Stars seem to have a certain something that makes them stand out from the crowd. Some call it the "IT" factor. The Chevy Suburban Z71 clearly has it because everywhere I went during my test drive, it turned heads and garnered attention. Besides that, it could do what all stars do. It performed!. Being a movie maker and content creator, the news of a Hollywood walk of Fame star being given to a vehicle caught my eye. I learned that an award of excellence was given to the Chevy Suburban by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and was installed on a sidewalk Monday, June 21, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.
It was the first such award to reside permanently in Texas, a location chosen because it is where the Suburban is assembled. I paid very close attention when I got my hands on the Suburban not long ago to delve into the makings of a vehicle that actually earned a star. I found that its got all the right stuff that makes it a solid performer in the spotlight.
Photo: Mike Stoner Chevrolet.
The 2022 Suburban is one of the best large SUVs. It's easy to like the Chevy Suburban because it's so big and so powerful and it has the reputation to back up its presence. I'm test driving the 2022 suburban 4 wheel drive Z71. The color is described as dark ash metallic and the interior design color is Gideon, very dark atmosphere. Under the hood I'm riding on a 6.2 l ecotec V8 engine with a 10-speed automatic transmission. Producing 420 horses.
It's confident, bold and handles nicely. It's a big vehicle and I was expecting it to be a slow starter and sort of bulky. Yeah there was a little bulkiness but more than anything it was quite responsive and maneuverable. My test drive consisted mostly of city driving and I found the fuel economy as reported, 14 miles per gallon in the city and 19 on the highway. According to the EPA that's about $7,250 annually in fuel cost at the time of this publishing. We know costs go up and down so that may change.
When it comes to star treatment, the Arlington Assembly now carries a unique star status as well. The powerful plant assembles the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. The first vehicle was assembled at the plant in January 1954. Seventy-five percent of all full-size utility vehicles sold to retail customers in the U.S. are assembled at Arlington Assembly and nearly one in two full-size utility vehicles sold in the U.S. wears the Chevrolet bowtie. To keep up with consumer demand, Arlington Assembly’s production line currently runs 24 hours a day, six days a week, producing one vehicle almost every 60 seconds. The plant has produced over 12 million vehicles since 1954.
The Suburban can be fitted with adaptive dampers and an adjustable air suspension. Suburban's ride height can be automatically and manually lowered or raised so that there is improved passenger accessibility, aerodynamics, and ground clearance. The tougher-looking Z71 trim level has 20-inch wheels on all-terrain tires with protective underbody skid plates, and a two-speed transfer case that provides traditional four-wheel drive. These are all terrain tires supported by StabiliTrak, and there's a skid plate up front to protect the underneath area. Driving is smooth as a result of the electronic precision shift and it was a dream moving from one gear to the next. I didn't have to deal with it but there is a hill descent control available. There's also trailering equipment available as well.
Available on Z71 and High Country, the first-in-class Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension that actually optimizes ride height and comfort by adjusting the suspension to road conditions. The system is able to adjust the vehicle’s height to provide more clearance or lower it to enhance aerodynamics and improve efficiency. When parked, the vehicle can also be lowered to make getting in and out easier.
I found the drive not surprisingly smooth especially for the passengers. My mother's older and a bit more fragile so she found it quite easy to get in and out of and quite comfortable and even enjoyable with the drive from her POV. She enjoyed the nine speaker Bose audio system listening to her favorite music. I can't say I enjoyed it the same but I have fun watching her be happy.
The Suburban seats eight. To cater to the passengers, there are wireless charging devices throughout the vehicle and keyless open lot and start for the driver. They're also two power outlets and 120 volt as well. I'm still trying to figure out how to activate the Wi-Fi hotspot but I know it was available and capable. There's Sirius XM radio capable, which is a subscription service separately. The Chevy infotainment 3 premium system has Google built-in capability housed on a 10.2 in high definition diagonal color touch screen. It's as sharp as any in the industry and in the segment. There's also Bluetooth streaming audio for most phones, wireless Android, wireless Apple CarPlay and for compatible phones.
I went into that whole segment because entertainment and functionality is so critical. Of course I can't ignore issues around creature comforts for the passengers. There's a trizone automatic HVAC, seats with leather seating surfaces. Those seats are nice and robust and we sit high when compared to other cars and traffic. So you're feeling a lot safer, and there's also Chevy safety assist, automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking and forward collision alert. Additionally there's lane keep assist with lane departure warnings available and a following distance indicator light as well as antella beam auto high beam technology for your lights up front. Also for safety you might consider the fact that there's a theft deterrent system and there's front and rear park assist in those tight spots.
It's competitively priced at around 63,000. If you include the Z71 off-road package which is a luxurious option there's another $5,985 to tack on but it's well worth the expense because you're also getting the HD surround vision, the seats second row get a 60/40 split bench with power release, there's heated second row outboard seats, the third row seats also have a 60/40 split bench with power fold, and tons of other add-ons that make it pretty impressive. All told, the one we tested arrived at $$75,410. The safety rating was four stars overall out of five, five stars for the front driver crash test for the passenger and five stars for both the side front seat and the rear seat tests.
The Suburban's cargo area is quite competitive in the segment. It can expand by 23 cubic feet (145 total); when the load floor is flatter and lowered due to Suburban's independent rear suspension.
Not only is a Chevy suburban Z71 a handsome vehicle with plenty of functionalities, but it also pushes the envelope between truck, minivan, and SUV all packed into a handsome elegant and affordable package. It's also flexible and versatile, as it can transfer back and forth from a luxury family car, to a work car, to a private getaway space when you need it. We found it to be also an excellent option for family road trips and extended trips.
By Tony C. Lesesne