Thanks to a complete redesign, the new 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is officially the biggest big SUV you can buy, offering genuine comfort for up to eight people plus more maximum cargo space than any rival.
Boasting the longest continually running automotive nameplate in America, the Chevrolet Suburban celebrates its 85th birthday with many design, engineering, and technological upgrades.
The big news is more room for second- and third-row passengers, and increases in cargo space. But the all-new 2021 Chevy Suburban also adds an available off-road model to the lineup and an optional turbodiesel 6-cylinder engine. Trailering, safety, and infotainment upgrades round out the changes.
Trim levels include LS, LT, Z71, RST, Premier, and High Country. Built in Arlington, Texas, the new 2021 Suburban goes on sale in mid-2020, according to Chevrolet. And don’t forget that the redesigned 2021 Chevy Tahoe, which turns 25 years old this year, is essentially the same thing, but shorter in length and featuring less interior room at a lower price.
If you took the old Suburban and tossed it into a blender with the latest Silverado 1500 pickup truck, the 2021 Suburban is what you’d get.
Standard equipment includes LED headlights and taillights and active grille shutters to improve fuel economy. The Suburban LS and LT roll on 18-inch alloy wheels, while the off-road-ready Z71 and upscale Premier sit on 20-inch wheels. The sporty RST and luxurious High Country feature 22-inch wheels as standard equipment.
You can easily tell the difference between several Suburban trims. The Z71 has a modified front end and grille with a skid plate, red tow hooks, and a greater approach angle. It also has knobby all-terrain tires as standard equipment, along with a 2-speed transfer case and hill descent control.
The Suburban RST is the custom sport model with unique front styling, a black ice grille finish, black and black chrome exterior detailing, and large wheels.
Chrome trim and fancy wheels define the Premier and High Country versions of the new Suburban.
Chevrolet says that its goal with the 2021 Suburban’s interior was to create the ultimate road trip environment. As a part of that, the Suburban sees dramatic improvements to passenger and cargo space thanks to 4.1-inch wheelbase stretch and an independent rear suspension design, yet the new Suburban is nearly the same length as the outgoing model.
By relocating the rear wheels and using a more compact suspension design, Chevrolet could lower the SUV’s floor. In turn, second- and third-row seat comfort and leg room are vastly superior to the old Suburban. Plus, the second-row seats slide now, offering up to 5.5 inches of travel.
Chevrolet says the Suburban’s seats are easier to fold, and the resulting load floor is both lower and flatter than before. The company claims best-in-class maximum cargo volume, with a 19% improvement over the previous model.
The 2021 Chevy Suburban cargo volume measurements are:
41.5 cu.-ft. behind the third row
93.8 cu.-ft. behind the second row
144.7 cu.-ft. with both rear rows folded
Chevrolet had not defined equipment for the 2021 Suburban LT when the SUV debuted. Chevy bases the Z71 and the RST trims on the LT, the former adding a rugged off-road version of the Suburban to the lineup and the latter giving buyers a custom sport appearance.
Beyond the LS, LT, Z71, and RST, the Suburban Premier includes perforated leather upholstery, 12-way power adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, a heated steering wheel, a navigation system, and a 10-speaker Bose premium sound system.
The Premier rides on a Magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping suspension and includes a long list of safety equipment such as blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, lane-change alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and a Safety Alert Seat that vibrates when the technology detects a threat.
High Country is a new top trim level for the Suburban, adding a more powerful V8 engine, bronze accents to the grille, special interior trim, and 22-inch wheels. The Suburban High Country also boasts a head-up display, a 360-degree surround-view camera, rear pedestrian warning, and a rear camera mirror that conveys a video feed of what’s behind the SUV to the driver.
Depending on the trim level, adaptive cruise control, an air suspension, a dual-pane glass sunroof are also available, as is a power sliding center console revealing a 10-inch opening to a secure, hidden storage bin.
Under the Hood
Buy a new 2021 Suburban, and you have three engine choices: a 5.3-liter V8, a 6.2-liter V8, and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel inline 6-cylinder. Each pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive.
The gasoline-fueled V8s feature several technologies designed to maximize their mileage. They include direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, automatic engine stop/start, and Dynamic Fuel Management with 12 different modes of cylinder deactivation. Official fuel economy estimates will be available closer to the SUV’s arrival at dealerships.
Standard in all trim levels except for High Country, the 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. The Suburban High Country gets a standard 6.2-liter V8 good for 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque.
The 3.0-liter turbodiesel I6 is an option for all trims except for Z71. It generates 277 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque, and Chevrolet expects it to deliver class-leading fuel economy.
A Max Trailering Package is available, including high-capacity engine cooling, an integrated trailer brake controller, Hitch Guidance and Hitch View camera systems, and a Chevrolet trailering app with ability to check trailer tire pressures and temperatures. Official tow ratings will be available closer to the SUV’s on-sale date.
The Suburban’s longer wheelbase and independent rear suspension design should contribute to a more comfortable ride and better handling, especially in combination with Magnetic Ride Control adaptive damping (standard Premier and High Country; available Z71) and the load-leveling 4-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension (Z71 and High Country only).
“I think the most impressive aspect of the all-new Tahoe and Suburban is how well they handle,” said Tim Herrick, vice president, global product programs. “Despite being big, they offer responsive, confidence-inspiring handling that will change expectation for the full-size driving experience.”
Note that the optional air suspension offers four inches of suspension height adjustment. Drivers can raise it two inches at low speeds with 4WD engaged and lower it two inches to make it easier for passengers to enter or exit.
On the safety front, the 2021 Suburban includes standard forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, a high-definition reversing camera, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available safety systems include blind-spot warning with extended trailer coverage, rear cross-traffic warning, lane-change alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear pedestrian warning. Select Suburban models offer a high-definition surround-view camera system.
Chevrolet says the Suburban’s technology runs on a new digital platform with five times the data processing power of the outgoing version of the SUV, plus the latest in cyber security protection and over-the-air update capability.
Standard equipment includes a Chevrolet Infotainment System with a 10-inch touchscreen display. It features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot with a free one month/3GB trial period. Wireless smartphone charging is standard in all but the Suburban LS.
Drivers benefit from the available 15-inch color head-up display showing a wealth of data at eye level (optional on Premier and standard on High Country). Rear passengers will enjoy the available dual 12.6-inch Rear Seat Media System displays with independent connections for personalized viewing. Android smartphone mirroring, and the ability to share content between screens.
New trailering technologies are also available, offering up to nine different camera views to make hitching a trailer and towing one easier than ever.
Chevrolet is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of February 22, 2020, but may have changed since that date.