Consumer Comparison Test: 2011 Chevy Suburban LTZ Vs. 2011 Toyota Sequoia Platinum

by on July 25th, 2010
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We noticed a lot of similarities between the Chevy Suburban and Toyota Sequoia during our road tests of these highly proven family vehicles that are perfect for hauling a boat, 8 people, the entire contents of your studio apartment or all the kids all at once. We saw that not only were these fully loaded gas guzzlers priced to within $1,000 of each other (both around $60,000 fully loaded) but they also are sized to within an inch of each other, so neither one is exactly easy to park.

Both the Suburban and the Sequoia also have what we would call in the real world serious drinking problems, as they both had V8 engines that never topped 14 miles per gallon during our time with them. But our Sequoia definitely could out-muscle the Suburban thanks to its larger displacement engine, additional power and more responsive feeling six-speed automatic.

The Suburban we tested came equipped with a 5.3 liter V8 with 320 horsepower that proved more than adequate when asked to motivate the Chevy but it just didn’t have the insane oomph offered by the Toyota Sequoia’s 5.7 liter 381 horsepower 5.7 liter V8 that is Lexus-like in its refinement. But in the end, does having this much brute accelerative force matter in an SUV that doesn’t exactly corner like its riding on rails (we are talking about both the Toyota and Chevy here).

In fact, both the Chevy and Toyota had very soft suspension tuning directed towards passenger comfort that conspired with rather numb steering racks to create two of the least rewarding to drive vehicles on the market today. It’s also just not fun having to worry about finding a big enough spot to park it unless you live somewhere with lots of open space. Like Texas.

As for styling, we found ourselves preferring the Suburban thanks to our tester’s black exterior paint job and tinted rear windows which made us feel a bit like we were driving a secret service vehicle around Washington D.C. with the President and First Lady. The Sequoia just looked like an SUV that had eaten one too many marshmallows and needs a serious visual slim down at the next redesign.

So why am I so sure that there will be a need for these two giant SUVs in our ever greener automotive future? People will always have insane personal and family needs for automotive cargo and passenger carrying and a Nissan Leaf won’t work for everyone. During its week with us the Sequoia Platinum’s high quality interior, huge second row captain’s chairs impressed a few of our friends under 8 years old and the Suburban was called in for duty to haul a new dryer to a friend’s house.

This is still America, the land that invented Super-Size Fries and the concept of the big box store so there is still a place in our society for these SUV giants. It just may take a miracle to make them more fuel efficient. Because when your vehicle gets to be this size then you know you it’s going to get heavy to the point that both of these SUVs easily can be described with a term that people used in years past to describe fat people-“two-ton Tessie.” These two SUVs qualify for that nickname quite literally, in fact, thanks to their epic curb weights.

But again, how can you build a vehicle this capable and with this much room without seeing your carbon hoof print grow a bit. Maybe you should have thought of that before you got all of those hobbies and that huge family! These are the vehicles to buy when the family minivan or your Partridge family style singing bus finally breaks down forever.


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