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2021 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel - Driven

The 2021 Chevy Suburban is a huge improvement over its predecessor and benefits from a new engine, suspension system, and a ton of tech features, to list a few

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Chevrolet debuted the twelfth-gen of the Suburban in December 2019. The SUV came out looking rejuvenated and reinvigorated. Introduced as the 2021 model year Suburban, the SUV was now based on a new platform, featured a new diesel engine option, and came with a range-topping High Country trim. Chevy even capitalized on space optimization, plonked in a new suspension setup, and turned all the screws in the right direction to make this a complete package.

We recently laid our hands on the 2021 Chevy Suburban in the Premier trim with the Duramax diesel engine. Our example was finished in a black exterior shade and looked exquisite, to say the least. It is definitely one of the best full-size SUVs that you can buy today with a five-digit budget.

Chevrolet Suburban Drivetrain, Suspension System, and Fuel Economy

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The 2021 Chevy Suburban comes with a choice of three engine options.

Our example came with a 3.0-liter, six-cylinder Duramax that produces 277 horses at 3,750 rpm and 460 pound-feet of twist at 1,500 rpm. Power is routed to the front wheels as standard via a 10-speed Hydra-Matic 10L80 automatic transmission. A four-wheel-drive system is also available.

The other two engines are a 5.3-liter, V-8 engine that produces 355 ponies and 383 pound-feet of twist, and a 6.2-liter, V-8 mill that dishes out 420 horses and 460 pound-feet of torque. Even these engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

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It’s not just the new chassis that would improve the overall ride and handling of the Suburban. The SUV comes with a four-link independent rear suspension design. For folks who would like some technical info on this – the setup basically consists of three lateral arms, one longitudinal arm, coil springs, and a stabilizer bar. It’s not a new tech per se, as the Mercedes C111 from the 60s also had a multi-link suspension setup. While it has numerous benefits like better ride quality, better off-road handling, etc., it is quite complex in nature, especially if you have to fix it or tune it.

The twelfth-gen Suburban also comes with Magnetic Ride Control dampers and a new Air Ride Adaptive Suspension. The Magnetic Ride Control constantly keeps adjusting the dampers on the fly for continuous comfort. The Air Ride Adaptive Suspension features auto-leveling when you hitch a trailer to its ass. The suspension has a range of four inches, which means you can lift or lower the vehicle by up to two inches.

What Is The Suburban’s Fuel Economy?

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The Suburban 2WD delivers 21 miles in the city, 27 miles on the highway, and 23 miles combined for every gallon of fuel consumed. The Land Rover Range Rover is significantly lighter than the Suburban, which makes it a tad bit more fuel-efficient. The Range Rover delivers 22 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined.

Chevrolet Suburban Exterior Design

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When the company came out with the twelfth generation of the Suburban in 2019 and it was radically different from the model it replaced. It wasn’t just the looks; the SUV is also underpinned on a new platform. It now looks smart and handsome, and not a family hauler that no one would glance at the second time. The front end comes with a huge grille silver grille with horizontal elements in it. The slim LED headlights with the boomerang-like LED DRLs look sweet.

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The Suburban that we tested rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 265/65 section tires. The 10-spoke silver-finished wheels don’t look too bad, but if you’re opting for a dark exterior body shade, something with more of gunmetal or dark finish would suit it better, even though contrasting colors look better in general.

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The new taillights look nice when lit. This big, tall tailgate comes with quite a few badges and chrome elements here, but all those things keep it from looking boring. There is a spoiler as well at the top here. Overall, it’s a handsome full-size SUV and definitely a huge improvement over the model it replaces.

Chevy offers the Suburban in nine different exterior shades:

  • Black
  • Satin Steel Metallic
  • Summit White
  • Shadow Gray Metallic
  • Empire Beige Metallic
  • Midnight Blue Metallic
  • Graywood Metallic
  • Cherry Red Tintcoat
  • Iridescent Pearl Tricoat

How Big Is The Suburban?

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The Suburban measures 225.7 inches in length, 81.1 inches in width, and 75.7 inches in height. The Range Rover isn’t as long or tall, but it is slightly wider. It is 196.9 inches long, 81.6 inches wide, and 73.6 inches tall.

The Suburban’s wheelbase measures 134.1 inches, 19.1 inches longer than the Range Rover’s. The front and rear tracks are 68.5- and 68.3 inches wide on the Suburban, and 66.6- and 66.3 inches wide on the Range Rover.

Chevrolet Suburban vs Land Rover Range Rover Exterior Dimensions
Chevy Suburban Land Rover Range Rover
Length (in) 225.7 196.9
Width (in) 81.1 81.6
Height (in) 75.7 73.6
Wheelbase (in) 134.1 115
Front Track (in) 68.5 66.6
Rear Track (in) 68.3 66.3

How Much Does The Suburban Weigh?

