The 2009 Chevrolet Suburban has a considerable reputation to maintain. Not just the dean of SUVs, the Suburban is the dean of motor vehicles as no other car on the road goes back in history so far under the same name. Chevrolet’s first SUV was built in 1933 for the National Guard and the Civilian Conservation Corps. It took the name Suburban in 1935 and has been wearing that name ever since. In that whole time there is not a year you could glance at the Suburban and fail to recognize it.
The new Suburban has changed a lot, inside and out, of course. After all, it reached social security age several years ago. But you can still recognize it with a single glance.
You might not recognize what’s under the hood, though. The half-ton Suburban 1500 is powered by either a 310 horsepower 5.3 liter V8 or a 352 horsepower 6.0 liter V8. The three-quarter ton 2500 gets a 366 horsepower 6.0 liter V8. All three engines are matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. At its worst, the Suburban manages twelve miles per gallon in the city and seventeen miles per gallon highway, but the top mileage combination gives fourteen and twenty, respectively.
For all its size, Suburban doesn’t entirely forget about ecology. The 5.3 liter engine is flex-fuel and all three engines use cylinder deactivation technology.
Suburban comes in either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive and has among the largest, if not the largest, cargo capacity in the business. It easily seats six adults in comfort and can transport eight for short distances without too much stress. Towing capacity is a hefty eighty-one hundred pounds for the 1500 and ninety-six hundred pounds for the 2500.
Suburban is a tank (though it doesn’t ride like one), with five-star ratings from NHTSA everywhere except rollover. A weakness for all SUVs, especially large ones, the rollover rating is only three-star. Safety systems include advanced airbags, airbags all around, the LATCH system, traction control, antilock brakes and brake/transmission shift interlock.
The original Suburban was as much a truck as a car, and the modern Suburban still works like a truck. But inside you won’t mistake it for a Mac or a Peterbilt. Among its many offered amenities are heated power mirrors, rear liftgate with liftglass, six-way power adjustable driver seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, information center, power programmable door locks, remote engine start, OnStar, Bluetooth and MP3/CD/DVD player.
Style changes have been minor over the past couple of years. The 2009 Chevrolet Suburban comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and LTZ. Base price is $39,065.