2020 Chevrolet Suburban vs. 2019 Ford Expedition Max

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Chevrolet Suburban are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Ford Expedition Max doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle or rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Suburban are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Suburban has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Both the Suburban and the Expedition Max have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Suburban is safer than the Ford Expedition Max:

Suburban

Expedition Max

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

25 G’s

27 G’s

Hip Force

399 lbs.

434 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The Suburban’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Expedition Max’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Suburban’s optional 6.2 V8 produces 20 more horsepower (420 vs. 400) than the Expedition Max Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Suburban’s fuel efficiency. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Suburban has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Expedition Max (31 vs. 28.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Drivetrain

The Suburban has a true four-wheel drive system, which uses a four wheel traction control system to redirect engine power to the axle and wheel that still has traction to keep the Suburban moving if even only one wheel still has traction. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a true four-wheel drive system; it could get stuck while one or more wheels still have traction.

Brakes and Stopping

The Suburban stops shorter than the Expedition Max:

Suburban

Expedition Max

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

148 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Suburban has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Suburban is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Expedition Max.

Chassis

The front grille of the Suburban uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Suburban offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Expedition Max can only carry 8.

The Suburban has .8 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front legroom, .3 inches more rear shoulder room and 1.1 inches more third row headroom than the Expedition Max.

Cargo Capacity

The Suburban’s cargo area provides more volume than the Expedition Max.

Suburban

Expedition Max

Behind Third Seat

39.3 cubic feet

34.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

76.7 cubic feet

73.3 cubic feet

Ergonomics

The Suburban Premier offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Suburban’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Expedition Max’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Suburban’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Expedition Max’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

When the Suburban LT/Premier is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Expedition Max’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Suburban has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Expedition Max.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Suburban owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Suburban will cost $405 to $1115 less than the Expedition Max over a five-year period.

The Suburban will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Suburban will retain 52.55% to 53.03% of its original price after five years, while the Expedition Max only retains 49.61% to 51.66%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Suburban will be $3463 to $10572 less than for the Ford Expedition Max.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Chevrolet Suburban and the Ford Expedition Max, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chevrolet Suburban outsold the Ford Expedition/Expedition Max by 11% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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