Patch Drives: Hey, Chevy Suburban, is This Love I'm Feelin'?

I thought I wanted to ditch the big ride – until I drove a loaded 2012 Chevy Suburban.

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series. Read all of the Patch Drives installments here.

Here’s the thing: I thought I was . I thought I was looking for something more compact — well, as compact as you can get while loading four kids and all their stuff. 

I thought those things until I drove a loaded 2012 Chevy Suburban. 

Two days in the Suburban rekindled my passion for extra large cars (and big hair bands, too, courtesy of SiriusXM Radio). 

Here I go again on my own

When I drove my giant custom van into the parking lot of in Royal Oak, I admit I got what is becoming a familiar twinge of nerves.  Like I’m going on yet another first date. Will they like me? Will I like them?

Before I jumped down out of the van, I did a little Stuart Smalley-style self-motivation talk. You know, “You are good enough, smart enough and doggone it, people like you.” 

Kenan Manalp was my salesperson. Aside from being a little leery of the video camera following us around, he was helpful and funny. (Funny is always good. Especially when people realize they can be funny and still take the situation seriously.) 

He didn’t judge that even though it’s not my first rodeo, I still got excited about synching my iPhone.  He explained pricing, leasing vs. buying options and more before we headed out to get a look at the car. 

He talked about discounts and how I could save “big money,” as if he were a game show host. And I mean that as a true fan of game show hosts. I felt like yelling out “Big bucks, no whammies!”

Falling fast

This Suburban was indeed loaded with special features: leather seats, two DVD screens, a sun roof, adjustable pedals, hands-free technology and more.  I drove off the lot feeling very secure in my knowledge of the car and confident of my large-car driving abilities.

I also drove away feeling a little uneasy for how fast I was falling for this new car. 

Cruising on I-75, windows down, sunroof open — it felt good. I flipped on the fancy XM radio and stumbled upon the Hair Nation station. Slaughter, Whitesnake and Cinderella serenaded me on my drive to the elementary school’s car loop to pick up my kids. 

It's kid-approved

The kids liked the car almost as much as I did. They were impressed with the two DVD screens and said that feature made it their favorite car so far. They pretended to be annoyed with me when I showed them what head-banging to the oldies was, but I know they loved it. 

The best part about the car (besides the Hair Nation station) was the fact that I was living large without feeling like it. 

Maybe it’s because my van feels like a mini bus or maybe because the Suburban is awesome. Whatever the reason, I didn’t feel like I was hogging the road or like I was a Greyhound driver. 

The lowdown

Let’s see how the Suburban measures up with my checklist:

  • Was there chemistry? Are you kidding me? I was surprised at how I fell in love with this car. I fell hard and fast. You better believe there was some major chemistry.
  • Appearance? It was big, but instead of feeling like I stuck out in a crowd, like I do with my van, I felt proud – proud of my extra large ride.
  • Lifestyle?  This car absolutely fits my family’s lifestyle.  All four kids fit comfortably, my husband was happy and there was plenty of storage space for sports equipment. The storage was perfect for the long trips we take in the summer, too.
  • Affordability? Eh, not so much. The tricked-out version that I test drove would totally break my bank at $60,000. And there wouldn’t be much savings on gas compared with my van. But maybe I can go in search of those “big money” rebates Kenan mentioned. (No whammies please.)  A 2012 Suburban without all the ultra cool features starts around $40,000.

Overall, Suburban, I think I love you. Although I have more cars to test drive, I will not soon forget our I-75 drive together and our song. I'm singing that Whitesnake tune now, and wondering: “Is This Love”?

Next week: I'm stepping it down just a notch in size: I'm driving a crossover.

Angela shopped for her Chevy Suburban at in Royal Oak. The dealership is open 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Thursday; 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and closed Saturday and Sunday. To build your own Suburban or to check on the inventory at a dealer near you, visit www.chevrolet.com/suburban-suvs/

There are lots of opinions about the Chevy Suburban; browse the blogs of what other auto writers have had to say. Also, visit autos.aol.com

Patch Drives is . The cars Youngblood chooses to test will be at her discretion and not affiliated with any advertising relationships.

Other Chevy dealers in Patch towns:

  •  in Troy
  •  in Rochester Hills
  •  in Lake Orion
Kristin Bull May 17, 2012 at 01:22 PM
We love your taste in music, Angela. Thanks for taking us all on this test-driving adventure with you!
Kevin May 17, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Love those head banging kids!
Sherry May 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Angela, I love my VW minivan (just picked up the new one today-- the beauty of leasing!!!), but if we had 4 kids, Suburban is where we would be. I sorta covet it anyway. It's all about the 2 dvd's and adequate trunk space when the 3rd row has people sitting in it!!!
LeAnne Pembleton May 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
R Jeppostol May 17, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Nice Work! enjoyed reading this piece.


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