80 series LC vs Suburban


New member
I've got a totally stock 1996 LC with 135000 on the clock. It needs some repairs, but overall in good shape. I;ve thoughtt about selling it and getting a Suburan 4X4 as I don't do any thing past dirt roads. It's a tough decision and I'm not sure what to do. I've never owned a Suburban


New member
Being a square body Suburban owner myself my answer is a bit biased. The pros for owning one far out ways the cons.


I bought a suburban last year, it's my favorite car I've ever had. I don't do anything outside of fire roads, but it's handles snow, rain, heat, etc. Fuel pump is probably the most expensive repair, but parts are everywhere. I just bought new brake pads and rotors for the front for under $120. Could have gone cheaper, went middle of the road.

Very comfortable for longer trips. Mine is a 2001 with 175k. Precious owners kept it very clean and I would take it anywhere with no worries.

I was looking at a 1997 landcruiser in the same price range, but needed a new head gasket, front axles were weeping grease, to me it was a no brainier to go with the suburban.

I have 3 boys, so we fill the suburban no problem, the landcruiser would have been too small. I believe my suburban gets a little better gas mileage too. I'm averaging about 15 mpg.

I've had a 1986 Toyota truck and a Tacoma, I would love a landcruiser, but for now, the suburban was the best call.

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Suburbans are great vehicles. I had an 02 and loved it. never had a land cruiser, but a sub will definitely give you a lot more room for stuff- with the third row up the trunk is probably about the same size as the cruiser with just two rows. Definitely capable in stock form to get you down any dirt roads. even the 5.3 will get you quite a bit more power than the cruiser, and probably better mpgs too. My 02 had the 5.3 and I got 17 on the hwy. From what I've read those cruisers get pretty abysmal mileage.

That being said, I don't know how new of a sub you are looking for, but unless your LC needs a ton of work and you really need more space, I'd be hard pressed to swap one used vehicle for another. 130K on the LC is nothing, you should be able to double that at least. At least you know what your LC needs, a new to you sub definitely has an unknown factor your current vehicle doesn't.


What are the reasons you are looking at the Sub beyond the fact you only do dirt roads... More room for the family? More room for gear? Less expensive maintenance? You do know the background of the LC which is a plus. In addition, finding them in good shape and without "bling" is getting harder. Get what fits what your needs and don't look back. Both are great vehicles and will serve you well. Don't have remorse just because it is a LC. There is an "image" attached to them because of their expedition history (and reliability vs. Rovers), but don't let that play into your decision if the vehicle itself doesn't suit your needs.

Vehicle choice is only a means to adventure and exploration... it is a tool in the bag... The tool needs to fit the job.


New member
I picked up the LC as a result of doing much research on the off road abilties, however the reality turns out I need more room and not a solid front axel. The off road/adventure stuff is all new to me, and I'm still trying to figure out where I fit in. Carrying people, stuff and dogs turns out to be more of a requirement and the roominess of the suburban might be what I need.

I'm not interested in anything new so I'll start researching the suburban threads for suggestions on what model year is best. Thanks for the persectives.


I would say your budget would dictate what you end up with. I would go with one that has some records and is clean. 1987-1991 is considered the square body style. 1500 and 2500 4wd get the 5.7 V8. 1992-1995 can get the 350 or 454 engine, but went independent front suspension. 1996-1999 went to Vortec engines, more power, but intake gaskets are a long repair. 2000-2006? (Not quite sure) get the 5.3, 6.0 and 8.1. I was looking at the 1999, when the 2001 fell in my lap. 5.3 and 5.7 get similar mileage, from 15-17 seems to be normal. I've heard the 454 gets 10 mpg loaded it not. Similar for the 6.0 and 8.1.

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I would look for a 2000+. All of them have some great qualities, but you could pick one of those up for well under $10k. The older the truck, obviously the more the unknown. I'd specifically look for one with the Z71 package. That's what I had, and aside from looking spiffy, they had better wheels, a locking rear diff, I think a little stouter suspension, and a bigger roof rack with a really neat rolling load bar on the back. I'd look for a 5.3 as well. better mpgs and all the power you would need to haul anything including a decent size trailer.


