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Fully redesigned for the model year, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban rolls onto the market in style. This marks the beginning of the 12th generation for the Suburban, and it shows necessary changes that keep it in the competition. This segment is still expanding, so Chevy needed to step it up.
Many changes have been made for this whole new generation of Suburbans. Chevy gives the vehicle a totally new independent rear suspension that vastly improves the ride quality and boosts the cargo space at the same time. The rear seat passengers also benefit from more leg room than ever before, giving them enough space to stretch out and relax during a long journey. There is also a new diesel engine option available for those wanting a good fuel economy mixed with a strong towing and hauling capability.
On the downside, the Suburban's large size limits the ease of maneuvering. While other large SUVs can navigate turns and parking lots with some ease, the Suburban is boat-like since it has a truck-based build. Also, the non-traditional design of the shifter means that drivers will have to pay more attention to it than they really should.
There are a whopping six trim levels to choose from on the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban: the base LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country. Each ones adds more standard features, including some different powertrain options. For example, the Suburban has a standard 5.3-L V8 engine matched up with an 8-speed automatic transmission that generates 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. Four-wheel drive is an option for all trims but the Z71, on which it comes standard. With the four-wheel drive, you can get either a single- or two-speed transfer case.
The diesel engine option is a turbocharged 3.0-L inline 6 cylinder that gets 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The only trim level you cannot get it equipped on is the Z71. Of course, the diesel is optimal if you are looking for good fuel numbers.
But which trim level is the best purchase? Which one is right for you? Knowing which trim level has the standard features you want is important before committing to a purchase. Let us take a look at each of the six trim levels and compare their features and specs so that you can make a more informed decision.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban LS vs LT - What is the Difference?
The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban line-up starts with the base LS trim level. The LS and LT share the same powertrain and drivetrain options. The LS gives you LED headlights and 18-inch wheels to start off with, as well as an eight passenger seating style inside (with two rows of three seats each in the rear). The LS is also the only trim level that gives you an optional bench seat for the front row.
The LS also comes with standard smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is a huge 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display that comes standard and shows up crystal-clear graphics. Forward collision warning is included in the list of standard driver aids. It will apply the brakes when it detects an imminent crash but will warn you beforehand.
The LT trim level builds on this foundation. There are some upgrades worthy of mention though. You get upgraded to a 7,500 pound towing capacity when properly equipped. Like the LS, the LT has Active Hill Hold Assist and an optional advanced trailering system. An enhanced cooling radiator can be added at will, as can a hitch guidance system with hitch view and an integrated brake controller.
Also, take note that rear-wheel drive comes standard on these trims. You can choose to equip 20-inch all-season blackwall tires on painted aluminum machined face wheels, but 18-inch bright painted silver wheels with all-season tires come standard. There are also an array of 22-inch wheels, including 6-split-spoke chrome wheels and multi-spoke gloss black wheels. All told, you get a ridiculous amount of choices when it comes to wheels.
The LT also has black assist steps, body-colored door handles and heated side mirrors, bright roof mounted side rails, and deeply tinted glass. The liftgate is hands-free, and the windshield wipers are able to sense rain.
Inside, the LT gets 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a 12-volt power outlet, 4G LTE WiFi hot spot connectivity, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and audio streaming, Chevrolet Connected Access, the Chevrolet Infotainment System 3 with the 10.2-inch touchscreen display, and the option to upgrade to the system with built-in navigation. Cruise control, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, a front center console, and bucket seats up front all come standard too.
In addition to all of that, HD Radio, a HD rear-view camera, heated front seats, an inner auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and keyless entry and ignition get included on the LT. Lane change alert and lane keep assist are optional. You can get the Luxury Package added if you want to combine the Driver Alert Package with rear pedestrian alert, the automatic heated steering wheel, heating on the outboard second row seats, and HD Surround Vision.
The steering column is manually tilting and telescoping, and there are power door windows and locks. Air vents in the rear help to keep the temperature cozy for all three rows, and there is a rear window defogger for a clear view on rainy days. A retractable cargo shade is available to add on, as is a vertical cargo net. Front and rear parking sensors are also optional, as is a highway safety kit.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban LT vs RST - What is the Difference?
