2003 Chevrolet Suburban

  • 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Utility

    1500 Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.3L V8
    • MSRP
  • 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 Utility

    2500 Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V8
    • MSRP
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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Review

Old-school SUV offers powerful engines and plenty of seating.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban looks like the same truck-like SUV offered in 2002 from the outside. However, it actually receives a long list of upgrades from improved safety features to tri-zone climate control. When fitted with front and second-row bench seats, it can easily accommodate up to nine people, making it a popular choice for families. With optional stability control upgrades, it's towing capacity rivals that of a large truck. On the downside, its strong engines and massive weight make for painfully low EPA ratings. As in previous years, the Suburban is available in half-ton (1500) and three-quarter-ton (2500) designations. Two trim levels are offered: a base LS and more luxurious LT. Both versions can be had with either rear drive or four-wheel drive. Half-ton models are equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine, and upgrading to the 2500 provides a six-liter V-8. Both engines are paired to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Suburban LS, Chevrolet Suburban LT

What's New

The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban comes with a variety of upgrades. All models now have front dual-stage airbags and a passenger-sensing airbag system. New features include tri-zone climate control, a redesigned center console, a driver information center, and power-adjustable heated mirrors with memory settings and integrated turn signals. Fresh options include adjustable pedals, second-row captain’s chairs, satellite radio, a DVD-based entertainment system, and a premium Bose audio system. The 2500 models are now available with a Quadrasteer system that increases stability when towing, while 1500 models can be outfitted with the StabiliTrak stability control system.


The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban is easily recognizable for its massive truck-like design, measuring 219.3 inches in length. Standard exterior features on LS models include 16-inch alloy wheels, a full-size spare tire, foglights, running boards, privacy glass, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a rear defogger, a front air dam, a roof rack, a rear liftgate, and trailer wiring. The LT trim adds a chrome grille and bumpers. Besides engine size, the only noticeable difference between 1500 and 2500 models is stance. Half-ton versions have a ground clearance of 8.4 inches, while three-quarter-tons have a 7.1-inch clearance. It's now available with the optional Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system, which increases stability when towing large loads. Individual options include skid plates, a limited-slip rear differential, traction control, a power sunroof, and a rear window wiper.


The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban features a basic but spacious cabin with standard seating for nine people. Opting for second-row captain’s chairs decreases seating capacity to eight. With a cargo volume of 45.7 cubic feet with all seats in place, it offers above-average storage space for its class. Standard interior amenities on LS includes cloth upholstery, a leather tilt-adjustable steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split bench front seat, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a split-folding rear seat back, a folding center armrest with storage, a folding third-row seat, dual air-conditioning, rear ventilation ducts, retained accessory power, 12-volt power outlets, a cargo light, front and rear floor mats, an external temperature display, a compass, and an eight-speaker sound system with single-disc CD player.

The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban LT adds power adjustable pedals and tri-zone automatic climate control. Upgrading to the LT also provides access to several options not available on the LS such as leather front and second-row seating, memory seat settings, and heated front seats. Options offered on all versions include a universal transmitter, an emergency communications system, a DVD-based entertainment system, steering wheel audio controls, rear audio controls, and a premium sound system.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 LS and LT models are equipped with a base 5.3-liter V-8 engine producing 285 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. The LS and LT, on the other hand, come with a six-liter V-8 good for 320 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are matched to a mandatory four-speed automatic transmission. When equipped with the larger V-8, 4WD, and optional Quadrasteer, it boasts a towing capacity of 12,000 pounds, whereas base models can pull up to 8400 pounds. While it drives like a large truck, its self-leveling suspension reduces lean during cornering, and a rigid frame, responsive steering, and available four-wheel drive make it a capable handler, even in inclement weather.


The 2003 Chevrolet Suburban's standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, a front-passenger airbag sensing system, anti-lock brakes, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, electronic brake force distribution, child seat anchors, a rear center three-point seat belt, height-adjustable headrests, dusk-sensing headlamps, and daytime running lights. Traction control and side curtain airbags come as optional features.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet Suburban 1500: 12/17 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Suburban 1500 (4WD): 12/16 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Suburban 2500: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Suburban 2500 (4WD): N/A

You'll Like

  • Strong engines
  • Spacious cargo area
  • Seating for nine passengers

You Won't Like

  • Difficult to park
  • Unrefined steering
  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Miserable gas mileage

Sum Up

Old-school SUV offers powerful engines and plenty of seating.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Excursion
  • GMC Yukon
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Lexus LX470

See the New 2017 Suburban.

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