TOY BOX: Chevy SSR's engine could use a boost

Ever since I saw a Chevy SSR at a Chicago auto show, I've been fascinated by it.

Ever since I saw a Chevy SSR at a Chicago auto show, I've been fascinated by it.

A sporty retro-looking truck, the SSR seats two and has a covered rear-cargo area. It also has a retractable hard-top that won't be shaking in the heavy winds of winter. That explains why anyone in a cold climate like Chicago would buy it. Unfortunately, my test drive confirmed what many other reviews I've read about the SSR said: that it was underpowered. The engine seems to labor even at low speeds. I'm not sure if a tune-up would help that or not. GM has put a larger V8 in 2005 models and is also making available a six-speed manual transmission for performance drivers, so hopefully that will help. The SSR has some other oddities, like no room behind its two seats to store small items - my daughter complained of having to sit with her backpack crowding her legs. And the cargo area is more for show than any massive truck-like cargo. I still love the SSR's look - and the looks I got while driving it. If Chevy can work on the engine issue, this could be a fun ride. Any suggestions for gadgets we should try? Send them to
  • John N. Frank writes Toy Box. He is the Chicago-based Midwest bureau chief for PRWeek. Price MSRP, $43,055 Available at Chevrolet dealers Specs LS2 6.0-liter V8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, 19" front tires, 20" rear

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