2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Well I have owned a Landcruiser Troopy which I thought had a bunch of space until I got my 70 Suburban.
Love it everytime I drive it or even look at it.
There is enough space in the back that my wife and I sleep comfy plus have more space than gear to stuff under the sleep platform.
Not only that but this is my first rig that is UNDER gvw :)

You will be very happy and so will the family & dogs


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I am huge LC fan and have a few of them. When we had our first child we started looking for something with more room. We first bought a mega cab dodge ram which we love. Then the second kid came along and with friends and car pooling we wanted a third row. I was actually going to get another 80 series but for the same money yoh can get a really nice suburban and they have way more room. Unless you want the offroad capabilities (and are going to use them) of the LC then you're probably way better off with a burb. I ended up with a diesel swapped one and the cost of ownership (ie: repair bills) is less than the LC and I was doing all the maintenance myself. I most definitely will own another LC, but for an outdoorsy family with lots of gear, nothing bwats the burb.


Expedition Leader
Got my '02 k1500 Z71 Sub last Fall in very good condition with 117k mi for $6000 total. Put about another $1k in it in tires and 100k service interval kind of stuff, fluid changes etc.

A Tahoe might be a good middle for your needs, depends on how much luggage you've got. The seating is essentially the same, but about a foot shorter overall in vehicle length and wheelbase. My Suburban is basically the same length and wheelbase as my standard cab long bed C-10 pickup.

Used prices climb about a grand per year from there, with a bigger jump at the 2007 change in body style.

Suburbans truly are cavernous, when it comes to the room inside. Here's the back of mine with the 3rd row seat out, the left side 2nd row seat folded down. The gray thing on the right is a Sterlite footlocker for my roadside emergency / recovery stuff (until I build my storage platform / drawer setup). Those are 8' 2x4s in there, with plenty of room to spare. It's 49" side to side and about 56" deep from the back of the 2nd row to the rear hatch interior. Even with the 3rd row installed, there's 30" from the back of it to the hatch. It's a little over 8' from the back of the front seats to the rear hatch. You can put a full 4'x8' sheet of plywood in there. A lot of cubic. If you can fill it you officially have too much ****. That said, I have seen some at national parks sporting both hitch platforms and Yakima roof coffins.

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Expedition Leader
Looks like not even a foot behind the 3rd row in the LC80, at the bottom and next to nothing at the window area. Call it a generous guess of 8-9cu'. The Suburban has at least 30cu' behind the 3rd row.



I currently own this cruiser on the left

and I have owned a square body diesel 4x4 burban.

I am currently selling my cruiser and buying a 6.5 TD 4x4 burb.

The reason for sale is purely financial and needing something that can tow right now... the anemic I6 in the cruiser isn't going to tow my things when I move across the country and also i'm picking up the burb for 1k and selling the cruiser for many more that than.

I can give the pros on each really.

for suburbans it really depends on the model you are looking at though

80 series

reliability (not by much though suburbans are plenty reliable)
fully boxed and stronger frame
Coil Spring front and rear solid axles
Factory Lockers
Better world travel vehicle due to parts availability
Better aftermarket support for off roading parts


seats more people
more hauling capacity
higher tow rating
dirt cheap parts in the US and they are at all the junk yards for dirt cheap used parts
better aftermarket support for mechanical parts (many parts on a cruiser are toyota only or some crappy chinese brand)
cheaper entry price

my new suburban will be modded for overland type stuff and will be able to do the ruff stuff also.

Really it depends what you want it for.

Off road ability go with the cruiser
More hauling capacity and room, go with the suburban.

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Renaissance Redneck
I'd say (having owned both) that they are fairly on par if you look square body (pre '90?). What the 80 gains in reliability the sub gains in simplicity and cost of parts. Fuel economy is going to be too close to call. If you need more room inside, the sub makes more sense.