Chevrolet Silverado SS

Thirty years ago, the Impala was the standard-bearing Chevy, but today the Silverado plays that role. So Chevrolet is not only correct but probably tardy in giving the Silverado an SS version. The SS moniker-which stands for "Super Sport"-was introduced on the 1961 Impala and later spread throughout the bow-tie lineup. Super Sport models usually boasted a bit more power, some chassis tweaks, and sporty trim. Guess what? That's exactly the case with the Silverado SS. The custom lower front fascia, body-colored rear bumper, and twenty-inch wheels with 265-series Goodyears set it apart visually, and the Silverado SS also has a lower ride height, stiffer dampers, and a larger front anti-roll bar.

Front

Powering the SS is the Cadillac Escalade's 6.0-liter V-8, making a not-exactly-fearsome 345 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. Those figures will be disappointing to Chevy fans who were hoping the SS would arrive ready to mix it up with the Ford SVT Lightning (currently at 380 horsepower and 450 pound-feet, with a concept version of the '04 model boasting an even 500 on both counts) and the upcoming Dodge Ram SRT-10 (500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet). For now, at least, the SS aims lower, looking only to take on standard Ford and Dodge pickups and maybe Ford's supercharged Harley-Davidson F-150 (340 horses, 425 pound-feet).

The upside of sitting out the muscle-truck skirmish is that the Silverado SS promises greater day-to-day livability. It's offered only in the extended-cab body style, features standard all-wheel drive, and comes with a plush LT interior. It also tows a full 7500 pounds and can shoulder a 1490-pound payload. The SS accelerates with a bit more authority than your regular high-spec light-duty Silverado, and it sits down a little on its chassis. These are both welcome improvements, but they hardly transform the driving experience; this SS is more Semi-Sport than Super Sport.

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