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2003 4x4 Trucks And SUVs - The Four Wheeler Guide To 2003 Trucks And SUVS

Chevy Avalanche 2500
Gabriel Sheffer | Writer
Posted December 1, 2002

Everything You Need To Know About 70 New 2003 4x4s

If you're looking for a new 4x4, you'll be pleased to learn that model year 2003 will provide you with more options than a handyman can find at Home Depot. The popularity of SUVs and pickups has created a huge pool of vehicles from which to choose. There are so many vehicles, features and powertrains out there that you'll probably be able to find your perfect 4x4. But navigating through the seemingly endless field of 4x4s can get rough. Which one is right for you? First, consider what you plan on using your truck for: work or play, or maybe both? Will you be towing a trailer or boat? How often will you be off-pavement? And just how big a rig do you need?

Four Wheeler is here to save the day with this comprehensive guide to every vehicle with a two-speed transfer case offered for '03. We've categorized these rigs according to size and class and have included spec charts to make side-by-side comparisons a piece of cake. Whether you're looking for a monster to pull your trail rig or just a daily driver you can 'wheel on the weekend, this guide will help you figure out which 4x4 is your 4x4.

Trucks In This Category Include:
Chevy Avalanche 2500
Chevy Silverado 1500HD
Chevy Silverado 2500HD
Chevy Silverado 3500
Dodge Ram 2500
Dodge Ram 3500
Ford F-250 Super Duty
Ford F-350 Super Duty
GMC Sierra 2500HD
GMC Sierra 3500

Chevy Avalanche 2500

The big news at Chevy is that the four-wheel-drive Silverado 2500HD is now available in several configurations including regular-, extended- or crew-cab models with either the Wideside long- or shortbox. Regular cabs are only available with the Wideside longbox. Last year the only 4WD model was the extended cab. The Silverado's standard engine remains the potent Vortec 6.0L V-8, with the 8.1L V-8 or the new Duramax 6600 diesel V-8 as options. The new Duramax delivers 300 hp at 3,100 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm. Chevy also offers a crew-cab shortbed 1500HD, built on the Silverado 2500 platform. The 1500HD comes standard with the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine, a towing capacity of 12,000 pounds and a payload of up to 3,143 pounds.

The 2500HD has a GVWR of up to 9,200 pounds and can carry payloads of as much as 3,964 pounds. If you're tugging a heavier load than that, consider the 3500 with its GVWR of 11,400 pounds and a payload capacity of 5,559 pounds. Opt for Chevy's 6.0L V-8 and you're ready to tow as much as 10,500 pounds. The 8.1L V-8 and Duramax powerplants can each tow an impressive 12,000 pounds. This year the Silverado 2500HD/3500 Series comes with the OnStar system standard on LT extended-cab and crew-cab models.

All heavy-duty Silverado models come with double-A arm, torsion-bar independent suspension up front. In the rear, the 2500HD utilizes a semi-elliptic two-stage multileaf spring, while the 3500 chassis cab features a three-stage multileaf spring.

Chevy's other candidate in the heavy-duty class is the relatively new convertible-cab Avalanche, first introduced in 2001. For '03, the pickup/SUV hybrid features the StabiliTrak vehicle stability enhancement system and improved fuel economy for the Autotrac four-wheel-drive system, but only when driven in two-wheel drive. The Avalanche 2500 comes standard with a 340hp Vortec 8100 8.1L V-8 and a four-speed automatic transmission. This package offers a towing capacity of up to 12,000 pounds.

Dodge Ram 3500

New from Dodge this year are the 2003 Ram 2500HD and 3500, with an all-new 345hp 5.7L Hemi Magnum V-8 and an optional 5.9L inline-six Cummins turbodiesel. The V-8 kicks out 375 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm, providing Dodge's heavy-duty pickups with towing capability of up to 10,800 pounds with the 4.10:1 axle ratio. Steering has been improved with an all-new recirculating ball system for improved response. A coil-sprung, solid-axle front suspension is standard on all four-wheel-drive models. The 2500HD and 3500 trucks feature leaf springs in the rear. In a nod to four-wheelers, Dodge brought front-axle ground clearance up to a respectable 9.3 inches for the 2500HD and 9.9 inches for the 3500. Both trucks are available in regular or quad-cab models, the 3500 with a shortbed as an option.

Ford F350

The Ford Super Duty is a favorite of enthusiasts, thanks in no small part to its live-axle/leaf-spring front/rear suspensions, and various powertrain options. For 2003 Ford offers its all-new 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine, offering 325 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque. The diesel engine will be available with a five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission or a ZF-built six-speed manual overdrive trans. Both the F-250 and F-350 are offered in Regular Cab, SuperCab or Crew Cab versions, and feature three trim levels: base XL, XLT and high-zoot Lariat.

