Monday, May 20

Why the SSR is the Chevy You’ve Never Heard Of

Chevrolet is known for some great vehicles–that pretty much goes without saying. The iconic
Corvette comes to mind, or the ever-popular Chevy Tahoe SUV, or even the Chevy Camaro.
But even many Chevy fans have probably never heard of the SSR. It was supposed to be a
cool, retro vehicle, but in reality, it was heavy, slow, and not really sure what it wanted to be.

Strange Styling

The Chevy SSR was produced between 2003 and 2006, which was a time period when several
automakers were experimenting with retro designs for their vehicles. The SSR name stood for
Super Sports Roadster, and it was supposed to resemble the classic style of 1940s and 1950s
Chevy pickup trucks. With a unique retro design and a V8 engine making 300 horsepower under
the hood, it seemed like the SSR had all the right ingredients.

However, much like Ford’s redo of the Thunderbird around the same time, the SSR simply could
not live up to the hype. Its styling was too weird for many buyers, and the V8 wasn’t powerful
enough to give the hefty SSR any kind of exciting performance chops. In fact, it had trouble
moving very quickly at all. Add to that a cramped cabin, poor visibility, and rough handling, and
the SSR was destined to be forgotten.

What Went Wrong?

As mentioned above, the ingredients seemed to be in perfect order for the SSR to be a hit, so
why did it fizzle out so quickly? The SSR actually looked like a cross between a car and a truck.
It didn’t have a very large bed, and the topless version looked far more like a car than a truck.
Initially, excitement was high for the SSR, especially when it was revealed that Chevy would put
a 5.3-liter V8 under the hood.

In 2005, Chevy upped this to a 390-horsepower V8. In fact, it was the same engine that was in
the C6 Corvette and the Pontiac GTO of the time. To add to the hype, Chevrolet used the SSR
as the official pace car for the 2003 Indianapolis 500. The launch of the Chevy SSR looked like
a win from the beginning. But, as people got to drive the SSR, things fizzled out quickly.

A Combination of Problems Killed the SSR

The biggest problem with the SSR was undoubtedly its poor performance. Despite the 300-
horsepower engine, the SSR could only manage a zero to 60 MPH time of 7.7 seconds. It only
managed a 15.9-second time in the quarter-mile as well. The main reason for this was that it
weighed an eye-popping 4,700 pounds. It’s no wonder the handling felt lumbering and sluggish.
The other problem is that the SSR looked bigger on the outside. On the inside, it was actually
quite cramped. Finally, the inflated price tag of $42,000 didn’t do it any favors either. By the end
of production, the price with all the trimmings was around $50,000.

Ultimately, the SSR didn’t last very long, and it’s a vehicle that Chevrolet would rather forget
about. It only sold around 24,000 during its run, so you won’t see many of them still on the road


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