2023 Chevrolet Suburban Review: Family-Friendly Road Trip Comfort

The Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe and GMC Yukon together dominate the large SUV segment. The Tahoe and Yukon are number one and two, with the Suburban coming in fourth behind the Ford Expedition. The reason these monstrous vehicles are so popular, the General Motors platform-sharing versions in particular, is because they allow drivers to travel with as many people, or as much stuff as they like. Big V8s, four-wheel drive and tons of towing capacity helps.

The Chevrolet Suburban is the longer of the two Chevrolets, with an extra 15 inches, though both have three rows of seats. It's one of the oldest nameplates in the industry with the first "Carryall Suburban" introduced in 1935.

The twelfth-generation SUV premiered in 2021 offering six trims starting with LS and ending with the High Country specification. It's maximum cargo capacity grew by 23 cubic feet from the previous generation and a lower floor helps when packing it with cargo.

The Suburban is now available with a 15-inch head-up display, projecting speed, navigation and other relevant information onto the windshield. A 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard on LT trims and above while navigation is optional. Wireless smartphone integration is optional, but wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. It also now has 13 available camera views for parking and towing.

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Mechanically, the new Chevy Suburban is one of the most comfortable SUVs on the road with independent rear suspension, adaptable, Magnetic Ride Control shocks and four corner air suspension. A 355-horsepower (hp) and 383-pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque V8 is standard and a 6.2-liter V8 making 420 hp and 460 lb-ft is optional.

New for the latest generation is a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine making 277 hp but 460 lb-ft of torque. A ten-speed automatic transmission is standard, and it can tow 8,300 pounds when properly equipped. The Suburban comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but four-wheel drive is optional.

2023 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD Z71

The biggest news for 2023 is the addition of Super Cruise to the driver assistance technology. It's one of the few true hands-free, eyes-up systems on sale today and is usable on most major highways in the U.S. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is now offered as is Google Built-in on LT trims and above. Google Built-in combines Google Assistant, Maps and Google Play Apps, all of which can be logged into permanently in the vehicle for ease of use.

The Rear-Seat Media System ($1,995) is the star of the second row, especially for kids, and includes dual rear seat-mounted 12.6-inch touchscreens, Wi-Fi wireless projection capability, two Bluetooth-capable headphones, and two HDMI ports located on the back of the center console. That means families can either plug in a DVD player or video game system, or just let the kids flick through the YouTube Kids app, which makes hours-long road trips a breeze.

2023 Chevrolet Suburban Z71
The 2023 Chevrolet Suburban offers rear seat entertainment for second row passengers. General Motors

As expected, there is a ton of room in the second row, especially with the captain's chairs option. Also as expected the kids were quite, though drivers can tune into what the kids are watching to keep tabs. The screens can also be swapped side to side, so even less complaining. Those captain's chairs make it easy to install the child seats, though its harder for a child in a booster seat to buckle the belt themselves as it is farther away than expected.

The Z71 package ($5,985) includes everything a driver needs for off-road including an electronic limited-slip differential, the upgraded air suspension, Magnetic Ride Control and more, in addition to luxury items like a 360-degree camera, heated second row seats and a heated steering wheel. The package also comes with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and Side Blind-Zone Alert.

The luxury is key here, because that's what the 2023 Chevrolet Suburban feels like on the road. It absorbs the road imperfections now matter how heinous, and does it with more stability than a pickup truck as the weight is more centered. Where a pickup would lose traction at speed on a bumpy and wet dirt road, the Suburban the plows through it. It's impervious to Mother Nature.

The front seats are comfortable and adjustable and the wireless CarPlay only needed to be set up one, and it worked every time. The touchscreen is in a comfortable position and it has permanent mode buttons to swap to different functions.

2023 Chevrolet Suburban Z71
The 2023 Chevrolet Suburban has a 10.2-inch central touchscreen. General Motors

The climate and volume controls are all physical knobs, making for easy adjustments even while wearing gloves. The steering wheel too, has controls for volume and tuning, in addition to cruise control functions. The push button transmission is located on the dash next to the touchscreen and saves space, though it takes some getting used to.

The bigger V8 is both excellent in both sound and power, though it is thirsty. The EPA says 16 miles per gallon (mpg) combined though in the computer in the dash it was less than 15 mpg. The ten-speed automatic was perfect and the four-wheel drive system was left in Auto Mode, which sends power to the front wheels when necessary. It does take a little more braking pressure than expected and that is one of the few times where the vehicle shows its weight.

Chevy Safety Assist comes standard on all Suburbans with Automatic Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Following Distance Indicator, Front Pedestrian Braking and automatic high beams. Available features include Adaptive Cruise Control, HD Surround Vision, 15-inch-diagonal Head-Up Display, Rear Camera Mirror, Rear Camera Mirror Washer, Rear Pedestrian Alert and a few others.

This particular 2023 Chevy Suburban comes out to $77,195 including the Rear Seat Entertainment and Z71 packages. However, a base model with four-wheel drive starts at $57,700 (4WD is $3,000). The smaller Chevrolet Tahoe starts at $54,200. The GMC versions are more expensive. The Ford Expedition with its twin-turbo V6 starts at $57,655; four-wheel drive is $3,060. The Jeep Wagoneer, it's next competitor, starts at $59,995.

All three offer pickup truck capability with private jet-like amenities, but General Motors has been doing it the longest, and feels the most refined. The Ford Expedition offers a little more efficiency with 23 mpg on the highway as opposed to 19 mpg in the Suburban. That Ford Expedition will also need the MAX upgrade to get close the cargo space of the Suburban.

A buyer in this market should certainly start at their local GM dealership before hitting Ford and Jeep. The Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia play in the segment as well. Or the could move the luxury end of the spectrum with the Mercedes-Benz GLS and BMW X7, however, those both cost a good bit more than the already expensive, but uber useful, Chevrolet Suburban.