The standard powerplant remains the 5.4L Triton V-8. Then there's the 6.8L Triton V-10 and the venerable 7.3 Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8. Towing and hauling ability are a big part of these trucks' appeal. With its stock engine and 4.10:1 axle ratio, the F-250 is rated to tow 8,900 pounds. (With the 3.73:1 axle ratio, towing numbers decrease to 7,800 pounds.) An F-350 with the 6.0L diesel and 3.73:1 axle ratio can tow a 12,500-pound trailer.

GMC Sierra 2500HD

The Sierra is GMC's heavy-duty player. The four-wheel- drive 2500HD and 3500 models are available in a variety of configurations. The standard engine for the regular-cab longbox is the Vortec 6000 6.0L V-8. Other engine choices include the 8.1L V-8 or the Duramax 6.6L turbodiesel. All models offer a five- or six-speed manual or four- or five-speed automatic transmission. Heavy-duty Sierras feature double A-arms and torsion bars up front and the same rearend setup as Chevy's 2500/3500 heavy-duty trucks. Hauling capacity for the 6.0L V-8 is 10,600 pounds, while the 8.1L V-8 and 6.6L Duramax each are rated for a respectable 12,000 pounds. The 3500 with the 6.0L V-8 can tow up to 9,900 pounds. These trucks can carry payloads from 3,076 for the extended-cab shortbed to 5,169 pounds in the extended-cab longbox.

Specification comparison chart
Avalanche 2500 $36,294 8.1L V-8 285/325 13/17 1,958 12,000 4A
Silverado 1500HD $33,860 6.0L V-8 300/360 n/a 2,837 10,300 5M, 4A
Silverado 2500HD $31,245 6.0L V-8 300/360 n/a 3,144 10,600 5M, 4A
8.1 V-8 340/455 n/a 3,144 12,000 5M, 4A
Duramax V-8 300/520 n/a 3,144 12,000 6M, 5A
Silverado 3500 $34,831 6.0L V8 300/360 n/a 4,941 9,900 6M, 5A
8.1L V-8 340/455 n/a 4,941 12,000 6M, 5A
Duramax V-8 300/520 n/a 4,941 12,000 6M, 5A
{{{Ram 2500}}} $25,745 5.7L V-8 345/375 n/a 2,730 9,550 5M, 5A
8.0L V-10 305/440 n/a 2,460 11,100 5M, 4A
5.9L Diesel 250/460 n/a 2,030 12,800 5M, 4A
{{{Ram 3500}}} $27,450 5.7L V-8 345/375 n/a 4,800 10,150 5M, 5A
8.0L V-10 305/440 n/a 1,420 10,200 5M, 4A
5.9L Diesel 250/460 n/a 4,650 11,900 5M, 4A
F-250 $25,680 5.4L V-8 260/350 n/a 2,{{{960}}} 7,400 6M, 4A
6.8L V-10 310/425 n/a 2,960 10,200 6M, 4A
6.0L V-8 Diesel 325/550(m) n/a 2,960 12,500 6M, 5A
7.3L V-8 Diesel 275/520(m) n/a 2,960 12,500 6M, 4A
F-350 Super Duty $25,965 5.4L V-8 260/350 n/a 4,065 7,400 6M, 4A
6.8L V-10 310/425 n/a 4,065 10,200 6M, 4A
6.0L V-8 Diesel 325/550(m) n/a 4,065 12,500 6M, 5A
7.3L V-8 Diesel 275/520(m) n/a 4,065 12,500 6M, 4A
Sierra 1500HD $34,365 6.0LV-8 300/360 n/a 2,831 10,200 4A
Sierra 2500HD $33,147 6.0L V-8 300/360 n/a 3,144 10,600 5M, 6M, 4A
8.1L V-8 340/455 n/a 3,144 12,000 5M, 6M, 4A
6.6L V-8 Diesel 300/520 n/a 3,144 12,000 5A
Sierra 3500 $34,319 6.0L V-8 300/360 n/a 4,941 10,600 5M, 6M, 4A
8.1L V-8 340/455 n/a 4,941 12,000 5M, 6M, 4A
6.6L V-8 Diesel 300/520 n/a 4,941 12,000 5A
*Chevy and GMC payload numbers are for crew-cab longbox.
**Dodge payload numbers are for Quad Cab with longbox. 3500 payload numbers are with dual rear wheels.
4A = four-speed automatic
5A = five-speed automatic
5M = five-speed manual
6M = six-speed manual
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