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New Car/Review

1997 GMC Suburban

by Larkin Hill

I'm in love. I want to be 38 right now, with two kids who are very active, and I want the Suburban. I want to pick them up, along with all of their friends and comfortably drive them anywhere.

It's huge! It's luxurious! It's easy to drive! It's the perfect momma mobile (in addition to the Volvo, of course).

Upon first glance, it looked ridiculously large. Not only was it tall, but the thing was about 40 feet long, well, not really...but it might as well be. Opening the door required actual muscle...quite a shock in this day and age where the cars are puny and the exterior is plastic. However, the Suburban is a stereotypical American beast, it's the largest and the heaviest sport utility vehicle on the's basically a functional family truck. Also, it looks like a family truck ... a GMC 4X4 longbed with smoother lines and nicely tinted windows.

It was not until I climbed inside that I fell absolutely in love. The Interior was not fancy, sure it had gadgets, but the styling wasn't exactly inspiring or even worthy of notation. It was simply a coordinating plastic dash that faced the driver, a matching center console, and plenty of room to store things. The most ingenious feature that perfected the Suburban's image as a family car was the three rows of air conditioning. Perfect for those varying temperatures of the numerous people that could climb in at any occasion. The seats were American style comfortable...soft and cushy. There were tons of storage compartments that were sporty and functional. The overall interior was quite nice...roomy and comfortable.

The engine was typical of what you'd find in a full size family sports utility, strong enough to pull a boat or a trailer. A V8 half ton pickup with four wheel drive that would be necessary in a place like Montana, where you might take the horses out, go on a white water rafting trip, or simply have to drive into town on a cold December morning. The Suburban's suspension is such that there would be little effort required to maintain control while traveling down the most treacherous of roads. The ride is comfortable and smooth with just enough height to clear most terrain, yet low enough so you don't feel like you'll tip at the slightest sway.

The overall experience was amazing; I've never fallen in love with a car and not wanted it immediately. This is a vehicle that I can only aspire to at this point, and only if I'm in the perfect situation. I would not want this vehicle for every day use in certain situations...such as a huge city like San Francisco or San Diego. The only reasonable use for an automobile this large, on an every day basis, is if you live in a somewhat rural setting or must haul around a tremendous amount of stuff each day. For holidays and long camping trips with the family the Suburban would be perfect if you lived in the City. I loved it for its feel on the road...smooth, powerful, and yet still a bit feminine. As I said before...a perfect momma mobile.