From 1973 to 1999, the GMC Suburban shared much of its appearance and even its product name with the Chevrolet full-sized sport utility vehicle. Based on the GMT400 full-size truck chassis, the 1998 GMC Suburban was situated on a 131.5-inch wheelbase offered in 1500 and 2500 level versions. Depending on the interior layout, up to nine occupants hold ride inside the 1998 Suburban. Available with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, the standard powerplant for the 1998 GMC Suburban was a 5.7-liter Vortec V-8 engine. Besides the 255-horsepower base powerplant, customers were also presented with the choice a 290-horsepower 7.4-liter V-8 as well as a 6.5-liter turbocharged diesel engine.
A four-speed electronic automatic transmission with overdrive would be paired with any of the three chosen Suburban powerplants. With the 5.7-liter V-8 engine, maximum towing capacity for the GMC Suburban was rated at 6,500 pounds. Suburban 2500 models could tow up to 10,000 pounds when properly equipped. For the 1998 model year, OnStar was offered for the first time on the GMC Suburban. On four-wheel drive versions of the Suburban, the AutoTrac transfer case was optional configured to automatically engage four-wheel drive when needed.
Inside, the base model of the Suburban came modestly equipped with a four-speaker and two power outlets. On SLE and SLT trim levels, tilt steering wheel, rear window defogger and an eight-speaker stereo system with cassette player would spruce-up the large cabin area. Differentiating their full-sized sport utility vehicle from Chevrolet, GMC adopted the Yukon XL nameplate starting in 2000.