Has the Chevy Suburban seen the end of the road? How do new Suburbans compare?

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by ChevyFan, Sep 17, 2011.


Chevy Suburban - Still Relevant?

  1. Solid Yes - Still fills an essential need.

    128 vote(s)
  2. Somewhat Yes - The world has changed, so has it.

    28 vote(s)
  3. Somewhat No - Gas prices too high & smaller families today.

    3 vote(s)
  4. Solid No - It served it's purpose, time to move on.

    1 vote(s)
  1. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan The Sheriff Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Do you have a modern Chevy Suburban? If not, would you buy one?
    Anyone over the age of 30 must remember the old-style Chevrolet Suburban. All of our parents had one it seemed, and many of our grandparents had one as well. Am I right? It was the perfect vehicle for hauling kids during the week, towing a boat to the lake, picking up groceries one day and a few sheets of 4'x8' plywood the next.

    Once it got a few miles on it, Mr. Smith, who used it for the family truckster, decided to sell it. So, Mr. Johnson bought it and he was going to use it as a contractor vehicle, or for his landscaping crew or to go to job sites. When a major mechanical problem occurred with the 350 or 454, the engine was rebuilt. The same for tranny issues as well because the overall life of the vehicle was so lone with different owners able to get different uses that it might stay on the road for 20+ years.

    That's the way it was, at least from the early 1970's until at least the 1999 model (and for some configurations until the redesigned 2007 model).

    1937_Chevrolet_Carryall_Suburban.jpg 1941_Chevrolet_Carryall_Suburban.jpg Chevrolet_Suburban_Custom_Deluxe_%28Hudson%29.jpg GMC-Suburban.jpg 2000-2006_Chevrolet_Suburban.jpg Chevrolet_Suburban_LT_GMT900.jpg

    Starting with perhaps the 1973 Suburban, when you looked at the interior, you got a pretty basic layout and configuration. Yes, it could haul some people, but the rear deck has a smaller 3rd passenger seat as an option (or 3rd party) and most people had the two-row configuration with a fold-flat rear seat - yes, allowing you to haul a 4x8 sheet of anything that comes in a 4x8 sheet.

    The Suburban has changed dramatically on the interior
    NOW, when you look at the 2007+ models, built on the GMT900 platform, you get a different interior layout. No longer is the Suburban the all-purpose vehicle it once was. It's clearly not designed for anything except for people hauling. The 3rd row seats do some out, but try folding flat the 2nd row and getting a sheet of plywood in the back. Can't be laid flat.

    Suburban sales have dropped of sharply over the past few years, mostly due to the high cost of fuel and the thirsty nature of the 'burban itself.

    Has the purpose for the old-style Chevy Suburban gone and will never return?
    My question is - if nothing else, should a utilitarian version of the Suburban be offered once more to meet the hand-me-down paradigm that worked so well for two or three generations? Or, have other vehicles such as the Avalanche, Silverado and Traverse stepped in to fill the market gap left when gasoline prices went sky-high, leaving the Suburban as a dinosaur of the past, with no real purpose in the 21st century America?

    Thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
    Beachbourbon likes this.
  2. silveradotrailblazer

    silveradotrailblazer Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 5000 Posts

    The Suburban is a icon at GM. I think they will keep it.
  3. ckbomber

    ckbomber New Member

    personaly i dont like the look of the new ones post 07. I think the 07+ tahoe does basicaly the same thing. I dont think they will get rid of them all together but the need for them has dropped off because of the crossovers and gas prices. But then again i expected pontiac to be around forever.
  4. Als09Sierra

    Als09Sierra Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    What other vehicle has lasted this long through gas shortages and economic downturns? The Suburban is an incredible vehicle and will continue to live on. Whether they call it a Suburban, Yukon XL or whatever. What other car company makes anything similar? The Excursion? Done, they don't make them anymore. There is nothing like a Suburban.
    BLACKSUNSHINE80 and GuyGene like this.
  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Hmmm the Suburban, she's been around since before I was born.
    With a family of 9 kids our family cars were always a Suburban and a pick-up with a camper, my parents bought a new Suburban every 3 or 4 years from 1962 to 1978.
    After the kids left home Suburbans were replaced with a Crew Cab truck and the pick-up with a sedan.
    My siblings never felt the need to own a Suburban, their families werent that large and they didnt travel that much, mine wasnt either but I wanted a large vehicle to travel from duty station to duty station in comfort that could tow a large load, the Surburban filled that need.
    My parents Suburbans were utilitarian vehicles, we didnt think twice about muddy kids and dogs jumping in, hose it out when we get home it'll be fine, I dont remember any of them having Carpet until they bought their last one in 78, it was also the first one with electric windows and door locks. Their pick-ups started getting pwr wndws and lcks in 74. Their 70 model was actually an odd vehicle it only had three passenger doors, might be why it only lasted until 73, or maybe the new bodystyle tempted the parents.
    My first Suburban had plastic floor mats in the rear and was a great substitute for a pick-up, later ones were just to fancy to carry all that greasy dirty stuff so I started buying utillity trailers to haul stuff in. Now I wouldnt mind a Suburban but there isnt enough room in the back and its just to nice to toss my dirty gear in so I buy trucks.
    My conclusion would be GM has just plain worked themselves out of the market by making the Suburban too much of a fancy SUV and forgotten why they originally built the Suburban, bring back a plain jain affordable version with plastic floor mats that can take some mud and less creature comforts and I suspect you'll see the popularity rise.

