I have had two suburbans now. I normally drive fords but the suburban is just a better rig than the expedition and the excursions is just too damn big. Anyway, it is true that these vehicles have a few weak spots. I have done the intake gasket, the radiator, power steering pump but that is about it. Both my suburbans required the above repairs at the same mileage. They are very predictable and considering how heavy duty these rigs are, not too bad in terms of maintenance. There simply isn't anything out there that can touch the suburban for its combination of utility, comfort, towing capacity, and yes fuel economy. Pound for pound this thing is as efficient as a honda civic.
Power, room, towing capacity, turning radius (better than many cars)
The intake gasket problem on the GM as well as many others really needs to be addressed. I believe it is due to the use of plastic intakes. Go back to metal, it only saves a few pounds and the price is reliability/reputation...
I've loved this truck since I bought it. I've been hit 4 times in it, only one required major work and it still runs great and no one was injured. I still get 18 mpg in the city. The transmission tends to go out at 110,000 miles, I know of 4 people that it happened to. Water pump and heater control valve both started to leak around 140,000 miles. Currently have 150,000. The brakes I put on last about 20,000 miles, but the rotor only lasts about 2 or 3 break changes.
LOTS of space even with 8 people, more than enough personal room with 6.
Highway gas mileage which has already been addressed by Chevy
This has been a solid vehicle. We've pulled a 28 foot RV, which does pull pretty tough up some modest hills. Gas mileage pulling the RV is about 7 MPG. Without the RV, it seems to range from 12 to 16 MPG depending on temp and driving habits. Lots of interior room and we love the storage in the back behind the 3rd seat. The dash lights for the hot/cold have been out since we got it. The fan speed no longer works - its always on full blast. The engine has been solid and we have had good luck with it. There are still a lot of these on the road, a true testament to their durability.
Great ride, safe, lots of pockets and interior storage, 1999 was the last year of the chrome bumper. 2000 and after have the cheap (but costly to replace) crash-friendly bumpers.
Gas mileage, it's not really sexy to look at, in 2000 they got rid of the rear barn doors which was a good choice.
This vehicle currently has 274,000 miles on it and has been the best vehicle I have ever driven. I have taken it all over the US and parts of Canada. I tow over 5000lbs on a weekly basis. The only things I have had to replace more often than would be common is the brakes. The brakes on this vehicle should have been upsized considerably. The front pads last about 10,000 miles if you are gentle. The water pump was replaced at 120k and again at 240k. No biggie. My Honda has to have it replaced every 60k.