2002 Chevrolet Suburban Review
Pros & Cons
- Choice of powerful Vortec V8s, cavernous cargo space, room for nine.
- Gas guzzler, its massive size is a liability in urban areas.
Edmunds' Expert Review
With its capable suspension, excellent powertrain and standard room for nine, the Suburban remains one of the best family-haulers available anywhere ... but bring gas money.
Still a strong seller after all these years, the "original" full-size sport utility is a force to be reckoned with. Although it no longer holds the title of the biggest sport-ute of them all, the Suburban still offers seating for nine and plenty of cargo room in a package that will fit in the average garage.
The Suburban comes in two models, the 1500 and the heavy-duty 2500, both offering two- and four-wheel-drive configurations. The standard engine in the 1500 is the 285 hp Vortec 5300 V8. New upgrades this year allow this engine to run on gasoline/ethanol mixed fuels that burn cleaner than ordinary gas. The more robust 2500 comes standard with a 320-horsepower 6.0-liter V8, with an 8.1-liter V8 optional. The larger 8100 eight-cylinder produces 340 horses and 455 lb-ft of torque for heavy-duty towing applications.
All models use electronically controlled four-speed transmissions with a tow-haul mode that reduces gear hunting for more predictable performance while towing heavy loads. Recent improvements in frame and body stiffness have given the Suburban remarkably improved ride and handling characteristics. Four wheel disc brakes with ABS are standard on all models. The 1500s are equipped with a five-link coil-spring rear suspension that isolates the road so well you'll forget you're in a nearly three-ton SUV. The suspensions on 2500s are built for strength, employing a stiffer leaf spring setup in the rear that enables them to tow up to 12,000 pounds when properly equipped.
All Suburban interiors are spacious with solid ergonomics. There's room for nine if you stick with bench seats, but ordering the optional captains chairs drops capacity to only seven passengers. Standard features on LS models include dual front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, cruise control, remote keyless entry and a nine-speaker AM/FM CD stereo system. New for this year on LS models are standard six-way power driver and front passenger seats, heated outside mirrors, exterior side steps that make getting in and out easier and the HomeLink system that can be programmed to control automatic garage doors or community gates all from one keypad. Uplevel LT models add the OnStar communications system, electronic climate contro, and heated leather bucket seats up front.
Carrying the torch as the longest surviving nameplate in the business, the Suburban continues to provide the basic features that people look for in a full-size SUV: plenty of passenger room, stout underpinnings and a strong drivetrain. Although the Excursion may have the Suburban beat when it comes to sheer size, the Suburban's combination of manageability, power and clean design make it a more functional full-size SUV.