QOTD: Care to Rank 11 Generations of the Chevrolet Suburban? (Part II)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

We started our ranking challenge for every generation of Chevrolet Suburban in last week’s QOTD. That post covered the first through sixth generations, which range from truck with wagon body format to nearly a modern Suburban. Some struggled with the first challenge installment, citing a lack of knowledge and experience with old trucks dating back to the 1930s (you youths!).

Today we’ll rank Suburban generations seven through eleven; undoubtedly these will be much more familiar to many of you.

1973-1991

Beginning with the 1973 model year, the Suburban entered what is essentially its present format. Four real passenger doors allowed entry for the family, and gasoline or diesel V8s of between 5.7 and 7.4 liters of displacement powered these broods around the globe. Based on the hugely successful C/K series of pickup trucks, this is the longest-lived generation of Suburban. Nineteen years, minimal changes. Scottsdale and Silverado trims debut here as well.

1992-1999

The follow-up to the C/K generation trucks is the series which will come to mind for many when they hear the word “Suburban.” The GMT400 brought Suburban into the 1990s, and with it more refinement and optional extras. Again, engines ranged between 5.7 and 7.4 liters, where the range topped out at the Vortec L29 V8 on the 2500-series Suburbans. For the first time, both the manual and automatic transmissions had four speeds from model introduction (they were added to the latter part of the C/K generation). This would be the final go for the GMC Suburban, which took the name Yukon XL for 2000.

2000-2006

The rugged square looks of the GMT400 were replaced by the more rounded GMT800 for 2000 (with limited edition 2000-only GMT400 exceptions). The old 5.7- and 7.4-liter engines went by the wayside, replaced by the 5.3 Vortec at the lower end, and Vortec 8100 (8.1L) for the 2500 versions. Listening to customer commentary, modernization was key for the GMT800. The spare tire moved underneath the vehicle so as not to take up cargo space, and there were new niceties like electronic climate control. For the first time, an Autoride load-leveling suspension was available for upper trims. Other new luxuries included Bose stereo, XM satellite, and power everything else.

2007-2014

For 2007, the GMT900 maintained a variation on the theme established by its GMT800 predecessor, with again more rounded styling. The 5.3-liter Vortec is joined by the 6-liter unit added late in the GMT800’s tenure. The upmarket Vortec 6.2-liter becomes available in this generation, as well. Trim variations offer capacity for between six and nine passengers. More power options and driver assists became standard throughout the years, though 2013 was the last model year for the 2500-series trucks.

2015-Present

2015 brings us to present times, as the eleventh-and-current generation Suburban debuted on the new K2XX platform. Sharper edges in design came back into focus. Assembly consolidated from three locations to a single factory: the Arlington, Texas plant that built your grandfather’s 1996 Buick Roadmaster. Engines consolidated here as well, with only 5.3- or 6.2-liter options. Six-speed transmissions found in the GMT900 era continue, and are joined by new automatics of eight or even ten speeds (2019+). Fuel economy and technological advancement were the order of the day.

Sound off — let’s hear your best to worst rankings for Suburban generations six through eleven.

[Images: GM]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Sep 13, 2018

    Having specifically targeted and purchased an 03+ GMT800, I would generally agree with what you're saying. The revised versions are the ones to get. I'd stop short of calling it fabulous though. The fitment of the interior panels is rather haphazard, and some of the buttons in my well-maintained example had no finish left. Lots of dash lights burned out. Sharp edges to the plastic on the console lid. Warped door panels.

    • Hummer Hummer on Sep 14, 2018

      Yea the button finish, specifically the radio and steering wheel controls all love to disintegrate before your eyes. I make a point not to press my fingernail against the buttons and it seems to prevent too much wear. Fabulous only in comparison to the earlier 800s and then the 900s maybe. I hate the all plastic panels on the 900s and of course my H2s. I like the soft touch material used on the 800 door panels.

  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on Sep 13, 2018

    Count me in as a '73-'91 and '05-'14 fan.

  • Akear Toyota wins once again, while GM has egg on its face.
  • Slavuta Why America needs school buses altogether? When I was in school, I rode on a regular city bus
  • Jeff Buy whatever works for you if you own an EV and are happy with it good, if you buy a hybrid or plug in hybrid and it works for you good, if neither and you like your ICE the way it is that is also good. I believe over time EVs will get better and have a larger segment of the market.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Is New Jersey better than Old Jersey?
  • Tassos Jong-iL Looking forward to buying 2 of these with all of those Rubles we have been earning lately.
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