It’s time to put the all-new 2021 Chevy Suburban to the Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing test! The redesigned Suburban now rides on a new chassis and all-independent suspension. Can it still tow like truck-based SUV? Let’s find out.
2021 Chevy Suburban
The new Suburban is bigger than before. It rides on a slightly longer wheelbase, and it has loads more interior volume than before. GM is using all four corner independent suspension in order to better tune on-road ride and offer that huge interior space. Initially, I was a bit concerned that the towing experience would not be as confident as the previous generation Suburban and Tahoe (with their solid rear axle). Turns out there is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.
The Ike Gauntlet™ is the world’s toughest towing test because it’s an 8-mile stretch of the I-70 interstate with a 7% grade that climbs to an elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level. If the Suburban can handle this extreme elevation, steep inclines, and rough pavement – then it can tow with confidence anywhere.
The fully optioned Suburban High Country 4×4 model you see here is rated to tow a maximum of 7,900 lbs. This is not the highest SUV trailer weight rating in the segment, but GM did improve the towing ratings on all 2021 Tahoe and Suburban models across the board. The payload rating is at 1,470 lbs for this rig.
We are using a standard 7,000 lbs trailer for the full-size SUV category.
Under the hood of this High Country luxury SUV is a familiar 6.2-liter gas V8 engine with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Downhill performance is perhaps most important than uphill. Safety is of paramount concern here, and we are looking for the truck or SUV that has superior transmission grade shifting and the large brakes to keep the heavy weights in check. The new 2021 Suburban has both!
Spoiler alert: The Suburban needed 6 brake applications on the way down. This is a significant improvement over 11 brake applications we measured with a 2018 GMC Yukon XL 6.2L V8.
On the way up, we measure the time it takes to climb the mountain, and the MPG that the truck reports via its trip meter. The Suburban made the run in a benchmark perfect 7 minutes and 58 seconds. An 8-minute run is the benchmark to go 8 miles at the speed limit of 60 MPH. The trip meter reported 3.8 MPG for the climb – which is about average for a gas-powered SUV in this class.
The independent suspension and the optional air springs and dynamically adjusting shocks did wonders. The SUV was stable as a rock up and down the mountain. There was absolutely no trailer sway or any uneasy feeling.
The 2021 Chevy Suburban scores 80.5 points in our 2021 #GoldHitch competition! This is one of the highest scores any SUV or half-ton truck can achieve. However, this is not the best score we ever recorded.
The new 2018 Expedition (standard wheelbase) registered a total of 86 points. The primary difference was in the downhill performance. The Expedition needed just one brake application on the way down.
Check out the full video on the TFLtruck Youtube channel.