2019 Chevrolet SuburbanChevrolet Featured Test Drive Reviews 

Heart of a Muscle Car: 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Test Drive

With the design of the GM’s current full-size SUV lineup nearing the end of its lifecycle, the automaker is looking for creative ways to bolster sales. Most automakers have learned that appearance packages are a quick and easy way to inject life into an aging vehicle, and that’s exactly what Chevrolet did last year with the Suburban RST (which stands for Rally Sport Truck). While it looked cool, the Suburban didn’t offer the Performance Package upgrade of its smaller sibling, the Tahoe RST. That has changed with 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Performance Package, which adds the bigger engine borrowed from the Camaro SS to its trendy blacked-out treatment. What you’re left with is a family-sized SUV that looks like a police cruiser with the heart of a muscle car.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Exterior

You can only get the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST in three exterior colors – Shadow Gray, Silver Ice and Black – but Black is definitely the way to go. In this color, the RST has a more sinister, monochromatic appearance with exclusive blacked-out elements that include the grille, headlight accents, nameplate badging and beltline molding as well as the body-color roof rails, door handles and mirror caps. Even Chevrolet’s iconic bowtie emblems get blacked out, but they still have just enough chrome to ensure that they aren’t completely washed out in the sea of black. In fact, with the exception of these Bowties, the only other brightwork on the Suburban RST is the two-tone 22-inch wheels combining machined aluminum with gloss black accents. These big wheels also expose the bright red front calipers, which are part of the upgraded Brembo brake option package, but other than that, there are no tell-tale signs that this is the more powerful RST Performance Package. Overall, these elements add up to a surprisingly sporty look for the gargantuan 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Interior

The 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST is only offered on the Suburban Premier trim, which is the highest of this full-size SUV’s trim levels. As such, this trim level comes decked out with a luxurious and tech-filled cabin, but it would have been nice to see more exclusive elements added to the interior – like maybe a center console shifter instead of the column shifter or at least some carbon fiber or more brushed aluminum instead of the glossy wood trim on the center console and door panels. Although you can get an interior that is almost as blacked-out as the exterior, this tester added a dash of color thanks to the optional ($295) two-tone cocoa and mahogany leather.

Making this family cruiser even better, our tester was optioned up with the $2,535 Sun, Entertainment and Destinations Package, which includes Chevrolet Infotainment system with navigation and eight-inch touchscreen, a power sunroof and the rear-seat entertainment system with flip down screens for both the second and third rows. For the driver, the $850 eight-inch digital display screen provides easy-to-read information and also includes the head-up display unit. No matter where you’re sitting, the luxurious and cavernous interior of the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST is perfectly comfortable.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Powertrain

The $2,705 RST Edition gives the Suburban its mean look, but the $2,820 Performance Package is what makes this big SUV more than just an appearance package. Exclusive to this trim level only, the RST Performance Package swaps out the 355-horsepower 5.3-liter V-8 with GM’s direct-injected 6.2-liter V-8 engine that is not only shared with the Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon Denali but also the Camaro SS. This gives the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Performance Package power ratings of 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, which combined with the new 10-speed automatic transmission helps deliver EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway* on the Suburban RST 4WD.

Added power is always nice, but the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST also gets some handling upgrades. For a sportier ride, the Magnetic Ride Control (standard on Suburban Premier) gets a new performance calibration on the RST Performance Package for increased body control and higher levels of responsiveness and comfort. Taking things a step further, Chevrolet also offers a $2,795 performance front brake upgrade, which adds in six-piston Brembo calipers and massive 16.1-inch rotors – up from the 13-inch front rotors that are standard on the Suburban. Chevy says that this new front brake gives the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Performance Package an 84 percent increase in brake pad area and a 42 percent increase in rotor area to increase system thermal capacity. Still, if that isn’t enough, there’s also an available cat-back Borla exhaust system and performance air intake system but this tester was not equipped with either.

On the road, the sportier suspension tuning and more powerful engine make the Suburban RST Performance Package handle, accelerate and brake far better than you’d expect a typical three-ton SUV to do. It’s nowhere near as fast as the autobahn-bred, six-figure-price-tag Mercedes-AMG GLS63 we recently tested, but it’s by far a better everyday family hauler.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Safety

Although the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban has yet to be rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2018 model year received a four-star overall rating including a five-star side impact rating. The Suburban Premier comes standard with safety features such as forward collision alert, low-speed forward automatic braking, Safety Alert Seat, GM’s Teen Driver feature, trailer sway control, lane change alert with side blind zone alert and lane keep assist with lane departure warning. Oddly, the Suburban’s optional Adaptive Cruise Control is not available with the RST Performance Package, but this tester did add the $410 Theft Protection Package with inclination sensor and interior motion sensor to reduce vehicle theft and break-ins.

2019 Chevrolet Suburban

2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Overall

In an age where performance SUVs are everywhere, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Performance Package should strike a welcomed chord with enthusiasts who might not be ready to give up precious cabin space. With a zero to 60 time of under six seconds and a mean appearance, the Suburban RST Performance Package is an excellent option for buyers looking to avoid a boring family hauler. Just be prepared to pay for the added style and performance. You can get a base 2WD Suburban starting at $52,095**, but if you want the RST Performance Package, then you’re going to have to start with the Suburban Premier ($69,795 for the 4WD model). When all is said and done, the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Performance Package you’re looking at here had an as-tested price of $81,705.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Chevrolet dealership and test drive the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban today!

* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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