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2013 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ Review

MPG-o-Matic 2013 Chevrolet Suburban Review Summary: The 2013 Chevrolet Suburban is the Big Daddy of traditional body-on-frame American SUVs, with half- and 3/4-ton versions that can seat up to nine people with a maximum towing capacity of 9,600 pounds.

We put a loaded AWD half-ton Suburban LTZ to the “take your kid to college” test, packing the cargo area full, and taking to the open road for a 700+ mile round trip. The Suburban delivered plenty of creature comfort, while consuming a considerable amount of fuel.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ 4WD half-ton - rear view

The half-ton Chevy Suburban 1500 is equipped with a FlexFuel 5.3-liter V8 engine producing 320 horsepower and 335 foot pounds of torque. The Vortec V8 is mated to a six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The Suburban is available with either rear-wheel (RWD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD), in a range of trim levels. (The 3/4-ton Suburban 2500 is fitted with a 6.0-liter FlexFuel Vortec V8 producing 352 horsepower and 382 foot pounds of torque.)

The official fuel economy estimates for the half-ton 4WD 2013 Chevy Suburban are 15 city / 21 highway miles per gallon (MPG). (The Suburban 2500 is rated at 12 city / 16 highway MPG in 2WD form and 12 city / 15 highway in 4WD.)

We covered over 700 miles in one day in our top-of-the-line Mocha Steel Metallic 4WD LTZ review unit and fell shy of the official mileage estimates, with an average of 18 MPG overall with temperatures in the seventies. On the trip out with a full load, we ran into traffic and rain, while averaging 17.4 MPG. With the cabin emptied out on the way back, we averaged 19.7 MPG, in significantly lighter traffic.

Our test vehicle was equipped with 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, clad with 275/55R20 all season tires, and was delivered with well under 1000 miles on the odometer. The 2013 half-ton Suburban 1500 is equipped with an 31.5 gallon fuel tank and is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline. Highway driving range is very good. (The 3/4-ton Suburban 2500 is equipped with a 39 gallon tank.)

Towing Capacities:

  • Half-ton (1500) 2WD – 8100 lbs.
  • Half-ton (2500) 4WD – 8000 lbs.
  • 3/4-ton (1500) 2WD – 9600 lbs.
  • 3/4-ton (2500) 4WD – 9400 lbs.

The Suburban is fitted with four-wheel-disc brakes with Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) and hydroboost. 13-inch discs are used on the front and 13.5-inch discs on the rear. The 4WD Suburban 1500 tips the scales at 5824 pounds, while the 4WD 3/4-ton lumbers in at 6419 pounds.

With nearly three tons to move, the 5.3-liter V8 has its work cut out for it in the 0-60 MPH sprint.

While the Vortec V8 includes Active Fuel Management to switch from eight to four cylinders while not under load, the uphill climbs took their toll on efficiency. It takes a light foot and the right conditions to squeak the MPGs out of this one.

The Suburban LTZ’s leather upholstered interior is a home away from home. The front bucket seats feature three level heating (with separate controls for the horizontal and vertical seat surfaces) and cooling along with four way power lumbar support and two-position memory. The steering wheel is heated as well, and the pedals are power adjustable.

There are five 12-volt power outlets, with two on the dash, one inside the center console next to the USB input jack, one at the back of the console, and one in the cargo area. There are A/V input jacks at the back of the center console, along with two headphone jacks.

The Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound audio system includes Navigation, iPod support, SirusXM satellite radio, and three months of XM Navtraffic. Handsfree Bluetooth is standard.

2013 Chevy Suburban LTZ front view
Our tester was fitted with the Sun and Entertainment option package, which includes a rear seat entertainment system, two flip down LCD screens, and a power sunroof. The LTZ’s second row bucket seats are heated and provide 38.5 inches of headroom and 39.5 inches of legroom. The third row allows for 38.1 inches of headroom and 34.9 inches of legroom.

The Suburban is truly cavernous. You’ll find 45.8 cubic feet of space behind the third row seats, 90 cubic feet behind the second rows seats, and 137.4 cubic feet behind the front buckets. Removing the third row seats can take a bit of muscle. The cargo area is 49.10 inches wide at the wheel housings and measures 101.8 inches from the tailgate to the front seats. Need to carry a bunch of 4×8 plywood or sheetrock? No problem. Just make sure to put down a tarp to keep the interior clean and free of scuff marks.

All-in-all, the 2013 Chevy Suburban delivers the highest levels of comfort and utility. If you have a big family and lots of gear to haul, it just might get the nod. Fuel economy, on the other hand, has never been the Suburban’s forte. Vehicles this large and this heavy are perfectly suited for diesel engines. A gasoline-powered V8 – even with Active Fuel Management, won’t cut it going forward. Improved aerodynamics and a height adjustable suspension, like those found in Audi Q7, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Mercedes-Benz GL350 would help the Suburban keep up with the competition.

2013 Chevrolet Suburban 4WD 1/2 Ton LTZ
MSRP: $58,440
Options:
Sun and Entertainment Package – $2,535
Heavy-Duty Trailering Package – $230
Trailer Brake Controller – $200

Total Options – $2,965
Destination Charges – $995

Total Before Savings – $62,400
Sun and Entertainment Package Savings -450

MSRP including options: $61,950

Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 65%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content: Mexico – 31%
Final Assembly Point: Arlington, TX
Country of Origin:
Engine – United States
Transmission – United States

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2013 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ Review

3.9
Daniel Gray
2013-10-16

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5 comments ↓

#1 Rich on 10.17.12 at 11:34 pm

700 Miles in a day? I hope it had a bathroom in there too! I can’t imagine paying to daily drive one of these.

Also I noticed you have the same HP/TQ number listed for the 5.3 and 6.0.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 10.18.12 at 7:11 am

Thanks for catching the typos, Rich. I just fixed them. Everyone once in a while something slips through.

Round-tripping made for a long day, but it avoided the cost of a hotel.

It’s expensive to drive the big SUVs these days, no doubt about that. For big families with farms and other towing needs, they still make sense.

#3 CelloMom on 10.20.12 at 6:26 pm

It never ceases to amaze me how much people are willing to spend on their wheels. “For big families with farms and other towing needs, they still make sense.” Yes, but I know at least two 5-person families (no dogs) who live in town and have nothing to tow and still drive these, making me shake my head – and that was before I realised they cost upwards of $58K! I guess you could _live_ in one if you’re into disaster readiness?

#4 Full Throttle on 11.13.12 at 5:37 pm

You can live into that SUV :D

#5 Colleen H on 02.16.13 at 10:11 am

I have almost the exact vehicle you described. Only mine has EVERY option available (including automatic fold up/drop down running boards—lol Who needs those!? I asked until I had driven it a few weeks.) I LOVE my truck. I have 5 kids, a dog, coach mulitple sport teams (so I’m aways lugging around equipment) and travel–in my truck–frequently. It may be that I’ve been driving big vehicles for so long, but I actually spend LESS on gas now that I’m in the Suburban (as opposed to my Silverado and my Chrysler Town & Country) and lets be honest, the Suburban is MUCH ‘cooler’ than the T&C.

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