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We Got 19 MPG in a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST (What Do We Win?)

RealWorld-19Chevy_Suburban.jpg Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

It goes without saying that fuel economy isn’t one of the main reasons to get a full-size SUV. But if you are considering a behemoth like the 2019 Chevrolet Suburban, whether for its towing capability, passenger space or cargo room, we suspect you’re still a little curious about what it’s going to do to your wallet at the gas pump — particularly if you’re interested in the SUV’s optional 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine, which joins the Suburban lineup for the first time this year.

Related: 2019 Chevrolet Suburban RST Gets Muscle to Match Its Demeanor

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The base engine in the 2019 Suburban remains the familiar 355-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 that drives a six-speed automatic transmission and gets an EPA-estimated 15/22/18 mpg city/highway/combined with rear-wheel drive and 14/21/16 mpg with four-wheel drive.

02-chevrolet-suburban-rst-2019-black--exterior--profile.jpg 2019 Chevrolet Suburban | Cars.com photos by Christian Lantry

With the optional 6.2-liter V-8, which drives a 10-speed automatic and takes premium instead of regular gas, estimated fuel economy dips ever so slightly: Rear-wheel-drive models get 14/23/17 mpg, while four-wheel-drive versions are rated 14/20/16 mpg. For comparison, the 2018 Ford Expedition Max, the Suburban’s closest competitor, gets an estimated 16/21/18 mpg with four-wheel drive and is powered by a twin-turbo V-6 engine that also drives a 10-speed automatic.

We’ll have more details on the Suburban’s 6.2-liter V-8 and 10-speed automatic in our forthcoming review (the short answer: We like it). But to see how efficient this big SUV is in the real world, we tracked our fuel economy on an end-of-summer weekend trip from suburban (naturally) Chicago to southern Wisconsin and back that added nearly 180 miles to the odometer.

49-chevrolet-suburban-rst-2019-cargo--interior.jpg 2019 Chevrolet Suburban | Cars.com photo by Mike Hanley

My wife, three young boys and I hit the road on a Friday night with a weekend’s worth of gear in the Suburban’s cavernous cargo area. Traffic was mostly light on the interstates and state highways we took to our destination, and it was much the same during the return trip Sunday afternoon. According to the trip computer, we traveled 178.4 miles at an average speed of 38 mph and averaged 19.4 mpg.

That kind of fuel efficiency might horrify some eco-minded drivers, but if you ever find yourself at the other end of a lecture from one of them about how much more fuel you’re wasting compared with their 40-mpg small car, you can always pull this tidbit from your back pocket: The Suburban can move as many people and as much cargo as two 40-mpg small cars. From that frame of reference — one Suburban or two small cars — the amount of gas burned to travel the same distance is about the same.

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