2015 Chevy Suburban: Big, fresh, and tech-laden (CNET On Cars, Episode 44)
Cooley On Cars
Let's start with free driving.
2015 Chevy Suburban, new blood, new tech.
Road rage explored, and perhaps diffuse.
And with the mistify octane Cnet style.
Time to check the jet.
We see cars differently.
We love 'em on the road and under the hood, but also check the tech and are known for telling it like it is.
Ugly is included at no extra cost.
The good, the bad, the bottom line.
This is cnet on cars.
Welcome to CNET on cars, a show all about high tech cars and modern driving.
I'm Brian Cooley.
You know, the Chevy Suburban has been around since 1933.
I didn't know that.
That's a long run.
It's a long car of course it synonymous with large SUV, but as of this new 12th generation it's also pretty synonymous with tech.
Let's drive the 2015 Chevy Suburban and check the tech.
Well, the name says it all, doesn't it?
Suburban, and that's what this vehicle is attuned to.
Not something you want to pilot through small city streets, but if you've got a big family with big amounts of stuff, and maybe your big people on top of that, this is America's SUV.
Now spotting the new suburban is really easy, the look is quite dramatically different but, 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 cabinet, it fits the vehicle's overall dimensions of course.
It also makes it very tactily 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 the Chevy my link head unit which in Chevy, General Motors fashion.
Has this little peaky boo smugglers back behind it and you've also have a U S B port there, one of like 7 in the vehicle.
Now this mile navigation is actually optional you won't get the nav package unless you take the right box, We'll talk about it later.
I find the processing a little slow of course is it is doing 3D building rendering which I don't find terribly useful, but the way it lays out streets and labels are some of the best in the business.
What type of destination?
It's a little slow on the uptake, but it does let you give addresses in one straight blurb, not piece by piece that's good.
Siri do I have any text messages?
Chevy was an early adopter of Siri I's free, which lets you connect a paired I phone from message companion with out looking at the screen.
Other ways, app support on this vehicle is basically Pandora predicted music, stitcher pod cast streaming and tune in 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 touchscreen 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 airbag.
This is between the two front passengers.
So 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 stock-mounted lever up here.
If you wanna do your own shifting, it's on this rocker switch here, on that lever.
Over here, you've got your four-wheel drive control.
Most folks will leave it in auto, but you've got your two four-high and four-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 that are for breaking over here.
But otherwise, there's no sport or nonsense of that type.
It's not that kind of vehicle.
Now, Geo's been doing something that gives you an alert in the bottom of the seat with a vibration.
There's one of the left and one of 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, it 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 breaking however and of course the optional adaptive cruise control will actively maintain both speed and distance.
Now here in the engine bay there's an interesting story, you know a lot of Fords are going to turbo V6s not this guy 5.4 liter V8.
Modernized with direct injection, but decidedly old school in two other ways.
Its overhead valve, not overhead cam, and just two valves per cylinder, where almost every other engine in the world is four.
And the power it makes is 355 horse, 383 foot pounds of torque.
Perfectly good number 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 1 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 that they've heard over and over again from Suburban owners that they want to stay in this vehicle.
It's got a fair amount of power, that 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.
But this is your classic original SUV, big, high riding, in command and lots of space, and burliness.
Now our 2015 Suburban LTZ, top of the line starts off about 62,7 with destination 3,000 more if you want it 4 wheel drive like ours.
The key package to go CNet style is dorkily called Sun Entertainment & Destination.
For a little over $3300 you get the my link with navigation, the dual 9 inch Blu-ray rear seat entertainment rig, and the power sun roof.
Adaptive Cruise is 1700 more, and another 500 bucks to get you a hotspot.
For right now it's still a 3G hotspot.
Wait til later in 2014 to get the 4G powered one through the OnStar services package a little over 71 grand, the way we see it.
Find the full review on that new Suburban, by the way, over at cars.cnet.com.
Well, I'm sure you'll agree with me, that road rage is kind of the thing these days, unfortunately, although, it's really as old as driving itself.
Maybe our camera'd up society just surfaces it more.
But the things that cause road range, and the things we can do to tamp those down, are of great interest for the smarter driver.
Just rolling along, just.rolling along.
A new survey of over about 1000 US drivers about what drives them insane about other drivers done on the behalf of Expidia found that number 1 is as you might have imagine the texter or the caller or the weber while driving, driver in other words, someone fumbling with their phone that accounted for a huge 69% of out rages.
The tailgater came in second at about 60% and then the person who was otherwise distracted, multitasking separate from texting, that came in at 54%.
These are the big three.
Nearly 7 in 10 Americans report that they have been flipped off by a fellow motorist 15% admit returning the gesture, right.
And 85% of the drivers surveyed say they're pleasantly surprised when they get a thank you wave from a fellow driver.
That's kind of sad.
Now roadways would seem to be all about people, right.
