2023 Chevrolet Suburban High Country 3.0L Duramax Review: A sublime family road tripper

The Chevrolet Suburban is a staple of the American road trip. Usually seen packed to the gills with both people and luggage, Chevy’s full-size, long wheelbase SUV is a go-to for families looking to go places or even just carry their kids. The brand and model have come a long way, and the High Country model we recently tested came equipped with plentiful goodies and an absolutely perfect powertrain for the vehicle’s intended purpose. It all comes at a cost to the tune of nearly $91k, so is the great American road trip up to the task and worth the money?

New ‘Burb, new price

Everybody laments the ever-increasing prices that adorn vehicle MSRPs, so let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first: The Suburban seen here is extremely expensive. The High Country trim is the culprit with an $80,400 base price for the 4WD, 3.0L Duramax Diesel-equipped model seen here. That’s obviously quite a bit more than the entry-level, base LS model’s least expensive $62,095 price. High Country models come nicely equipped with goodies like Magnetic Ride Control, multicolor Heads Up Display, wireless charging, wireless phone mirroring, tri-zone automatic HVAC, heated and ventilated front seats, second row captain’s chairs, powered second and third row folding seats, and a slew of safety features that you can read about on Chevy’s site.

It costs how much?

The test unit then tacked on $8,260 worth of options. The Advanced Technology Package is a $2,700 ticket but includes the excellent Super Cruise hands-free driving setup, the $1,995 rear media system, $1,745 power retractable and lighted steps, $1,500 panoramic sunroof, adaptive air ride for $1,000, $500 adaptive cruise control, and the $415 Max Trailering Package. The total MSRP of our tester tallied $90,555 with Destination.

All of this on board, the Suburban is closer to a Yukon Denali than it is a base Suburban. The leather is plush, the seats are great, the ride quality is more $150k than $100k, and the only feature we felt was missing at this price was massaging front seats. On the tech front, Super Cruise works great and is well worth the money.

And you’re telling me it has a diesel?

Our favorite part of the High Country package equipped this way is actually the 3.0L Duramax turbodiesel engine. It’s incredibly refined when treated the way most people will treat it, and a little monster when the more fun parts of the accelerator are explored. Only then does it shout the telltale diesel roar, and the 10-speed automatic transmission is a willing and able partner. And somehow this engine managed a computer-indicated near-26 MPG on our road trip, with the driven trip plus forecasted range regularly showing 700 miles or more. After copious idling in the low-20 degree weather and some stop-go around-town driving, the final mileage was still over 23 MPG for our 250-mile weekend. Impressive stuff, and that the motor is a joy to interact with is either a bonus or byproduct of just how good this powerplant is.

Given, you can get this engine in one of the lower trim Suburban models, but it’s also available in the GMC Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade ESV, both of which run even pricier. Yet this review isn’t about comparing the Suburban High Country to its stablemates; instead, let’s focus on the truck at hand.

Old meets new

At its core, the Suburban embodies an antiquated approach to people-hauling. Its body-on-frame construction and combustion engine do have their demerits, with a less supple ride than large three-row crossovers and the obvious inherent NVH that comes from as engine versus electric motors. GM has the latter solved, with electric variants of the full-size SUVs inbound to hit dealers over the next few model years. Still, the current GMT T1XX platform is extremely well tuned– GM has a knack for that— which plays excellently to the luxurious abilities of the ‘Burb. It cruises like a more expensive rig, happily dancing over broken road surfaces and effortlessly keeping occupants comfortable when traversing the undulating, perpetually twisting roadways of the Hudson Valley. Adaptive air ride paired with Magnetic Ride Control is truly a dream.

As it should be, space is aplenty in the newest ‘Burb. Though driver and front seat passenger might feel more claustrophobic than in a comparable model from the early 2000s, there’s still copious room to get comfortable over longer stints. We do wish that massaging seats were present on this vehicle, given its encroaching-on-$100k sticker price, but excellent seat heaters make up for that on a cold fall morning. Second row occupants are graced with captain’s chairs, in-seat entertainment, and seat heaters as well. Third row passengers don’t get the same accouterments, but there’s still a good amount of room back there, as there is behind the third row even when it is deployed. Space behind the second row with the third down is substantial, and with the second and third row folded the Suburban’s interior opening becomes equivalent to a small Manhattan apartment.

Road-tripper supreme

Needless to say, the Suburban High Country is a very nice vehicle and a very, very nice vehicle to road trip in. We adore the baby Duramax engine and its associated powertrain components, and found it to be one of, if not the, best highway cruisers we’ve experienced. Though its price is rather high for a Suburban, it’s an easy way to fly somewhat under the radar versus spending the same or slightly more on a GMC Yukon XL or stepping up to a Cadillac Escalade (should the buyer want to stay within the GM full-size family). We’re big fans of the Suburban, and this experience only further drove home that feeling.

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7 responses to “2023 Chevrolet Suburban High Country 3.0L Duramax Review: A sublime family road tripper”

  1. Sjalburban Avatar
    Sjalburban

    40 ton commercial semis do 10 mpg these days, so this 2 ton at 23 looks barely passable. It would be awesome to try a bus like this on a long, cross continent ride, though.

    1. Tiberiuswise Avatar
      Tiberiuswise

      I’ve got about 50,000 miles on a 2020 Expedition and the computer is reporting 23.7 MPG total. It’s got the only available gas motor.
      You’d think a diesel would be better.

  2. matt Avatar
    matt

    why does it need massaging seats? I have never owned a car with them, and the few I have ridden in, it seems like that would be an option I would pay to aviod. Heated and cooled seats seems like a brilliant idea, (only ever had the heat, and wow) but massaging seats? seems like one of those 2-3k gaming chairs you used to be able to buy from the sharper image, no real advantage of paying $60 to get a better quality seat from wal-mart, other than “look it moves”
    and this seems like a good thing, given that most of the used suburbans have well over 200k from long ass drives with the family

    1. Sjalabais Avatar
      Sjalabais

      All of our four cars have heated seats and I wouldn’t want to be without. But only our Kia Optima wagon comes with cooled seats, and it’s amazing in summer. The downside is that the seats have perforated leather. I can’t get my wife and kids to stop eating in the car, and all these holes need extra attention to not look disgusting. I’m also only waiting for any of the holes to turn into a rip.

    2.  Avatar
      Anonymous

      Not a matter of need, but of being competitive with other luxury SUVs that offer massaging seats at or below this price range.

  3. Mike Coughlin Avatar
    Mike Coughlin

    Have had a Sub or variant in the fleet since 1993. Nothing else like them. If I could only have one vehicle it is my pick.

  4. olivia erin Avatar
    olivia erin

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