You weren't driving the van here, were you?
According to the other poster the 2004 model may actually be a 50-state vehicle. Generally, it would be LEV or ULEV rated. I never saw 10% ethanol labels on Calif gas station so it doesn't surprsie me E85 fuel engines are not certified.
If that vehicle is from central or northern Calif, it will be in better shape than many. My independent mechanic tells me his Calif peers have never seen winter weather issues like salt corrosion, and I can tell you Calif roads are far better than the 4 season states.
The body on frame design of the Suburban should be quite noisy after 8 years as compared to unibody. Having extensively driven my in-law's 2004 GMC Yukon (SoCal) I'm not impressed with it compared to a Honda Odyssey (there's nothing mini about a mini-van). The Suburban is a chore to drive and park, and if you feel more in control, it's because other drivers are looking out for cars like that and giving you a wider berth. Excuse my non-PCness, but it's the fat kid in the ballerina class wherever you drive. Finally, the people's republic emissions requirements save lives - - these same reformers took lead, benzene, etc. from gas formulation so you and your kids don't have immunological problems from them,.