Ace of Base: Chevrolet Suburban LS

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base chevrolet suburban ls

Sometimes a manufacturer churns out a base trim that is — all things considered — the primo choice for that particular model. Here’s an example.

A couple of weeks ago, Tim spelled it out for us: Americans finally bought more SUVs than cars.

Now, a good many of these weren’t real SUVs: Rouges, RAVs, and RDXs are pathetic shadows of the segment’s forebears. The Suburban, however, has been unabashedly truck based since 1935. The current model is powered by a 355-horsepower V8 engine fuelled by ground up Priuses and oiled with the tears of David Attenborough. Cargo space is measured in acres instead of square feet.

The LS trim, with durable cloth seats and an available front bench seat like Alfred Sloan intended, won’t make drivers feel bad if they gouge the rear door with the hitch from a boat trailer or knock a mirror off at a McDonald’s drive-thru en route to an early morning trip to the lake. It’s not like this ‘Burban is a leather-lined LTZ or (god forbid!) a Yukon SLT Premium.

Name another vehicle into which you can stuff nine people and a weekend’s luggage while hauling an 8000-pound trailer. I can think of several — two, right now, in my driveway — that can achieve these feats, but not at the same time. In the base model LS, tri-zone climate control assures comfort of your ankle-biters and built-in 4G LTE wi-fi allows them to play Pokémon Go on the go. It is only on the LS that GM allows one to choose that La-Z-Boy front bench — a cloth-covered, overstuffed, outstretched middle finger to the timid crossover — making this, the base model, the greatest of all Suburbans.

GM will actually give $250 to Suburban LS buyers who opt for a front bench seat, making this one of the few occasions when a manufacturer will pay buyers to make their vehicles more useful. This is the polar opposite of the Porsche approach.

Looking like a tank in its $0 Black finish, other drivers will think you’re with the Secret Service, scattering like rice at a wedding as you fill their rearview mirrors with nine yards of chrome grille. Painted red, the Suburban suggests one is with the fire department, but Siren Red Tintcoat is, sadly, a $495 option.

To top it off, the Suburban has a bladder busting thirty-one gallon capacity fuel tank and gets mid-20s on the highway, meaning you can drive out of the assembly plant in Arlington, TX and make it to the outskirts of Atlanta before you run out fuel. Good news: you and your eight friends will have plenty of room for snacks.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim — apple pie and bald eagles not included. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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3 of 110 comments
  • AJ AJ on Aug 17, 2016

    I think it's great that people still buy these. I wish I had the reason...

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Aug 17, 2016

    I don't really want one of these but I can understand why Suburbans sell. For what they are they are comfortable and the ride is limo quality. Also these are almost bullet proof and they will last a long long time. These are like an old Volvo wagon on steroids which is why they are popular. I will give GM credit for making a really bullet proof vehicle that can tow and haul.

    • 200Series 200Series on Aug 18, 2016

      Rented LS for 10 days... Good: - Gas mileage/range - Comfortable seats - Decent power - Very good handling, particularly given the size Bad: - headlights are horrible - Bouncy ride in 3rd row and off road....really bad hop on washboard - Navigation/audio interface - Throttle tip-in makes it feel slow/sluggish.....3/4 pedal to go anywhere - Front air dam really low

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.