In this guide, I’ll break down all Chevrolet generations, highlighting the Chevy Suburban’s best years to buy and the worst Chevy Suburban years to avoid.
Drawing upon comprehensive research from trusted sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and industry evaluations, I’ve curated a detailed analysis, combining owner feedback, recalls, and expert ratings.
Beyond mere statistics, we’ll explore the tangible reasons behind each generation’s performance, from Chevy Suburban’s common transmission issues to robust engine options.
Now, let’s dive right in.
Table of ContentsShow
Chevrolet Suburban Generations
The Chevrolet Suburban, one of the longest-running automobile nameplates in the industry, embarked on its journey in 1935. In its inaugural avatar, this full-size SUV was introduced as a station wagon-bodied version of the Chevrolet truck chassis.
Here’s a table showcasing the Chevrolet Suburban’s generations from 2000 to the present:
|9th generation (GMT800)||2000-2006|
|10th generation (GMT900)||2007-2014|
|11th generation (GMTK2YC/G)||2015-2020|
|12th generation (GMT1YC)||2021-Present|
Recognizing generational changes is vital, as they could be pivotal in shaping your decision when considering a Chevrolet Suburban model.
Chevrolet Suburban Best, Neutral, and Worst Years
Our rankings and categorizations of the best, neutral, and worst Chevrolet Suburban years are shaped by considering numerous factors, including but not limited to:
- Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
- Annual maintenance costs
- Safety ratings
- Consumer Reports reliability scores
- Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
- NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
- Edmunds owner ratings
- JD Power owner ratings
- Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
- VehicleHistory owner ratings
- Cars.com owner ratings
The upcoming graph represents the combination of ratings from all the above sources.
Subsequently, the following table categorizes all Chevy Suburban model years as the best, neutral, or worst years based on our extensive research.
|Generation||Best Years||Neutral Years||Worst Years|
|9th generation (GMT800)||2006||2005||2000|
|10th generation (GMT900)||2010|
|11th generation (GMTK2YC/G)||2018|
|12th generation (GMT1YC)||2022|
To clarify, “Neutral Years” denotes those model years that neither shine exceptionally in performance and reliability nor exhibit significant flaws.
It’s essential to understand that the greater the number of complaints and recalls registered with the NHTSA, the lower we regard the vehicle’s reliability for that specific.
Let’s dive into the specifications of the Chevy Suburban’s best, neutral, and worst years.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Suburban 9th Generation (2000-2006)
The 9th Generation Chevrolet Suburban, introduced in 2000, was a significant leap for the brand, offering enhanced performance, safety, and technological features. While these years pioneered new features and improvements in SUV design, the recurring and severe issues they faced made them less recommendable.
With a significantly low number of NHTSA recalls and owner complaints, 2006 is the Chevy Suburban’s best year in this generation, while 2000 to 2004 are the Chevy Suburban years you should avoid.
The Best Years: 2006
2006 is undeniably the best Chevy Suburban year for the 9th generation.
This year’s model was equipped with the Vortec 5300 V8 engine. The 2006 Suburban offered diverse trim levels alongside the robust powertrain, from the base LS to the premium LTZ.
The vehicle introduced advanced technological features such as an updated infotainment system and improved safety measures, including enhanced airbags and stability control systems.
Despite its many strengths, it’s essential to note that the 2006 model wasn’t without a few minor issues.
Some owners reported occasional transmission hesitations, and there were murmurs about the car’s fuel efficiency, which hovered around 9 mpg for city and 19 mpg for highway driving.
The Neutral Years: 2005
The 2005 Chevrolet Suburban was a mixed bag.
While it inherited many upgrades and features from its 2004 predecessor, such as the multi-flex seating system and optional DVD rear entertainment system, it also carried some of the issues from prior years.
The model maintained its wide range of engine options, including the Vortec 4800, 5300, and 6000 V8 engines and the well-regarded 4-speed automatic transmission.
However, the 2005 model wasn’t without its problems.
There were some lingering concerns about power steering assist loss and brake problems, which, while not rampant, were significant enough to be noticed.
The Worst Years: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 have the highest numbers of recalls and owner complaints about serious problems, so they are the Chevy Suburban years better to avoid.
Previous 2001 Chevy Suburban owners frequently reported power steering assist loss, engine stalling from fuel system failures, rusty suspensions, and brake challenges.
These problems were further compounded by recalls related to issues like overheating fuel pump wires and brake line chafing.
2001 Chevy Suburban was much of the same story but introduced a new crankshaft position sensor recall, causing engines to stall and fail to restart.
The 2002 Chevy Suburban introduced an alarming wheel separation recall over the prior brake problems.
The 2003 Suburban saw emerging instrument panel failures, amplifying the list of pre-existing complications from the earlier models.
The 2004 Chevy Suburban was plagued by new hydraulic brake and brake valve recalls and ongoing instrument cluster problems.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Suburban 10th Generation (2007-2014)
The 10th Generation Chevrolet Suburban, unveiled in 2007, symbolized Chevrolet’s commitment to delivering enhanced comfort, performance, and a slew of technological innovations.
The second half of the generation – 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 stand as Chevy Suburban’s best years, while the first half – 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 are the Chevy Suburban years to avoid.
The Best Years: 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014
Options for Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, a USB port, and the revised navigation radio with a backup camera became standard in higher trims.
The 2012 Chevy Suburban provided choices like the Vortec 6.0L V8 motor.
This year saw an enhanced interior with higher-quality materials and advanced safety features, including an optional blind-spot warning system.
One standout was the introduction of the Z71 off-road appearance package, making the Suburban a luxury SUV and a rugged off-road vehicle.
