Suburban Scrawl Drives A Chevy Suburban

NOW we’re talking, people. Now we’re talking.

After all of the Chevrolet vehicles I have test-driven and reviewed in the past year (ahem, the Traverse, the Cruze, the Tahoe, the Volt, and the Sonic), I discovered that the one I drove over Thanksgiving weekend, the 2011 Chevy SUBURBAN, is the one I like the best. That’s saying a lot, too, because I really liked every single one of the other vehicles. But this one? Love.

I even love the name: there’s something pretty spectacular about it…Suburban.

Get it? Suburban? Suburban Scrawl?

No worries. It was pointed out to me, too.

Anyway, the lovely folks at Chevy were kind enough to set me up with this sweet ride so that my family could get from Chicago to Knoxville, Tennessee (and back) in comfort and style:



I know what you’re thinking (unless you already drive one): “That’s HUGE!!!!”

You’re right. It IS huge. It was strange to have to climb up an assist step into this huge vehicle when my personal vehicle is a mid-sized Pontiac, let alone the fact that the 2012 Sonic, the last car I tried out for Chevy, is in the subcompact class.

You know what, though? I felt like a BOSS sitting behind the steering wheel of the four-wheel-drive, half-ton 2011 Suburban LTZ, and I have never specifically said “I feel like a BOSS” about anything before, ever. Crazy, right?


The available space in this car is no joke. Not only did we five fit in there with room to spare, but we could have fit two more adults if we had to.


Well, let me rephrase that. We could have fit two more adults in there if we had to on the way BACK, because on the way down there the vehicle was filled to the rim with holiday gifts for our relatives (I thought I’d save money on shipping by hauling them personally).

See this area behind the back seats? (Is it still called a trunk in a huge SUV?)


That area (along with the surface of half of the back seat, which we folded down) was stuffed with the following:
Two suitcases
3 backpacks, school-sized
1 backpack, camping-in-the-wilderness-sized
3 laptop bags
1 duffle bag
Hiking boots
Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for eleven people
Bags of snacks
A cooler containing corned beef and rugelach (yes, I’m serious: my mom has me get it for her from the local Jewish deli)
A Trader Joe’s paper shopping bag containing eight canisters of coffee (yes, I’m serious: my friend has me get it for her since Trader Joe’s hasn’t yet invaded Knoxville)
A partridge in a pear tree (kidding on that one)

Impressive, wouldn’t you agree?

The boys really enjoyed the roominess, which took the whole “fighting over space” element out of the trip, thank goodness! (I know I keep going back to the plentiful space: I can’t help it. Check a Suburban out yourself: you’ll see!) Being able to control the sound and climate from the back area made them happy, and they loved the DVD player, because the people in the back need to be entertained, you know? (No matter that they forgot to pack their own favorite movies and ended up watching a couple of Jim’s favorites, like “The Matrix”, which they have already seen a bajillion times.) They used the provided headphones so we could still listen to our tunes up front.

Up front, speaking of our tunes, it was fabulous to be able to not only plug in our iPods for use on the trip, but to actually have the ability to control them through the stereo system. VERY cool.

2011 11 269520.23.39

Other luxurious (to us, anyway!) features we appreciated include the heated seats in the front and middle, XM radio, power lift gate, the navigation system, and the in-vehicle WI-FI (Yes!!! A rolling hotspot!), all of which make a ten-hour road trip (well, two of them if you count each direction) more than tolerable.

In addition to my own behind-the-wheel feedback (which I’ll write about last), I have it from Jim and my sister too, since we were the three who drove it.

Jim–who is notoriously a tough critic–really liked the way this vehicle drove, once he got used to it. He was pleasantly surprised, saying that it didn’t drive like a huge vehicle. He also thought the driver’s seat was really comfortable and after a while didn’t really think about how big the Suburban is.

My sister–who has driven a compact car for at least the last fifteen years–said that it took her a while to get used to the size. She said it felt “like a tank” in the sense of how safe she felt in it. She liked the smooth ride.

As for me, I thought it was very smooth, too. In addition to feeling “like a BOSS”, I found it to be very comfortable and easy to maneuver, even over those curvy mountain roads. I really, really appreciated the back-up camera, the Side Blind Zone Alert (SO important in a vehicle this size!), and OnStar, which was very helpful with directions.

The new 2012 Suburban is a carryover from the 2011 model year (with just some color option changes and other minor alterations), so if you were to go and drive a new one today, you’d be trying out virtually the same kind of Suburban that my family did. And I think you should, if you’re in the market for a new, large-sized SUV. Seriously.

The way I want to close out this review is by saying this: I really, really try to write good, fair reviews. I don’t want to make my readers feel like I’m all about pumping them up with sunshine over a product I’m trying out if it isn’t genuine, and it’s for that reason that I specifically try to find (and then mention) things I don’t particularly care for in that product. True story: I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like on this vehicle. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The big goose egg.

So there you have it, a glowing recommendation if I ever saw one. If you’re looking for a new SUV anytime soon, I encourage you to consider a Chevy Suburban!

Disclosure: I was not compensated monetarily for this post. I was provided with a 2011 Chevy Suburban (with a full gas tank) for my family’s Thanksgiving road trip; that’s it. All words and opinions are mine (and my family’s!).


  • Connie Burke

    Thanks for the review, Scrawlsie! I always look forward to your posts – but especially (obvs!) your writeups on our products. So glad you liked it enough to find it a “Perfect 10.” In a way, surprising that you would like this one best – but then again, I never guessed your fellow Chicagoan Kelly Olexa would be (Lady) Gaga over our Avalanche, either. I love reading about epiphanies.
    Happy that it made your long travels that much easier so that you could fully enjoy family and all the schlepping worthwhile.
    By the way: my daughter is coming home this weekend for an early “holiday pull-ahead” and will be making rugelach for (our) first time. Thanks for helping me learn how to spell it 😉

    • Melisa

      Thanks, Connie!

      Maybe I liked it best because it made me feel like a Boss: Type-As enjoy that feeling. 🙂

      If you have extra rugelach, I can probably find a home for it, just sayin. 😉

  • Ally Bean

    Wowsa! I drive a Honda Accord Coupe, so a Suburban looks crazy big to me.

    Never been in one. Never seen the inside of one before. Interesting to know what they are like. Glad you enjoyed your experience with it, Boss Lady.

    • Melisa

      Actually, for an SUV I didn’t think it did too badly: I think we were right in the 24-25 mpg neighborhood.
      I forgot to include that info. Granted, there’s a tradeoff when it comes to SUV/smaller cars and mpg, but I was still pleased with this, for what it was!

  • Heather

    This is my dream car- this or a Tahoe. The gas doesn’t seem that bad though for an SUV of that size. Impressive! 🙂 I LOVE the iPod/music features in all the new cars, it seems like they have really come so far! I hope I can get a car like that soon!

    • Melisa

      That’s the negative aspect to driving all of these great new cars: it highlights the shortcomings of my own car, which is only five years old but lightyears behind in certain ways. 🙂

  • Therese

    I had a 1995 Chevy Suburban, and I can easily still say it was my favorite vehicle ever. I have to have the 4WD where I live, plus I needed room for the hubby, me and four children. The best thing about this is the kids could actually ride in it without TOUCHING ONE ANOTHER!! Big plus for long trips!