The Chevrolet SSR is a polarizing vehicle. Built in the early 2000s during the height of the retro craze among Detroit automakers, it was supposed to pay homage to the classic Chevy pickup trucks of the late 1940s and early 1950s. But it was also supposed give a nod to custom boulevard cruisers. And muscle cars. And roadsters. And it was supposed to look all flashy and flamboyant while doing it. That’s a lot of hats to wear, which is why many people feel the SSR fills none of these roles very well. But at the same time, we reckon most of those critics have never seen it up close, never mind driven one.

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For his latest video, Doug DeMuro addresses that concern by giving us a very in-depth look at this curious machine. What do we find? Well, it’s pretty much a product of early 2000s General Motors – there’s plenty of plastic in the interior, there are some questionable locations for buttons, and there are removable cupholders that might as well be permanently removed, because they seem pretty darned useless. So far, it seems SSR critics have fodder to support their case.

However, there are some positives that may surprise some people. It turns out the SSR’s pickup bed is actually quite functional. The hard cover can be removed fairly easily in a few minutes, allowing the SSR to haul actual things more than three feet tall. Even with the cover in place there’s still easy access to the back with the tailgate, though closing the cover is an awkward three-step process. Chevrolet also saw fit to fill the SSR with DC power points, including one at the back for powering the mini-fridge during tailgate parties. So as a pickup truck at least, it's not a complete failure.

Chevrolet SSR
Chevrolet SSR

Much has been said about the SSR’s lackluster performance and lousy ride. DeMuro seems to confirm those beliefs with his test drive, though it does make a good sound from the 300-horsepower 5.3-liter V8 – something enhanced by the SSR’s lack of a roof. As for the styling, that’s purely subjective with most people either loving it or hating it. One thing that can’t be argued, however, is that it's absolutely unique and attention-getting.

Has DeMuro’s close look at the Chevy SSR changed your opinion on this ill-defined niche machine? Back in the day it cost over $40,000, with prices still ranging in the mid-$20,000 range, so there must be at least some people who really love this, um, machine. Either way, there’s certainly nothing else like it on the road.

Source: Doug DeMuro

Gallery: Chevrolet SSR

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