 10

For better or for worse, Chevrolet bestowed upon the new Suburban the brand's current full-size truck design language with the big SUV’s 2021 model year redesign. Sharing its exterior styling with the shorter Tahoe SUV and the Silverado 1500 pickup, the Suburban's tall hood, long proportions, and large wheels combine to give it a supersized appearance. Grille, fascia, and wheel designs vary by trim level (the Suburban is available in no fewer than six trims), offering buyers a fair degree of customization even though the Suburban comes in a single body style.

Chevrolet offers the 2022 Suburban in LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country trims. Our RST test vehicle came with a gorgeous Cherry Red Tintcoat exterior and bright-machined black-painted 22-inch wheels. The monochromatic black grille with Black Ice accents, combined with the dark red paint and RST-specific badging, emblems, and wheels gave the SUV a truly sporty look. In fact, it's one of the more attractive exterior colour and trim combinations we've seen on a full-size SUV—or any model, for that matter.

Inside, the Suburban offers a spacious cabin that runs the gamut from economically comfortable (note that we didn't say "cheap") on the base LS trim to downright plush on the top-spec High Country. Leather seats are standard starting on the LT, and as the price increases, so does material quality.

Our RST tester had 10-way power driver and passenger front seats, bright sill plates, and Jet Black perforated leather seats with Victory Red stitching in the first and second rows. The test vehicle also had the optional Luxury package. Overall, the RST's cabin is a nice place to be. However, as open and airy as the Suburban is on the inside, the black leather on the seats, combined with the predominantly black dashboard, console, headliner, carpet, and door panels (with very little in the way of bright, shiny trim accents to brighten things up), made the RST's cabin feel a bit dark. While nice touches, the chrome sill plates and red seat stitching didn't quite do enough to offset all of the darkness.

Performance

7/ 10

In recent years, Chevrolet has expanded its engine offerings for the Suburban. For 2022, a choice of three engines is available: a 5.3-litre V8, a 6.2-litre V8, and a new-for-2022 3.0-litre turbodiesel inline-six. All three engines mate with a new 10-speed automatic transmission with electronic shift control.

The 5.3-litre V8 is the base engine—standard on all but the High Country—producing 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Standard on the High Country and available on the RST, Z71, and Premier, the 6.2-litre V8 produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft. Both V8 engines employ direct injection and feature fuel-saving cylinder-deactivation technology.

Joining the Suburban's engine lineup for 2022 is a smaller-displacement six-cylinder version of the General Motors Duramax turbodiesel engine. Don't let the small size fool you; the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel puts out a healthy 460 lb-ft of torque and 277 hp, providing ample hauling and trailering capability. The baby Duramax is not only torquey, but it also delivers excellent fuel efficiency to boot.

In Canada, the LS and LT grades come with a standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) drivetrain. Four-wheel drive (4WD) with 4Hi 4Lo and Auto settings is standard on all higher trims and optional on LS and LT. A single-speed transfer case for the 4WD system is standard, but a two-speed transfer case is optional (and standard on the Z71). The move to an independent rear suspension as part of the 2021-model-year redesign not only improved the Suburban's ride and handling but also created more space for third-row passengers and increased cargo capacity, thanks to the lower load floor.

Our RST test vehicle had the larger, more powerful 6.2-litre V8 and Magnetic Ride Control. While the standard 5.3-litre V8's performance is adequate, the 6.2-litre's extra oomph is noticeable and appreciated. With the 5.3, even though power is perfectly acceptable, you're still aware that you're piloting a nearly three-ton SUV. With the 6.2, power and acceleration are effortless, the additional 65 hp and 77 lb-ft making their presence felt.

That extra power came in handy during a 130-kilometre tow test in which we pulled a late-model Chevrolet Impala sedan on an open car-hauler trailer. Once we figured out how to access the tow hitch, hidden behind a black plastic close-out panel on the rear bumper, it was easy to hook up the trailer, thanks to the Suburban's hitch guidance and multiple rear camera views. Once on the road, the Suburban and its big V8 did a great job pulling the extra weight, making for a stress-free and reassuring excursion. For those concerned with tow ratings, the Suburban's maximum towing capacity is 3,765 kilograms (8,300 pounds; Max Trailering Package required).

