Chevrolet’s cool-looking Z71 Midnight Edition package is offered on Tahoe and Suburban sport utilities, as well as on the Silverado pickups.
Over the past year, I’ve tested Silverado 1500 and Tahoe models with the Midnight package, and this past week, I also got to spend time in the Suburban version, which is 20.3 inches longer than the similarly equipped Tahoe.
The Suburban is Chevrolet’s original sport utility vehicle, introduced in 1935 and a star of the Chevy lineup ever since — particularly in Texas, where it’s among the most-popular motor vehicles ever.
Like its siblings, the Suburban has great road presence, and is quite hard to ignore. That’s made even more so by the Midnight Edition’s jet-black exterior color, along with blacked wheels and body trim.
The Suburban essentially is the same vehicle as the Tahoe, except at the rear. The cargo compartment is extended, giving the Suburban 39.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat — 24 cubic feet more than the Tahoe, at 15.3 cubic feet.
The Tahoe/Suburban and its siblings received their last full makeover for 2015, and the Midnight Edition package was added a year later. It’s also available on the Silverado Crew Cab pickup, which is almost the same vehicle underneath as the Suburban and Tahoe — it just has the cargo area turned into an open truck bed. The Silverado Midnight Edition has much the same look as the Suburban and Tahoe versions, with the same black wheels and trim.
Our Suburban tester was the four-wheel-drive LT trim level, with a base price of $58,280 (plus $1,295 freight) before adding the Z71Midnight Edition Package ($2,285). With the package came the 18-inch black-painted aluminum wheels, blackwall all-terrain tires, black tubular assist steps, black roof rack, tow hooks, underbody skid plate package, 3.42 rear axle ratio, Autotrac active two-speed transfer case, hill-descent control, front and rear black Chevy bowties, Z71 grille decals, high-capacity air cleaner and Z71 rubber floor mats. The vehicle came with a black interior, too.
Also included on our tester was the Suburban Luxury Package ($2,860), which added passive entry with remote keyless start, heated second-row seats, third-row 60/40 split bench seat with power fold, power tilt/telescopic steering column, heated steering wheel, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change alert with side blind-zone alert, power/heated outside mirrors with turn signals, hands-free power liftgate, front and rear park assist, and front fog lights.
We also had a Chevy MyLink audio/navigation system with eight-inch color touch screen ($495) and a power sunroof ($995). Dealer-installed wheel locks were an additional $70.
Our Suburban was powered by a 5.3-liter Ecotec3 V-8 engine with 355 horsepower and 383 foot-pounds of torque. It was paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, although Chevrolet now offers a 10-speed automatic with the optional 6.2-liter V-8.
With three rows of seats, the Suburban can carry up to eight passengers — two up front, and three each in the middle and third rows. But our tester came with power second-row bucket seats ($795), which replaced the second-row bench seat, and cut the passenger capacity to seven.
The 39.3 cubic-foot cargo area behind the third row is big enough for luggage and sports gear for a long family trip. With the third row folded, it expands to 76.7 cubic feet; and with middle and rear seats folded, there is 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
For 2018, Suburban prices begin at $50,200 (plus freight) for the base rear-wheel-drive LS model. It’s available with four-wheel drive at all trim levels. There is a rotary dial on the dash to the left of the steering column that has setting for 2WD, Automatic, 4WD High or 4WD Low, which is a low-range setting for serious off-road driving.
The Suburban is a very pleasant highway vehicle, with a quiet cabin, smooth ride, and a more-efficient powertrain than the previous generation.
With $7,500 in options and the freight charge added to the base price, the total sticker price for our 2018 Suburban LT Z71 Midnight Edition four-wheel drive was $67,075.