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You'll Like The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban If...

If you need the towing capacity of a full-size pickup truck coupled with the capability to seat nine people or fill an expansive dry and secure cargo area, the 2011 Chevy Suburban (and similar GMC Yukon XL) is arguably your best choice.

You May Not Like The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban If...

It takes a lot of fuel to haul this much mass up and down the road. With prices at the pump continuing to trend upward, buyers should ask themselves if they need the Suburban’s space and utility enough to justify the expense.

What's New

Chevy has treated its largest SUV to a few tweaks this year, including the availability of new exterior colors, a new 20-inch chrome wheel option and a towing package that now includes an integrated trailer brake controller.

Interior Features

Inside the 2011 Suburban is a cabin that includes seating for up to nine passengers, with standard front buckets that can be replaced by a split three-passenger bench seat. The third-row bench is easily accessed courtesy of an available second-row fold-and-tumble feature. That third row is, however, a bit old school in that it cannot be completely folded into the floor; it must be removed if you wish to maximize cargo space. Interior materials are acceptable, if not high-end, and the overall appearance is stylish yet understated. Storage is plentiful, with generous armrest storage and multiple pockets and cupholders.

Exterior Features

When it comes to vehicles you can buy off your local dealer’s lot, there’s not much capable of casting a shadow over the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban. It’s a full-size SUV, indeed. Modern styling shared with the Chevy Tahoe and Avalanche models allows the body-on-frame rig to appear big, yet refined at the same time. That’s due in part to restrained hood and fender bulges as well as precision body gaps that were introduced with the Suburban’s last redesign. The whole package rolls on 17-inch wheels, which can be replaced by new-for-2011, dealer-installed, chrome 20-inchers.

Driving Impressions

Despite being an extremely large SUV built on a truck frame and designed to pull or carry heavy loads, the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban delivers suitable comfortable ride around town and on the highway. Occupants will certainly feel the bumps, but the suspension does an admirable job of absorbing them. All models benefit from capable V8 engines and a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission, though more powertrain noise makes its way to the cabin than drivers may prefer.

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at a bit more than $42,000 for a rear-wheel-drive LS, while a fully loaded Suburban 1500 LTZ can reach almost $65,000 when fully equipped. Data indicates Suburbans are typically selling below MSRP, but, before starting negotiations with your dealer, we suggest checking the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what consumers are currently paying in your area. From a resale perspective, the 2011 Suburban is expected to outperform the Ford Expedition EL, match the performance of the GMC Yukon XL, and trail behind the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.

Notable Equipment

Chevrolet offers its 2011 Suburban 1500 in three flavors: LS, LT and LTZ, while the Suburban 2500 comes in just LS and LT. Shoppers considering the LS will discover a list of standard features that includes USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and complimentary access to satellite radio service and OnStar’s Turn-by-Turn navigation tool. The LT adds upgrades such as leather upholstery, triple-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, and a remote-start system, while the LTZ packs on second-row bucket seats and a rearview camera.

Notable Options

There’s no shortage of optional equipment available for the Suburban, as Chevy offers the 2011 model with a variety of stand-alone features and equipment packages. The list includes a power sunroof, power-retractable running boards, a remote-controlled rear DVD unit with wireless headphones, a blind-spot system and dealer-installed chrome wheels measuring up to 22 inches. For a more aggressive look and added capability, the Z71 Off-Road Package fits the Suburban with off-road tires and suspension components, skid plates, an automatic locking rear differential and a chrome grille.

Favorite Features

Active Fuel Management TechnologyThis technology is also known as cylinder deactivation. In light load situations, such as cruising on a flat highway, power is cut from eight to four cylinders in an effort to conserve fuel. As soon as more power is needed, all eight cylinders are automatically put back to work. Power-Operated Running BoardsThe available power-operated running boards, which pop out when a door is opened and retreat when closed, are of considerable help for passengers who find getting into and out of the Suburban to be difficult.

