Used 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SS

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy extended-cab models, strong V8 engines, innovative features.
  • Cheap interior materials, questionable build quality.
List Price Estimate
$1,919 - $3,832

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Powerful drivetrains, a revamped new look and unique options make the Silverado a pickup worth considering, but Ford’s new F-150 has it beat when it comes to interior design and overall refinement.

Vehicle overview

Introduction: Chevrolet's modern fullsize pickup has been around in one form or another since the early '60s. Now into its sixth generation, the Silverado, as it's now called, boasts classic styling and some of the most powerful drivetrains available anywhere. A perennial competitor to the fullsize offerings from Ford and Dodge, Chevrolet typically finishes a close second in sales, mostly due to the fact that it shares customers with the almost identically equipped GMC Sierra. Last year, however, combined sales of the two trucks outdid the F Series.

Often first to market with unique innovations, the 2003 Silverado continues that tradition with the expanded availability of the Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system and XM satellite radio capability. Chevy trucks also offer the OnStar communications system that provides the convenience of 24-hour on-call assistance for everything from tow truck calls to dinner reservations. The Vortec V8 engines are known for their neck-snapping power and surprisingly good mileage when driven with a soft foot. Combine this with new styling on the outside and additional features on the inside, and the Silverado presents a compelling package for anyone in the market for a well-rounded fullsize pickup.

Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options: Two cab styles are available in three different trim levels. Regular cabs can be outfitted with Base or LS trim, while extended cabs come in Base, LS or LT. Base Silverados are configured as to be used as work trucks, while the mid-grade LS trim is the most popular. It includes upgrades like cloth upholstery, power windows and locks, cruise control, a CD player, remote keyless entry and chrome exterior trim. LT trucks add aluminum wheels, leather upholstery, the OnStar communications system and premium audio. Unique to the Silverado in the big pickup market is the availability of a lightweight composite "Protec" cargo box on extended-cab 4X4s with the Z71 option. Also available is the Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system, which gives the Silverado unmatched stability while towing, as well as a significantly reduced turning circle.

Powertrains and Performance: Several engine choices are available for the Silverado, ranging from a 200-hp 4.3-liter V6 to a 285-hp 5.3-liter V8. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on regular cabs. Optional on that model (standard on extended cabs) is a four-speed automatic, which features a tow-haul mode that improves shifting performance under heavy loads. The maximum towing capacity with the 5.3-liter V8 is 8,400 pounds (8,600 pounds on Quadrasteer-equipped models). Four-wheel drive is available on all models, although only LS and LT trim levels can be ordered with the optional Autotrac push-button transfer case. Safety: For 2003, the GMC has added dual-stage airbags for the driver and front passenger along with a passenger-seat sensor system. The dual-stage airbags deploy with varying levels of force depending on the crash severity, while the passenger sensor will deactivate the passenger-side airbag if it detects the presence of a child. All Silverados include four-wheel ABS brakes as standard equipment. The Silverado received a rating of "Marginal" (third lowest out of four possible rankings) in the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety offset crash test. Interior Design and Special Features: Inside, Silverado buyers will find a logically laid-out interior, with an easy-to-use dual-zone climate control system and clear, uncluttered gauges. Material quality is unimpressive, and the build quality even less so. The cabin is roomy, particularly on extended cab models. Standard rear doors on the extended cab make entry and exit to the rear bench seat easy, and if front passengers are willing to sacrifice a bit of legroom, the back of the extended cab is quite comfortable. The Silverado is also the first fullsize pickup to offer an optional Bose audio system and XM Satellite Radio.

Driving Impressions: The Silverado is comfortable enough to be a daily driver, yet it's still powerful enough to use as a dedicated work truck. Acceleration is swift, especially with either of the Vortec V8s, and the automatic transmission shifts with authority. The steering feels vague on center, but it's light and precise enough for easy maneuvering. Four-wheel disc brakes deliver plenty of power, but can be skittish on loose surfaces. A combination of torsion bars up front and leaf springs in the rear give the Silverado a comfortable, if not refined ride in most situations.

2003 Highlights

The Silverado gets a makeover this year that includes a new front fascia and revised side moldings and taillights. Top-of-the-line models get power-folding heated mirrors with puddle lamps and turn signal indicators. On the inside, the Silverado is the first full-size pickup to offer a Bose stereo system and XM Satellite Radio. The instrument panel and center console have been redesigned, and Chevrolet has added new seats, a more comprehensive driver information center and a dual-zone climate control system. For increased safety, Silverados now feature a standard front-passenger-sensing system and dual-stage airbags. On the hardware side, all 4.3-liter V6-equipped Silverados and California-emission V8s are now ULEV-certified, while electronic throttle control is now standard on all V8 engines. The Autotrac four-wheel-drive system has been modified for less intrusiveness at low speeds, and the brake system received upgrades that provide better pedal feel and improved overall performance.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Love My SS
Armando Pagan,12/24/2005
I am on the road in my truck an average of 4 hours a day. I am a very hard driver and the truck has been at wide open throttle since the day it left the dealership. There is now 53000 miles on my truck and I am extremely impressed by the way the truck is holding up. I have had many vehicles that had to be discarded becuase of my driving habits. This one is a keeper!
Great SS
Jim and Pam,11/02/2003
This vehicle is fun to drive! The performance and handling is great. We have gone on long trips with it. It is very comfortable and easy to drive. We owned a 96 Impala SS and the Silverado SS is the best. It is an all weather and versatile vehicle. It is close to the GMC C3. However is has more standard features. We love it. We have been looking for a vehicle like this for a long time. Great job Chevrolet.
Silverado SS
Rather pricey, but it has every gadget in the Chevy parts bin. The only thing missing is excess power I wanted. Sadly that is still Ford's domain. There is plenty of power, great cornering and AWD for sure traction. The ride is firm but smooth and generally comfortable. There is a harmonic bouncing on some concrete freeways. Cab noise is very low. The rear view mirror is a bit low for me, blocking forward view at the horizon line. The sun visor in the side position, blocks too much of my view left. The truck has a solid feel to it and I have found no flaws in the exterior metal work or paint. The styling is well suited for the SS and looks great.
Fun to Drive
bryan Sipes,12/07/2003
This truck is fun to drive. Just watching someones head turn as it goes by is a reassuring feeling that you bought a good truck. The handling and performace are excellent with the lowerd suspension and the 345 hp, 6.0 liter.

Features & Specs

12 city / 15 hwy
Seats 5
4-speed automatic
345 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SS features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Used 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SS Overview

The Used 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SS is offered in the following styles: 4dr Extended Cab SS AWD SB (6.0L 8cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 SS?

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Find a used Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for sale - 2 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $14,989.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Silverado 1500 for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $18,603.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $22,371.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 1500?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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Check out Chevrolet Silverado 1500 lease specials