2015 Chevrolet SS Review
Pros & Cons
- Thrilling V8 performance
- powerful brakes
- remarkably capable handling
- well-equipped interior with ample passenger space
- available manual transmission.
- Poor fuel economy
- touchscreen interface can be slow to respond.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Chevy SS can smoke its rear tires with the best of them, but what sets it apart is its sharp handling and impressive refinement.
The spec sheet for the 2015 Chevrolet SS reads like a car forum fantasy. You can imagine how the post might go: "Man, if they'd just bring back the Pontiac G8 GXP with the LS3 V8 and Brembo brakes, and maybe throw in a MyLink infotainment system, I'd buy it in a heartbeat!" Except it's not a pipe dream in this case; it's available at a dealer near you. And the SS is even more desirable this year thanks to some key additions, including standard adaptive suspension dampers and an available six-speed manual transmission.
To be clear, the SS isn't merely a warmed-over G8 GXP, although both are rebadged Holden Commodores from GM's Australian subsidiary. The SS is based on the current-generation Commodore VF, whereas the G8 was derived from the previous-generation Commodore VE. That means the SS benefits from smoother (though some might say overly generic) exterior styling, as well as a revamped interior that boasts vastly improved materials and a standard 8-inch touchscreen interface. The same 6.2-liter V8 does carry over, gaining just 13 hp for SS duty, but given that it also came standard in the previous-generation Corvette, that's more of a badge of honor than a cause for complaint.
On the road, the surprising thing about the 2015 SS is that it's more than just the old-school muscle car it looks like on paper. It'll do burnouts until you run out of rubber, of course, but it also provides the precision dynamics of a European sport sedan. That's especially true for 2015 thanks to the newly standard Magnetic Ride Control suspension, which offers three different driving modes that enable both road-hugging control and supple cruising comfort. Last year's nonadjustable suspension was biased toward the performance end of the spectrum, so this year's relatively forgiving ride quality marks a significant improvement.
Large non-luxury-branded performance sedans aren't exactly common, but if you're looking for direct rivals, we'd start with the brash 2015 Dodge Charger, which serves up an even more powerful 6.4-liter V8 in either R/T Scat Pack or SRT 392 trim. The Charger will get you more attention, too, but it feels bulkier from behind the wheel. Ford's Taurus SHO takes a different approach with its turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive, but its all-around performance is tepid by comparison. Overall, the 2015 Chevrolet SS is the only one that makes the fantasy of tire-smoking power, world-class athleticism and large sedan practicality a reality.
2015 Chevrolet SS models
The 2015 Chevrolet SS is a five-passenger full-size sedan offered in a single well-equipped trim level.
Standard features include 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, summer performance tires, an adaptive suspension, Brembo brakes (front and rear), xenon headlights, foglights, heated power mirrors with driver-side auto-dimming, automatic wipers, keyless entry and ignition, remote start (automatic transmission only), dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar), driver memory settings, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and leather upholstery.
Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an automated parallel parking system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, a head-up display, a navigation system, a rearview camera, an 8-inch touchscreen with Chevrolet's MyLink interface, voice controls including Siri Eyes Free, OnStar, 4G LTE data connectivity with WiFi hotspot capability and a nine-speaker Bose audio system with a CD player, satellite radio and iPod/USB connectivity.
The only significant options for the SS are a sunroof and a full-size spare tire mounted on a matching alloy wheel.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Chevrolet SS is powered by a 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 415 hp and 415 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.
In Edmunds.com testing, an SS with the automatic transmission sprinted to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, well ahead of the Taurus SHO but a tick or two behind the 6.4-liter Chargers. EPA fuel-economy estimates stand at 17 mpg combined (14 city/21 highway) for the automatic and a nearly identical 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway) for the manual. That's pretty thirsty, though not unexpected in this segment.
Standard safety equipment on the 2015 Chevrolet SS includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
Additional features include a multimode head-up display, a rearview camera, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
In Edmunds.com testing, a Chevrolet SS came to a halt from 60 mph in 110 feet, meeting expectations for this high-performance segment.
Don't be intimidated by the 2015 SS's hefty exterior dimensions because, unlike the Charger, it doesn't feel large at speed. You do get a sense of the car's considerable length, but when you're sweeping around turns, its remarkable agility and precision are what come to the fore. Happily, the new-for-2015 adaptive Magnetic Ride Control suspension offers three settings that let the driver select the appropriate firmness for the occasion. Last year's stiff, non-adjustable suspension won't be missed, as the magnetic setup rides quite agreeably when you're not in max-attack mode.
Wind and road noise are largely held at bay inside the SS, allowing the sweet sounds of the 6.2-liter V8 to filter through. This is an addictive mill, with a classic American exhaust burble, prodigious low-end torque and genuine high-rpm enthusiasm. The manual transmission comes with an aggressive 3.70 rear-axle ratio to enhance responsiveness, but no matter which way you slice it, this engine hauls the mail. You've got to love the availability of that stick shift if you're a purist -- other than the BMW M5, there's not another sizable sedan on the market with V8 power and three pedals.
The cabin design of the 2015 Chevy SS is subdued, but leather upholstery comes standard, and it's complemented by contrast stitching and simulated suede inserts on the doors and wraparound dashboard. The instrument panel features a high-resolution color trip computer flanked by two sporty analog gauges for vehicle and engine speed, with an additional measure of safety provided by the standard head-up display. The 8-inch MyLink touchscreen with smartphone app integration is crisply rendered and user-friendly, though it can be distractingly slow to respond at times.
In terms of passenger space, the SS lives up to its large car billing. The front seats have enough room for just about anyone, while a pair of 6-footers can lounge in back for extended periods without discomfort. Trunk space isn't quite as enormous at 16.4 cubic feet, but that's still more room than most owners will ever need.