What's New for 1999
A couple of new colors are the only modifications to the Suburban as Chevrolet prepares a redesigned model for 2000.
In some sections of the country, wise middle-class folks have been tooling around for several years in mile-long Suburbans, whether or not they have great need for all that expanse behind the driver's seat. These days, throughout the suburban reaches of Houston and Dallas, among other spots, the Chevrolet and GMC Suburban have become de facto status-flaunting vehicles, pushing prices beyond the reach of the common man.
Yes, those who formerly wheeled about town in a Cadillac, and wouldn't feel quite right in a pickup truck, appear to have twirled their affections toward the biggest passenger vehicles in the General Motors repertoire. Chevrolet, in fact, considers the Suburban "as suited to the country club as to a roughneck oil field."
Mechanically, you get the same layout in the smaller Chevrolet Tahoe, but that vehicle is only available with Chevy's Vortec 5700 V8 engine. Select a Suburban and you can accept that motor, with 255 horsepower. Or, with the 3/4-ton C/K 2500 series you can go all the way, opting for the mammoth Vortec 7400 V8, whipping out 290 strutting horses and a mean 410 pound-feet of ground-tromping torque. Oh, there's also an optional turbo-diesel. Both the half- and 3/4-ton versions come with either two- or four-wheel drive, and all have four-wheel anti-lock braking.
Last year Chevrolet introduced a new four-wheel drive system to the Suburban. Called Autotrac, it automatically shifts from 2WD to 4WD when wheel slippage is detected, just like Ford's Control-Trac system in the similarly gargantuan Expedition. This year, Chevy makes a couple of new colors available.
Buyers beware that Chevrolet is preparing to introduce a completely new Suburban for the 2000 model year. Based upon the rigid new Silverado pickup platform, the redesigned 'Burban will be much improved inside and out. Wait for the new truck if you can.