1997 Chevrolet Suburban Review

Pros & Cons

  • Largest regular production SUV on the market, cargo capacity, very safe vehicle, standard ABS, dual airbags
  • Fuel economy, very poor list of standard equipment, dealers generally gouge customers on price, difficult to manuever in tight places
List Price Estimate
$1,028 - $2,179

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Vehicle overview

In some sections of the country, upmarket 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. Through the suburban reaches of Houston and Dallas, among other spots, the Chevrolet and GMC Suburban have become de facto status-flaunting vehicles.

Yes, those who formerly wheeled around town in a Cadillac or Lincoln or Mercedes, 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 foot-pounds of ground-tromping torque. Oh, there's also an optional turbodiesel. Both the half- and 3/4-ton versions come with either two- or four-wheel drive, and all have four-wheel antilock braking.

This season's interior is upgraded with the addition of a driver's airbag. Rear passengers are made more comfortable with the addition of height-adjustable outboard safety belts. Drivers won't need to wrestle the Suburban at low speeds with the introduction of Electronic Variable Orifice power steering. Locking the Suburban after unloading cargo is easier this year, because Chevy added a power lock switch to the cargo area. Shifts are smoother from revised transmissions, which also improve efficiency. Two new exterior colors debut: Medium Opal Blue Metallic and Medium Beige Mystique Metallic.

Suburbans seat up to nine occupants and tow as much as five tons, when properly equipped. For families who need plenty of room for youngsters, or for retirees who need loads of power to haul a travel trailer, a Suburban can make good sense. Chevrolet can expect competition from Ford's new Expedition for 1997, but for heavy-duty use and maximum space, Chevrolet and GMC are still the only serious games in town for a mammoth "truck wagon."

1997 Highlights

Dual airbags debut, and a cargo area power lock switch makes locking up the vehicle after unloading cargo more convenient. Variable power steering lightens low-speed steering effort, and automatic transmissions are improved. Two new exterior colors are added to the paint roster.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Chevrolet Suburban.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

An absolute Juggernaut
Purchased used for $5k @ 150,000 miles. 20,000 miles later I still think it is the Best truck I have ever owned. I have carried two families of 8 (4 car seats and 4 adults). I have hauled 1,500 lbs of equipment with space to spare. I pulled a friends crew cab truck out of 3 1/2 feet of running water (interior and bed flooded) uphill on gravel at idle. It has protected my family through two car accidents in which the other vehicles were totaled and the Suburban withstood cosmetic/no damage. Fantastic comfort for long drives, 3 leather rows. Moving from Tacoma Wa to Phoenix AZ took two tank-fulls for a 1,600 mile drive. Over my 20k miles I have averaged 16.3 mpg and maxed at 19.3
228,000 miles and doing great!
My 97 4dr k1500 has 228,000 miles and is doing great. Just used it to pull my travel trailer 6,000 lb through Penn, Maryland, WV, V, KY, and back to Michigan and did great! Other than regular maintenace as well it is doing good. Can't be more happy with it. I don't think you can find anything better for pulling. Things I wish they would keep in the new suburbans. A simple, tuff, and not be afarid to get dirty suburban. The new ones are to nice. Why would you use it for hauling things in.
Pretty Good Vehicle
The only problems I have had with mine is the front brakes and the catalytic converter. It seems to run great otherwise
Best truck I've ever owned!!
I use this truck for a work truck. I usually haul from 1500 to 2000 lbs. of tools in the back of this truck and also pull a 5x10 enclosed trailer fully loaded with tools. It now has 260,000 miles and has never given me any trouble other than I had the transmission rebuilt at 175,000 miles. I have worked this truck much harder than was intended for it and it has never let me down. These older ones are stronger and tougher trucks than the newer ones. My wife drives a 2006 Tahoe and it is just not the work horse that my older suburban is although hers IS a good truck. If you can find one of these Surburbans from 1995 to 1999 with the 5.7 engine with decent miles, buy it. You'll love it.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1997 Chevrolet Suburban features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Chevrolet Suburban

Used 1997 Chevrolet Suburban Overview

The Used 1997 Chevrolet Suburban is offered in the following submodels: Suburban SUV. Available styles include C1500 4dr SUV, K1500 4dr SUV 4WD, K2500 4dr SUV 4WD, and C2500 4dr SUV.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Chevrolet Suburban?

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Which used 1997 Chevrolet Suburbans are available in my area?

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Find a used Chevrolet Suburban for sale - 10 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $24,086.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Chevrolet Suburban?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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