The folks at HotCars put together a list of the 21st Century’s disastrously bad trucks. So which pickup is the worst in history? Was it the 2005 Dodge Ram Daytona with its 11-inch wing of doom? Nope, it was the Chevy SSR that took home the title.
Why was it so bad? Why did the HotCars team decide it was the worst truck ever?
This Chevy truck is arguably the worst
All Chevrolet intended to do was create a new and stylish truck. The result was a convertible pickup produced from 2003 to 2006.
Most people want a truck that’s tough or aggressive-looking. The Chevy SSR looks like a colorful, bizarre cross between a convertible, Volkswagen Beetle, and a standard truck, Car and Driver reported. Something you’d like to take for a joyride? Something that can do what a regular truck can do? No.
According to HotCars, the fact that it was a convertible completely threw off the truck’s design and shape. It had good reliability ratings between its engine and suspension. And it could reach impressive speeds.
However, it didn’t have enough power to do many typical pickup tasks. The small trunk didn’t offer much storage space, which is another reason why people buy trucks. As the HotCars team pointed out, the idea was too crazy in development and became worse in production. Chevrolet produced a truck that was strange-looking and good only for fun drives.
The Chevy SSR
The SSR’s style was inspired by late-1940s Chevy trucks. The Super Sport Roadster concept car revealed at the 2000 Detroit Auto Show was used for the production model. One of the earlier SSRs was used as a pace car for the 2003 Indianapolis 500 auto race.
It used the GM368 platform designed for the SSR. It was derived from the GMT360 platform of the day that was very adaptable. The retractable hardtop was steel and designed by Karmann. The manufacturers “relearned” an old forming technique to develop the truck’s body and create the deep draw stampings on the front fenders.
Originally, the SSR had a 5.3-liter V8 engine that put out 300 hp and 335 lb-ft of torque. In its last year, it offered a more potent 6.0-liter V8 that got 390 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque.
The truck’s bed was possibly the weirdest thing about it. The bed was just four feet long and featured a semi-permanent tonneau cover. The cover surely helped the unusual truck’s aerodynamics. But the cover also made trying to use the truck for any number of tasks a pain.
It ultimately failed
Ultimately, the Chevy SSR failed because no one bought them. It was an interesting experiment that failed spectacularly.
Its strange appearance was likely a huge reason why no one was rushing to buy the SSR. Beyond that, it was both a convertible and a truck but not good at being either. It was also relatively expensive for a vehicle that buyers just couldn’t figure out.
Some think the team at Chevrolet was trying to do too much. The Chevy SSR might’ve had a longer life if they’d picked a side and stuck with it. Maybe it failed because convertibles were a dying trend that held little appeal for most buyers.
Keep in mind that the SSR wasn’t intended to be a good truck in the first place. And if the Chevy team succeeded at anything, it was in creating a bad truck.