But a study done by the Texas Transportation Institute not long ago found that actually a lot of that stress that leads to road rage and aggressive driving comes from the way roads are laid out, not just the way people behave.
Turns out yellow line can make you see red.
At notorious traffic spots in Dallas, traffic flow was reworked in three ways.
New lane signage and lane stripping that explicitly directs all drivers where in the lane to merge and how using the zipper method for example.
The use of photogrammetry to clear accidents and rubbernecking faster.
Photogrammetry simply means taking clear detailed photos of the crash scene and then getting out of there and doing accident measurements later from the pictures.
And lane merging or lanes in, using sign directing the car to goto the far end of the disappearing lane and merge there, via the zipper.
Instead of making it informal, where some cars'll go to the end and irritate the other lanes.
And other cars will try merge early and waste lane space.
In any event it pays to double check yourself, when you feel your blood boiling on the road it's not worth it.
And hopefully, road designers will pay attention to the fact that, the way they funnel us into each other, can go a long way towards, causing problems.
Coming up, we'll demystify a classic misconception, when CNET on Cars rolls on.
Ford also excels in one particular area the fast Ford and today we have two legends from the 80's and 90's.
The Sierra and Escort Cosworth.
These are cars from a time when people went off with a choice would pick the Ford over the BMW.
The good thing about the RS one is that you could see the racing one on tele and you could buy that in the real world.
This particular car was made in 1986 as designed so this is as old as me and I kind of hope that I'm holding up as well as him.
Find more from the XCar team of CNET UK, at cnet.com/xcar.
Welcome back to CNET on Cars, coming to you from our home at the Marin Clubhouse of Cars Dawydiak.
Just north of the Golden Gate bridge.
Well our car tech 101 this episode is an absolute perennial.
Octane, what it is, what it does and what happens if you go cheap?
Now we fill up on gasoline in drips and drabs over the course of a year.
So, the price difference between premium and regular may seem small on a per visit basis.
Yes the percentage difference between the two grades has declined due to the more rapidly increasing cost of a gallon of any kind of gas.
But the real cost spread of premium over regular has increased over the last six years in the US.
Put another way it used to cost you little under a $150 extra bucks a year to run premium assuming 15000 miles a year and 20 MPG from your car, but around 2004 began to take off and now it's the choice to cost more like $240 a year, real money.
Let's find out if it's worth it.
Now premium gas has this image, largely due to marketing, as being somehow maybe a more explosive kind of fuel that blows off all this additional power.
In fact, it's kind of the opposite premium gas is high octane.
Gasoline is first a blend of many components that have many different properties and as such, octane is one of those properties.
High octane allows you to compress the fuel more, higher pressure, higher heat, without spontaneous combustion.
If you use regular or low octane gas in an engine that wants high octane, the mixture may combust spontaneously in the cylinder before the spark sets it off.
That's called predetonation or knock.
That's the sound of your engine slowly coming apart.
It's hurting your engine.
There's a little mini explosion that goes on in this 4 cycle engine when that cycles the compression.
When that comes out of whack, there's an explosion that's not good.
It's a physical pressure wave traveling in the combustion chamber.
And your actually hearing the result of that pressure wave knocking against the metal parts in the combustion chamber.
These explosions, they can hurt the internal of the engine.
They can hurt the cali converter of the engine.
The science that goes on when the four cycle engine does this combustion process.
It's pretty high tech.
And if one of those elements is out of whack, that means it's not happening right.
Now high compression engines were all the age back in the muscle car and pony car era, and they're big in racing of course.
But lately, car makers have been getting into high compression for everyday cars, because they get more power out of little.
Tiny engines that need less air and fuel to fill the cylinder each cycle.
In other words, they create good power and use less gas.
Now, why does premium gas or high octane gas cost more?
It's a very contentious area.
Refiners will tell you they get less of it out of a barrel of crude than they do regular.
Secondly, they add different additives to it that will be used to increase the octane, and those are more expensive than just crude itself.
The main additive back in the day used to be tetraethyl lead, which increases the octane beautifully except it's lead.
We don't do that anymore.
But that's what gave rise to the old nickname for premiums.
They used to call it Ethyl.
With the removal of lead, you removed an octane source and so other sources of octane were required.
Now today's modern car you probably know, have sensors and computers and variable components all over them.
As a result they can sense knock from running low octane gas and adjust the engine slightly to compensate for it.
Knock it out.
But there's a limit to that adaptability depending on your car's design.
That's why you wanna just check your car's manual.
It'll often tell you what octane level is okay and another one that's recommended also, maybe one to avoid on the minimum side.
Sometimes regular's fine other cars say mid-grade at least, premium at best.
Others say premium only.
Okay, then when you go to the pump, you can look at the actual number button that you're gonna select, and look at the fine print and it will talk about a minimum octane number, and under that it will typically say the sorta bit of math, (R+M)/2.
