DETROIT — Back in 1935, the world was a vastly changing place still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression. Amidst all this, Americans still found a way to reach new heights of innovation and achievement. Movies debuted in color for the first time, baseball home run records were shattered, and the last concrete was poured at the Hoover Dam, the world’s largest at the time. That same year, Chevrolet introduced the Suburban in the United States.
Still in production eight and a half decades since its debut, the Suburban has earned the title of the industry’s longest-running nameplate. In fact, Suburban is the first vehicle to reach 85 years of continuous production.
“While the world has changed significantly, the Suburban is just as relevant today as it was in 1935. Suburban created the sport utility vehicle – offering unprecedented combination of passenger comfort and cargo capacity,” said Paul Edwards, Chevrolet marketing vice president. “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.”
“The name Suburban is so widely recognized that at various times over history it was used by a few vehicle manufacturers,” said Leslie Kendall, curator at the Petersen Automotive Museum. “But the Chevrolet Suburban – the forerunner of the modern SUV – has stood the test of time. From family road-trips to dignitary protection, to TV and film and everywhere in-between, over the last 85 years the Suburban has become a fixture of Americana.”
Over the years, the Suburban has cemented its place in the hearts of many. As a beloved part of the family, trusted bodyguard and member of the armed forces, first responder and even a movie star, the original SUV has built an impressive and unrivaled legacy worthy of a celebration.
The original 1935 Suburban could seat eight, while removable seats provided a large 115.1 cubic foot (3,259 L) cargo area when the second-row seats were folded and third-row seats removed. It was powered by an inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower.
The 2020 Suburban seats up to nine and offers up to 121.7 cubic feet (3,446
L) of maximum cargo space when second and third-row seats are folded down. The
available 6.2L V-8 produces 420 horsepower – seven times the power of the 1935
model – with an EPA-estimated 23 mpg highway.
85 years of
Car-based wagons for professional use were offered by most manufacturers throughout the early 1930s. Most of these early vehicles featured wood sides and canvas tops; and while they were versatile, their car-based platforms and damage-prone bodies were not suited for continuous commercial use.
It was clear that customers required something more. Chevrolet began testing an all-steel wagon body mounted on a commercial chassis in the mid-1930s. This research and development resulted in the launch of the Suburban Carryall in 1935 – the first heavy-duty, truck-based wagon of its kind.
The Suburban’s heavy-duty truck-based chassis increasingly found favor with commercial customers. In the post-World War II growth years, its popularity steadily increased with private customers who appreciated its uncompromising capabilities and dependable utility.
The Suburban hit mainstream fame in the early 1990s as part of the SUV boom. While many customers were new to the Suburban, it had a legion of longtime owners over the years. From hauling Little League teams and their equipment, to towing a horse trailer on the ranch, or transporting a work crew to a job site, the Suburban had become a fixture of American culture.
Generation 1 – 1935-40
The Suburban Carryall is introduced on a half-ton chassis, with a signature two-door body style that would be produced through 1967. Power came from Chevrolet’s tough “Stovebolt” inline-six that produced 60 horsepower (45 kW). In 1937, new Art Deco exterior design cues were added and power was increased to 79 horsepower (59 kW).
Generation 2 – 1941-46
Production of almost all civilian vehicles halted during America’s involvement in World War II, although many Chevy trucks – including the Suburban’s body style – were produced for military duty.
Generation 3 – 1947-55
Representing the first significant redesign of Chevrolet’s truck line since before the war, the Suburban was welcomed by professionals in need of an all-new workhorse. Torque from the inline-six engine was 174 lb-ft (217 Nm) at only 1,200 rpm, creating excellent towing capability.
Generation 4 – 1955-59
Revolutionary new styling and technology is introduced midway through the
1955 model year. Known as the “second series” design, it featured a wraparound
windshield and the elimination of running boards – the body now flush with the
fenders. The biggest addition was Chevrolet’s first V-8, the legendary Small
Block. In 1957, factory-installed four-wheel drive is offered for the first
time, with the famous NAPCO-supplied “Powr-Pak” system.
