Chevy Suburban is road trip approved
Getting my family from Ohio to Florida spanned five states, nearly 1,000 miles, and more than 12 hours in the suburbs. It’s a lot of cozy family time, so luckily we had something bigger so we were less on top of each other. And aside from a clever “Are we there yet?” joke, there were no complaints. And yes, I did the “Are We There Yet?” joke, which failed like most of my dad’s jokes seem to.
Aesthetically, the Suburban still has that premium vibe. The big gluttonous look of this SUV does not try to disguise itself. It’s a juggernaut and that’s fine. It’s not without aesthetic appeal, as the grille is chrome and the indentations on the hood complete the look from the front. A small spoiler adds a sporty, youthful tone to the rear.
And my tester came with roof racks to show it was fully ready for a road trip (although we didn’t need to use the roof rack as the interior cargo was barely sufficient). More on the vast cargo space a bit further down.
A Suburban-sized SUV needs either a V8 or a diesel to move it and the 2022 version has two different V8s and a 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel. My tester was the bigger of the two V8s, a 6.2-liter with 420 horsepower and 460 horsepower. For a vehicle that weighs three tons, 420 hp is just enough power. The smaller V8 is only good for 355 horsepower and the six-cylinder diesel is only good for 277 horsepower.
Those numbers also seem sluggish, but I can report that with the big V8 engine, the Suburban is properly fueled. There is never a struggle leveling or even through the various elevations we encountered in Tennessee.
The 10-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job of handling it all, and the all-wheel-drive helped keep grip in boring rain. When we finally arrived on the sands of the Gulf of Mexico, the Suburban wasn’t even road-tired, even though we all were.
You can’t mention a big SUV like this without discussing fuel economy, especially given the obscene fuel prices right now. The 6.2-liter V8 is the least efficient offering. It is rated at 14 mpg/city and 19 mpg/highway. On the entire trip (to Florida and back to Ohio), we did seven fill-ups for an average fuel economy of nearly 18 mpg (much of it was on the highway). Sure, the big tank had the fuel pump up $100 a fill, but $650 worth of fuel was still significantly cheaper than plane tickets for five adults (plus dogs).
As for fuel economy, I actually found the Suburban to be surprisingly “not bad” in terms of fuel economy. I certainly expected worse and had budgeted over $650. And certainly the diesel version could have been slightly better on MPGs but cost more with the higher cost of diesel.
We also can’t talk about a road trip in a vehicle like the Suburban without mentioning the interior space. As mentioned, five adults were incredibly comfortable in every seat, even the third row. During a driving break, I jumped into the third row to take a nap and was able to lie down (in the fetal position) and get some sleep. A previous vehicle we took on a similar trip (the Kia Carnival) had a very hard and uncomfortable third row. So it was a relief to have more comfort.
Plus, perhaps the most impressive stat is 41.5 – as in the cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. We had this area stacked and packed to the roof with suitcases, coolers and everything else needed for a week long beach vacation. And we were pleasantly surprised when everything was (barely) going. Cargo space expands to 93.8 cubic feet with the third row folded (not possible for us) and 144.7 cubic feet with all rear seats folded down.
Another neat perk was the rear seat entertainment system, which allowed my daughter’s boyfriend to plug in his Nintendo Switch and play games while projecting onto the screen mounted in the back of the passenger seat. It was a great feature for all families. Plus, Chevy’s infotainment system is intuitive and offers plenty of smartphone outlets as well as USB ports for charging, even in the third row. This helps soothe all passengers to make sure their devices are charged and everyone doesn’t have to listen to mom and dad’s music, even though my music is great!
With a base price of $68,800, the price was right. With additional packages, including the aforementioned rear entertainment system, my tester had a final MSRP of $79,370. The Suburban is made in Texas where the motto is that everything is bigger in Texas and that’s certainly apropos for the Suburban.
I want to thank Chevy for allowing me to take this Suburban on such a trip. It really was the perfect vehicle for my family vacation and it did a great job. I can definitely say that I have spent a lot of time on the road and put in as many miles as ever on a vehicle. And all those miles make one thing clear: there’s a reason the Suburban has been around for so long. It is an ideal family vehicle.
Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @driversside
2022 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD Premier
Price/Price as tested………………………………………….. …… … $68,800/$79,730
Mileage………………………………………… 14 mpg/city; 19 mpg/highway
Engine…………………………………………. 6.2 liter V8
Power ………………………….. 420 hp / 460 lbs/ft.
Gearbox ………………………. 10-speed automatic
Drive wheels …………….Four wheel drive
Final assembly point……………. Arlington, TX