2dr Regular Cab Convertible LS Rwd SB (5.3L 8cyl 4A)
Options on test vehicle
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
300 @ 5,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
335 @ 4,000
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
Sound and fury (both audible and visual) accompany the SSR wherever it goes. But actual acceleration times don't back up the truck's image. In reality, the fact that a 4,700-pound truck, with super-tall rear tires and a four-speed automatic, can still break into the 15s is a testament to the ability of Chevy's 5.3-liter V8. Traction is not an issue because of those 10-inch wide rear tires, even with traction control deactivated. The tranmission shifts crisply at redline (5,500 rpm), and the exhaust note is as captivating as the Slingshot Yellow paint. We did notice a drop in acceleration times after the first run, and this drop accompanied a noticeable rise in the temperature gauge. While the vehicle never overheated, its temperature gauge's behavior suggests that sitting still, or idling a low speed on a hot day, is not the SSR's favorite passtime.
While ABS noise and vibration during maximum braking was acceptable, the sinking response of the pedal was not. This is not unique to the SSR, as the TrailBlazer and Silverado also display this quality to varying degrees. It's not that the vehicle doesn't come to a stop in a relatively short distance, it's that the sinking pedal makes you briefly wonder if it will stop at all. The SSR also pulled slightly to the right during the second and third stops while displaying slight, but acceptable, front-end dive. As already mentioned, the actual stopping distances were impressive for such a heavy vehicle.
The steering is slow and heavy, but it's also accurate (rack-and-pinion) and confident. The SSR stays extremely flat and well behaved in the slalom, despite its solid rear axle and truck platform. The back end will come around when powering out of the final cones, but in a very predictable and controllable manner (unlike the TrailBlazer/Envoy/Rainier). The same wide transmission gearing and tall tires that slow it down when accelerating allowed the vehicle to stay in second gear during slalom testing (though throttle response was still lethargic). Not a nimble vehicl, but more purely capable than you might think in terms of handling. Karl Brauer