Up one notch from the LT is the RST. This trim level takes everything from the LT and makes a few important additions. First and foremost, the RST gets 22-inch wheels as standard equipment. It also gets unique RST front seats that have chic contrast stitching. To top it all off, the RST has black exterior trim and a uniquely designed front fascia. Other than that, though, these trims share everything.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban RST vs Z71 - What is the Difference?
The Z71 is always a popular trim level choice on Chevy vehicles. The Z71 adds some serious off-roading capabilities. 4-wheel drive comes standard, and the towing capacity gets boosted to 7,700 pounds. You also get the Autotrac 2-speed transfer case, which lets the vehicle remain in 2WD mode in AUTO until a slippage is detected, thereby prompting 4WD to kick in. This is meant to give a bit of a boost to the fuel efficiency since 2WD consumes less than 4WD. Other mechanical elements added to the fray are a front skid plate, a heavy-duty air filter, hill descent control, and red recovery hooks.
On the exterior, the Z71 adds quite a few things. 20-inch machines aluminum wheels come standard with all-season tires, and there are no other options available. Black step assists do come standard though, as do black roof-mounted side rails and a high-approach angle design for the front fascia.
The interior has just a few noteworthy upgrades that need to be mentioned. There is an 8-inch diagonal multi-color Driver Information Center that can be added if you so choose. This feature has driver personalization settings, vehicle data, and warnings as well as showing you tire pressure, fuel range, fuel economy, and the trip odometer. Additionally, you can opt for the Z71 Package, which adds everything from the Luxury Package, the Max Trailering Package, and a panoramic power sunroof.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 vs Premier - What is the Difference?
Moving up yet another rung on the trim level ladder is the Premier. It does not have 4WD like the Z71, and its max towing drops back down to 7,500 pounds when properly equipped. It does gain a dual exhaust outlet, and there is an enhanced automatic emergency braking system available as an add-on. It works with the forward collision warning system and functions at speeds as low as 2 mph. Note that it also loses other Z71 features, such as the heavy-duty air filter and front skid plate. The polished exhaust tip is also not available.
On the exterior, you will find a few changes. 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with all-season tires come standard while many of the 22-inch wheel options are once again available. The side mirrors become power-folding, heated, body-colored mirrors. There are bright roof-mounted side rails, chrome door handles with a body-colored strip along each one, and chrome mirror caps. black bow-tie emblems for the front and rear are available, as are front and rear splash guards. Power-retractable assist steps are optional too, and they are lit up by LED perimeter lights.
Upgrades make the inside look even more chic as well. The Premier gains 12-way power-adjustable front seats, the 8-inch driver information center, optional adaptive cruise control, the automatic heated steering wheel, and a premium 10-speaker Bose sound system with CenterPoint technology. Navigation comes built-in with the infotainment system, and front and rear park assist is standardized. A head-up display is optional, and the outboard second row seats have a standard heating function.
You can opt for a few different perforated leather upholstery designs, and everything from the Luxury Package becomes standard issue. The front seats and side mirrors all have memory settings, and the third-row 60/40-split folding bench seats are power-folding. Also, the steering column becomes power tilt and telescoping, and there is a power release for the second row of seats.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban Premier vs High Country - What is the Difference?
As if the Premier was not luxurious enough, there is the line-topping High Country trim level. It gains the standard 6.2-L V8 engine with variable valve timing and dynamic fuel management capabilities. Mechanically, though, everything else remains the same.
The exterior gains 22-inch sterling silver premium painted wheels that have chrome inserts. Body-colored mirror caps and wheel locks are standard. There is a Technology Package that you can add, which has adaptive cruise control, the Max Trailering Package, and a rear seat entertainment system.
Inside, HD Surround Vision and the head-up display become standard. A rear camera mirror and a washer for it get tacked on, as does rear pedestrian alert. That is, however, the extent of the big upgrades you can get on the High Country.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The choice here is probably pretty obvious: the Z71. While many people will get this as a family-hauler, the Z71 makes the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban into a capable trailer hauler and off-roading SUV. This means you can load up the cargo area and hook up your RV for a fun camping adventure. This mid-level trim combines powerful performance and a smooth ride from a compliant suspension with sufficient amounts of driver aids and infotainment features.
• Compare the 2020 Chevrolet Suburban Trim Levels