I love shifting my own gears and have always owned cars with manual transmissions. But as I progressed from 2-seaters to mid-size sports sedans to full-size sports sedans over the years, manual transmissions became harder to find. In 2016, there was only one choice for a full-size sports sedan capable of the name that offered a manual transmission and that happened to be the Chevrolet SS. However, the Chevrolet SS is an overkill for me in terms of acceleration and top speed capabilities for which I have never found nor do I anticipate a situation to use such capabilities, but it's nice to know they are there. I do occasionally enjoy accelerating in traffic a "little" faster than most fellow motorist can, and find cornering at speed on twisty roads very confidence inspiring and exhilarating. I've had my 2016 SS for just over two years and 20,000 very enjoyable miles and have had no mechanical problems. Unfortunately, the Chevrolet SS was made for only four years from 2014-2017 and is now discontinued. I highly recommend the Chevrolet SS to those who have needs similar to mine, but now you have to buy a used one. And beware that this is a full-size performance sports sedan on the order of a BMW M5 or Porsche Panamera for half the cost. It is powered by a big old school GM push-rod V8 and is not very easy on gas.
I would change a few things about this car. First the cup holder can interfere with shifting with even a modestly tall cup. Next, since I'm over 55 it sits a bit too low to the ground for me. That makes it hard to get out of the car at times, but the programmable seats can cure this a bit. Finally, the A-frame pillar occasionally obstructs the driver's view. I've almost had 2 collisions due to this factor. Otherwise, it's been my favorite car of all time. It's a real joy to drive. Great mix of power and it's somewhat luxurious. It's a real shame that 2017 is the last year for this great ride. Oh well, at least I'll have mine for as long as I want. I still get fired up at that exhaust note when I crank her up.
Needed a new car, thanks to the VW TDI scandal and it just so happened to coincide with the elimination of my 110 mile round-trip commute. As a car enthusiast, I was looking for something fun to drive that also could haul the family in comfort. With fuel economy no longer a factor, I landed on the SS. My dealer couldn't locate a 6M in black, silver or blue within a 250 mile radius that also had the 20% off MSRP tag, so I ended up with an automatic. I was able to enjoy the summer tires for the first 800 miles before swapping them out for Michelin Ice Xi3 snow tires on 18" wheels. 1200 miles on the snow tires has been surprisingly good, and not all that different than my Passat TDI on the same tires. Of course the best part is firing up that big, throaty V8 and hitting the nearest on-ramp for a quick blast to 70+ mph. With the summer OEM tires back on, handling, braking, and acceleration instantly improved and I am enjoying this car every time I drive it. I have found the Performance setting to provide the best responsiveness for the automatic transmission and it handles excellent. Touring and Sport cause the auto to be very slow to respond on downshifts. With 2017 being the last model year for this modern day V8, RWD muscle car and fewer than 15,000 of these cars imported to the U.S. since the 2014's first came over, the opportunity to own a unique piece of Chevy history is running out. I'm very happy that I was able to pick one up and use it as my daily driver.
After 18 months of owning a 2016 Chevrolet SS with the 6-speed automatic, I remain very pleased. The exhaust note in Sport, Performance or Track mode makes me smile every time I start the car and step on the gas. It's also nice to flip to touring to quiet it down a little and smooth out the bumps when cruising on the interstate. Highs include: handling; accelleration; engine/exhaust rumble; exclusivity of having one of only an estimated 10,000 Chevy SS's imported to the US for model years 2014-17 as the 2017's are the last ones being made; and the amazing amount of tech that comes standard. Lows include: no Homelink(!!) so you are stuck with a clunky garage door opener remote; the 6-speed automatic is slow to downshift, sometimes clunks into gear, and overall not very responsive to the 415 hp and 415 lb/ft of torque begging to come out and play; and the brakes started squealing well before needing to be replaced. Overall, finding this car with a 20% GM discount tag makes it the best performance sedan for the money, and one of the few rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8's left. The fuel economy is terrible, but people willing to buy this car aren't looking for a Prius so I don't consider it to be a negative. *Update: 6 months later, my review hasn't changed. I put 245/45R18 Michelin X-Ice Xi3 winter tires mounted on all black wheels that looked great and so I could actually drive it during the winter. Tires did great, and I enjoyed having RWD in the snow. It's a lot of fun steering with your throttle. To be clear, this is not an AWD crossover or SUV. It has low ground clearance, RWD, and lots of power. Not the best combination for driving in deep snow. Depending on your winter weather driving needs and how severe the weather can get, the SS might be better hanging out in the garage, waiting for Spring to arrive.
The Chevy SS (Holden Commodore down under) is an amazing car. It can go to the track for some hot laps then stop by the grocery store on the way home. It's a very well integrated package of performance, luxury and utility/usefulness. The controls are firm, but they feel just right for this big car and it drives smaller than it actually is. The 415hp LS3 V8 is a gem, but it's thirsty as a daily driver, so far about 17 mpg. This car has less than year of production remaining as 2017 is the "last call". If you want a new one, better act quickly!
Update! 10,115 miles now and the Chevy SS continues to impress. Problems have been limited to 2 screws in the tires, one of which was not repairable. Fuel economy continues to improve, a few tanks have been 19.0-19.5 mpg. The radio reception for non-satellite stations is not the best, had the dealer re-set the system, which did seem to help a little. The MRC drive settings (Tour-Sport-Perf) and the dual mode exhaust give this car multiple personalities. Each is unique and well sorted. Very few people know this car and it's nearly "invisible" in the daily commute, which is exactly the way I prefer. One time you will get some attention is at the gas station after a fill-up. When re-starting the car, the next guy next to you looks over and thinks......."that sure doesn't sound like a Malibu?"
Update- 18,900 mi. One year in and still pleased with the SS. It drives as well now as it did when new and the fuel economy has been steady between 18.5-19.5mpg (70% hwy). The OE Bridgestone RE050A tires have been better than expected. They have great grip and have lasted longer than I figured? They only have a 140 tread wear so to make it to 20K is not bad. I plan on keeping this car for the long term, but will likely get a small 35-40 mpg. daily driver to try and keep some of the commuter miles off this car.
Update - 27005 miles and going strong. Michelin Pilot Sport 4s tires went on at 19,800 and they are outstanding. Smoother, quieter ride than the OE rubber, but still tremendous grip and responsiveness. Fuel economy recently has been steady at about 18-18.5. Wear & tear? The car is holding up pretty well. The interior, specifically the seats, are wearing much better than most GM cars/trucks. Would I buy it again? Absolutely.