When talking about the SUV segment, it is important to realize that Chevrolet was the first to offer the sought-after combination of passenger comfort and cargo capacity on a truck-based architecture all the way back in 1935 with the Chevrolet Suburban Carryall – 85 years ago if we’re going by model years. With an all-steel wagon body mounted on a commercial chassis, the Suburban Carryall was ready to handle commercial duty in a way that other cars at the time could not. With seating for eight and over 115 cubic feet of cargo space available with the second and third rows stowed, it was also pretty good at family hauling. Under the hood was a relatively torquey 3.4L inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower, which is seven times less than the 420 horsepower available in the 2020 Chevrolet Suburban with the 6.2L V8 engine.
In fact, the Suburban name is older than some entire brands – such as Porsche, Mini, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Jeep, to name a few. This 85-year milestone is even more significant when you consider that Chevrolet Suburban production has gone unbroken. Across town, the Dodge Challenger muscle car is celebrating its 50th birthday this week, but the brand is also counting the years it wasn’t in production. Not so with the Suburban.
When you further consider that the Suburban spawned the incredibly popular Chevrolet Tahoe, it further highlights Chevy’s dominance in the segment. Launched in 1995 as a shortened wheelbase version of the Suburban, the Tahoe quickly became the best-selling full-size SUV in the U.S during the start of the SUV craze. The slightly smaller SUV has been able to hold onto that title for 19 consecutive years, something we’re sure Chevrolet hopes the Tahoe will continue in its 25th year.
If there is one undeniable fact about the U.S. car market, it is that we love our SUVs and trucks. Over the past decade we have seen the proliferation of the ever-enlarging models, all while small cars and hatchbacks slowly fade into obscurity. While this has been good for automaker’s bottom lines, it has also flooded the segment with competition. As brands continue to carve out their own piece of the SUV pie, Chevrolet continues to hold it down with 45 percent of sales in the full-size SUV segment, which is nearly twice the amount that its closest competitor captured so far in 2019. That percentage expands even further when including General Motors full-size SUVs from GMC and Cadillac.
The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe will be all-new, and we’ll get our first look at them next month, on December 10th. Stay tuned to MC&T for the full scoop.