1997 GMC Suburban Review

Pros & Cons

  • Huge interior with room for nine and their luggage, excellent interstate cruiser, powerful V-8 engine
  • Hard to park, cheesy dashboard plastic, uncomfortable driver's seat
Other years
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List Price Estimate
$893 - $1,893

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Gaze down the side of a Suburban and all you see is steel and more steel, stretching rearward. Hike yourself aboard and you can't help but feel you're in a truck, ready for the long haul--which is exactly what pleases many owners of these biggies. Compact-vehicle fans have a hard time grasping the appeal, but full-size "truck wagons" have been luring more and more upscale motorists.

GMC claims this mammoth combines the comfort of a luxury sedan with the "tenacity and utility of a packhorse." Except for the nearly-identical Chevrolet model, also named Suburban and priced just slightly lower, there was nothing else quite like it on the market, until Ford crashed the party this year with the new Expedition.

For 1997, GMC has added a passenger side airbag and a power lock switch in the cargo compartment. SLE and SLT trim now includes rear heat and air conditioning, as well as remote keyless entry. Uplevel SLT trim also includes a combination CD and cassette player stereo system. All Suburbans receive speed-sensitive power steering, and 4WD models have a tighter turning circle. Two new colors freshen the dated exterior design this year.

Inside, the modern instrument panel holds a selection of white-on-black analog gauges with zone markings and red-orange needles. Climate controls are easy to grasp and use, within easy reach of each occupant. Dual cupholders ease out of a compartment at the center of the dashboard, but are poorly located so that beverages sit in front of the air vents. Three assist handles help entry/exit. Passenger car tires make less rough-and-tumble Suburbans ride smoothly and quietly.

Despite its pickup truck heritage, the Suburban produces a stable and reasonably comfortable, if not exactly cushiony, ride--at least until you stray away from smooth pavement. We do wish the driver's seat backrest didn't feel reclined when in its most upright position. Gasoline engines tend to guzzle as expected, and if you're planning to carry heavy loads much of the time, or haul a trailer, give the big-block Vortec 7400 V8 a whirl before deciding to accept the base engine.

The Suburban is one our favorites. It's a no-holds barred, no apologies kind of truck that can carry or tow just about anything you'd want to move without professional assistance. With a strong lineup of engines and more room inside than Expedition, we'd take the Suburban so long as we could live with it occupying the driveway rather than the garage.

1997 Highlights

GMC has added a passenger-side airbag and a power lock switch in the cargo compartment. SLE and SLT trim now includes rear heat and air conditioning, as well as remote keyless entry. Uplevel SLT trim also includes a combination CD and cassette player stereo system. All Suburbans receive speed-sensitive power steering, and 4WD models have a tighter turning circle. Two new colors freshen the dated exterior design this year.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 GMC Suburban.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Dependable Family Vehicle
FLEX,03/25/2002
K1500 4dr SUV 4WD
This vehicle has proven itself; especially if you have a large size family. Whether in hot/cold climate, the surbuban always started and performed above standards. Very roomy, dependable, and stylish.
Knock on wood
Dennis,11/08/2010
K2500 4dr SUV 4WD
I have done nothing except for regular maintenance on this vehicle. 1 fuel pump. Two sets of front brakes. 1 water pump. The interstate ride is phenomenal if you can afford the gas. 11 miles to a gallon. 1 tune-up in 10 years. We are overdue. We load it up and go. No thoughts of breakdowns so far. Please Lord, don't let this little bit of bragging jinx me
Doesn't quit
Curt,12/31/2009
C1500 4dr SUV
My 97 Burb was without a doubt, the most reliable vehicle that I have ever owend. It is currently at 391,500 kms (Yes you read it correctly) and going strong.I live in Canada and use it for hunting, fishing, and in -35 degree celcius weather. I have no worries about turning the key and making another 1500 km trip without notice or time to prep. Aside from changing the Fuel Pump once (common problem), I have not had any major issues with her. There is no rust on it and the interior is still in great shape without cracks in the dash or holes in the seats. Aside from regular maintenace and fluid changes, the only thing that I had to change was the air freshener. It never quits!
Car Eating Me Out of House and Home
fifthavenuegirl,12/01/2006
K2500 4dr SUV 4WD
This car looks really cool but I have only had it a year and it has already cost me $3000 in repair bills. It has been a nightmare and waste of my time waiting in the waiting rooms while it gets fixed. And that doesnt include the $900 for the tires I will have to replace if I keep it. I've only had it a year and bought it with under 100k miles.

Safety

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
    0

More about the 1997 GMC Suburban

Used 1997 GMC Suburban Overview

The Used 1997 GMC Suburban is offered in the following submodels: Suburban SUV. Available styles include K1500 4dr SUV 4WD, K2500 4dr SUV 4WD, C2500 4dr SUV, and C1500 4dr SUV. Pre-owned GMC Suburban models are available with a 5.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 255 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1997 GMC Suburban comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic.

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

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Which used 1997 GMC Suburbans are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 GMC Suburbans you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Suburban for sale - 5 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $7,664.

Find a used GMC for sale - 10 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $23,003.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Suburban for sale - 7 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $10,410.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 GMC 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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