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On the road: 2015 Chevy Suburban: CNET On Cars

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CNET On Cars: On the road: 2015 Chevy Suburban

6:43 /

The Chevy Suburban has been around since 1933 and it's synonymous with "large SUV." The 2015 model is synonymous with technology as well. Brian Cooley takes it for a drive and checks the tech.

[MUSIC] Well, the name says it all, doesn't it? Suburban, and that's what this vehicle's attuned to. Not something you wanna pilot through small city streets. But if you've got a big family with big amounts of stuff and maybe you're big people on top of that, this is America's SUV. [MUSIC] Now spotting the new Suburban is really easy. The look is quite dramatically different. The face is much more crisp and bold. You've got this really strong feature line right here around the belt line. It's causing the vehicle to look a little lower and longer. And the same thing goes for the way they've re-contoured that third quarter rear side glass, all of it says a long stretch. The 15 also has a new way of integrating doors in the body instead of clam-shelling over, they now fit inside. Everything's big in the cab and it fits the vehicle's overall dimensions of course. It also makes it very tactfully satisfying. Lots of storage everywhere, of course. Cup holders and bins for phones and, and look at this. This bin is so large it actually qualifies as a seat for a child. Don't do that. Now your eye's first drawn to this Chevy MyLink head unit, which in Chevy General Motors fashion, has this little peekaboo smuggler's box back behind it. You've also go a USB port there, 1 of like 7 in the vehicle. Now this MyLink rig with navigation is actually optional. You won't get the nav package unless you do tick the right box which we'll talk about later. I find the processing's a little slow. Of course it is doing 3D building, rendering which I don't find terribly useful, but the way it lays out streets and labels is some of the best in the business. Navigation. What type of destination? Street address. It's a little slow on the uptake, but it does let you give addresses in one straight blur, not piece by piece. That's good. Siri do I have any text messages? Chevy was an early adopter of Siri Eyes Free which lets you connect a paired iPhone from message composition without looking at the screen. Otherwise apps support on this vehicle is basically Pandora predictive music, Stitcher podcast streaming and Tunein live radio station streaming. Beyond that, your media sources are pretty much everything you want. You've got CD, iPod, USB jack, SD card slot which plays video by the way though a little balkily in this case, Bluetooth streaming obviously, and in this car we have a rear seat entertainment system as well. We'll look at that in a second. Meta tag layout is really good, and I like the fact that all the touch-screen buttons, like everything in this car, are big and easy to access. I just keep getting bedeviled by the slow processing of everything. Now through OnStar, this is gonna be one of the first vehicles out that has an integrated 4G connection. Our vehicle doesn't have it yet. We're shooting in mid 2014. Later in the year that should be coming online though if you're gonna order one of these. Oh, by the way, this is one of the first cars out there that has a front center air bag. This is between the 2 front passengers. So if there's an impact, you don't get injured by hitting each other or if it's just you in the front seat, it reduces your injury from flopping over the console. Now drive controls in this vehicle are very traditional. You've got a classic American stalk mounted lever up here. If you want to do your own shifting, it's on this rocker switch here on that lever. Over here, you've got your 4 wheel drive controls. Most folks will leave it in auto but you've got your 2, 4 high, and 4 low all located over here. They make it very simple. No levers to pull. No clunky stuff. It's all nicely sanitized. There are no drive modes of sorts in this car unless you wanna count towing and trailer mode, you've got buttons for that and controls are for breaking over here, but otherwise, there's no sport or nonsense of that type. It's not that kind of vehicle. Now GM's been doing something that gives you an alert in the bottom of the seat, with the vibration. There's one on the left and one on the right, right down here in the bolsters. If you've got a sonar indication on the left, you'll feel it there. On the right, you'll feel it there. Front and back, you'll get both of them vibrating at once. I gotta say, it gets your attention very well, more than beeps and lights that all sound alike. On the other hand though, it's not very specific information. You have to say what, what does that mean every time. Blind spot detection, cross traffic alert back there, lane departure warning, those are all passive. Front collision warning can also be set to active braking, however. And of course, the optional adaptive cruise control will actively maintain both speed and distance. Now here in the engine bay's an interesting story. You know a lot of Fords are going to turbo V6s. Not this guy. 5.3 liter V8, modernized with direct injection, but decidedly old school in 2 other ways. It's overhead valves, not overhead cams, and just 2 valves per cylinder where almost every other engine in the world is 4. And the power it makes is 355 horse, 383 foot-pounds of torque. Perfectly good numbers of course, but this is a big vehicle. Active cylinder management is here, it cleaves this V8 into a V4 when you're cruising or coasting, and you'll pick up one mile per gallon if you choose the rear wheel drive configuration. Driving this new Suburban tells me everything I need to know about General Motors market research, and here's why. This vehicle screams big, heavy, isolated, and safe. Clearly, attributes they've heard over and over from Suburban owners that they want to stay in this vehicle. It's got a fair amount of power as we notice, but it's not responsive to the throttle. Steering is isolated as well. I'm not that impressed with what this magnetic ride control suspension is doing. I know it's very technologically advanced, but I'm just feeling too much of the little details in the road printing through the bottom of my seat. But this is your classic original SUV, big, high riding, in command and lots of space and burly. Now our 2015 Suburban LTZ, top of the line, starts off about 62700 with destination, 3000 more if you wanted 4 wheel drive like ours [MUSIC] Key package to go CNET style is dorkily called Sun, Entertainment and Destination. For a little over 3300, you get the MyLink with navigation, the dual 9 inch Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment rig and the power sunroof. Adaptive cruise is $1700 more, and another $500 to get you a hotspot, so right now it's still a 3G hotspot. Wait until later in 2014 to get the 4G powered one through OnStar services packages. A little over $71,000 the way we see it. [MUSIC]

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