If you're a fan of classic muscle cars, you're probably going to love the Chevrolet SS. To create the SS, Chevy started with the rear-wheel-drive Holden Commodore large sedan produced by General Motors' Australian subsidiary (which was also the basis for the now defunct but still highly regarded Pontiac G8). From there it stuffed a rip-roaring 415-horsepower V8 engine from the previous-generation Corvette under the hood. Four-hundred horsepower? Rear-wheel drive? Yes, it's a formula that could bring back memories of smoky burnouts and doughnuts in your high school's parking lot.
Pleasingly, though, the SS delivers more than just straight-line muscle. Remarkably nimble handling and strong brakes perfectly complement the V8's brawn, while the attractive, comfortable and spacious interior boasts a truly adult-friendly backseat, a large trunk and a remarkably long list of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. Put it all together and you have a thoroughly modern large sedan that will haul your family in relative comfort or something else entirely when you hit the gas.
Current Chevrolet SS
The Chevrolet SS is a new full-size sedan debuting for 2014 that's offered in a single, loaded trim level. Powertrain details are equally straightforward. The 6.2-liter V8 engine, which produces 415 hp and 415 pound-feet of torque, is the only engine offered. It's connected to a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. In our testing, we found the SS can accelerate to 60 mph in just under 5 seconds, which is an impressively quick time for a big sedan like this. Understandably, though, fuel economy isn't a priority here, and you can expect your mpg to hover in the mid-teens.
The SS's list of standard features includes 19-inch wheels, high-performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, Brembo brakes, xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats and leather upholstery. Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an automated parallel parking system, blind spot and lane departure warning systems, frontal collision warning, a navigation system, a head-up display, a rearview camera, an 8-inch touchscreen electronics interface, OnStar, voice controls and a nine-speaker Bose sound system The only major option for the SS is a sunroof.
While the SS's most obvious draw is its V8 power, this sedan is also quite capable of confidently devouring curvy roads. The combination of an exceptionally rigid body structure, grippy tires and well-tuned sport suspension and steering systems give the SS uncommon athletic ability for a sedan of this size. It's so good that the SS can give pricier European sport sedans a run for their money on a winding stretch of asphalt. The only potential downside is a ride quality that may be a bit too firm for some folks' tastes.
Inside, the SS offers a roomy and surprisingly upscale interior thanks to leather upholstery with faux-suede inserts and contrasting stitching. The gauges are easy to read and the head-up display is multi-configurable and can project an impressive array of information onto the windshield. The central touchscreen display is also configurable. Its menus are straightforward, but it can be distractingly slow to respond to your inputs at times. Farther back, there's plenty of room for two adults or three in a pinch, while the large trunk should also please those family members who don't understand the meaning of traveling light.
Overall, the Chevy SS is a great choice for shoppers searching for a high-performance sedan that's upscale and reasonably priced. Having said that, Chevy's other full-size sedan, the Impala, is a better choice if hauling people and their stuff is a bigger priority than hauling, ah, going rather fast. Not only is it cheaper, but it's more efficient -- both in terms of interior space and fuel use.
Used Chevrolet SS Models
The SS is a new model, but the similar Pontiac G8 was briefly sold for 2008 and '09.
Read the most recent 2014 Chevrolet SS review.