At first glance, the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Suburban might look out of place on today’s roads. Everywhere you look, the roads are filled with compact crossovers and gas-sipping hybrids. While the new Suburban is as large and in charge as ever, Chevy has made an effort to get with the times. The new Suburban is available with a diesel engine, for one. It also comes equipped with a standard 10-speed automatic transmission and stop-start technology.
The Suburban rides on a new platform this year. The 2021 version features a completely redesigned rear suspension setup and comes in three new trim levels. We know, that’s a lot of information all at once. Take a second to gather yourself. When you’re ready, continue below to find out everything (else) you need to know about the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.
What’s New Under the Hood: A Diesel Engine!
The 2021 Chevy Suburban comes standard with a 5.3-liter V8 engine. It’s good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Those in need of more grunt will be happy to know that a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque is also on tap. It’s hard to get excited about either V8 model though, as they’re actually carryovers from the previous-generation.
What is worth getting excited about is the new 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax turbodiesel engine. It’s the first time an oil burner has been available in a Suburban since the 1990s. For reference, this is the same diesel engine available on the Chevrolet Silverado.
Regardless of whether you opt for a V8 or the diesel, a 10-speed automatic transmission is standard. This is a nice upgrade over the current Suburban, which offers a six-speed auto standard except on the highest-tier trim level, the Premier. Four-wheel drive is available across all engines.
Official MPG figures haven’t been released for the 2021 Suburban yet. However, seeing as how none of the engines are new, let’s try to estimate them. According to the EPA, the rear-wheel-drive 2020 Suburban with the 6.2-liter V8 and 10-speed auto has a max rating of 14/23/17 (city, high, combined) MPG when filled up with premium gas. The standard automatic engine stop-start technology should improve those figures ever so slightly, maybe by a mile or two.
The 5.3-liter V8 engine available in the current Suburban maxes out at 15/22/18 MPG. Expect those figures to be boosted by a mile or so across the board thanks to the newly standard 10-speed automatic transmission and automatic engine stop-start.
As for the turbodiesel, it’s a bit more vague. The engine is rated at 23/33/27 MPG in the 2020 Silverado. This engine gives Chevy a very good chance of edging its archrival, the Ford Expedition, at the pump. While impressive now, the Expedition’s 17/23/19 MPG rating will likely look pedestrian next to the turbodiesel Suburban’s figures.
In addition to improved fuel economy, the 2021 Suburban should handle better thanks to its new independent rear suspension (IRS). It’s also fair to ask what this switch will do to the Suburban’s tow ratings, though. Chevy hasn’t yet released any figures, but solid-rear-axle setups are typically better suited for towing.
The benchmark, as you might have guessed, is the 2020 Ford Expedition. It can tow up to 9,300 pounds. The 2020 Suburban’s tow rating maxes out at 8,300 pounds. While we expect the new model to close some of that gap with the Expedition, adding IRS to the mix might make it hard for Chevy to overtake Ford in this category.
What’s New Inside: More Room For People And Cargo
Although the total length of the Suburban hasn’t grown, Chevrolet has increased the length of its wheelbase by 4.1 inches. That will give passengers a bit more room to move around. The 2021 Suburban has 145 cubic feet of cargo space, which is 23 cubic feet more than the 2020 Suburban. It’s also more than the Expedition.
Speaking of space, the Suburban’s second row of seats can slide forward and backward 10 inches. Second-row legroom has increased by 2.3 inches and third-row legroom is up by 2.2 inches. Moving to an independent rear suspension enabled Chevy to lower the cargo floor, which makes it easier to load and unload grocery bags.
All 2021 Suburbans come standard with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 4.2-inch color driver information screen. A 15-inch heads-up display is the largest available in its class. There are two 12.6-inch screens mounted to the front headrests too, if you choose them as options. These two rear-facing entertainment screens operate independently, although content can be shared from one to the other and with the front screen. However, back-to-front sharing is limited to points of interest only.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard. Android users can also mirror content from their phones onto the screens. All 2021 Suburbans also come standard with a WiFi hotspot and wireless charger, although it only works with Android phones. A panoramic sunroof is also available.
The new Suburban comes loaded with standard safety technology. The highlights include automatic emergency braking, front pedestrian braking, forward collision alert, a following distance indicator, and intelligent headlights. Standard driver assistance technology includes rear park assist and hitch guidance for hooking up trailers. Optional safety and driver-assist technologies include an HD surround-view camera, lane-keep assist with lane-departure warning, rear pedestrian braking, and the aforementioned heads-up display.
What’s New At The Trim Level: Double The Choices
Chevrolet has doubled the number of trim options for the 2021 Suburban. Joining the LS, LT and Premier trims are the High Country, RST and Z71. The High Country, a trim level borrowed from the Silverado, is the new range-topper, while the RST and Z71 make the jump from appearance packages to full-fledged trims.
The Suburban High Country comes standard with trim-specific sill plates, embroidered seats, and a bevy of safety and driver-assistance technology, including a heads-up display, surround-view camera and rear pedestrian braking. The 6.2-liter V8 is standard, as is Magnetic Ride Control, the automaker’s high-tech damper system that dynamically adjusts to the conditions of the road. Those who crave the ultimate in ride quality will want to opt for the adaptive air suspension system. It can lower the ride height by up to four inches and is only available on the High Country and Z71 trims.
Sitting above the LS and LT trims is the RST. This trim is based on the LT and comes with 22-inch wheels, unique seat stitching, black and chrome exterior trim, and a specially finished grille. There’s a bit more going on with the Z71 trim, which is designed to give the Suburban some off-road capabilities. As expected, four-wheel drive comes standard on this trim, as do 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires, Chevy’s hill descent control technology, a front skid plate, and tow hooks. Those who opt for the air ride suspension will be able to increase ride height by up to two inches while off-roading.
Chevrolet has not yet announced pricing for the 2021 Suburban, but pricing has been announced for the ‘Burrban’s little brother, the 2021 Tahoe, which is also all-new as well. The new Tahoe costs $1,000 more than the outgoing model and is priced at $50,295. The Suburban was about $2,000 more expensive than the Tahoe. So by our rough calculations, the 2021 Suburban should start at around $53,000 when it goes on sale in the middle of the year. However, expect to pay more once you start opting for higher trims and optional features.
The Last Word
To keep things short and sweet: if you need lots of space, the Suburban can’t be beat. This beast has space for eight people, can haul almost 10,000 pounds worth of boat or trailer, and do all your grocery shopping at Costo. It’s hard to beat the 2021 Suburban. However, if you can survive with just a little less space, then the 2021 Tahoe is where you should be looking. It’s cheaper, features the same engines and options, and is almost as roomy.