1997 Chevrolet Suburban

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$24,648

starting MSRP

1997 Chevrolet Suburban

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

10 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 1997 Chevrolet Suburban trim comparison will help you decide.

1997 Chevrolet Suburban review: Our expert's take

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The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

A weekend on the road with GMC’s Suburban gave me a better understanding of why people love these things so much. It is the quintessential cruiser, capable of reeling off 400 miles without a hiccup, or a stop for gas.

And, it did so with all of the comfort and convenience of a full-on luxury sedan.

I’ve always found the Suburban’s size to be a bit daunting around town. I mean, how many people really need seating for nine? Yet, here we were, just my wife and I, with all of this unused space, ready to log nearly 800 miles in two days. Even though this baby is bigger’n Dallas, it rolls down the highway effortlessly and never really feels cumbersome, despite its long, 131.5-inch wheelbase, truck chassis and curb weight of more than 5,200 pounds.

The long wheelbase is a major contributor to its comfort level. We hammered down the interstate at a brisk pace and even though the ride was plush, it did not have that loose and mushy feeling of land yachts from the previous decades.

About the only things I wished for were better seats and greater gas mileage. We averaged just over 14.4 mpg on our trip (the EPA rating is 16 on the highway, but that is not calculated for 70 mph). The 42-gallon gas tank costs a fortune to fill up, but it allows a cruising range of 630 miles, which means you can get to Denver without having to stop for gas, a great benefit when time is of the essence.

Our test car was a four-wheel drive, 1500 series, and it sat pretty high. Getting in was a bit of a stretch, but the driving position was excellent because I had a panoramic view of traffic and could see over the top of many smaller cars.

Electronic, speed-sensitive power steering was added this year for enhanced feel, but I thought it was overboosted at low speeds. The turning radius is tighter this year too.

The engine in our test unit was the 5.7-liter, Vortec V8 with 255 horsepower. While that might sound like a lot of power, the Suburban weighs a lot and that eats up much of it. This engine puts out lots of torque, or pulling power, at 2,800 rpm, which means you don’t have to wring its neck to get up to cruising speed or to blend into the freeway. It can tow 6,000 pounds.

There are two other optional engines: a 6.5-liter, turbo-diesel V8 and a 7.4-liter gasoline V8.

The seats, swathed in leather, were pretty good, but after four hours I longed for more support, particularly in the lumbar area.

Between the front seats is a huge console that looks like a small cooler. It has a notepadholder on top which is handy for keeping route notes, plus storage for CDs, maps, etc.

A dual cupholder pulls out from the center of the dash, or you can replace the CD holder in the console with an additional cupholder.

I would like to see GMC borrow Pontiac’s steering-wheel controls for the radio because it was a pretty far reach for changing stations and adjusting volume.

There are two back seats, which is how you can fit eight or nine people inside. The third seat has limited legroom, but would be good for kids, dogs, etc. The second-row seat is a split-folding bench, but you have to tumble the seat bottom forward and remove the headrest from the seat back in order to fold it down. Folding both seats down reveals 149 cubic feet of cargo space, which is huge.

Other amenities, such as rear-seat air conditioning and dual airbags, add safety as well as comfort.

Access to the luggage compartment of our test unit was through two side-hinged panel doors, and they were easy to use. Their only drawback is that they cannot be equipped with a rear wiper. A switch enables all doors to be locked or unlocked from the back, a nice touch.

Price
The base price for our test unit was $27,313. The option list was long: tinted windows, power mirrors, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, power locks, power mirrors, power seat, keyless entry, 16-inch aluminum wheels, 3.73 axle ratio, trailer towing package, running boards, locking rear differential and electronic shifting transfer case.

The sticker price was $38,563.

Warranty
The basic warranty is for three years or 36,000 miles.

Point:The Suburban is right at home cruising the highways. With a 630-mile range and seating for nine it has an immense following among big families and outdoor types.

Counterpoint: This is a thirsty beast. I averaged 14.4 mpg with only two people aboard.

It is pricey, too, but then so are most other full-size SUVs.

SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE: 5.7-liter, V8

TRANSMISSION: automatic

WHEELBASE: 131.5 inches

CURB WEIGHT: 5,235 lbs.

BASE PRICE: $27,313

PRICE AS DRIVEN: $38,563

MPG RATING: 12 city, 16 hwy.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.7
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 4.1
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.1
  • Reliability 4.4

Most recent consumer reviews

4.6

I’ve owned 6 of these and still love them.

This applies to the 1995-1999 Chevrolet/GMC 1500+2500 4WD Suburban 6.5 L Diesel. I’m currently in my 6th over the course of 21 years. These vehicles, if you treat them right will easily last you well over 400,000 miles. It has plenty of room and is comfortable to drive. Properly equipped with the right tires and you can climb a mountain, go oversand or be the only one out in a blizzard. The 10k rated trailer hitch will get you and you gear to the deepest forest or you and your crew and your race car or off-road beast to the track or mudpit. In the corporate world it was the go to vehicle of CEO’s and heads of state. Still looks good, still drives good and doesn’t cost the price of a second mortgage.

5.0

200K+ Comfortable Miles

While the interior is a little outdated by 2018 standards the 1997 Suburban is still a very comfortable place to spend time. I'm looking forward to moving cross country with this vehicle next year. 5.7L V8 has plenty of power available at expense of fuel economy. With a 42-gallon gas tank it's spendy to fill up but you can't beat the capability of this vehicle. Even loaded up with stuff or towing, it's got plenty of power for merging or passing. Reliability is excellent, biggest repair was the fuel injection assembly at about 212K miles, and the air conditioning doesn't work consistently. The engine, transmission, etc. are still original beyond regular maintenance. Repairs are easy and affordable, and parts are dirt cheap and available everywhere. Biggest complaint is braking power on the 90s Suburbans doesn't inspire confidence. It's not that the brakes suck, it's just that the pedal feels squishy and it doesn't stop as quickly as the 2000+ Suburbans. Drive a 1999 and a 2000 and you'll understand. This isn't a problem unique to this particular vehicle because I've owned half a dozen of these trucks and it's really the only downfall of this platform.

5.0

LOVE IT

One of the best purchases I ever did love the back doors which opened sideways the most confortable ride I ever had specially if you have children and go on long trips

See all 9 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Chevrolet
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/up to 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
12 months/12,000 miles bumper-to-bumper original warranty, then may continue to 6 years/100,000 miles limited (depending on variables)
Powertrain
6 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
172-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2000

GMC Yukon XL

$34,468

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1997

GMC Yukon

$23,571

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1995

Chevrolet 2500

$15,809

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See all 1997 Chevrolet Suburban articles