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  • Chevrolet Suburban: Evolution of an Icon

Chevrolet Suburban: Evolution of an Icon

Charting the Changes on a Legendary Nameplate

Motor Trend Editors
Apr 7, 2014
No automotive nameplates have survived nearly as long as the Chevy Suburban, but as Chevrolet debuts the new 2015 Chevrolet Suburban, we're taking a look at this legendary model's history. What started in the 1930s as a two-door, eight-passenger people-mover with 60 hp has morphed into an imposing yet still capable 355-hp SUV with a luxury price-tag if you're not careful with the options. So as you read the First Test of the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and 2015 GMC Yukon XL, take a look at how the Suburban has evolved over more than 10 generations.
Which Suburban is your favorite?
Generation 1: 1935-1936
The 60-hp Suburban Carryall arrives with two doors and room for eight people.
Photo 2/38   |   1935 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall Front Three Quarters

Gen 2: 1937-1940
The output of GM's Stovebolt inline six-cylinder engine jumps to 79 horses, and additional style changes give this Suburban a look that lasts until 1956.
Photo 6/38   |   1939 Chevrolet Suburban Rear Three Quarters

Gen 3: 1941-1946
As the Arsenal of Democracy halts most car production to make war machines, the Chevy Suburban continues, though it's typically painted olive drab and has a star on its doors. A four-door model is included.

Gen 4: 1947-1955
The grille goes big and horizontal, and GM boosts the inline-six's output to 90 hp and 174 lb-ft. Still, the Chevrolet Suburban is considered more of a work vehicle than a family hauler. For families, wagons rule.
Photo 7/38   |   1951 Chevrolet Suburban Front Three Quarters

Gen 5: 1955-1959
The bubbly fenders and running boards are gone and a wraparound windshield is added. Engine upgrades include a small-block V-8. In 1957, four-wheel drive is offered.
Photo 11/38   |   1955 GMC Model 101 Suburban Pickup Front Three Quarter

Gen 6: 1960-1966
Restyled for the '60s, Chevy Suburbans arrive in either C (2WD) or K (4WD) designations and a variety of engine choices ranging from a 283-cubic-inch inline-six to a 327 V-8.
Photo 12/38   |   1966 Chevrolet Suburban Front Three Quarters

Gen 7: 1967-1972
A straight-edge design incorporates a single door on the driver's side and two doors on the passenger side. In 1971, front disc brakes become available.
Photo 15/38   |   1972 Chevrolet Suburban Front Three Quarters
Photo 19/38   |   1968 Chevrolet Suburban Boat Tow
Gen 8: 1973-1991
The reason you see so many of these Chevy Suburbans on the road today is that this design stayed the same for nearly 20 years with some changes incorporated over time, such as ditching carburetors for electronic fuel injection and improvements to a four-speed automatic transmission.
Photo 20/38   |   1990 Chevrolet Suburban Front Three Quarters

Gen 9: 1992-1999
Based on the GMT400, the Chevrolet Suburban gets a modern makeover and adds anti-lock brakes, refined suspension, and other amenities. In 1998, an all-wheel-drive system is added.
Photo 27/38   |   1999 Chevrolet Suburban Front Three Quarters

Gen 10: 2000-2006
The Chevy Suburban enters the 21st century with a new look and new powertrains, including a 6.0-liter V-8 first put in the Corvette. The interiors are overhauled and the exterior becomes much more polished. Other features include four-wheel disc brakes and a load-leveling suspension system.
Photo 30/38   |   2002 Chevrolet Suburban Boat Tow

Gen 11 : 2007-2014
Sleeker and more dynamic-looking, this generation drops the traditional chrome bumpers for body-colored fascia. The Suburban celebrates its 75th birthday with an Anniversary Diamond Edition.
Photo 31/38   |   2013 Chevrolet Suburban Passengers Three Quarters View

Gen 12: 2015+
New engines, new sheetmetal, and a new frame make this Chevrolet Suburban the most efficient and powerful ever to travel America's highways. It can still carry it all.
Photo 35/38   |   2015 Chevrolet Suburban Chevrolet Tahoe Front Three Quarter
So tell us: Which generation Suburban is your favorite?