Meet Chevrolet's family-friendly burnout machine. With a powerful V8 borrowed from the last-generation Corvette, an optional manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, the SS has a muscle car's heart and soul, with four doors and plenty of backseat space. If your family obligations rule out a Camaro, this is the next best thing. If you want one, though, act fast: Chevy will discontinue the SS after the 2017 model year.
Open the hood and you'll find the engine compartment stuffed with a 6.2-liter V8 that pounds out 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. It drives the rear wheels through either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. As you might expect, EPA-rated fuel economy is lousy: 16 mpg combined (14 city/22 highway) with the automatic transmission and 17 mpg combined (14 city/22 highway) with the stick shift.
Acceleration is electrifying, but the SS is more than a straight-line star. It also handles great, with communicative steering, lots of grip and strong brakes. The big V8's exhaust note is fantastic. We only wish it were louder. The SS uses the Magnetic Ride Control suspension found in other high-end cars in the General Motors portfolio. It rides softly in Touring mode and firmly in Sport mode, though the differences are not as pronounced as in other driver-selectable suspension setups we've driven. Aside from a manual transmission that doesn't like to be shifted too quickly, driving the SS gives us little to complain about. It's comfortable enough to drive every day and plenty of fun on a winding road.
The interior is a bit of a mixed bag, however. The SS comes surprisingly well-equipped with standard leather upholstery, automatic wipers and lights, and a host of high-tech driver aids and safety features, including lane departure and collision warning systems, and a head-up display. But the interior, like the exterior, is blandly styled, and some trim pieces look as if they belong in a discount rental car. The deeply bolstered seats aren't a good fit for all body types and feel lumpy rather than supportive. The backseat is exceptionally generous, but the trunk is on the small side and the rear seats don't fold down. Interior quality isn't great, either: Our test car had several misaligned panels and materials that didn't feel very good to the touch.
The SS is available in a single trim level. Though it's generously equipped, the opportunities to customize the SS to a buyer's individual preferences are limited. Let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Chevrolet SS for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.