Suburban LTZ 4WD

Gaspé, Québec — For 80 years, Chevrolet’s been making Suburbans. At that age, you’d expect the name to be nothing more than legacy but—given the sheer girth and utility of the 2015 edition, the brand’s twelfth generation—it’s actually perspicacious.

In short, the Suburban’s a good option for transporting plenty of passengers and their stuff out of the city, dragging heavy sundries and piling others overhead. Ever notice ‘Suburban’ is an anagram for urban bus? This comes with a litany of safety features standard.

The LTZ trim is about as big and luxurious as you can get without moving into stretch-limo SUV territory. Squeezing fun out of its 5.3L direct-injected eight-cylinder engine, we recently spent a day riding the hills and bends of the narrowly populated Gaspé Peninsula in Québec.

It drives more like truck than a car, so there’s plenty of available power for climbing those hills, even towing trailers. The included trailer sway control stabilizes the ride like magic with the flick of a button, instilling confidence in nervous drivers (it’s okay to admit it) who may not have much occasion to practice towing.

But when all that muscle is not needed, the active fuel management system dials the power back to four-cylinder mode, increasing efficiency. Considering the Suburban is half the size of my neighbourhood, the fuel economy stats for the 4-wheel drive are a surprisingly good combined city/highway average of 14.3L/100km. Driving partner who came all the way from Winnipeg and I pushed the engine for most of the day we spent in the Suburban and consistently got around 14.5. Technically we were on highways but conditions were varied: steep hills, construction zones, traffic lights in towns and several times we detoured into picturesque photo-ops on gravel.

The look is pure Chevy face-on, but boxy from any other angle, reminiscent of the Ford Flex—not a bad thing at all. At 5699mm by 2044m, the Suburban’s actually quite longer and slightly narrower than the 5125mm by 2256mm Flex. So it handles differently. With all that length, the rearview camera is pretty much de rigeur. So it comes standard.

Sound baffling throughout and narrowed gaps in the 2015’s construction ensure a quieter ride—not quite like an electric but you can talk at speed without having to raise your voice. A heavy kick to the accelerator is reported by the increase in speed but you barely hear it.

Satellite radio on the Bose surround sound speaker system fills the silence admirably. It was included. All the essentials were. Everyone’s comfortable with tri-zone climate control, heated and cooled full leather seats up front and heated bucket seats in the middle row. But let’s not forget the heated steering wheel. Winter will be back, as my driving partner from Winnipeg reminded me.

Suburban LTZ 4WD Base: $70,785
As driven: $83,315.

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