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2003 Chevrolet Suburban

  • 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 Utility

    1500 Utility

    • MAX MPG
      17
    • SEATS
      9
    • HP/TORQUE
      285/325
    • ENGINE
      5.3L V8
    • MSRP
      $37,050
  • 2003 Chevrolet Suburban 2500 Utility

    2500 Utility

    • MAX MPG
      N/A
    • SEATS
      9
    • HP/TORQUE
      320/360
    • ENGINE
      6.0L V8
    • MSRP
      $38,650
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2003 Chevrolet Suburban Review

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

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

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.

Exterior

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.

Interior

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.

Safety

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 2015 Suburban.

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