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The Chevy Suburban weighs 5,864 pounds, 924 pounds heavier than the 4,940-pound Range Rover.

Chevrolet Suburban Interior Design

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Step inside and you’ll be welcomed to be a premium cabin. The Premier trim might not be the top-spec trim in the Suburban’s lineup starting with the 2021 model year, but it still feels plush. The black-and-beige perforated combination (called Jet Black/Maple Sugar in Chevy’s speak) looks nice overall. If not for this, you can opt for the single-tone Jet Black option. These are the only two options offered on the Premier trim.

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The SUV comes with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the center console. It is standard on all the trims. It is a floating unit in its essence, but the placement is good. However, Chevy needs to update this because one of its immediate rivals, the Ford Expedition, now comes with a 12-inch touchscreen as standard and a 15.5-inch touchscreen as optional.

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Anyway, for the second-row passengers, Chevy has offered two 12.6-inch displays. If you need a more tech-heavy, modern-looking cabin, you can spend additional moolah and get yourself a 15-inch Head-up display and an eight-inch digital instrument cluster. And, in case you missed it, the SUV doesn’t feature stalk-style gear shifters anymore. Instead, you get buttons on the left of the touchscreen system.

How Spacious Is The Suburban?

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The Suburban offers 42.3 inches of headroom, 66 inches of shoulder room, and 44.5 inches of legroom in the front row. In comparison, the Range Rover offers 39.5 inches of headroom, 60.9 inches of shoulder room, and 39.1 inches of legroom.

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In the second row, the Suburban offers 40.4 inches of headroom, 64.8 inches of shoulder room, and 42 inches of legroom. The Range Rover lags here too, offering 39.4 inches of headroom, 59 inches of shoulder room, and 39.3 inches of legroom.

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The Range Rover doesn’t come with a third row, but the Suburban does. It isn’t as spacious as the first two rows, but it isn’t cramped by any means either. There’s 38.2 inches of headroom, 62.8 inches of shoulder room, 36.7 inches of legroom, and 49.4 inches of hip room on offer in the third row.

Chevrolet Suburban vs Land Rover Range Rover Interior Dimensions
Chevy Suburban Land Rover Range Rover
1st row Headroom 42.3 39.5
1st row Shoulder Room 66 60.9
1st row  Hip Room 61.5 NA
1st row  Leg Room 44.5 39.1
2nd row Headroom 40.4 39.4
2nd row  Shoulder Room 64.8 59
2nd row Hip Room 61.3 NA
2nd row  Leg Room 42 39.3
3rd row Headroom 38.2 NA
3rd row  Shoulder Room 62.8 NA
3rd row Hip Room 49.4 NA
3rd row  Leg Room 36.7 NA

How Much Cargo Space Does The Suburban Offer?

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Behind the third row, the Chevy offers 41.5 cubic feet of space. Flip the third row and the space expands to 93.8 cubic feet. Fold down the second row as well and you’ll have 144.7 cubic feet of space available at your disposal.

The Range Rover, on the other hand, offers you 31.8 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 68.6 cubic feet of space behind the first row.

Chevrolet Suburban vs Land Rover Range Rover Cargo Space
Chevy Suburban Land Rover Range Rover
Behind Third Row 41.5 cubic feet NA
Behind Second Row 93.8 cubic feet 31.8 cubic feet
Behind First Row 144.7 cubic feet 68.6 cubic feet

How Much Does The Chevrolet Suburban Cost?

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Our Suburban was the Premier trim and came with the 3.0-liter, Duramax turbo engine. In this configuration, it is priced at $71,065.

Here’s how the other 2WD 2021 Chevy Suburban trims are priced:

  • LS - $53,995
  • LT - $58,695
  • RST - $61,795
  • Premier - $67,195
  • High Country - $72,470

The Z71 is available only with a four-wheel-drive system and starts at $63,895.

Is The Chevrolet Suburban Better Than The Land Rover Range Rover?

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The Land Rover Range Rover is a luxurious off-roader that needs no introduction. Unlike the Suburban, the Range Rover is a two-row SUV and has a smaller footprint, too. It feels luxurious on the inside and is loaded to the brim in terms of specs and features. It comes with a TouchPro Dual touchscreen system, grained leather seats, LED headlights, panoramic sunroof, and a ton of driver-assistance features.

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There are multiple engine options on offer, including an oil-burning mill that closely matches the numbers of the Suburban Duramax. This is a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine that makes 255 horses at 3,750 rpm and 443 pound-feet of oomph between 1,750- and 2,250 rpm. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the front wheels or all the wheels, depending on the drive layout you choose. The Range Rover takes 7.5 seconds to sprint to 60 mph from rest and has a top speed of 130 mph.

The Land Rover Range Rover lineup starts at $92,000 and goes all the way up to $183,000.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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