Allow me to set the scene (albeit a familiar one).
Under the cover of night, headlights round the corner. Blinded temporarily by a lens flare, your eyes refocus as 20” tires on blacked out trims splash across the ground. Just wet enough to gather small puddles, but never enough to spray up and dirty the matte black body, the lightly-coated pavement is imprinted by the raw power of the vehicle. Its shadow seems to stretch in each and every direction, depending on whatever limited lighting it happens to pass. As it comes to a halt, there is a pause. Rife with tension, the black-tinted window cracks itself a few inches to reveal an individual, unrecognizable behind a pair of expensive jet-black sunglasses…
Perhaps he’s an enforcer for a South American drug cartel, or a gang-member preparing for a midnight showdown with a rival gang. Perhaps he’s a member of the Russian Mafia visiting the docks to examine an illegal arms shipment, or maybe he’s a secret service agent, protecting the president. Who knows?
But one thing is for sure. Something is about to go down.
We know this because, if we’ve learned anything from television and movies it’s the indisputable fact that, a blacked-out Chevy Suburban is bad-ass. Reeking of impending danger, and mayhem to follow, it remains one of the most heavily used visual cliches in all of cinema.
But this connotation is inherently paradoxical. Do filmmakers use the visual to emulate the real-world badassery of the dangerous individuals who drive such vehicles? Or do real-world people drive such vehicles to emulate the badass visuals served up to them by filmmakers? Like a modern-day ‘chicken or the egg,’ we are left to scratch our heads because…the world may never know.
Except We Do Know
Whether we are talking about the Chevy Suburban, Tahoe or even the GMC Yukon these fleet vehicles are among those actively used by federal, state, and local government agencies, as well the military for the transportation of personnel. Suitable for transporting groups of people, as well as cargo, these versatile full-size SUVs have become synonymous with shows of authority. And the connotation of authority makes such vehicles appealing to anyone looking to command attention and respect, including certain criminal elements.
So movies and television emulate real life, and real life reinforces the cliche. The difference is that all depictions are hardly created equal, and may not even be accurate.
Fast forward from the scene depicted above, and you’ll inevitably find some sort of car chase. Surprised? Neither am I. But even when a badass SUV (such as blacked-out Chevy Suburban) is depicted on-screen as being ‘heavily-armored,’ the connection to the real world might be tenuous at best.
Take Your Best Shot
Gunshots are heard. Maybe it’s an AK-47, AR-15, handguns, shotguns, it doesn’t matter. But the ‘heavily armored’ vehicle appears to have fairly standard glass, requiring you to suspend more than-a-little disbelief when 3 mm or less seems to be stopping the fire. Since most vehicle armoring includes bulletproof ballistic glass ranging from 20-70 mm in thickness, anything less would leave someone lucky to survive.
And feel free to laugh out loud whenever you see an absence of tires being blown out amidst gunfire. Many run-flat tires would fall victim, but the inclusion of an internal plastic rim allow for post blow-out speeds of up to 60 mph for up to 60 miles.
Of course, there’s a fairly good chance that your lifestyle might be less demanding than those of secret government agents and faceless international assassins.
Make It Your Own
Joe and Jane Average-American have no elite ninja training. All they want is a versatile, yet luxurious, SUV with seating and cargo room to spare, as demanded by the lifestyles of their three children. After all, two of the kids play sports and the the third does dance. There’s never a shortage of equipment and other kids to haul around.
At a base-price of $49,915 MSRP, the Chevy Suburban is a natural fit. At 17-feet in length, the Suburban provides ample room, seating up to nine passengers and no shortage of cargo space. In fact, the Suburban’s 121.1 cubic feet behind the first row, 76.7 cubic feet behind the second row, and 38.9 cubic feet behind the third row can cover just about anything.
Powered by a 5.3-liter V8, the Suburban wrangles 355 horses and 383 lbs-ft of torque. It also boasts a best-in-class highway fuel economy of 23 mpg, which can be appreciated by any budget-conscious family. Add on the max-trailering package and they get an 8,300-lb. maximum towing capacity…perfect for that camper that they’re considering for family vacations.
And no matter how long the drive is, the kids will remain entertained with 4G LTE WiFi, and the option of rear and third row entertainment systems.
Scoring solid four and five-star ratings in government crash tests, they can be confident that the Chevy Suburban is a safe choice. But Joe thinks he’s Nick Fury of Shield…and Jane fancies herself a suburban Black Widow. Sure, they want their family to be safe, but a little hint of danger wouldn’t be a bad thing. Even if it’s cosmetic.
Enter the Midnight Edition, clad in its black bowtie. Opt for the Z71 package and they’re ready for any adventure. Riding on 18-inch, black-painted wheels, coordinating with a blacked-out grille, if the family decides to take things off the beaten path, the Z71 Midnight Suburban is ready – with the inclusion of a modified axle, skid plates, and fog lamps.
Grace Under Pressure
Sure the movie depictions may not be entirely accurate, but at the heart of the cliche is the simple fact that the Chevy Suburban is trusted in some of the most high-pressure situations. If you’re looking for a spacious, safe, and reliable ride…with configurations that inject a little bit of badass, the Chevy Suburban might be perfect for you.