Chevrolet Suburban is the original SUV and the oldest continuous nameplate in automotive history, having been introduced in 1935. It rolls into its 77th year with the same blend of spaciousness and capability that has distinguished it for more than seven decades.
The 2012 lineup is composed of LS, LT and LTZ models, offered in 2WD and 4WD, as well as 1500 and heavy-duty 2500 series. (LTZ is available only on 1500 series.) A Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed is standard on 1500 models, optimizing fuel economy on the highway via reduced engine speed. Also, the lower-rpm engine speed on the highway enhances interior quietness.
All models ride on a 130-inch (3,302 mm) wheelbase, which supports the Suburban’s generous passenger and cargo capability, while enabling a smooth ride. It is based on GM’s full-size SUV architecture, which features sleek, exterior styling; a sharp, precise driving feel; and excellent interior refinement and quietness.
Behind the first-row seats, Suburban offers 137.4 cubic feet (3,890 liters) of cargo room, along with up to 8,100 pounds (3,674 kg) of towing capability (1500 2WD models). When properly equipped, Suburban 2500 can tow up to 9,600 pounds (4,354 kg).
Changes and new features for 2012 include a new hard-drive navigation radio with a USB port, Time Shift Recording capability and more. Also new are a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel and StabiliTrak now incorporates trailer sway control and hill start assist. Three new exterior colors are offered, as well.
Suburban design and exterior features
Suburban features the global face of Chevrolet, with a large Chevy gold bowtie centered on a twin-port horizontal grille. The grille surround is inset with an argent texture or available chrome finish. Fog lamps and headlamps feature detailed optics. The lower fascia, incorporating the front license plate holder and integrated recovery hooks, is aggressively styled with a skid plate look that enhances Suburban’s rugged, off-road appearance.
- Standard assist steps with power-retractable assist steps available on LTZ.
- Heated power-operated outside mirrors are standard on LTZ and available on LT. They include auto-dimming, integrated signal indicators, ground lights and curb-tilt feature.
- A power-operated liftgate is available on LT and standard on LTZ.
- Chrome recovery hooks are available on LS and LT models and standard on LTZ (4WD models). Black recovery hooks are standard on LS and LT 4WD models.
- A range of 17-inch and 20-inch wheels is offered. Seventeen-inch wheels and tires are standard on LS and LT, with 20-inch wheels standard on LTZ.
- Dealer-installed accessory wheels include 20- and 22-inch designs.
- The Z71 Off Road appearance package is available on LT models and includes high-pressure, gas-charged monotube shocks, 18-inch on/off road tires, automatic-locking differential, front recovery hooks, a durable skid plate and high-capacity air cleaner. Large, color-keyed wheel flares, an aggressive front fascia and satin chrome tubular assist steps, and bright chrome front grille insert provide a one-of-a kind appearance.
- Exterior color choices include: Crystal Red Tintcoat, White Diamond Tricoat, Black, Graystone, Silver Ice Metallic, Gold Mist Metallic, Olympic White, Black Granite Metallic, Mocha Steel Metallic and Blue Topaz Metallic.
Suburban interior standard and available features
- There are almost no exposed metal hardware or latches, as all models feature enclosing “close-outs” around the seat bottoms and door sill trim plates.
- Suburban has the segment’s largest center console storage bin, a large glove box and numerous storage compartments.
- Three rows of seating are standard on all models. The second row is available as a three-passenger bench with a 60/40 split or two bucket seats. The third row features a 50/50-split design and is removable. A power-assisted second row seat release features is available on LT and standard on LTZ.
- Leather-appointed front seats are standard on LT and LTZ.
- Heated front seats are standard on LT.
- Heated and cooled front seats and heated second-row seats are standard on LTZ.
- Heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on LTZ.
- Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard on LT and LTZ; dual-zone manual-control air conditioning is standard on LS.
- Rear-seat entertainment system is available on LT and LTZ, including DVD player with remote control, overhead display, two sets of wireless infrared headphones, auxiliary audio/video jacks, remote game plug-in and mute button in overhead console.
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio is standard on all models.
- Audio system with AM/FM/CD and USB port is standard on LS and LT.
- Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound system is standard on LTZ; Bose nine-speaker sound is standard on LT and a non-Bose six-speaker sound system is standard on LS.
- Navigation radio with touch-screen operation is standard on LTZ and available on LT.
- Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard on all models.
- Power-adjustable pedals are standard on LT and LTZ and available on LS.
- Remote vehicle starter system is standard on LT and LTZ and available on LS.
- Convenience Package (PDD) is available on LS and includes power-adjustable pedals, remote vehicle starter system, rear parking assist, rear vision camera and inside mirror with camera display.
- Luxury Package (PCK) is available on LT and includes heated second-row seats, power-release second-row seats, power liftgate, universal home remote, outside heated power-adjustable/folding mirrors and inside auto-dimming mirror.
- Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package (PCJ) is available on LT and LTZ and includes an additional nine months of SiriusXM radio and XM NavTraffic service, power sunroof and rear-seat entertainment system with third-row DVD screen. LT also includes an audio system with navigation, AM/FM/SiriusXM radio with CD, rear vision camera and auto-dimming inside rearview mirror.
All 1500 models are powered by a Vortec 5.3L V-8 that balances power and efficiency. Variable valve timing helps the 5.3L optimize performance, efficiency and emissions, while GM’s Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivating technology helps improve fuel economy in certain light-load driving conditions. It is also E85-capable and matched with GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission.
Suburban 2500 features the Vortec 6.0L V-8, rated at 352 horsepower (262 kW) and 382 lb.-ft. of torque (518 Nm). Like the 5.3L, it also features variable valve timing, Active Fuel Management and E85 capability. It is paired with the heavy-duty Hydra-matic 6L90 six-speed automatic.
Vortec 5.3L with an iron cylinder block is used on 1500 2WD models (engine code LMG) and rated at 320 horsepower (239 kW) and 335 lb.-ft. of torque (454 Nm).
- Vortec 5.3L with an aluminum cylinder block is used on 1500 4WD models (engine code LC9) and rated at 320 horsepower (239 kW) and 335 lb.-ft. of torque (454 Nm).
- The variable valve timing system allows linear delivery of torque, with near-peak levels over a broad rpm range, and high specific output (horsepower per liter of displacement). It also helps reduce exhaust emissions. Because it manages valve overlap at optimum levels, it eliminates the need for an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system.
- GM's Active Fuel Management technology increases fuel economy approximately 6 percent under the federal government's required testing procedure and potentially more in certain real-world driving conditions. AFM temporarily deactivates four of the engine’s cylinders under light load conditions and seamlessly reactivates them when full power is required. The transition takes less than 20 milliseconds and is virtually indiscernible.
- A heavy-duty timing chain delivers quiet operation and long life. It is validated for 200,000 miles (320,000 km) of operation.
- E85 is a clean-burning, domestically produced alternative fuel comprising 85 percent ethanol alcohol and 15 percent gasoline. Ethanol is renewable and produces fewer greenhouse gases during the combustion process.
Suburban chassis and suspension
The Suburban is built on GM’s full-size SUV platform, incorporating a fully boxed frame, coil-over-shock front suspension (1500 models) or independent front suspension with torsion bars (2500 models), leaf-spring rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Its longer wheelbase enhances ride smoothness and supports high towing capacity of up to 9,600 pounds (4,354 kg) on 2500 models and 8,100 pounds (3,674 kg) on 1500 models.
- Wide front and rear tracks – 68.2 inches (1,732 mm) front/67 inches (1,702 mm) rear – enhance handling and vehicle stability for a more confident road feel.
- A stiff frame reduces vibrations transmitted to the passenger cabin, while the strength and accuracy of the fully boxed frame also enable precise mounting and tuning of chassis and suspension components.
- The Autoride suspension system is standard on LTZ and features a segment-exclusive bi-state, real-time damping system that provides a refined ride with greatly reduced body motion. The system consists of a semi-active, two-position damping control system that responds in real time to road and driving conditions, based on body and wheel motion sensors.
- A single-speed transfer case is standard on LS and LT 4WD models.
- A two-speed transfer case is standard on LTZ 4WD and available on LS and LT 4WD models.
- A trailering package with a 3.42 axle ratio, external transmission cooler and engine oil cooler is available on LS, LT and LTZ models.
- The standard axle ratio on all models is 3.08.
- A locking rear differential is standard on all models.
Suburban safety and crash-avoidance features
- Standard head curtain side air bags with rollover protection for all seating rows. The roof-mounted head curtain air bags include design features that provide increased rollover protection and occupant containment.
- Standard seat-mounted side-impact air bags for driver and right-front passenger provide thorax and pelvic protection.
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both.
- Available Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist that can detect certain stationary objects in the rearward path of the vehicle and send an audible warning sound and display via three LEDs near the rear window
- Available rearview camera system designed to provide the driver with
a view of people or objects in the rearward path of the vehicle.
- Side blind zone alert is standard on LTZ.
- Standard four-wheel-disc brake system with ABS featuring smooth, quiet operation, longer pad life and more resistance to brake pulsation.
- Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in two of the second-row seating positions.
- Tire pressure monitoring system, standard on all models.
- Standard remote keyless entry (RKE) system provides a second function for the red panic button. Drivers can use it to locate their cars without sounding the panic alarm.
- Strong body structure to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants.
OnStar is standard on all Suburban models. It uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash. OnStar subscribers also can use the service to be Good Samaritans by sending help to other motorists, and to call for help in other non-crash emergencies.
- OnStar is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and information services in the United States and Canada.
- Six months of complimentary OnStar Directions and Connections service with Turn-by-Turn Navigation for easier route guidance on all Suburban models. The feature is easy to use because all directions are sent to the car by an advisor, without the need to stop. Turn-by-Turn can be cost-effective, since map updates and aftermarket navigation systems are not needed.
- Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track the vehicle.