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2012 Chevrolet Suburban

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2012 Chevrolet Suburban Review

Still hauling people and cargo

Reviewed by Automotive on

The 2012 Chevrolet Suburban SUV is one large people mover and, more importantly, a hauler, able to tow up to 9600 pounds when properly configured and equipped. The Chevy Suburban is also one of General Motors--and the auto industry's--longest continuous model line, debuting in 1935. Besides Chevrolet, automakers like Dodge, GMC, Nash, Plymouth, and Studebaker have used the "Suburban" moniker at one time or another for their station wagon-esque vehicles.

Today's Chevrolet Suburban is massive SUV able to fit a driver and up to eight passengers, a number usually reserved for full-sized vans. The Suburban is also one of the few vehicles left with available bench seats for all three rows of seating.

The Chevrolet Suburban, like many pickup trucks and SUVs, is offered in many configurations. The Suburban is offered in half-ton or three-quarter ton (1500 and 2500, respectively), three models (LS, LT, LTZ), two engines, and either in two-wheel or four-wheel drive. The base Suburban LS 1500 comes well-equipped with standard features like 17-inch wheels, cloth seats, and Bluetooth connectivity, while the top-of-the line comes Chevy Suburban LTZ comes standard with leather seating, GPS navigation, and heated and cooled front seats. While the Suburban is primarily an urban vehicle, an off-road package is available for the LT trim.

The GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade ESV are more luxuriously appointed variants of the Chevrolet Suburban.

The Range

Body style: SUV
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmission: six-speed automatic transmission
Models: LS 1500, LT 1500, LS 2500, LTZ 1500, LT 2500

What's New

General Motors has made few changes to the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban, which underwent a major redesign in 2006 for the 2007 model. For 2011, the Chevy Suburban received several new paint colors--Mocha Steel Metallic, Steel Green Metallic and Ice Blue Metallic--while various models and trims received more standard equipment. The 2011 Chevrolet Suburban 1LS, for example, received standard rear audio system controls with two headphone jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, floor console with storage area, wood grain interior trim, luggage rack center rails, body color outside door handles and mirror caps, and premium cloth front buckets with optional 40/20/40 bench. For 2012, Suburbans also received more standard equipment like electronic trailer sway control, and new packages likes available navigation, heated steering wheel and second-row entertainment system that can show two movies at the same time.


The eleventh-generation Chevrolet Suburban was refreshed in 2006 for 2007 model year. The front grille was updated to the brand's signature two-level grille, the windshield appears more rakish, and the headlamps, and upper and lower bumpers were redesigned for more contemporary styling among SUVs. In 2011, three new exterior colors--Mocha Steel Metallic, Steel Green Metallic and Ice Blue Metallic--became available. Otherwise, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban carries over into the new year virtually unchanged on the outside.


The instrument cluster of the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban, climate controls, and infotainment system continue to be easy to see and use. Interior materials continue to be on par with the competition and space continues to be the Suburban's strength. The Chevy Suburban can seat a driver and up to eight additional passengers depending upon model and configuration, and carrying capacity is a staggering 137 cubic feet with second and third row seating folded flat and removed.

Performance & Handling

Both the 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter provide plenty of power to launch the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban, though that rapidly changes when the three-ton SUV is loaded with passengers and cargo. The Chevy Suburban's 5.3-liter engine then provides what's best described as adequate power, so we recommended the more powerful 6.0-liter if you expect to be hauling lots of people and/or cargo constantly. The driving experience itself is quite smooth and the cabin is quiet. The light steering system makes it easier to navigate such a huge vehicle, and the Chevrolet Suburban has a turning radius matching some small cars. Fuel economy suffers in such a large vehicle but is countered by the Suburban's towing capacity: properly equipped, the 2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 2WD can tow up to 9600 pounds.


The 2012 Chevrolet Suburban comes standard with driver airbag, front passenger airbag, and head curtain side airbags for all seating rows. Like many General Motors and Chevrolet vehicles, StabiliTrak stability control with rollover mitigation is standard. Tire-pressuring monitoring system is also standard on the Chevy Suburban. Optional safety equipment includes an ultrasonic rear park detection system, rearview backup camera, and blind spot alert system.

EPA Fuel Economy

1500 LS, LT, LTZ (5.3-liter) rear-wheel drive/four-wheel drive: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway
2500 LS, LT (6.0-liter) rear-wheel drive/four-wheel drive: 10 mpg city/15-16 mpg highway

You'll Like

  • Spacious interior
  • Towing capacities
  • Versatility

You Won't Like

  • Fuel economy
  • Dated

Sum Up

Still hauling people and cargo

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Expedition
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • GMC Yukon
  • Nissan Armada

See the New 2015 Suburban.

Front & Driver Side View

2012 Chevrolet Suburban Consumer Rating

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