With the first Chevrolet Suburban arriving in 1934, Chevrolet had a head start over its rivals in building big SUVs. While the first Jeep Wagoneer came in 1963 before going on hiatus between 1993 and 2023, and the Ford Expedition didn’t arrive on the scene until 1997, the latest Chevy Suburban and its slightly shorter Tahoe mate are evidence of General Motors’ nearly 90 years of making full-size SUV buyers happy.
The Suburban and Tahoe are still based on a truck platform with a traditional body-on-frame construction. But with more space and a comfier ride than ever before, a decent amount of modern tech, a wider choice of engines than its rivals, and relatively affordable pricing, the 2024 Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe are easy recommendations for our more than 20 automotive experts, who have voted it as the Best Full-Size SUV in the 2024 AutoTrader Awards. While this award is for the 2024 model, a refreshed Suburban and Tahoe will arrive this year, building on an already impressive package by adding more tech and new engine options.
With rivals catering to buyers who wanted more luxury in their big SUVs, when the latest generation was revamped for the 2021 model year, the Suburban/Tahoe’s cabin made a massive leap with richer materials and a more refined fit and finish. Technology was upgraded as well. A 12.3-inch digital display is standard and makes a fine tech complement to the 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s also standard. GM’s Super Cruise driver assistance system debuted on Cadillac models not long ago and is now available in top trims of the Chevy SUVs; it’s among the most advanced systems in the industry, allowing hands-free driving on hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pre-mapped roads across Canada and the U.S.
Both Chevy SUVs offer three rows of seats. Most models seat seven, eight, or nine, depending on configuration. The biggest Chevrolet Suburban/Tahoe (and its corporate GMC Yukon/Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade full-size SUV mates) advantage is GM’s decision to ditch the old solid rear axle for an independent rear suspension. Because of the more efficient packaging of the new suspension, second- and third-row space has grown substantially. As the stretched version of the already-big Tahoe, the Suburban offers more space than any new SUV. With its second- and third-row seats folded down, you can fit up to 4,097 litres of cargo. Even when the Suburban’s cabin is stuffed with passengers, there’s still 1,175L of room behind its 60/40 split/folding third row of seats. And while there’s “only” 3,480L of maximum cargo space behind the Tahoe’s front seats, that’s still more than the elongated Ford Expedition Max.
Chevy’s largest SUVs come standard with rear-wheel drive, available four-wheel drive, and a choice of a 355-horsepower eight-cylinder, a larger 420-hp V8, or something that’s become a rarity in this class: a 277-hp turbocharged diesel inline-six.
All three engines are connected to a smooth-shifting automatic transmission, each with its own charms. The base 5.3-litre V8 effortlessly moves the large Chevy SUVs. The larger and more potent 6.2L V8 delivers even more eager acceleration and a more muscular bark. Then there’s the turbocharged diesel. Where rivals have dropped the diesel, it offers excellent highway fuel economy and strong towing in these GM SUVs.
These Chevrolet full-size SUVs are easy riders. The switch to an independent suspension has significantly improved the Suburban/Tahoe’s ride and handling, regardless of what’s under the hood, making the driving experience more refined. It can be improved even more by the optional Magnetic Ride Control (available in the higher trims), deploying electronically adjustable shock absorbers with near-instantaneous responses to the driving conditions of the moment. In tandem with the adaptive air suspension (also available in pricier versions), ride comfort attains luxury-car levels.
For all these reasons and more, not the least of which is their immense practicality, smart packaging, and relative affordability compared to some rivals, the 2024 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe earn their spot as the Best Full-Size SUV in the 2024 AutoTrader Awards.