- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2003

The “Super Sport” (SS) designation first appeared in 1961 on the Chevrolet Impala. SS badging has graced other Chevy iron over the years since, always a cue to added performance capability. The “Bowtie” gang this year opted to offer an SS model in the Silverado pickup line.

The Chevrolet Silverado SS appears in the form of a 1500 Series Extended Cab pickup with a short bed. The SS truck is available finished in a monochromatic theme in black, arrival blue metallic, or victory red with a new front end design, larger recessed fog lamps, new body side moldings.

The front and rear fenders display crisper, more angular lines and larger wheel openings to properly accommodate the 20-inch Goodyear Eagles on five-spoke alloy rims. Despite the bigger doughnuts, the Silverado SS sits 2 inches lower than its stablemates.

Power comes from an LQ9 Vortec 6000 six liter V-8 coupled to a Hydramatic four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive that transfers energy to a full-time all-wheel-drive system. The big V-8 pumps out 345 horsepower and 360 pounds-feet of torque.

Disappointingly, the exhaust note is a little too subdued for a vehicle wearing the SS badging, and it exits singularly from the right side, rather than from a more proper dual system belching a more thunderous tone. Reining in the more than two-ton mass (unloaded) is a four-wheel antilock disc brake system.

The truck looks very good but fails to transmit the authoritative attitude one would normally expect to be associated with a Super Sport ride. The interior is executed in an upscale LT trim with an impressive inventory of features and equipment, including SS embroidered leather front bucket seats. The test truck was sprayed black with a dark gray interior, and base priced at $39,205. The only additional charges were for the spare tire lock ($15) and destination charge ($790), bringing the final count and amount to $40,010.

The Chevrolet Silverado SS, though a very desirable truck that is pleasing to look at, seems to fall short of its hot rod, high-performance forebears. For my taste, it’s simply too subtle — it should rival Ford’s Lightning pickup in terms of performance and handling to wear the revered SS emblem. The body-color ground-effects kit and back-lit, white-face gauges contribute to a sporty flavor inside and out, and the big Silverado is quick enough despite its weight. It is comfortable too, and performs all the functions a truck is supposed to in a more than satisfactory manner — it just doesn’t get the old adrenaline pumping the way it ought to. Splitting the exhaust and adding a blower would definitely be a step in the right direction toward elevating the SS’ appeal and purpose.

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