That's research octane plus motor octane divided by two, or the average of the two.
So there are single cylinder engines that are used to calculate the octane of a given gasoline.
So the research number tests the product at lower engine speeds and so it tends to be higher and then the motor octane is conducted higher engine speeds and tends to be lower.
You take the average of the two and you come up with what we call the anti-knock index.
And that's likely the number you'll see in a modern car manual.
U.S. automakers have recently groused that octane in the U.S. is so low, they can't make the kind of engines they offer in other markets.
Smaller ones with even more power and greater efficiency.
Just one point of clarification is that.
In places like Europe and South America, where the octane numbers that people call for are in the high 90s, 97, 98, that's only the research number, right?
Here in the US, we do the research plus the motor and divide that by two.
To put in it a nutshell, you're safe using the lowest grade of gas that your car manual doesn't forbid.
That's your baseline, typically; especially in higher performance cars though; there are tangible benefits to using the ultimate grade, the premium, especially if you want the full performance you paid for.
In a moment we'll look through the dash-cam.
And list your top driving outrages when CNet On Cars continues.
I don't think there's a little boy alive who hasn't really dreamed of being a race car driver at some point,.
On the brake, up to the yellow, look across, now come across, another spot.
Well, I guess we've done a lot of track stuff, on X Car, we've driven a lot of cool cars but, you wanna step up to the next level, and this is where you have to go.
Power, power, boot it.good
A racing license seems to be the best possible option.
Find more from the XCAR team of CNET U.K.
Welcome back to CNET on cars.
I'm Brian Cooley.
Time for some email.
This one comes in from Thor Lie, who says he lives in New York and thinks it would be great if CNET would do an article on dashboard cameras.
He says I know this is a newer market in the U.S. but it's developing in other parts of the world.
He says I just bought a new car myself and I'm trying to figure out which dash cam to buy.
So that one of my fellow New Yorkers gets into an accident with me at least I will know who is at fault, and if it is them I will be able to prove it.
That's the basic idea behind the dash board cam and they are getting more popular in the US.
So they are long been popular in places where shall we say the road are a little more of a wild west.
I hear form a lot of our viewers who wouldn't set out on the road without one.
Because we've had so many requests like yours for this kind of coverage we're going to do a Car Tech 101 on dash cams very soon.
In the meantime, check out Antoine Goodwin's review of a number of the models out there over at cars.cnet.com.
Well, we talked a lot about road rage in this episode so I think it's fitting that we wrap up with a top five that goes to the heart of it.
We recently did a poll of many of you CNet On Cars viewers, asking you what about the other guy on the road drives you the most nuts.
Here are those top 5 triggers and please don't handle these with road rage.
Now I'm leaving out the obvious one, the texting, calling, mapping, screwing around with your phone selection.
That would dominate any list right now.
As it did, the write-in portion of our poll.
But beyond that sign of our times, here are the rest.
Number five is The Zipper, or not being aware of it.
The simple idea that when lanes merge.
Cars from each lane alternate coming into single file.
Good grief, is it that hard?
Instead you box me out when it's my turn to get in the line and steer straight ahead like I'm one of those homeless guys coming up to your window.
Let me in.
Number four, taking two parking spots.
There are lines between the spaces.
That's a dead give away you're only supposed to fit in one of them.
Luckily, full self-parking tech is coming fast.
And I trust computers won't be a-holes.
Number three, slow in the fast lane.
Now technically, the fast lane, is the passing lane.
But let's face it in reality, it's the speeding lane.
Regardless, a whole bunch of you want to be left unimpeded to risk that ticket.
By the way, the difference in arrival time between going 55 and 70 is about 14 minutes per hour.
Number two, Parking Too Close.
Oh, I get this one, cuz I'm that guy who parks over there.
When my passengers roll their eyes I point at my pristine 25 year old car, and remind then that's why it looks better than their two year old lease.
So when you park so close to me that it would have been easier to climb out of your sunroof than your door, I see red.
Before we get to number one, you had some great write-in outrages that I hadn't thought of.
Among my favorites, people who park with their headlights shining in the Waffle House.
Big, lifted Jeeps that still have to slow to a crawl, to go over a speed bump,.
And cars so lowered, you actually see the driver wince and contort when going in a drive way.
I've seen that actually.
Okay, the number one outrage, aside from being on the phone is merging.
This is that guy that comes right across your bow into your lane.
No signal, no gap, not even a good speed match.
Now I'm on the breaks and the guy behind me runs into my trunk because he's texting.
Most of you encounter these outrages multiple times per commute, you say.
Yet Violent Crime is trending down in the U.S. So bless you.
Thanks for watching.
I hope you enjoyed this episode, we enjoyed bringing it to you.
Don't forget send us your email with your suggestions and questions at email@example.com.
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I'll see you next time we check the stats.
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