Sometimes you just need interior space. If you have a family with more than three children and a dog, usually the practical answer is a minivan. But most minivans don’t offer four-wheel-drive and ground clearance. The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is the answer if you aren’t in suburbia but more on the rural side and have a large family. I’m not usually a fan of the mastodon class of SUVs, but here the Suburban is king. There’s a reason why the Suburban is at the top of its class and has been since the 1930s.
Tim Herrick, VP at Chevrolet’s Global Product Programs, said, “With an increasing number of SUVs on the market, we knew the all-new Suburban needed to reach higher than ever. We transformed the Suburban to offer all-new technologies and features and deliver a better driving experience while staying true to the versatility and capability that have earned people’s trust for generations.”
Taking it to High Country
The Suburban High Country trim is what you want if you want to enjoy the engineering Chevrolet has implemented into this new 12th-generation Suburban. To get something this large to handle well and ride comfortably, some engineering magic has to be integrated into the suspension system. The High Country features GM’s terrific magnetic ride control with a four-corner air ride adaptive suspension. A dial on the dashboard allows you to raise or lower the vehicle height, or it can do it for you automatically.
“I think the most impressive aspect of the all-new Tahoe and Suburban is how well they handle,” Herrick said. “Despite being big, they offer responsive, confidence-inspiring handling that will change expectations for the full-size SUV driving experience.”
Another feature that separates the High Country from regular models is a unique grille with bronze accents and High Country badging. The interior includes High Country sill plates, seat embroidery and expanded color and trim choices. The High Country features cool aluminum 22-inch wheels with chrome inserts. The two tones on the wheels really set them off.
One specific new safety feature for the High Country model is Rear Pedestrian Alert. With a vehicle this large, electronically having an eye on your six can prevent devastating accidents. If you have a vehicle without backup monitoring, please check out the technology at your local mobile enhancement retailer. It really can help save lives, especially protecting children who can be unaware of dangers around them.
The High Country also provides a head-up display, HD Surround Vision to help negotiate parking lots, and an electronic rear camera mirror. We first saw the use of the electronic mirror in the Cadillac CT6 and loved it because you can load the interior to the gills with cargo and still be able to see out the rearview mirror. This technology can also be integrated in the aftermarket through Gentex, which manufactures the mirror for GM.
No doubt about it, Americans love their stuff. One significant achievement Chevrolet accomplished in the new Suburban is the massive cargo area behind the third-row seat. Overall, the new Suburban offers 19% more cargo capacity compared to the 2020 model.
I tested this out with a run to The Home Depot. The Suburban swallows 4×8 plywood sheets with ease and laughs at them! No wonder the Suburban is also a favorite with contractors who want the similar versatility of a full-size pickup during the week with the ability to carry the family on the weekend.
Because trailering is important to many full-size SUV customers, the Suburban includes new trailering technologies pioneered by the Silverado pickups. My Suburban tester flexed the Max Trailering package. It includes a high-capacity radiator and cooling fan, an integrated trailer brake controller, a Hitch Guidance with Hitch View feature and the Chevrolet trailering app. The app keeps tabs on the electrical connections and even warns of trailer theft by periodically briefly pulsing the trailer lights to make sure they are still connected. That’s awesome for sketchy motel parking lots.
The Suburban includes up to nine camera views to keep an eye on the payload. According to Chevrolet, the available features are designed to help improve the trailering experience with easier hitching using rear camera guidelines, bolstering confidence when towing a trailer. There’s even a special Side Blind Zone Alert that activates when trailering.
The Icon Lives On
It can be tough for a manufacturer to hold onto the top spot of a vehicle category for decades. But the new technologies Chevrolet has introduced in the 2021 model will help keep it at the top of the large-SUV pack. Most folks don’t need a Suburban – but if you do, it is nice to know it’s a sophisticated choice and not just a mega-sized SUV.