Under the Hood

Chevrolet equips its 2011 Suburban 1500 with a 5.3-liter V8 that delivers 320 horsepower when running on gasoline, or 326 horses if the fuel tank is filled with E85 (a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gas). The heavy duty Suburban 2500 packs a bigger punch with its 352-horsepower 6.0-liter V8. Both engines feature Chevy’s Active Fuel Management system, which cuts power from eight to four cylinders under light load situations. This technology, along with a standard six-speed automatic transmission, serves to improve the efficiency of Chevrolet’s heavy-hauling SUV. 5.3-liter V8 FlexFuel320 horsepower @ 5400 rpm (gasoline)326 horsepower @ 5300 (E85)335 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm (gasoline)348 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 (E85)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/21 (gasoline), 11/16 (E85) 6.0-liter V8352 horsepower @ 5400 rpm382 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 10/15 (2WD), 10/15 (4WD)

Editors' Notes

High gas prices are the talk of the day, leading many car buyers to focus on smaller, more efficient models. For some people, however, bigger isn’t necessarily better, but it is necessary. Especially well-suited for large families and those who tow a camper, boat or horse trailer, the 2011 Chevrolet Suburban is a completely modernized version of a genuine workhorse. It’s available in light-duty 1500 and heavy-duty, three-quarter-ton 2500 guises and three trim levels: the base LS, the mid-level LT and the upscale LTZ. Inside its cavernous confines is seating for up to nine occupants, cargo space that maxes out at 137.4 cubic feet, and all of the available luxuries and amenities required by families, contractors, and others.

Road Test Video Reviews

2011 Chevrolet Suburban Owner Reviews

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Power, space, comfort and good looks all in one reliable package.

2011 Chevrolet Suburban LT

I purchased this vehicle used so it already had a fair amount of wear and mileage. I chose it mainly because of it is towing ability and tows our 7000 pound trailer with ease. It has a powerful v8 engine that has recently started using a small amount of oil, which is common with the amount of mileage it has endured. It is a real beast and I feel safe driving it. This thing is spacious and I have enjoyed using it for long distance trips. There is plenty of room for 7 passengers and all of their luggage with room to spare. Seat comfort is premium as is the Bose sound system. Second row passengers can control their own music, climate, and seat heaters. There are multiple 12v power sockets throughout to keep your electronics charged. Did I mention this thing is powerful? It has 4wd, which I did not require but I have actually used it multiple times and it performed flawlessly. I love how high it sits and this actually makes it easier for my elderly parents to get in and out. I have owned this suburban for almost four years and the only mechanical trouble I have had is typical wear and tear issues with suspension. Cosmetically speaking, the paint on the hood is starting to crackle, the door handle paint is chipping away on the most used doors, the headlight plastic is hazy. The leather interior still looks great, the carpeting still good. The dash has developed two cracks which I have noticed is happening in most of these same vehicles. Research shows that a poor fastening design is causing it. The front airbags are under a recall but no fix has been offered yet. I really have enjoyed owning this suburban and highly recommend them. The space, comfort, power and good looks all in one package really cannot be beat!

- Wendi H

Happy Suburban Mom for Life!

2011 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ

I am a suburban fan through and through! First - the amount of space is AMAZING!! We are a family of 5, with three teenagers, who participate in many different activities from golf to downhill skiing. We always have enough room for our equipment (multiple sets of golf clubs or skis) and for us to be comfortable when traveling. Comfort for me is key and with three active kids it means lots of driving and carpooling for mom. I absolutely love the comfort of driving our suburban with heated seats in the winter and cooling seats in the summer! The general comfort makes waiting in pick-up lines so much less painful. The leather interior is comfortable when wearing shorts or a skirt as well! Even Though DVDs are almost a thing of the past we do have some good movies and the entertainment system allows the kids to watch something different than what they have on their phones when traveling. Everything is so easy to us as well. You can set the driver seat to automatically adjust for two different drivers which is very nice for my husband who has a longer torso and myself who has the longer legs. The trunk has the automatic open and close feature which is so helpful when your hands are full of groceries! Other nice traveling features include the backup alert system and backup camera, which is a must for me moving forward. It makes parking and backing up so much easier. The steering wheel makes long distance travel a breeze. You have cruise control, radio controls, and volume all at your fingertips! I will definitely stay with suburbans from here on out!

- Andrea M

Chevrolet Suburban: the vehicle for all

2011 Chevrolet Suburban Base

Our vehicle is very reliable, and we have not had problems with it running. It is a smooth drive. The leather seats are comfortable and you can adjust them any way you like. There are dual heat controls in the front, so the driver and passenger can adjust it to their needs. The front seats themselves are heated. The heat/air conditioning is also adjustable in the bucket seats. There is ample room in the back for luggage, and the seats in the way back are removable. It has tinted windows, which help keep the sun from heating the car too much. Overall, it is very reliable and safe and it is a comfortable drive.

- Rebekah L

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