Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A grey 2022 Chevy Suburban Z71 is shown parked near a lake.

The Becoming of the Suburban

So, you have been thinking about Suburban life lately; honestly, who wouldn’t? With a focus on diversity and versatility, work and play, all while offering plenty of room for people and their neverending need for stuff, what isn’t there to desire? But are you curious about the history of the 2022 Chevy Suburban SUV or living on the city’s outskirts? After all, both are good for work and play, offer plenty of room, and are full of diversity and versatility even while being two very different forms of the same word.

Defining The Term Suburban

As both a noun and an adjective, both meanings of the term suburban surprisingly have similarities. The Chevy Suburban and suburban areas share more than just the spelling and a few characteristics; they also share the same composition. Suburban areas consist of people and businesses who have ventured away from the surrounding cities or towns to settle. This newly settled community becomes composed of a diverse population of people, homes, and businesses, demonstrating the perfect blend of variety and versatility. As for the iconic Chevy Suburban, well, that is a story in itself.

How The Longest Running Nameplate Began

The Chevy Suburban is what likely comes to mind when you think of a suburban vehicle. However, the suburban name wasn’t just for Chevy originally. It was a type of vehicle used by other brands as well. From the Nash Ambassador Suburban and DeSoto Custom Suburban to the Plymouth Suburban and Dodge Suburban, there were plenty of Suburbans to choose from through the years. Still, none of them compare to the iconic Chevy Suburban we have known and loved throughout the years.

The longest-running nameplate in the automobile industry, the Chevy Suburban debuted in 1934 as a cross between an eight-passenger cargo car and a half-ton light truck. This design, originally nicknamed the “Suburban Carryall,” was a perfect example of diversity for the automobile industry at just the right time, during an age where practicality was in demand and was possible to become a reality. People needed a rugged work vehicle to deliver cargo, but they also required seats for transporting passengers. Chevy had tried creating a similar vehicle to the Suburban Carryall in 1933, an eight-seater wood body on a truck chassis for the Civilian Conservation Corps and National Guard, but the body’s wooden construction was too fragile. So, when Chevy came up with the Suburban Carryall idea, for civilians, they knew they needed a strong material like steel, used to build battleships, instead of wood.

A red 2022 Chevy Suburban is shown driving on a winding road.

The Evolution of the Suburban’s Life

Drastic changes to the vehicle industry began when the first all-steel wagon on a truck frame, the Chevy Suburban Carryall, was released for the 1935 model year. Professionals were accustomed to struggling with their vehicles: wooden bodies that were prone to damage, canvas tops that were less than weatherproof, and a lack of rear seating for passengers. But because of its versatility, the new Suburban’s popularity grew among professionals after its introduction. Then, after World War II, private consumers began to fancy the ruggedness and versatility of the Suburban Carryall as well, and who can blame them? Through the years, the iconic SUV from Chevy has evolved alongside the increased demand for versatile vehicles, but there has always been one constant; the Chevy Suburban’s massive size, perfect for any need.

The original Chevy Suburban Carryall had room for three passengers on the front bench seat, two in the second row, and three on the rear bench seat. As for the cargo, depending on what you needed to transport, the Carryall had either rear doors that opened to the sides or an optional fold-down tailgate with a lifting rear window. As a bonus, the rear bench seat was also removable for extra cargo space if needed.

As for power, the first Chevy Suburban Carryall had an inline six-cylinder gasoline engine that produced 60 horsepower. The second-generation Suburban upgraded to an enlarged inline-six engine that produced 90 horsepower. It may not seem like much compared to the 2022 Chevy Suburban that can get four times that in the base engine, but it was powerful enough for its era.

The Suburban slowly began changing along with the times. With each new generation came a more evolved Suburban. It started to take the shape of a curvy wagon with a shifting interior, separating the front bench seat and making the front passenger seat fold forward to make it easier for people to get to the rear seats. Once the ’50s came around, so did the renowned tail fins, chrome-loaded exteriors, and jukebox-looking dashboards on the interior. Let us not forget, along with the new styling came engine choice as well, with the new option for a small block V8 that produced 145 horsepower.

A beige 2022 Chevy Suburban High Country is shown towing an Airstream trailer on an empty highway.

Major Changes Over the Years

The Suburban took a giant leap in the direction of the beloved SUV we know today in 1957 when it became available in four-wheel drive. This addition broadened its appeal with consumers since it made it a great choice for those looking for agricultural use or a vehicle for recreational purposes like hunting, fishing, and camping, thus becoming an actual “sports utility vehicle.” Then, with the introduction of the fifth-generation Suburban in 1960, it evolved even more into a version close to the model we know and love today. Debuting with improved comfort and handling, the new Chevy Suburban resembled a passenger car more than a truck, broadening its popularity even further.

It was not until 1988 that General Motors could trademark the Suburban. And by then, the Chevy Suburban was in its seventh generation. This series of Suburbans was the longest in production, running from 1973 to 1991. One of the only complaints consumers had at this point with the Suburban was it being a gas guzzler. Chevy remedied this by adding diesel engine options to the gas engine choices.

Other drastic powertrain changes for this generation included new transmission options to accommodate the larger, more powerful engines and allow for a better towing capacity. Additionally, some engines switched from carbureted to fuel injection for better efficiency, becoming more economical for the changing demand. As for the body, the Suburban lost its rounded curves but received its fourth passenger door, accommodating those needing to get to the second and third-row seating even more.


The Legend of the Chevy Suburban Continues

Fast forward through a few more generations, and we come to the present. The 2022 Chevy Suburban is the second model year of the Suburban’s twelfth generation. Now totaling 87 years of versatility, there is no surprise that Chevy nailed it once again.

As in previous years, Chevy’s largest SUV still offers ample cargo space; now best in its class. Today’s available seating accommodates up to nine passengers rather than the original eight. While the Suburban still gives consumers plenty of powertrain choices like in previous generations, some of the newer technological features and amenities for comfort and convenience make the modern-day Chevy Suburban a dream version of the original 1930s Chevy Suburban Carryall. The becoming of the Chevy Suburban has been a long journey predicted, based on popularity, to continue for many years to come. Hopefully, evolving even further in the future past the Suburban Caryall’s wildest dreams.

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