The 2022 Chevy Suburban is here to prove that sometimes, bigger is better. On the market in one form or another since 1934, the Suburban is the nameplate in longest continuous production in the industry, and with good reason. It's become virtually synonymous with the concept of "roomy," often boasting more cargo and passenger rooms than any of its competitors. The Suburban might have started out as a station wagon almost 100 years ago, but Chevy has continually reinvented the model since then, tweaking it to meet contemporary consumer demands without ever sacrificing the cargo room or power that made it so beloved in the first place.
Now in the second model year of its 12th generation, the 2022 Suburban is doubling down on what it does best: offering three rows of seating with unparalleled room and towing capacity. Last year's Suburban grabbed the title of largest and longest SUV in the extended length category and increased the towing capacity to boot, cementing the SUV's reputation as one of the most capable full-size options in the market.
The 2022 Suburban shares its platform with Chevy's Silverado 1500, lending the truck's considerable brawn and heavy-duty construction to the SUV. However, Chevy made one vital tweak to fit the needs of SUVs drivers, dropping the Silverado's live axle and leaf springs for a rear multi-link suspension. This improved the ride quality and allowed designers to lower the Suburban's floors, creating more room in the rear rows and cargo area. The result is the roomiest SUVs on the market today with the type of cargo room that would put some smaller pickups to shame. In fact, the Suburban even passes one of the most common tests of a truck's jobsite worthiness: it can easily accommodate a 4x8 sheet of plywood with rear seats folded.
With all seats in their full upright position, the Suburban offers 41.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third-row seats. This is an increase of almost two feet over 11th generation Suburbans, with designers clearly gunning for the "most cargo room" title. The space expands to 93.8 feet with the third-row seats folded and 144.7 cubic feet when all rear seats are folded, giving the Suburban the space to transport everything one would expect from a full-size SUV and more. In fact, with that type of space, one could fit an average size refrigerator inside the Suburban... without even folding down the second-row seats.
The ample passenger seating speaks to the Suburban's station wagon roots, though even most of those couldn't begin to compete with the SUV's nine-passenger capacity. And while you might not find yourself driving entire baseball teams around on an everyday basis, it's always nice to know that you could and still have more than 40 cubic feet available for bats, gloves, and sunflower seeds.
The 2022 Suburban features a number of upgrades over the 2021 version, and new engine options are a major headline. The Suburban is a true behemoth of an SUV, and while that carries many advantages for drivers looking for class-leading cargo and passenger room, it can put a real strain on some of the more modest engines on the market. Chevy has ensured that won't be an issue with the new Suburban, adding the available 6.2-liter EcoTec3 V8 to a wider range of trims. Previously only available as a standard feature on the top-tier High Country trim, the 6.2-liter is now an optional upgrade on the RST, Z71, and Premier trims, making the larger engine available on more than half the lineup.
The 6.2-liter setup pairs well with the hulking SUV's now-standard 10-speed automatic transmission, giving it the pep to deliver a ride that avoids some of the sluggishness drivers might experience with other full-size options. The new 6.2-liter option represents a big step up in terms of horsepower and torque yet manages to achieve similar fuel efficiency to the base 5.3-liter powerplant. The 6.2-liter features 420 horsepower against the base model's 355 horses and gives the Suburban nearly 80 more pound-feet of torque. While few drivers are coming to the full-size sector expecting record-setting MPG, Chevy's Dynamic Fuel Management system allows the larger engine to boast the same 16 MPG combined as its smaller cousin.
Reviews have consistently lauded the Suburban's improved performance, with critics citing the 6.2-liter and diesel engines as the primary reason. Speaking of the diesel, drivers seeking to squeeze more MPG out of their tanks would be well-advised to look into the Suburban's optional 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel option. Available on every trim in the lineup, the Duramax diesel gets 27 MPG on the highway while still matching the 6.2-liter in terms of torque. This is possible thanks in part to the inherent efficiency of diesel, but Chevy's automatic stop/start system also does its part. By stopping the engine when parked, sitting in traffic, or at a light, the Suburban is able to conserve fuel while also reducing emissions.
The body-on-frame design of full-size SUVs holds many advantages, but comfort isn't typically one of them. Lifted from the pickup world, this construction method gives full-size SUVs like the Suburban a leg up in terms of durability but often results in a slightly rougher ride than one would find in a typical unibody design. Thankfully, Chevy has come up with some unique ways to address this issue. Available on the top three trim packages, Chevy's Magnetic Ride Control and Four-Corner Air Ride Adaptive Suspension are two innovative technologies the automaker has employed to deliver the smoothest possible ride while also increasing fuel efficiency and accessibility to boot.
Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) comes standard on High Country and Premier trims and brings a whole new approach to the concept of shock absorption, using an adaptive magnetic fluid to reduce vibrations when drivers find themselves off-road or facing uneven terrain. Magnets within the system can be activated to increase or decrease the viscosity of the iron-rich fluid within the damper, providing a smoother or stiffer ride as the terrain dictates. MRC uses a set of sensors to monitor driving conditions continuously and is able to adjust in just five milliseconds.
Chevy's Four-Corners Air Ride Adaptive Suspension tackles the comfort issue in a slightly different way, using a centrally-located air pump to raise and lower the Suburban by up to four inches. Available on the High Country and the performance-minded Z71, Air Ride delivers a smoother, safer driving experience by evenly distributing weight on all four corners and can be adjusted to raise by as much as an inch for improved clearance during off-road use.
In addition to maximizing comfort and control, Air Ride can help tackle an issue unique to SUVs on the larger end of the full-size class: entering and exiting the vehicle itself. With Air Ride, the Suburban can be set to automatically raise and lower itself by two inches, which is greatly appreciated on such a large vehicle. If that's not enough, Air Ride has one more trick up its sleeve: improving fuel efficiency. When operating at highway speeds, the air pump lowers the vehicle by 3/4 of an inch, improving the SUV's aerodynamic properties and, in turn, its overall MPG.