Generation 5 – 1960-66
All-new styling greeted the 1960s and Chevrolet instituted the C/K designations
to denote models with 2WD (C) and 4WD (K). In 1963, a ladder-type,
channel-section frame replaced the X-member, box-section frames used in
previous years. With a focus on passenger comfort in 1965, factory-installed
air conditioning and a rear-area heater are offered for the first time.
Generation 6 – 1967-72
A redesign of Chevy’s half-ton trucks is introduced, and for the first
time since its debut, the Suburban now had three doors – with a single door on
the driver’s side and front and rear doors on the passenger side. This new
configuration, with easier access to the cargo area, was popular with ambulance
Generation 7 – 1973-91
The Suburban is completely redesigned and for the first time, offered a
conventional four-door body style. The wheelbase was stretched to 129.5 inches
with an increased focus on interior comfort and amenities that brought more
personal-use customers to Suburban. By the late-1980s, electronically
controlled fuel injection and a four-speed overdrive transmission brought
Generation 8 – 1992-1999
An all-new Suburban featured sleek styling with flush glass and composite
headlamps. Other updates included four-wheel antilock brakes, Insta-Trac
“shift-on-the-fly” on four-wheel-drive models and a suspension system designed
to provide a more carlike ride. In 1998, available OnStar and the full-time
AutoTrac all-wheel-drive system are added. In Australia, right-hand-drive
versions of the Suburban are offered through GM’s Holden brand.
Generation 9 – 2000-2006
Launched in 1999 as a 2000 model, the 10th-generation Suburban brought new styling, new interiors and new powertrains. The engines included the Vortec 5.3L and 6.0L V-8s from the same Gen III Small Block family in the Corvette. New features included for first time are four-wheel disc brakes, a load-leveling suspension system and StabiliTrak electronic stability control.
Generation 10 – 2007-14
The Suburban features a wind tunnel-shaped exterior and elimination of
traditional chrome front and rear bumpers. More efficient, comfortable and
capable than ever, the Suburban continued to offer customers uncompromising
capability and versatility. Safety and driver assistance feature updates
included electronic trailer sway control, Hill Start Assist and available Side
Blind Zone Alert1.
Generation 11 – 2015-Present
Completely redesigned to be more functional and refined, while offering
more features and a greater range of advanced technologies, the current
Suburban is also more efficient, thanks to a range of enhancements that include
a more aerodynamic design and a new, direct-injected EcoTec3 5.3L engine.
Improved aerodynamics also contributes to a quieter interior. A bevy of
standard customer-focused technology features like 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot (requires
available data plan)2, Apple CarPlay3 and Android Auto4
are also added.
1Safety or driver assistance features are no substitute for the driver's responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Visibility, weather, and road conditions may affect feature performance. Read the vehicle's owner's manual for more important feature limitations and information.
2Service varies with
conditions and location. Requires active service plan and paid AT&T data
plan. Visit onstar.com for details and limitations.
3Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone, and data plan rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a trademark of Apple Inc. Siri, iPhone and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
4Vehicle user interface is a product of Google, and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Data plan rates apply. Android Auto is a trademark of Google LLC.
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Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive & active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
About The Covenant Car Company, Inc.The Covenant Car Company Incorporated is the exclusive importer and distributor of Chevrolet automobiles and parts in the Philippines. Chevrolet Philippines is located at the 5th Floor, ALCO Building, 391 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, 1209 Makati City. Chevrolet has twenty seven (27) dealer partners in the Philippines – Chevrolet Alabang, Chevrolet Commonwealth, Chevrolet Greenhills-EDSA, Chevrolet Makati, Chevrolet North-EDSA, Chevrolet Otis-Manila, Chevrolet Pasig, Chevrolet Quezon Avenue, Chevrolet Shaw, Chevrolet Bacolod, Chevrolet Baliuag, Chevrolet Batangas, Chevrolet Carmona, Chevrolet Cainta, Chevrolet Cagayan de Oro, Chevrolet Cebu Mandaue, Chevrolet Dagupan, Chevrolet Davao, Chevrolet Iloilo, Chevrolet Isabela, Chevrolet Pampanga, Chevrolet Sta. Rosa, Chevrolet Tarlac, Chevrolet Imus Cavite, Chevrolet Ilocos Norte, Chevrolet General Santos City, and Chevrolet Camarines Sur. For more information, you may visit www.chevrolet.com.ph.