American brand icons do not come much more glorious than Chevy. In the automotive realm, Chevrolet has been a constant throughout the last 100 years.
A powerhouse in the General Motors stable, Chevrolet has seen off dozens of business lines and market segments. Divested in favor of keeping Chevy healthy, GM left the heavy trucks business altogether and dropped half its brand portfolio in the last ten years. Thus, the recent history of the firm has been shaken up more this century than the ten preceding decades.
But the results speak for themselves. Never in my lifetime has Chevy made better vehicles. Cars and trucks to be proud of owning, and models that objectively and subjectively match the quality, style and features of anything else worldwide. True story.
TOPPING THE PAST
The icon of Chevrolet for most people is the truck line. Imagine a world where Chevy could only keep making one car. That is it. Which model would you pick to evolve through year 2100?
Many people would choose the Suburban. The “Chevrolet One Ton Commercial Truck” can do it all.
Who does not have an awesome Chevy Suburban memory? Growing up, we did not have enough kids to need such a brute, but all the coolest families had a series of Chevy’s best throughout my time in the Chicago burbs.
NAILING THE PRESENT
Taking Chevy back to respectability, let alone true competitiveness, has been an enormous challenge. But one the firm has met head-on.
The all-new 2015 Suburban is still a proud crown jewel for all American industry. Totally redesigned with all-new platform, folding third row and massively more comfortable cabin — the Suburban is the best truck it has ever been.
A brief spin in the 2015 LTZ 4WD proves the Sub is still on top of its game. Huge and flexible, strong and capable — yet now also posh and fashionable!?
Another true story.
The LTZ 4WD carries a base price of $65,000 and makes almost no sacrifices versus its GMC Yukon, Denali and Cadillac Escalade siblings.
The Chevy’s appeal versus fancier chums is its brand legacy and lack of pretension. This is a truck for getting it done, not showing it off.
But everyone wants to look good, and this LTZ adds $10k in mostly functional but also fashionable upgrades. $1000 White Diamond Tri-Coat paint is right out of the Escalade parts bin and looks gorgeous, while the charcoal 22-inch wheels for $3000 extra are HOT and totally transformative for the Sub’s style. Cocoa leather is gorgeous in here, while the moonroof is small but nice for bringing light into the front cabin.
Magnetic Ride Control is an LTZ exclusive for Chevy, while the cabin tech and touchscreens are easier to operate than the Escalade’s — yet lacks only a few Caddy features.
The key missing elements no Suburban offers, as far as we can tell, are two:
— power running boards
— the 6.2-liter V8 engine from the Escalade and top Denali models
Will you miss these? Perhaps. We did. But only because we know they exist elsewhere.
DRIVING THE FUTURE
Also missing from the roster of 2015 Suburbans — or their 2016 counterparts in a few months — is the new eight-speed automatic rolling out on the Escalade. If you want to get picky, the Sub also lacks bi-xenon or LED headlamps for low or highbeams.
Detail elements, perhaps, but ones you too might miss when spending $75k on a full-size SUV.
On the road, the Suburban is easier to drive than you would ever expect.
Yet even with MRC shocks, we missed the new Ford Expedition EL Platinum’s fun handling balance on the road. The LTZ Suburban feels powerful without a full cabin or a trailer in back, but is less confident (and less fun) when driven pushed hard than some competitors. Will this matter to you in normal family transport duties? Not really, but good to know.
2016 Chevrolet Suburban Updates
(GBE) Crystal Red Tintcoat exterior color is no longer available
(GBN) White Diamond Tricoat exterior color is no longer available
(IO3) AM/FM stereo with CD player audio system
(G1E) Siren Red Tintcoat exterior color
(G1W) Iridescent Pearl Tricoat exterior color
(UHS) Re-configurable cluster (Multi-color enhanced graphic)
(UV6) HUD (Head Up Display)
(TQ5) IntelliBeam headlamps
(UHX) Lane Keep Assist
(PCW) Enhanced Driver Alert Package – Now includes (JF4) Power-adjustable pedals, (UEU) Forward Collision Alert, (TQ5) IntelliBeam headlamps, (UHX) Lane keep assist and safety alert seat
(D07) Console, floor, with storage area-SD card reader has been removed from inside center console
(IO5) Audio system replaces (IO3) Audio system as the standard radio for 1LS trim
(U2M) SiriusXM Satellite Radio with HD has been replaced by two separate RPO Codes; (U2K) SiriusXM Satellite Radio and (U2L) HD Radio
(UTT) Now also includes liftgate shield
(UHX) Land keep assist, replaces (UFL) Lane departure warning
All trims come standard with capless fuel fill
It is a thrill to see the Sub back on top for 2015. This exact trim, color and option set is the Suburban we would pick for ourselves if in the market. White Diamond Tricoat is being replaced for 2016 with the as-yet-unseen Iridescent Pearl Tricoat, which is a similar brilliant white but with more flashes of color in the sunlight.
Until then, we proudly crown the 2015 Suburban LTZ with the crown of the best Chevrolet SUV in a long line of super-stars. The Chevrolet Truck continues to define American engineering, design and industry to this day.
2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ 1/2 Ton 4WD
What do you think?