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Chevrolet SSR Review Is A Blast To The Not-So-Distant Past

Two-seater. Convertible. Muscle car. Pickup truck. The Chevrolet SSR is one of those commercial failures turned modern classics, a lovable freak of the automotive world in the same vein as the Plymouth Prowler. And as Doug DeMuro explains in his review of the SSR, the Super Sport Roadster is full of quirks, starting with the styling.
The Chevy SSR Was a Crazy $50,000 Retro Convertible Pickup Truck 16 photos
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Just look at it! Although it shares the GMT 360 platform with the TrailBlazer, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, and even the Saab 9-7X, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another pickup that looks like the SSR. The unconventional design is merely one reason why General Motors sold 22,000 units over the course of four model years (2003 through 2006).

The other reason the Super Sport Roadster didn’t cut the mustard is pricing. At $42,000 from the get-go, it was way too expensive compared to the TrailBlazer and even the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado. Then there’s the cargo bed, complemented by a tonneau and a tailgate. Opening the tonneau is done either by a button on the key fob or a button hidden in the glove box, whilst closing the tailgate implies closing the tonneau first and the tailgate afterward. “Cumbersome” is the word you’re looking for.

Replacing the battery also happens to be one of the most agonizing things one could do to the SSR, for the battery is hidden beneath the cargo bed. Thankfully for owners with a flat battery, there’s a jump point underneath the hood. While on the subject of drawbacks, the heated seats switches of the Chevrolet SSR are almost impossible to operate with the doors closed.

There’s also a case to be made with the gear selector of the four-speed automatic, which isn’t labeled P-R-N-D as it’s the case with any other transmission of this type. As Doug recommends, the best way to know which position the gear selector is in is to glance at the instrument cluster.

Pricing on the second-hand market varies on condition and mileage, but as a rule of thumb, 2005 and 2006 models are more expensive because of the engine. Instead of the 5.3-liter LM4 V8 offered in the first instance, later SSR models are equipped with the 6.0-liter LS2 V8, capable of churning out 400 horsepower when connected to the not-too-popular manual transmission.

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