In an automotive market where crossovers, compacts, and subcompacts grow increasingly popular, we often forget about big SUVs. Whether you need to haul around a big family, pull a boat, or simply control more of the road, there are a lot of great big SUVs still available today. The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban has been totally refreshed, while the 2015 Ford Expedition is now exclusively powered by a V6 engine. Which big SUV comes out on top? Find out in today’s Monday Vehicle Matchup as we compare the Chevrolet Suburban vs Ford Expedition.
Chevrolet Suburban Overview (base)
Engine: 5.3L V8
Fuel Economy: 16 City / 23 Hwy
MSRP: From $49,000
2015 Chevrolet Suburban Review
The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban holds true to its SUV roots. This is one of the biggest non-commercial production vehicles at the dealership. The redesigned front end is modern and tasteful, featuring a new grille with thick chrome outlines. The back end isn’t as flashy, maintaining a big, somewhat boxy SUV feel.
The interior of this year’s Suburban is upscale and comfortable, with a ride that is both quiet and luxurious. Soft-touch materials are abundant, even in the base LTZ trim. Interior styling cues will be familiar to Chevy fans.
As expected from a full-size SUV, the front two rows have more than enough room for the tallest adults. Even the third row is quite comfortable. There is a hidden storage area under the floor, and the second and third rows fold down to create 121.1 cubic feet of storage space.
Every Chevrolet Suburban comes with the same 5.3L V8 found in the Silverado that powers either the rear wheels or all four. This powerful package is capable of towing up to 8,300 lbs and passing others on the road with ease. The Suburban is quite maneuverable for such a large vehicle, but parking a vehicle of this size will be difficult for those inexperienced driving big trucks or SUVs. Handling is well-controlled overall, but the ride can feel rigid on some rough surfaces.
Showing a small improvement from last year, the 2WD Suburban earns an EPA estimated 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Staying competitive in the full-size SUV class, those numbers each drop by 1 in the 4WD model.
The NHTSA gave the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban a 4-star overall crash test rating. The biggest area of concern in the Suburban is the 3-star rating it received in the rollover test. Despite less than perfect ratings, it has all the expected safety features plus a ton of perks such as standard rear view camera and rear parking sensors, optional rear cross traffic alerts, forward collision alerts, lane departure warnings, side blind zone alerts, adaptive cruise control, safety alert seats, trailer sway control, hill start assist, front park assist, and much more.
Along with a myriad of safety features, every Suburban comes with two USB ports, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, and more. Optional features include wireless phone charger, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, MyLink infotainment system, 8-inch diagonal touch screen, rear seat 9-inch diagonal DVD and Blu-ray display, keyless entry, push-button start, and more.
Ford Expedition Overview (base)
Engine: 3.5L V6
Fuel Economy: 16 City / 22 Hwy
MSRP: From $44,585
2015 Ford Expedition Review
The 2015 Ford Expedition doesn’t share the frame of the Ford F-150 anymore, but it’s still a truck-like SUV. Frontal styling features a grille with 3 chrome stripes under an embossed hood. A new chrome strip has been added on the rear hatch, and exhaust pipes are now chrome-tipped. General styling has remained the same for about a decade, but these modern touches and upgrades keep the design relevant.
Step inside the Expedition, and you’ll find a presentation of durability, rather than luxury. More hard plastics are used on the dash and console than in competitors. However, quality of the interior has improved in the front, where ford adds the MyFord Touch infotainment system and two small 4.2-inch color display screens behind the steering wheel.
All 3 rows are spacious and comfortable, especially the front 2 rows. Storage space is ample, with 108.3 cubic feet available. The Expedition EL has longer glass and rear fenders, creating an incredible total of 130.8 cubic feet of cargo space.
The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, also found in the Ford F-150, flexes surprisingly big muscles for a V6 with 365 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. With this engine you can tow up to 9,200 pounds. The entire lineup can be equipped with 4WD. Electric actuation steering is sharp and quick in the 2015 Ford Expedition, making this huge ride a joy to drive. The suspension does a great job of keeping the ride comfortable on most surfaces.
With an EPA estimated 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, this year’s Expedition has improved its fuel economy numbers. These numbers reduce slightly with 4WD, but overall this SUV is competitive with other vehicles in its class.
The NHTSA gave the 2015 Ford Expedition a 5-star overall crash test rating. The only crash test score that was less than perfect was rollover rating, which the Expedition received 3 out of 5 stars. Rearview camera and trailer sway control come standard. Optional safety features include Ford MyKey, forward and reverse sensing system, blind spot monitor, cross-traffic alert, and more.
Ford offers 8 trims of this SUV. Every Expedition comes with Ford SYNC, USB port, rear parking sensors, satellite radio, and more. Upgraded features include a more luxurious interior, remote start, MyFord Touch with 8-inch touchscreen, voice command, heated second row, power sunroof, navigation, adaptive shocks, load-leveling rear suspension, and much more.
Chevrolet Suburban vs Ford Expedition Winner:
Base model: Chevrolet Suburban
With ample features, quality interior, and superior exterior design, the base Suburban delivers. It looks and feels like a luxury SUV, unlike the base Ford Expedition.
Upgrades: Ford Expedition
Top trims of the 2015 Ford Expedition are worth every penny. With unprecedented storage, superior performance in the proven V6 engine, and a very comfortable ride, the Ford Expedition is giving GM a run for its money in the SUV market.
Overall Winner: 2015 Ford Expedition
The Chevrolet Suburban vs Ford Expedition is an extremely close matchup, but Ford comes out on top. The proven EcoBoost V6 engine is the faster and more powerful option, also producing a smooth and quiet ride. The Expedition is more spacious than the Suburban inside. Chevrolet does win in exterior design and interior quality, but Ford has bested Chevy in today’s matchup.