Form and Function

9/ 10

One thing the Chevy Suburban has in droves is space—for passengers, cargo, and even our furry little friends. Indeed, with the optional front-row bench seat (LS only), the Suburban can hold up to nine occupants, enough room to accommodate an entire baseball team and all of the related gear. Most Suburbans, however, offer seven- or eight-passenger seating, depending on whether middle-row seats are of the captain's-chair variety. Unlike previous generations, the third row in the Suburban is quite livable, with adequate headroom, knee room, and legroom, even for adults. Access to the third row is excellent, as well.

With 1,175 litres of space behind the third row, the Suburban has one of the largest cargo areas of any SUV. That expands to 4,097 litres of maximum cargo space with the second and third rows folded flat—the most of any large SUV on the market. The second-row seats even slide forward or backward up to 14 centimetres, and both the second and third row rear seats fold flat with the simple pull of a lever or push of a button.

Among the useful features in the Suburban's cabin is an optional power-sliding centre console, which (slowly) slides rearward 25 centimetres to uncover additional storage space. The console also contains a hidden storage drawer to tuck away valuables. A big glove box and other storage cubbies sprinkled throughout the cabin provide plenty of places to hold beverage containers and all other manners of things.

It's not all great news, however. The same thing that makes the Suburban so practical is also its main drawback. The sheer size and mass of the Suburban make it challenging to maneuver and park in tight spaces. Those living in rural areas and even the suburbs aren't likely to have too much trouble, but those living in or frequently traveling to congested areas will need to plan ahead when looking for a place to park. Likewise, the 'Burban may not fit in some garages due to its height. Once you become familiar with the big SUV's dimensions, however, you'll be able to squeeze into those parking spaces marked "Compact" in no time.

Suburban veterans accustomed to selecting gears via a column-mounted shifter will find that's no longer an option. With the redesigned 2021 model, Chevrolet switched to electronic push-button transmission controls for the Suburban. Those of us who have spent years behind the wheel of GM full-size trucks intuitively reach out for the column shifter, only to grab a handful of air, before casually reaching over to press a button, hoping no one noticed the gear-shifting fail.

Tech Level

8/ 10

Historically speaking, mainstream full-size SUVs haven't been known for their technology. But as features like big-screen infotainment systems, adaptive cruise control, and other driving assistance tech filter down from luxury vehicles and other automotive market segments, it's not uncommon for models like the Suburban to benefit from this technology transfer. Indeed, the Suburban offers a surprising level of tech on most trim levels.

Despite being redesigned the previous model year with new tech features, Chevrolet upped the Suburban's standard and optional technology offerings again for 2022, in effect acknowledging the importance of keeping one's products up-to-date in this regard. New this year on the LT trim level and above is a larger, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Also standard on LT and above is Google built-in, which includes Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Play Store access, third-party apps, and vehicle data sharing. Additionally, the number of available camera views increases to 13, including the nifty "transparent trailer" view that you've likely seen in commercials, among others.

The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System with an 8-inch touchscreen is standard on the LS. It includes Bluetooth audio streaming, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and voice recognition for smartphone compatibility. Standard on the Suburban LT and above is a 10.2-inch Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Premium System with Google built-in and satellite radio. The system enables users to control and manage select smartphone apps through the infotainment system, as well as customize and manage entertainment and vehicle feature settings through the infotainment system display. Wireless device charging is standard on the LT and above, and a WiFi hotspot is standard across the board.

The Suburban LS comes with a basic six-speaker audio system. Moving up to the LT, a nine-speaker Bose audio system is standard. A Bose 10-speaker Surround with CenterPoint audio system is standard on and exclusive to the Premier and High Country. Our test vehicle had the mid-level nine-speaker Bose audio system that provided decent sound quality. However, it was noticeably inferior to the premium Bose CenterPoint system, with its concerto-like sound, that we've sampled in other GM products.

Safety

8/ 10

As part of the Suburban's 2021 redesign, Chevrolet blessed the big SUV with newly standard safety features, part of its Chevy Safety Assist suite. Features include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, front pedestrian braking, rear park assist, following distance indicator, automatic high-beam headlights, and an HD rear-vision camera. A hitch-guidance system for trailering is also standard. For 2022, front park assist, lane-keeping assistance, and lane-departure warning join the list of standard safety features. Optional features include adaptive cruise control, new HD surround vision, rear pedestrian alert, reverse automatic braking, lane-changing assistance, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, and a head-up display.

