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

  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.