In its ongoing quest to advance truck sales, Chevrolet returns the SS badge to pickups for the first time in a decade with the 2003 Silverado SS.

The Silverado SS is built on the popular extended-cab short-bed layout, in near-monochromatic paint schemes, with one big exhaust outlet, and LT-grade leather buckets with "SS" embroidery in the headrests. Like 2003 Silverados, the SS gets a revised front-end derived from the Avalanche, but the SS has a unique cross-hatch grille and recessed foglamps.

The SS comes with the 6.0L high-output V-8 from the Escalade, rated at 345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, coupled to a 4L65E four-speed automatic. Standard also is all-wheel drive, making the SS the only sport-pickup so equipped; it won't outrun a Lightning, but it will keep up in the rain, and it offers more seating than any sport pickup.

To ensure the SS doesn't polish the pavement like the old SS454, it's fitted with a Z60 suspension that drops it 2.0 in., adds almost 0.75-in. to track width, and employs monotube gas shocks. Aluminum wheels, a locking rear differential, and 275/55-20 Goodyear Eagle LSs round out the package.

The SS also benefits from generic improvements to all Silverados and Sierras, including a revised electrical system, smarter airbags, multizone climate control, and heated power folding signal mirrors. Entertainment options have been advanced with video, XM Satellite radios, and audiophile Bose sound systems tuned for various interior configurations.