The Chevrolet Suburban is pretty much the standard in the full-size SUV segment, and that ain’t by chance. The nameplate has been around since 1935, making it the longest-running nameplate in automotive history. Now, Chevy is celebrating 85 years of the Suburban with a brief rundown on the model’s history, plus a short 50-second video showing off the Suburban’s many generations.
“While the world has changed significantly, the Suburban is just as relevant today as it was in 1935,” says Chevrolet marketing vice president Paul Edwards. “Suburban created the sport utility vehicle—offering unprecedented combination of passenger comfort and cargo capacity. That has earned Suburban the trust of a wide range of people—from families to law enforcement, and even a starring role in pop culture.”
Just like the modern version, the original Chevrolet Suburban was hugely practical, providing seating for upwards of eight people. What’s more, the original model also offered removable third-row seating and foldable second-row seating, both of which opened up as much as 115.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Meanwhile, motivation was provided by an inline six-cylinder engine throwing down 60 horsepower.
The Chevrolet Suburban was originally developed as a car-based wagon capable of withstanding the rigors of continual commercial use. As such, Chevrolet placed an all-steel wagon body on top of a commercial chassis, creating the first Suburban Carryall.
The Suburban continued to grow in popularity with Chevy’s commercial and private customers, but it wasn’t until the early ‘90s that the Chevrolet Suburban made it into the mainstream in a big way, providing oodles of seating and cargo capacity for American families.
Fast forward to the present day, and the modern Chevrolet Suburban now offers 121.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the second- and third-row seats folded. Motivation is provided by either the naturally aspirated 5.3L V8 L84 engine, which is tuned to produce 355 horsepower, or the naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 L87 engine, which produces 420 horsepower.
“The name Suburban is so widely recognized that at various times over history it was used by a few vehicle manufacturers,” said Petersen Automotive Museum curator Leslie Kendall. “But the Chevrolet Suburban—the forerunner to the modern SUV—has stood the test of time.”
We’ll have more content on the history of the Chevrolet Suburban soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, subscribe to GM Authority for more Chevrolet Suburban news, Chevrolet news, and around-the-clock GM news coverage.