The styling is epically subdued. Yes, the SS has a burly presentation, but any of number of BMW M-Sport cars are far more in-your-face.
To be honest, you could be easily forgiven for calling the SS boring. It looks like a basic GM sedan that's been slightly bulked up, with some added touches here and there to identify is as a member of the SS family, which once included Pontiacs, back before GM killed the brand. "SS," by the way, stands for "Super Sport."
Chevy calls the SS a sports sedan, but let's not kid ourselves: Sporty isn't what this sucker truly is. Here's what it is: a rebadged Holden Commodore. Holden is GM's Australian division, and Down Under, they like their sedans with big engines and rear-wheel-drive. Regrettably, GM is ending production in Australia, and the Commodore is a casualty.
Sedans are declining in popularity, and offbeat four-doors such as the SS are especially endangered. Back in the day, most American cars had big engines that sent power to the back rubber. Nowadays, consumers want SUVs and all-wheel-drive. You could call them fools, but in truth, the driving dynamics of a RWD car with a juicy V8 motor are challenging to deal with.
We welcomed the challenge, which can also be enjoyed with SS's stablemates: the Chevy Camaro SS and various flavors of Corvette. Those cars, of course, are two-doors.
The SS is a sneaky fast car, for anyone who isn't inside, feeling the power. Fellow motorists will be spending a lot of time taking in this angle.
I'm sorry, you've been .. SSed!!!
This is the part of the review where we usually slip inside and have a look around the interior and get to know the infotainment system. But the SS doesn't like that. The SS is angry that it's parked. The SS wants to GO GO GO!
And with good reason because this is what lurks beneath the hood: a 6.2-liter small-block V8 engine, making 415 horsepower with 415 pound-feet of torque. If those specs sound familiar, that's because this was the motor that propelled the previous-generation Corvette. There is no other option: it's V8 or look elsewhere. No turbocharger, no supercharger, and it has pushrods. Just motor, motor, and more motor. Something for the purists.
You do have a few choices, beyond colors, interiors, and whether to get the sunroof. For example, some weak-willed folk will choose the six-speed automatic transmission over the six-speed manual. They each add nothing to the cost, by the way.
OK, that last comment was mean to people who don't want to spend all their driving time working a clutch. In truth, we've found the automatics on GM's performance cars to be fantastic, and the auto SS is on our test docket.
I didn't find myself at a loss for words when it came to describing the way the six-speed-stick, the V8, and the clutch conjoined to produce driving bliss. Words such as "magnificent," "august," "stentorian," and "supreme" played across my imagination every time I fired up the SS and took to the road.
All right then, a brief walkthrough of the inside. The front is fairly uninteresting ..
.. and the back doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles (the back seats, however, are quite roomy).
The steering wheel is leather-wrapped, with a sports grip, but for the most part, from the driver's vantage point, this car is a real throwback.
Some SS badging.
The sunroof is $900 extra.
The trunk is vast.
The infotainment system is more-or-less up-to-date with GM's current state of the art, which is excellent. You get SiriusXM satellite radio, GPS navigation, a Bose audio system that sounds great, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and AUX ports, and ..
.. GM's fantastic OnStar connectivity suite, complete with 4G LTE wifi.
It's a beauty, what a car!.Corvette performance is available in a four-door version. It's the Cadillac CTS-V, but it costs $85,000.
You can have the CTS-V for less than fifty grand, but who cares? The CTS-V is a monster, whereas the Chevy SS is a car that allows you to explore most of its power on the highway. The 0-60 mph assault only takes five seconds (top speed is 160 mph).
And with the six-speed manual, you can engage in endless fifth-to-third gear drops and fourth-gear holds to fully appreciate the slamming symphony of that fabulous V8.A General Motors car is not called a General Motors car for nothing. These engineers know how to build an engine. The power transfer from front to rear is precision engineering, delivering the rear-wheel lockdown that American muscle cars excel at. The SS has a limited-slip differential, matched to the torquey engine, which also allows for better control of the power, allowing for more aggressive driving.
While all of these features make the SS a sports sedan, I think it misses the point: this car isn't interested in cars bearing down on it while it opens a hole in the fabric of space-time, taking you back to a simpler time.During the effort, just wear a decently cut suit.
You have three driving modes: Tour for driving around every day, Sport for more intense fun, and Track to scare the neighbors and test your ability to manage oversteer on demand.
.Otherwise, it gets about 18 mpg.It took Ben Zhang and me two attempts to drain the tank and top it off twice before we reluctantly returned it to Chevy.
As these marvelous machines aren't in Chevy's lineup, the "SS" designation will no longer apply after the 2017 model year.
The car does not drive itself.This is not some kind of high-tech vehicle.This is something you don't want to share. It's retro, it's fast, it's loud, and it's completely insane. It's a dinosaur, and it deserves to survive.It's a pity to see it go.