Irony at its most effective is that which is unorchestrated...as in my receiving, straight from the 2000 Mondial de l’Automobile, from Jeff Sabatini, an authentic Michael Schumacher lid, which was fitted on my noggin the day a 2001 Suburban 2500 4WD was dropped off at the office for our ad hoc assessment.
One of the things that Schumacher is known to be capable of is driving so well that he is able to transcend the limitations of a vehicle. As I rolled along in the Suburban, it occurred to me that even Schumacher would be hard pressed to deal with the Suburban–not because it isn’t drivable, but because it weighs in at 5,670 lb., which is a whole lot of mass, even for the Vortec 8100 V8 (340 hp @ 4,200 rpm; 455 lb-ft of torque @ 3,200 rpm) to propel. Sort of brings a particular Bob Seger song, closely associated with Chevy, to mind. This is a sturdy vehicle, thanks, in larger part, to the use of a ladder-type frame that uses hydroformed front and rear rails. The last time I drove anything as large as the Suburban–which has a 130-in. wheelbase, an overall length of 2.19.3 in., height with luggage carrier of 76.9 in., and a width of 79.8 in–I rented it from U-Haul. The Suburban, which is manufactured both in Janesville, Wisconsin, and Silao, Mexico (closer to that state that is particularly fond of the Suburban, Texas), must be a favorite of the steel industry, given its overall real estate (the body is two-sided galvanized, except for the roof). Come to think of it, it must be fondly considered by people who supply paint, glass, plastic, carpet, wiring, leather, fasteners, lighting, gasoline (it is equipped with a 39-gallon system) headliner...weld guns: you name it.
The Suburban is decidedly not a vehicle for everybody–but with three rows of seats, it could surely fit everyone who works on this magazine with spacious comfort–and I mean everyone, with all of their gear (OK, perhaps not all of my books). A few simple figures should put the preceding claim into context: The LT preferred equipment group that the unit I had cost $11,336. Throw in the trailer package. Autoride. The Vortec V8. A locking differential. Rear seat audio controls. Optional tires. And an off-road skid plate package... and that figure gets kicked up to $13,491. That’s for options. You can buy a car for that price. (The sticker on the vehicle: $45,006).
Schumacher could deal with that.