Retrospective

See every Chevrolet Suburban generation: America's original SUV turns 85

America's original SUV is turns 85 years old this year.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

America's original sport utility vehicle is 85. The Chevrolet Suburban has had a run that has lasted since the year Jane Goodall, Giorgio Armani, Hank Aaron, and Don Cherry were born. And it's not done yet.

As Chevrolet readies to unveil the next generation of the Suburban, let's take a look back at the SUV through the years.

First Generation (1935-40): 1935 Chevrolet Suburban

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Suburban Carryall was introduced in 1934 and featured a half-ton chassis. The vehicle's signature two-door body style was produced through 1967. The Suburban got its power through Chevrolet's Stovebolt inline six-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower. The model got an upgrade for the 1937 sales year including a new Art Deco-inspired exterior design and a power increase to 79 horsepower.

Second Generation (1941-46): 1943 Chevrolet Suburban

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

Most automaker production for civilians halted during World War II. Many trucks, including the Chevy Suburban were produced for military use.

Third Generation (1947-55): 1948 Chevrolet Suburban

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Following World War II, Chevrolet redesigned its truck line and the Suburban was refashioned as a workhorse. Its inline six-cylinder engine got a significant power upgrade, with the ability to now produce 174 pound-feet of torque.

Fourth Generation (1955-59): 1956 Chevrolet Suburban

1956 Chevrolet Suburban

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For the model's fourth generation, Chevrolet gave the Suburban aggressive new styling. In the 1955 model year, the company added fresh technology and a wraparound windshield. Running boards were eliminated. This Suburban was powered by a V8, the company's legendary Small Block power plant. Four-wheel drive was offered for the first time in 1955.

Fifth Generation (1960-66): 1965 Chevrolet Suburban

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The fifth generation Chevrolet Suburban brought about the C/K designation to denote models with two-wheel drive (C) and four-wheel drive (K). In 1963, a ladder-type frame replaced the X-member frame. Chevrolet introduced air conditioning and rear-area heating to the Suburban for the fist time in 1965.

Sixth Generation (1967-72): 1967 Chevrolet Suburban

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The redesign of Chevy's trucks line brought about the evolution of the Suburban to move from a two-door model to a three-door SUV. There is now a single door on the driver's side and two doors on the passenger side. Ambulance companies found this configuration advantageous and purchased the Suburban in droves.

Seventh Generation (1973-91): 1974 Chevrolet Suburban

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This generation Suburban is the first ever to get a complete redesign. Up until this point, the generations just slowly evolved. Now the model was offered in a four-door body style and its wheelbase grew to 129.5 inches to support more family members and cargo. Buyers were able to enjoy more amenities than ever and by the late 1980s electronically controlled fuel injection and a four-speed overdrive transmission helped with the Suburban's fuel efficiency.

Eighth Generation (1992-99): 1992 Chevrolet Suburban

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This Suburban is a true evolution of the model incorporating the sleekest styling of the model since the 30s. It had flush glass, composite headlights, four-wheel antilock brakes, "shift-on-the-fly" four-wheel drive, and a supple suspension. In 1998, OnStar became available and for the first time all-wheel drive became an option.

Ninth Generation (2000-2006): 2001 Chevrolet Suburban

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The 10th-generation Suburban was launched in 1999 as a 2000 model. It got more modern styling, a fresh interior, and new powertrain options including 5.3-liter and 6.0-liter V8s. For the first time, four-wheel disc brakes, a load-leveling suspension system, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control were offered.

Tenth Generation (2007-2014): 2007 Chevrolet Suburban

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Eleventh Generation (2015- Present): 2015 Chevrolet Suburban

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The modern Chevrolet Suburban is the most plush, capable, and connected ever. It's also more efficient thanks to its available EcoTec3 5.3-liter V8 engine. Standard features include a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.


The 2020 Chevrolet Suburban is on sale now.

Chevrolet has started a campaign urging people to sign a Change.org petition showing support for the Suburban to be named "National Vehicle of Texas."

