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2003 Chevrolet Silverado

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2003 Chevrolet Silverado Review

Forceful V-8s with long list of features.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado is a full-size truck available in multiple trim levels, cab sizes, and bed lengths. When it debuted, it was the second best-selling pickup in the U.S., behind the Ford F-Series. While its interior is less refined than the cabins of rival full-size pickups, it improves with updates such as dual-zone climate control, more comfortable seats, and a redesigned console and instrument panel.

The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado is offered in regular and extended cab styles and four trim levels. Regular cabs come in base and LS trims, while extended models are available in base, LS, LT, and SS trims. Other choices include a long or short bed and rear drive, four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. It's available with a powerful lineup of engines, which ranges from a base 4.3-liter V-6 to the SS model’s forceful six-liter V-8.

The Range

Body Styles: truck
Engines: 4.3-liter V-6, 4.8-liter V-8, 5.3-liter V-8, 6.0-liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Silverado LS, Chevrolet Silverado LT, Chevrolet Silverado SS

What's New

The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado debuts a new trim level, the SS, which comes with all-wheel drive, a range-topping six-liter V-8 engine, and a standard automatic transmission. All models receive a refreshed look with a new front fascia and redesigned instrument panel. It's the first full-size pickup to offer satellite radio and a Bose audio system, and dual-zone climate control is now standard. The top-level LT trim gets power-folding heated mirrors with integrated turn signals. Safety enhancements on all trims include a front-passenger airbag sensing system and dual-stage airbags, while mechanical enhancements include improvements to brake performance and the four-wheel-drive system.


The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado debuts a slightly more rounded front end and new body panel moldings. Models are available with a 6.6-foot or 8.1-foot bed and in two-door regular cab or four-door extended cab body styles. Base models come standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a full-size matching spare tire, chrome-finish bumpers, daytime running lights, and intermittent windshield wipers. The LS adds real chrome trim, while the LT tacks on aluminum wheels. The top-of-the-line SS trim comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, privacy glass, body-color bumpers, outward-opening rear quarter windows, variable intermittent windshield wipers, and auxiliary transmission fluid cooler. Extended cabs with four-wheel drive have the option of adding a lightweight composite cargo box or Chevrolet’s unique Quadrasteer system, which increases towing stability.


The base 2003 Chevrolet Silverado is intended as a work truck and offers a bare-bones list of standard interior features such as vinyl floor covering, vinyl split-bench seats, a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, dual-zone air-conditioning, a trip computer, and a four-speaker audio system. The best-selling LS trim adds cloth upholstery, a leather steering wheel, power locks, power windows, power heated mirrors, a passenger vanity mirror, a front console with storage, cruise control, front floor mats, a compass, an external temperature display, and an in-dash CD player. Upgrading to the luxurious LT or SS models offers leather upholstery, a steering wheel with audio controls, six-way adjustable front bucket seats with multiple heat settings, driver’s-seat lumbar support, memory settings for two drivers, a folding rear seat back, dual-zone climate controls, rear ventilation ducts, reverse-tilt side mirrors, front and rear floor mats, OnStar telecommunications service, and a seven-speaker Bose audio system with six-disc CD player.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado is available with four engines. Most base and LS trims are powered by a standard 4.3-liter V-6 producing 200 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Upgrading to a 270-hp, 4.8-liter V-8 is optional. LT models, base models with a long bed, and LS get a 5.3-liter V-8 making 285 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. Finally, the SS comes with a six-liter V-8 pumping out 345 horses and 380 lb-ft of torque. Regular cabs come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission, and a four-speed automatic is optional on regular cabs and standard on extended models. With the ability to tow up to 8400 pounds with the 5.3-liter V-8, it's well-equipped for most work tasks. Shifts are smooth and acceleration is reliably quick, particularly with the V-8 engines. It does not offer the most refined ride, but its steering is accurate and the suspension provides adequate comfort.


All 2003 Chevrolet Silverado models come equipped with standard front airbags, child seat anchors, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, and dusk-sensing headlights. Traction control is optional, while side airbags, second-row airbags, and center three-point seat belts are not offered.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet Silverado 4.3-liter V-6: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 4.3-liter V-6 4WD: 13/17 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 4.8-liter V-8: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 4.8-liter V-8 4WD: 13/16 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 5.3-liter V-8: 13/17 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 5.3-liter V-8 4WD: 13/16 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet Silverado 6.0-liter V-8 AWD: 12/15 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful engines
  • Roomy cabs
  • Reliable handling

You Won't Like

  • Unrefined interior
  • Low-quality cabin materials

Sum Up

Forceful V-8s with long list of features.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • GMC Sierra
  • Ford F-150
  • Dodge Ram

See the New 2014 Silverado.


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