Chevy Suburban is road-trip approved

As far as the fuel economy goes, I actually found the Suburban to be surprisingly “not bad” in fuel economy. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

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As far as the fuel economy goes, I actually found the Suburban to be surprisingly “not bad” in fuel economy. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

2022 model speaks volumes about SUV’s longevity.

Now that Memorial Day is behind us, it’s officially summer vacation time. Road trips with the family are a long-standing tradition for so many, including my family. But yikes, the cost of fuel makes that more prohibitive right now. Nevertheless, I loaded my family into one of the largest and most gas-guzzling vehicles on the road today. Fuel prices be damned, we were Florida-bound.

The vehicle in question can also win you a car trivia question as it’s the Chevy Suburban, which is the longest-running nameplate in automotive history (not the Ford Mustang and not the Corvette). And that longevity speaks volumes as to why the Suburban has lasted all these years (since 1935 specifically).

One of the biggest reasons is the size. We had five adults and two dogs in the 2022 Chevy Suburban Premier. Even the third-row was spacious and comfortable, which is so rare. The pass-through between the captain’s seats in the second row was an easy passageway for the doggos to see who they would sleep with/annoy between the second- and third-row passengers.

Getting my family from Ohio to Florida spanned five states, nearly 1,000 miles and 12-plus hours spent in the Suburban. That’s a lot of cozy family time, so thankfully we had something bigger so we were less on top of each other. And other than one smart-ass joke of “Are We There Yet?,” there were no complaints. And yes, it was me who made the “Are We There Yet?” joke, which missed as most of my dad jokes seem to do.

On looks, the Suburban still has that high-end vibe. The big, gluttonous look of this SUV doesn’t try to disguise itself. It’s a behemoth and that’s just fine. It is not without aesthetic appeal though, as the grille is chromed-up and indentations on the hood help complete the front-end appearance. A small spoiler adds a sporty, youthful tone to the back end.

And my tester came with roof racks to show it was quite ready for a road trip (although we didn’t need to use the roof rack as the interior cargo was just barely enough). More on the vast cargo area a little further down.

An SUV the size of the Suburban needs a V8 or a diesel to move it and the 2022 version has two different V8s and a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel. My tester was the bigger of the two V8 engines, 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 good for only 355 HP and the six-cylinder diesel is only good for 277 horsepower.

Those numbers seem sluggish too, but I can report that with the big V8 engine the Suburban is properly powered. There’s never a struggle getting up to speed or even through the varying elevations we encountered in Tennessee.

The 10-speed automatic transmission does an admirable job dealing with it all, and the all-wheel drive helped keep the grip through some annoying rain. When we finally got to the sands of the Gulf of Mexico, the Suburban was not even road-weary, even though all of us were.

You cannot mention a big hulking SUV like this without discussing the fuel economy, especially considering the obscene fuel prices right now. The 6.2-liter V8 is the least efficient offering. It’s rated at 14 mpg/city and 19 mpg/highway. Over the entirety of the trip (down to Florida and back to Ohio), we had seven fill ups for a fuel economy average of nearly 18 mpg (a lot of it was highway). Obviously the large tank had the fuel pump ticking upward of $100 each fill, but $650 in fuel was still significantly cheaper than airfare for five adults (plus the dogs).

As far as the fuel economy goes, I actually found the Suburban to be surprisingly “not bad” in fuel economy. I certainly expected worse and budgeted for more than $650. And certainly the diesel version might’ve been slightly better on the MPGs but then cost more with the higher cost of diesel.

You can’t also talk about a road trip in a vehicle like the Suburban without discussing the interior space. As mentioned five adults were incredibly comfortable in all seats, even the third row. On a break from driving, I jumped into the third row to take a nap and was able to lie down (in fetal position) and get some much-needed 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.

Additionally perhaps the most impressive statistic is 41.5 – as in the cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row. We had that area stacked and packed to the roofline with suitcases, coolers and everything else needed for a weeklong beach vacation. And we were pleasantly surprised when everything fit (barely). The cargo area expands to 93.8 cubic with the third row folded (not possible for us) and 144.7 cubic feet with all rear seats folded.

Another nice perk was the rear-seat entertainment system, which allowed my daughter’s gaming boyfriend to plug in his Nintendo Switch and play games while projecting on the display mounted on the back of the passenger seat. It was a great feature for all families. Plus Chevy’s infotainment system is intuitive and offers numerous plugs for smartphones as well as USB ports for charging, even in the third row. It helps placate all passengers to ensure their devices are charged and not everyone has to listen to Mom and Dad’s music, although my music is awesome!

With a base price of $68,800, it felt priced right. With additional packages, including the aforementioned rear-seat entertainment system, my tester had a final MSRP of $79,370. The Suburban is made in Texas where the motto is 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 journey. It was truly the perfect vehicle for my family vacation and it did a great job. I can certainly say I had plenty of road time on it and put as many miles as I’ve ever put on a vehicle. And all those miles reveal one thing loud and clear: There’s a reason the Suburban has been around for so long. It’s an ideal family vehicle.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2022 Chevy Suburban 4WD Premier

Price/As tested price................................................ $68,800/$79,730

Mileage.......................................... 14 mpg/city; 19 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 6.2-liter V8

Horsepower................................. 420 hp/460 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. 10-speed automatic

Drive Wheels................ Four-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Arlington, TX

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On looks, the Suburban still has that high-end vibe. The big look of this Chevrolet SUV doesn’t try to disguise itself. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

On looks, the Suburban still has that high-end vibe. The big look of this Chevrolet SUV doesn’t try to disguise itself. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

Combined ShapeCaption
On looks, the Suburban still has that high-end vibe. The big look of this Chevrolet SUV doesn’t try to disguise itself. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

Combined ShapeCaption
Chevy’s infotainment system is intuitive and offers numerous plugs for smartphones as well as USB ports for charging, even in the third row. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

Chevy’s infotainment system is intuitive and offers numerous plugs for smartphones as well as USB ports for charging, even in the third row.  Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

Combined ShapeCaption
Chevy’s infotainment system is intuitive and offers numerous plugs for smartphones as well as USB ports for charging, even in the third row. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

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The pass-through between the captain’s seats in the second row was an easy passageway for the dogs. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

The pass-through between the captain’s seats in the second row was an easy passageway for the dogs. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

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The pass-through between the captain’s seats in the second row was an easy passageway for the dogs. Contributed by Jimmy Dinsmore

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