What It Is: The father of the body-on-frame, truck-based, people-hauling utility genre, the Suburban’s tenure in the market dates back to FDR’s first term in office. Its development-as well as that of its shorter sibling, the Chevrolet Tahoe-has generally followed that of General Motors’ pickups, on which it’s based. And since a redesigned full-size Chevy Silverado bowed at the Detroit auto show earlier this year, it only makes sense that a new ‘Burban is being finalized before its looming debut. When caught by spy shooters during said testing, GM’s engineers attempted to camouflage the area to either side of the rear pumpkin, drawing attention to the vehicle’s new independent rear suspension.
Why It Matters: After Ford let the Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator wither on the vine, GM essentially had the market to itself, from the most basic Tahoe to the fancy-trousers, extra-long Escalade ESV. With Dearborn once again offering credible competitors in the segment-ones that notably offer independent rear suspension-the General evidently decided that it had better get on the stick and lose the live axle. Those partial to the Suburban’s fundamental truckiness may moan, but consumers cross-shopping between Ford and Chevy stores have ride-quality and space-utilization expectations.
Platform: The Suburban, like soon-to-arrive versions of the Tahoe, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, and Cadillac’s Escalades, will be based on GM’s new T1XX full-size truck platform, which means we should see the new rear suspension appear beneath those SUVs, as well.
Powertrain: Given that until about five minutes ago the current Suburban only offered a single engine option-GM’s 5.3-liter V-8-we’d expect that to continue, likely offering 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque just as it does in the new Silverado. Ford’s Expedition and longer Expedition Max both feature a 10-speed automatic, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see Chevy back the V-8 with 10 gears, although many V-8 Silverados will get an eight-speed. Chevy may bring back the just-announced RST Performance package with the 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, but probably not at launch. Chevy also may stick the Silverado’s newly announced turbocharged four-cylinder into the Suburban or the smaller Tahoe
Estimated Arrival and Price: We expect to see the 2020 Suburban unveiled at the 2019 Detroit auto show next January, with an on-sale date not too far behind-perhaps as soon as spring 2019. Prices should start in the low $50,000 range.
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