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Sunday Drive: Friends, Tuachan and a Chevy Suburban in St. George

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Nov 19, 2022
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From left: Traci Welburn, Diane McLean, Arelena Makanesi, Joanie Breedlove, Gina Schwendiman, Julie Smith and Deanne Conover, who all work at Aspen Senior Care, took a trip in the Suburban down to St. George with Deanne for a girls weekend!
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Deanne with the new High Country Suburban in sunny southern Utah on a girls trip to St. George. It turned out to be the perfect vehicle for traveling with a group to see a play at Tuacahn.
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Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.
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Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.
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Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.
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Inside the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.

It has been a number of years since we have had the pleasure of driving a full-sized Chevrolet Suburban. In fact, our last outing in the full-sized SUV was way back in 2015. We recently had the opportunity to spend another week with the Suburban, and it could not have been more perfectly timed as Deanne had a trip to St. George planned that weekend.

The best part was that she was traveling with several friends from her workplace at Aspen Senior Care. They were to stay in a rental home in Washington and attend a show at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts. Originally, they had planned to travel down in Craig’s Ram truck, which would have been OK, but their luggage would have been stowed in the open truck bed.

So, getting the Suburban was very fortuitous and provided a perfect way to transport a group of adults down to Utah’s southern border. We could not think of a better-equipped vehicle than the Chevy Suburban for this task, especially in the vehicle’s High Country trim. This is the most luxurious model the automaker produces.

The High Country version came equipped with four captain’s chairs — two in the front and two on the second row — and a bench seat for the third row of passengers. There was also plenty of space behind the seats for everyone’s luggage.

The second row of seats proved to be very easily moved out of the way, with just the pulling of a lever required to manipulate each seat and tip it forward. This eased the task of getting into the rearmost seat as three of the gals took turns riding in the back row.

There were no complaints from the third-row occupants as each chose to sit in the middle of the bench seat. This provided more leg room as it does get down just over 5 inches from the second-row position.

All the riders commented on how easy it was to talk amongst themselves as they traveled down Interstate 15. They were very impressed with how quiet the vehicle was and what a great job it did keeping outside noise in its place.

Deanne was quick to point out that she could hear the conversation easily from the driver’s seat and never had to adjust her attention, even when the rear seat passenger was talking. What a great comfort level this would provide for moms running around with the kids!

Speaking of kids, the test ride came with the addition of rear seat media (dual 12.5-inch LCD high-definition screens, $1,995). These systems have changed over the years and are now accessible via other devices like phones or iPads through streaming or an HDMI cord, with each having its own set of Bluetooth headphones.

The screens can work independently or together, thus keeping each child entertained during longer drives. It is different than the old add-a-DVD-player-to-the-SUV situation, but coupled with the onboard Wi-Fi, the technology fits better.

However, those on the trip did not take advantage of the screens and technology as they preferred to talk on the way down.

A tri-zone automatic HVAC system enhanced the ride, allowing everyone to travel in their personally designed comfort. With heated front and second-row seats, luxury is not forgotten in this large SUV. The front seats are also cooled, which helped even more in the St. George area where temperatures were approaching 90 degrees.

This new 12th generation of the Suburban came equipped with a 6.2-liter Ecotech3 V-8 engine, which is the largest option available in the SUV. (There is also an option to get a 5.3-liter V-8 and a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine.) This gave our ride a total horsepower output of 420 ponies and torque of 460 foot-pounds, the same torque as the diesel version.

For the week, with more than 600 miles of driving (granted, 500 of those were on the highway), we got 19.2 miles per gallon. That’s not too bad for a large people-hauling SUV. The transmission that connects all the power to the wheels is the same 10-speed that now comes in the Silverado truck. It slips seamlessly through all those gears, finding the right spot for any driving conditions.

On the safety side, the High County comes with all the great additions, including forward collision warning, blind spot monitor, and front and rear parking sensors, which really helped when parking this large vehicle in the garage. Also included were lane keep assist and a following distance indicator.

What was lacking is adaptive cruise control. Because of supply chain issues, it is still unavailable. The new High Country trim level is set to come with Chevrolet’s new “Super Cruise” system that, according to them, will be the industry’s first true hands-free driver-assist technology for compatible roads.

This system will work in conjunction with the adaptive cruise and use mapping and cellphone technology to keep the Suburban in the lane and following the vehicle in front of the SUV. It will also tie into a driver-attention camera to make sure the driver is paying attention to the road. If not, it will have the ability to bring the vehicle to safe stop on the road.

The only complaint Deanne had about the long road trip was the absence of the adaptive cruise control. This system makes a longer drive so much easier and comfortable no matter where you are going.

Overall, the Suburban was the perfect vehicle for a fun-filled trip to Southern Utah and contributed greatly to making it an enjoyable three-day getaway.

Base price: $78,300

Destination charge: $1,795

Price as driven: $86,250

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