Other standard safety items include hill-start assist, Teen Driver settings to help encourage better driving behaviour, and Buckle to Drive, which prevents the vehicle from being shifted out of Park until the driver seat belt is fastened, thus encouraging seat belt use.

Our test vehicle had GM's Safety Alert Seat, which vibrates the seat on the left side, right side, or both sides when a potentially dangerous situation is detected so they can take measures to avoid it. If you prefer not to have your backside vibrated (we're not here to judge), you can switch to beeping alerts.

In safety tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2022 Chevrolet Suburban received an overall rating of four out of five stars. The SUV scored four stars for front crash protection, five stars for side crash protection, and three stars for rollover resistance in the individual crash tests. The ratings were the same for RWD and 4WD Suburbans.

To date, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn't tested the current-generation (beginning with the 2021 model year) Chevrolet Suburban.

Cost-Effectiveness

8/ 10

Excluding its corporate siblings from Chevrolet (Tahoe) and GMC (Yukon/Yukon XL), the Suburban competes with other truck-based, body-on-frame full-size SUVs, including the Ford Expedition MAX, new Jeep Wagoneer, Nissan Armada, and the Toyota Sequoia. High-end Suburbans also compete against domestic-brand luxury SUVs such as the Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, GMC Yukon XL Denali, and even the Cadillac Escalade ESV.

In Canada, pricing for the 2022 Suburban starts at $60,748 (excluding the $1,950 destination charge) for the base LS trim. Prices increase by several thousand dollars as you climb each rung of the trim level ladder, topping out at $85,848 for the Suburban High Country. As previously mentioned, upper trims get standard 4WD. On LS and LT trims, it's a $3,300 option.

For comparison, the 2022 Ford Expedition MAX XLT starts at $78,420, the Jeep Wagoneer begins at $80,995, the Nissan Armada retails from $69,698, and the Toyota Sequoia starts at $70,850. For those who might also be considering GM's other full-size utility vehicles, the Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $57,748, the GMC Yukon goes for $59,648, and the GMC Yukon XL has a starting MSRP of $62,648. Among its core competitive set, the Suburban measures up favourably in terms of price and running costs. It costs more than the Armada and the Sequoia (and the shorter Tahoe and Yukon) but also has a legit third row and more cargo space compared to those models.

Our test vehicle, a 2022 Chevrolet Suburban RST 4WD in Cherry Red Tintcoat (a $595 option) with Jet Black/Victory Red interior with leather seats, had a base price of $73,848. Options included the Sport Performance package ($4,250), Luxury package ($2,920), the aforementioned extra-cost paint, power-sliding centre console ($400), and two credits for the SUV not having an automatic stop/start system and another for not coming with a steering column lock. With the ongoing global computer microchip shortage, some automakers are being forced to make content adjustments to their vehicles, which explains the credits. All told, the total price of our tester was $84,368, including destination (Canadian, estimated; some features shown are not available in Canada).

According to Natural Resources Canada, fuel consumption for 2022 Chevrolet Suburbans equipped with either V8 engine ranges from 17.0 litres per 100 kilometres in city driving to 11.8 on the highway, with a combined rating of 14 to 15 L/100 km. The 3.0-litre diesel engine is rated from 11.7 L/100 km city to 8.7 hwy. We averaged an indicated 16.2 L/100 km in mixed city and highway driving during our week of testing, including the heavy trailering excursion. Considering we pulled roughly 2,500 kilograms of weight (or three tons, two for the Impala plus a one-ton trailer) for 130 kilometres (roughly 20 percent of our 640-kilometre test), this is a respectable figure and a realistic one for those who regularly plan to use their Suburban for towing.

With a 106-litre fuel tank and averaging 11.8 L/100 km on the highway, a Suburban with the 5.3-litre engine can travel up to roughly 900 kilometres on a single tank of gas, while the more fuel-efficient turbodiesel can go up to 1,200 km on a full tank, though your results may vary.

Note: Images show a US model.

Updated by Jeff Youngs

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