Archive for June, 2009

Want a New SUV? Go Chevy, Not Toyota

Posted in Auto Articles with tags , , , , , , on June 25, 2009 by consortiumoffools

Chevy-vs-Toyota-SUV

According to common contemporary American vehicle ideology, the masses believe that Japanese cars are inherently economic and reliable.  This national notion has harmed General Motors’ sales.  Historically, I haven’t been a GM supporter.  On the contrary, I’ve always disliked Chevrolet.  But after driving the latest model of the Chevrolet  Suburban and Toyota Sequoia, I’ll take the Chevy.

Based on comfort, styling, power, and feel, the recent redesign of the Chevrolet Suburban trumps its closest competitors. Chevy and Toyota are often compared because they are the top two leaders in vehicle sales in the US. In the past several years, Chevrolet has been making an average product. Not terrible, but by no means exceptional. When Toyota closed in on Chevrolet’s market, they were forced to wisen up, and start creating quality vehicles. And they have.

The newest Suburban features comfortable leather seats, finger friendly audio and AC control knobs, a quick uptake and sleek looks. Toyota’s rebuttal to the Suburban is the Sequoia. It is based on Toyota’s largest truck, the Tundra, and shares the same unimpressive façade. It also shares the 5.7 liter iForce V8, which actually is pretty impressive. It gets up and goes, have no doubt, but unfortunately it’s a stab of uncontrollable power which isn’t a bad thing, if you’re in a drag car. I’ll bet the truck delivers power more predictably during towing, however. In contrast, the Suburban accelerates quickly and predictably. The exhaust note is particularly pleasing, especially when selecting the least fuel efficient driving setting, “V8 mode.” The SUV’s computer will stifle cylinder operation for the sake of gas mileage in the other much less fun modes.

Chevy-SUV-vs-Toyota

The interior of the Toyota feels cheap and reminds me of a fisher price toy. The AC controls feel loose when turned. The gear selector has the most awkward shape and placement. I wonder if I’ll break it as I pull it through the shift maze the Japanese are obsessed with. The cockpit of the Chevy is a whole different story. Knobs that feel expensive inlaid on a smooth surface are the hallmarks of the center control panel. Straightforward styling and practicality dominate. The steering wheel, optionally wrapped in leather, is easy to grip and amply aims the Suburban to the operator’s desired destination.

When it comes down to it, the Chevrolet just drives better. It’s built on a solid frame and handles responsively in traffic. This is the 9th, and possibly the last, generation of the Suburban and it is the best yet.

2009 Chevrolet Suburban

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