Image courtesy of Chevrolet

In 1986, Texas Monthly declared the Chevrolet Suburban the "National Car of Texas," saying that it was, "the most Texas vehicle there is… It's big, it's strong, it's fun, it doesn't put on airs, but it doesn't keep you from putting on a few." In the time since, the Suburban has undergone many iterations, but still maintains its original focus as being a capable people-hauler.

A new Change.org petition started by Chevrolet seeks to bring attention to the Suburban and gain support to name the vehicle the "National Vehicle of Texas." Why not the State Vehicle of Texas? That designation was given to the chuckwagon in 2005.

"Honestly, the petition is not intended to result in any official proclamations," Monte Doran, Manager, Chevrolet Truck Communications said. "Instead, the petition is a way to celebrate the long-lasting connection between Texans and the Suburban." This year, the Suburban nameplate turns 85 years old.

According to Chevrolet, more Suburbans are sold in Texas than in the lower 25 states combined. Five of the top 10 Suburban dealerships in the country are in Texas.

"Suburbans are a familiar sight in the parking lot of the Argyle Club in San Antonio, which is not surprising since it's hard to drive a block in surrounding Alamo Heights without seeing one," said Doran. "At the end of a school day in North Dallas, Suburbans are lined up outside Hockaday and St. Mark's. On weekday mornings Memorial Drive in Houston is a processional of Suburbans hauling children to private schools."

They're not just for families. "Around the Capitol in Austin, Suburbans are so popular with the influence-peddling crowd that they are known as lobby wagons. A single lobbyist can take as many as eight legislators to lunch, while tinted windows all around … ensure the anonymity of his passengers."

Suburbans translate into life beyond the city and suburbs in Texas. You can find them on boat ramps, on rugged ranch roads, hunting and fishing locations, and camping areas. "Last year when the hunting season opened at the venerable St. Charles Bay hunting club in Rockport, there were 12 vehicles in the parking lot and every one of them was a Suburban," Doran (rightly) bragged.

Every Suburban sold in the world is built in Arlington at Arlington Assembly Plant.

The next-generation of the Suburban will be revealed on December 10 along side the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe. Both SUVs will be 2021 models.

This year the Chevrolet Tahoe celebrates its 25th anniversary. When it debuted, the 1995 Chevrolet Tahoe was positioned as a short-wheelbase truck with the functionality of four doors. It was a multi-purpose family vehicle, with the versatility to tow a trailer, go off-roading, or take the family on a road trip.

Today, the Tahoe is the best-selling full-size SUV in the U.S. That's thanks in no small part to its evolution as a larger people-hauler and as a government vehicle with tens of thousands of the model being sold each year for work as police pursuit and special service vehicles.

2012 Chevrolet Tahoe PPV Police agencies across the U.S. use the Tahoe as their PPV.Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

You can take a look at different generations of the model by driving down most streets in America. But for history's sake, here's a closer look at what the 1995 model had versus what is found in the 2019 edition.

Features

1995 Tahoe

2019 Tahoe

Infotainment

  • AM/FM stereo with Seek-Scan
  • Cassette deck
  • Compact disc with theft lock
  • Speed compensated volume
  • High-definition color touchscreen
  • Bose premium 9-speaker audio system
  • Wi-Fi hotspot with 4G LTE data
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Wireless charging

Advanced
Technology

  • Speed control and tilt steering
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Insta-Trac system on 4X4 models
  • Independent front suspension
  • Solar-ray tinted glass
  • Rear wiper/washer with defogger
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Head-up display
  • Standard Rear Vision Camera
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • IntelliBeam automatic high-beam control
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Keyless entry and push-button start

Safety Features

  • Standard driver-side air bag
  • Standard four-wheel Anti-Lock Brake System
  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Safety alert seat
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning
  • Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking
  • Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert

Horsepower
and Torque

  • Up to 200 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque
  • Up to 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque


Max Trailering

  • Up to 7,000 lbs.
  • Up to 8,600 lbs.

Max Seating

  • Up to five
  • Up to nine

The next-gen 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban will be unveiled in December, furthering the story of the two popular SUVs.