Safety features like the side blind zone alert were improved in the 2013 Suburban, and the hill start assist introduction gave drivers more confidence during uphill starts.
The 2014 Chevy Suburban introduced the Active Fuel Management system and LTZ trim, including heated and cooled front seats, side blind zone alert, and chrome details.
However, even the best Chevy Suburban years weren’t devoid of problems. Some owners pointed out issues related to oil consumption.
The Worst Years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011
Due to several owner-reported problems and NHTSA recalls, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 are categorized as Chevy Suburban years to avoid.
The 2007 and 2008 Chevy Suburbans received numerous recalls. The most severe were concerns surrounding the Takata airbags, notorious for their potential hazards.
Owners also lamented the loud engine noise, engine stalling, and excessive oil consumption.
Electrical problems, primarily caused by wire harness issues, created glitches in the instrument panel and drained the battery.
GM recalled the heated wiper washer system, which could lead to short circuits and further electrical anomalies.
A significant recall was made concerning a fuel system control module short circuit in the 2009 Chevy Suburban models. This potentially dangerous flaw might stall the engine and prevent it from restarting, amplifying the risk of accidents.
Notable recalls for the 2011 Suburban were related to ignition lock actuators, which could bind and cause the vehicle to stall. The rear axle cross pin also posed risks, as it might fracture, thereby upping the risk of accidents.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Suburban 11th Generation (2015-2020)
Entering its 11th generation, the Chevrolet Suburban showcased a more modernized approach, blending the brand’s trusted capabilities with contemporary design, technological enhancements, and a revamped performance profile.
2015 is the worst Chevy Suburban year to “avoid like the plague” in this generation. Chevy Suburban’s best years in this generation are undeniably 2018, 2019, and 2020.
The Best Years: 2018, 2019, 2020
The 2018 Chevy Suburban was powered predominantly by a 5.3L V8 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
On the technological front, integrating the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen offered intuitive navigation, entertainment, and connectivity options.
This year also saw the inclusion of the RST (Rally Sport Truck) package, which brought a sportier look to the Suburban with its 22-inch wheels and blacked-out aesthetics.
Safety became a pronounced focus in the 2019 Suburban, with forward collision alerts, lane departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking becoming more standard across trims.
The Premier Plus special edition was introduced, flaunting a 6.2L V8 engine. Luxurious touches such as a head-up display and enhanced speaker systems further elevated the driving experience.
The 2020 Suburban introduced an advanced infotainment system, more USB ports, and a power-sliding center console.
Safety features were further accentuated with HD surround vision and a rear pedestrian alert.
The Neutral Years: 2017
While the 2017 Chevy Suburban inherited the strengths of its predecessors, such as a robust V8 engine and a spacious interior, it was also marred by a few lingering issues.
New features like the Teen Driver mode, which allowed parents to monitor their children’s driving habits, were appreciated.
However, some of the issues from 2015 and 2016, particularly those related to the powertrain, cast a shadow over its reputation.
Even so, the 2017 model didn’t witness drastic pitfalls, making it a reasonably reliable choice for those looking for a blend of performance and luxury.
The Worst Years: 2015, 2016
As I said earlier, the least reliable model of this generation is the 2015 Chevy Suburban. With the lowest scores from Edmunds and J.D. Power and the highest number of NHSTA recalls, 2015 is the Chevy Suburban year to avoid, along with 2016.
Powertrain issues were rampant, with many owners lamenting transmission and brake failures.
GM was quick to issue several recalls, including two concerning transmission failures — one related to the transfer case shifting to neutral without the driver’s command and another associated with a potential leak in the transmission oil cooler line, leading to risks of smoke and fire.
Another major recall revolved around a temporary power steering assist loss.
The 2016 Chevy Suburban grappled with some of these problems, particularly with the transmission.
Best & Worst Years for Chevrolet Suburban 12th Generation (2021-2023)
Launching into its 12th generation, the Chevrolet Suburban embraced a fresh decade with renewed vigor, showcasing significant improvements and refinements that solidified its status as an iconic American SUV.
The latest 2022 and 2023 are the most reliable Chevy Suburban years of this generation, while 2021 saw a surprisingly high number of recalls, so is the Chevy Suburban year to avoid.
The Best Years: 2022, 2023
The 2022 Chevy Suburban was powered by engines, including the reliable 5.3L V8, an enhanced 6.2L V8, and, for those seeking a more eco-conscious choice, a 3.0L Duramax Turbodiesel.
The interiors witnessed a revamp, with increased legroom and cargo space, ensuring a more comfortable ride for passengers and more room for gear.
Technology was at the forefront with an even more advanced infotainment system, offering wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
Advanced safety features, including lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking, became more standardized, making the drive safer and more intuitive.
The Worst Years: 2021
The year was particularly problematic, with recalls touching upon various issues ranging from exterior lighting malfunctions to the power control module issues causing fuel pump failure.
Another concerning recall pertained to a software malfunction leading to the loss of power steering assist.
Additionally, numerous seatbelt issues raised red flags about the vehicle’s safety.
To add to its woes, fuel consumption remained a point of contention, with efficiency figures not showing significant improvement, hovering around 11 mpg for city and 22 mpg for highway driving.
See NHTSA 2021 Chevy Suburban recalls and complaints.
Chevrolet Suburban Average Resale Values
See the graph below to get a better idea of the Chevrolet Suburban’s value retention over the years.
As we’ve journeyed through the Chevrolet Suburban’s storied history, it’s evident that 2010-2014, 2018-2020, and newer models are the best Chevy Suburban years to buy.
Do you have any personal experiences with one of the best or worst Chevy Suburban years?
Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!