Fun fact: The Suburban from Chevrolet is the longest-living species on North American roads. On the market since 1936, it will be getting a makeover in the coming months, which is reasonable since it was last overhauled in 2015. The Ford Expedition has for its part sported a more modern look in 2018 and comes in two formats: Regular or Max.
Both of these All-American mastodons are designed for those who need/want a lot of space, with the added bonus of a towing capacity approaching that of a pickup truck.
2020 Chevrolet Suburban
The Suburban comes in three trim levels: LS, LT and Premier. All come standard with a 355-hp 5.3L V8 and a 6-speed auto transmission. All-wheel drive is optional on the LS and LT and standard on the Premier. The Premier is also available with an optional 420-hp 6.2L engine and 10-speed transmission.
The LS version comes with 18-inch wheels, power heated and adjustable side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, 6-speaker audio system, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, cruise control, leather-trimmed steering wheel, tilt steering wheel, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system, tri-zone automatic climate control and rear parking assist.
You have to go to the LT model for a more complete list of equipment on which you’ll find forward collision warning with low-speed automatic braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, power tailgate, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, nine-speaker audio system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, power adjustable pedals and integrated garage door opener.
Finally, the Premier adds 20-inch wheels, fog lights, hands-free liftgate, HID headlights, 10-speaker stereo, navigation, front and rear parking assist, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, passive keyless entry, blind spot monitoring with rear crosswalk alert, power folding third row seat, power steering column adjustments and wireless charging.
More contemporary styling
The more modern styling introduced in 2015 rejuvenated the overall look, though it remains pretty conservative, while the quality of the materials inside is on the rise. But for the rest, it's a formula proven over the years (rigid rear axle, truck chassis, V8 engine, etc.).
If you want to stand out visually, there are value packages and an RST version built around the 6.2L engine. Practical options include a power folding second row seat, sunroof and power running boards. Chevrolet also offers each version with a unique interior with brown or beige leather upholstery.
Retro driving experience
Still mounted on a pick-up chassis, the Suburban is certainly spacious, but the ride it delivers is closely tied to the road conditions. On smooth asphalt, you could say it’s serene. When the potholes appear, you can’t: the suspension hits harsh and your spine will suffer. Avoid the 22-inch wheels, which may look nice but significantly reduce your comfort level behind the wheel, and that of your passengers around you.
2020 Ford Expedition
Ford introduced the first Expedition in the late 1990s, using underpinnings taken from the F-150 pickup truck. The current fourth-generation model arrived in 2018. This year, Ford is expanding the Expedition lineup with a new King Ranch version, and various active safety and driver assistance features are now available.
Ford sells the 2020 edition in XLT, Limited, King Ranch and Platinum versions. The last three of those are available in Max configuration, with an extended wheelbase and overall length that makes it almost as big as the Suburban. All Expedition models are powered by a 3.5L turbocharged V6, 10-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
The Expedition XLT comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, garage-door opener, front wiper defroster, flip-up rear window, push-button start, Sync 3 system, 9-speaker audio, cloth seats and 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat.
Exterior features include fog lights, 18-inch wheels, automatic high beam, capless fuel filler, heated side mirrors with integrated blind spot mirrors, blind spot monitoring and keyless entry.
Among the safety features are a lane keeping system, emergency sensors and tire pressure monitoring.
The Limited model includes power-adjustable pedals, front parking assist, woodgrain interior trim, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, hands-free power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, passive keyless entry, ambient interior lighting, navigation, wireless smartphone charging, 12-speaker audio system, 10-way power perforated leather front seats with lumbar support, ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, LED taillights, power folding outside mirrors and a panoramic sunroof.
The King Ranch features a continuously variable, electronically controlled suspension damping system, 22-inch wheels, LED headlights and taillights, power running boards and 360-degree exterior cameras. Finally, the Platinum offers massaging front seats.
Options include a rear seat entertainment system and heavy-duty towing and off-road towing packages. XLT is available with an available hands-free tailgate, passive keyless entry, heated and ventilated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Limited offers a package with 22-inch wheels, LED headlamps and fog lamps, adaptive cruise control and 360-degree camera views.
You can also opt for second-row seatbelt airbags and a cargo package that includes an interior cargo management system with roof-rail crossbars.
On the road
Unlike the Suburban with its rigid axles, the independent suspension is immensely more comfortable on the Expedition, improving handling and handling while creating a flat space for the folding 3rd-row seats. The V6 offers enough power to make some V8s green with envy.
For its part, the solid chassis offers a reassuring ride. There's roll - a massive piece of machinery like this doesn't drive like a sports car - but you won't get seasick if you increase the pace a little. Power is always present at all RPM levels, and the 10-speed transmission works very well with the engine and almost manages to make fuel consumption acceptable.
Advantage Chevrolet Suburban
The Suburban offers more cargo space and benefits from the power of V8 engines in the product offering. Its classic styling is also an appeal to a number of buyers. It's also a little less expensive than the Expedition.
Advantage Ford Expedition
Ford’s mastodon is a more comfortable model, more modern in its design approach and in its driving style. Its flat floor also offers more space for occupants and better fuel economy. The towing capacity is superior.
Looking for an authentic seven-person ride with generous luggage and excellent towing capacity? You’re in the right place either way you go here. Both models also offer Olympian dimensions. Don’t expect to be able to go just anywhere in town in either of these vehicles.
For its more-comfortable, more-modern ride, smarter interior layout and more-youthful lines, the nod goes to the Expedition, which proves that when it comes to large vehicles, Ford still has the chops. But take note, the next-generation Suburban arrives this year and Chevy knows what it has to do with to bring it up to par. We may need to have these models do battle again next year.
2020 Chevrolet Suburban
Ample cargo space
Wide choice of models
We like less
Ride comfort that leaves something to be desired
2020 Ford Expedition
Vast interior space
Powerful and flexible V6
Comfortable front seats
We like less
Bulky format when parking
Interesting options are expensive
Needs high-octane gas for maximum efficiency
|...||2020 Chevrolet Suburban||2020 Ford Expedition|
|Transmission||6- or 10-sp auto||10-sp auto|
|Drivetrain||FWD or AWD||AWD|
|Fuel consumption (city)||16.8L/100 km||14.7L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||11.3L/100 km||11.2L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (city)||17.2L/100 km|
|Fuel consumption (highway)||11.4L/100 km|
|Type||5.3L T||3.5L T|
|Output||355 hp||375 hp|
|Torque||383 lb-ft||470 lb-ft|
|Output||420 hp||400 hp|
|Torque||460 lb-ft||480 lb-ft|
|Cargo space||1113 l, 2112 l, 3447 l||1019 l, 2254 l, 3439 l|
|Fuel tank||117 l||113,5 l|
|Towing capacity||3765 kg (FWD)||4082 kg|
|3628 kg (AWD)|
|Length||5699 mm||5635 mm|
|Width||2044 mm||2030 mm|
|Height||1889 mm||1936 mm|
|Wheelbase||3302 mm||3342 mm|
|Warranty||3 yrs/60,000 km||3 yrs/60,000 km|
|Pricing||$59,398 to $77,898||$62,500 to $85,400|