2003 Chevrolet SSR

  • 2003 Chevrolet SSR Base Roadster Convertible

    Base Roadster Convertible

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      5.3L V8
    • MSRP
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2003 Chevrolet SSR Review

New retro-styled sport truck is equal parts pickup and roadster.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 Chevrolet SSR introduces a brand new breed of car, bringing together part sport truck and part roadster. The initials mean Super Sports Roadster and it's based on a modified version of the platform used by the 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The limited-production SSR features retro styling cues, a retractable hard top, and a short pickup bed and shares a suspension and brakes with the Trailblazer. Under the hood, the rear drive is fitted with a powerful 5.3-liter Vortec V-8 engine. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, while it comes in a single two-door, two-passenger LS trim level and is offered in just three paint colors. With only two seats and a starting price of more than $40,000 in 2003, it may not be a practical choice for most buyers. But for those in the market for an eye-catching convertible with functional cargo space, there’s nothing quite like the Chevrolet SSR.

The Range

Body Styles: truck
Engines: 5.3-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet SSR LS

What's New

The 2003 Chevrolet SSR in its debut year, and the first 25 SSR models manufactured bear a Signature Series badge and come with special Ultra Violet paint and a unique interior. Regular models are offered in a single trim level, three exterior paint colors and one interior color scheme.


the 2003 Chevrolet SSR features a deeply-curved hood, stylized grille, large fender flares, and vintage-inspired round headlamps and is easily recognized by its bold retro design. In the back, it's equipped with a sporty 4.1-foot pickup bed reminiscent of a 1940s-era hot rod. The hard top retracts in approximately 30 seconds at the push of a button, stacking roof panels without compromising cargo space. Standard equipment includes painted alloy wheels, all-season performance tires, a body-color grille, body-color front and rear bumpers, foglights, variable intermittent windshield wipers, tinted privacy glass, a power-retractable hard top, a glass rear window, a rear defogger, a spring-loaded hard bed cover, cargo tie-downs, and trailer wiring. It's available in three standard exterior paint colors: Redline Red, Slingshot Yellow, and Smoking’ Asphalt. Signature Series models come in Ultra Violet, and individual options include chrome running boards, a towing package, automatic driver’s-side mirrors, and a license plate frame.

The 2003 Chevrolet SSR measures 191.4 inches in length and has a wheelbase of 116 inches. Though based on the Trailblazer, it features a distinctly lower ground clearance and wider track, giving it a tight turning circle of 38.1 feet.


The 2003 Chevrolet SSR features a clean, upscale design and two bucket seats divided by a center front armrest. Interior equipment includes charcoal leather upholstery, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat, a two-way adjustable passenger seat, lumbar support, a leather steering wheel with audio controls, leatherette door trim, metallic interior trim, remote-operated power locks, power heated mirrors, one-touch power windows, air-conditioning, cruise control, power steering, front and cargo 12-volt power outlets, front floormats, a tachometer, a trip computer, a low-fuel warning system, and an audio system with a single-disc CD player. Options include a cargo net, carpeted floormats, and wood bed trim. Though it only seats two occupants, those occupants are given ample breathing room. A driver and passenger receive 40 inches of headroom, 42.1 inches of legroom, 51.3 inches of hip room, and 53.5 inches of shoulder room. Its bed also offers 23.7 cubic feet of storage space.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Chevrolet SSR gets its power from a 5.3-liter V-8 engine producing 300 horses and 331 lb-ft of torque. The engine is matched to a four-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox that's offered. When adequately equipped, the truck can tow up to 2500 pounds and haul 1290 pounds. While towing capacity is noticeably low for a pickup, it’s enough to handle a small trailer. According to Chevrolet, it can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, an impressive feat considering its 4760-pound heft. Given its classic body-on-frame construction, it tends to handle like a typical truck. However, its rack-and-pinion steering, coiled multilink rear suspension, and rear shock absorbers help soften the ride. With its unique car-like front end, it boasts a better balance than a traditional truck, which contributes to improved cornering.


The 2003 Chevrolet SSR provide standard safety equipment that includes driver and passenger front-impact airbags with head protection chambers, a driver’s side-impact airbag, a front anti-roll bar, a four-wheel anti-lock braking system, front and rear disc brakes, traction control, a limited-slip rear differential, daytime running lights, and dusk-sensing headlights.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet SSR: 14/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Fun retro design
  • Functional cargo bed
  • Retractable top
  • Collectible status

You Won't Like

  • High price tag
  • Hefty weight
  • Limited seating
  • Few options

Sum Up

New retro-styled sport truck is equal parts pickup and roadster.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Tacoma
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