A WEEK WITH A CHEVY SUBURBAN
AND DAYS WITHOUT MY LAPTOP
I am running a day or so late on my usual auto review blog, but I have a good reason/excuse.
On Monday of this week I had a problem with my laptop’s keyboard. A string of keys in the middle row (from D to L) simply failed to work. Punch them and nothing would happen. Naturally, I had a bunch of college football reports that were due the next day (these things never happen at a convenient time), and though I had done most of the work, some more still needed to be done.
So I took my laptop to a computer fix-it place and there, not to my surprise, I was told I would need a new keyboard. If they had one at the shop, they could fix it rather quickly. If they didn't, it probably would be Wednesday afternoon.
Naturally, they didn't have the keyboard in house. I left my computer there (What choice did I have?) and went to the library to see what work I could do there as far using their computers.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced trying to work on a PC after years of dealing with a Mac, but I can assure you of this: It can be frustrating. Very frustrating.
So I got little work done that evening.
Fortunately, the people I was to file the reports to said I could send them on Wednesday, so that left me worrying only about whether the fix-it people would be able to get my laptop back to me as they had said. And, bless their hearts, around 2 o’clock I got a call that it was ready.
I zipped over there to pick it up. While there, they asked me if I had a pet. It turns out they found a bunch of cat hair when they opened up my laptop. Gee. I wonder where that came from?
Any way, I was able to finish my work in an hour or so and got my reports to the Sports Xchange people apparently in plenty of time. At least they’re not complaining.
I had been planning to get to my usual car review on Wednesday but with that day taken up with my football reports, I couldn’t. And Thursday I had other things that needed to be taken care of. Thus, I am writing my car review today (Friday), and even now it is late afternoon.
My review is on the 2016 Chevrolet Suburban LT, a full-size SUV if there ever was one. Driving this for a week took me back to the late 1980s and 1990s when I had a Ford E150 full-size conversion van as my family vehicle.
With the Suburban, you have a feeling of get-the-hell-out-my-way power that comes with driving a vehicle that’s almost as long as Sherman tank tempered by the fear that somehow you’re going to unknowingly run over a Fiat 500 in a strip mall parking lot.
“Honest, officer. I had no idea that car was even there! Here. I’ll scrape it off my tire.”
Of course, the Suburban handles much better than the Sherman. (If you don’t believe me, just ask Mr. Peabody.) Rim shot!
Something you might not know about the Suburban. It has been around since 1935, making it the longest-running automotive nameplate in production.
Available in three trims (LS, LT, and LTZ), Chevy gave it a makeover for 2015 and for 2016 has added some upgrades in the former of an Enhanced Driver Alert package (power-adjustable pedals, forward collision alert, a safety alert seat, lane-keeping assist) and headlight beams that automatically go from high-beam to low according to conditions.
Power comes from a 5.3-liter V-6 engine rated at 355 horsepower (at 5600 rpm) and 383 pound-feet of torque (at 4100). It’s mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and comes in either two-wheel or four-wheel-drive configuration. Fuel mileage is rated at 16 mpg city, 23 highway in 2WD and 15/22 AWD.
This is the kind of vehicle that once was thought to be on the way to extinction what with greenies getting their pants in a wad about environmental concerns, but this is far from the case. Certainly it’s not a vehicle for a family of even four members or a couple in retirement, but if you want to transport a lot of passengers in comfort with a lot of their stuff, few do it better or even more efficiently that a full-size SUV.
The Suburban can be fitted to seat up to nine passengers (eight is standard) and still leave good room to store items behind the third row. That third row also folds flat, leaving a whole canyon (76.7 cubic feet) of space behind the second row. Niceties like Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system with SiriusXM satellite radio and Apple CarPlay and an available rear seat entertainment system (DVD and Blue Ray) plus upgraded materials throughout the cabin give the Suburban a more luxurious atmosphere.
But it is a workhorse, too. In addition to all that storage space, towing capacity is 8,300 pounds with 2WD and 8,000 with 4WD.
Pricing for the 2016 Chevy Suburban starts at around $50,000 and runs up to around $68,000. The Suburban LT 2WD I had for a week carried a base MSRP of $54,730 with a series of extras and the destination and delivery charge running the total tab to $65,530.
What I liked about the 2016 Chevy Suburban: The cabin is quiet and the ride very smooth. As you might expect, it’s not a jack rabbit from a standing start, but it cruises well. Materials in the cabin are first class.
What I didn’t like about the 2016 ChevySuburban: It can be a chore to climb in and out of and standard running boards would be a nice addition. Response time on the voice commands varied.
Would I buy this vehicle: Nope. But only because I don’t need a full-size SUV. If I did need one, it would be on my list to check out, but it faces some stiff competition. That includes even the Chevy Tahoe, which is not quite as big as the Suburban but has a more luxurious ambiance about it at about the same price.