    TELORVEHC Rockstar 4 Years 1000 Posts

    The new Suburbans are a lot more "soccer mom" oriented compared to the more boxy versions of the 'burb from the 70s until the late 90's IMO. It was and still is a great vehicle to do pretty much, well, anything haha. As mentioned above, you can haul your tools with it one day, take your friends out that night and tow your boat (along with all of your gear) the next day. It's a great vehicle and being the longest running vehicle nameplate in history, I'm confident that the Suburban will be around for quite sometime, in some way, shape or form.
    Beachbourbon likes this.
  7. Chevy Girl

    Chevy Girl Rockstar GMTC Chick 100 Posts

    I think they got "uncool" for a while, for all these milf soccer moms that got into driving their smaller suvs and crossovers. While it might be true (??) that familes are getting smaller, car seats are manditory for even more years now so having a large suv is going to be a requirement for many many families still.
  8. occupant

    occupant New Member

    Unfortunately they're trying to make every vehicle they sell an everyman's car. You can't do that. Fine, have your Tahoe with 5-6-7-8-or-9 passenger seating options. But leave the Suburban alone. There's a reason people buy them, because they perform certain tasks just right. Try taking a minivan out to Mennonite country to haul workers around. Try a crossover when you're out on the ranch and need to mend 11 miles of fence. Try driving a compact SUV for 8 hours a day on the interstate with three screaming kids and a PMS'g wife for a family vacation. It doesn't work.

    The Suburban does many jobs and it does them well. Want to carpool but there's six coworkers in your neighborhood and one of them still uses a Compaq luggable computer and carries a dot matrix printer and a box of track-fed paper around with him? You need a Suburban. And you'll get 15-20mpg while you're doing it. Take advantage of the rebates always available on them and you can buy the guy a new laptop. He just pays double fuel share for the next 142 weeks.

    You still see me shopping for Suburbans. But you will see me only paying attention to the 1992-1999 models. I only PRETEND to look at the newer models when my wife prods me to tell her what's available around us. We have owned 1984 and 1988 model Suburbans, both 3/4 ton, the '84 was a 4x4 with a carb'd 350 and the '88 was a 2wd model with a 454TBI. If I have my way we'll have a 1998-1999 2WD, half-ton, 350/auto OD, charcoal gray outside, gray cloth inside. Because that is a truck that will still get high teens for mileage and will haul me, my wife, our 5 kids we have at home, plus the two older daughters, plus all the stuff needed for a weekend in Austin. The only other way to do that is one of those 15-passenger vans and then you're getting low teens for mileage and everybody's complaining about the wind/road noise and the seasickness as the winds toss us from lane to lane.

    I have no interest at all in the 2007+ models. And I would only take a 2000-2006 model with 9-passenger cloth seating. Anything else (leather, buckets here or there, DVD systems, etc) is just a waste of money in what is a UTILITY truck. It's not an SUV. There's no sport about a 3-ton people hauler. It's a utility vehicle at best so why not treat it like one? You can't get Expeditions and Excursions like this either unless you're a fleet buyer and good luck getting a third row in that Expedition SV. Excursions haven't been made for six years. I could go on and on.

    I guess I'd be happy with the '73 model, too. Something older than our 80s models, more vinyl, more metal, less stuff to break. Still want the 3 rows of seats and the front and rear AC, though.
  9. Kraziken

    Kraziken Rockstar 100 Posts

    I like the new look to be honest. The interior capacity is of concern to me. I have a '98. I wouldn't mind a 2000-2006 because the rigs did have improved brakes, engine. It might have taken a downturn slightly in reliability. It seems to be the norm for cars nowadays that have more and more electronics. I still think there is a need for the Suburban. Not many families can afford the 45k+ for a brand new one though. Reduce the options, bring back the rear cargo (yes I occasionally haul flat sheets), increase the mileage, lower the overall vehicle weight. I think they can do it.

    If they get rid of the Suburban, what is the government going to use for important transport? :) What are the fire stations going to use for command rigs? Big work vehicles are a necessity.
  10. newsie23

    newsie23 New Member

    Mind you, I don't like trucks - but I have a '03 AWD, passenger, Express . Just turned 50,000km (30,000mi). Just LineX the floor - to carry a snowmobile, inside! Wish it had folding, removable rear seats (prefer buckets, but 'park' benches would be OK). My old Suburban was too low (inside).

    The next, non-pick-ups - will be Sprinter, EuroTransit, etc., type vehicles. Hopefully, short/long, with AWD available, and utility/gussied up configurations. (and DIESEL)

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