Perhaps to the global market, in 1986, a pickup-based station wagon was certainly not posh enough to classify as a status symbol. But as far as Texas was concerned, a Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar could not fit nine passengers comfortably for a fraction of the price. What’s more, the 1986 Chevrolet Suburban’s 47-foot turning radius was definitely not a problem for the Lone Star state’s wide country roads.
To refresh our memory, Motor Week posted a retro review on the 1986 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel earlier this week, on Christmas day. Once reserved for road maintenance crews, it quickly turned into a ‘top-draw’ status symbol after just a few facelifts. Of the 50,000 Suburbans made each year, a full 30 percent are sold in Texas.
This wagon may have cloth upholstery and a dash from the seventies, but it earned itself a solid spot in the station wagon segment of yesteryear. It has an immense towing capability (enough to tow a medium tugboat), maintains a comfortable ride, and is equipped with a 6.2-liter diesel V8 engine. It may only deliver 130 horsepower, but the diesel Chevrolet Suburban pushes out a full 240 pound-feet of torque.
The 1986 Chevrolet Suburban Diesel could go 23-25 MPG (using the old EPA system) and reach 60 mph in an eventual 15.1 seconds. The wagon’s tailgate came with a roll-down window and an optional rear heater. The 5,700-pounds of empty weight provided a surprisingly high-quality ride as well.
With a price tag of $21,000 at the time, Americans really couldn’t ask for more; it was a great value that many people took advantage of and still recognize today. After all, the current-generation Chevrolet Suburban is still going strong and remains a popular buy among Chevrolet consumers, and a dominant force in the segment.