The Car Connection Chevrolet SS Overview
The Chevrolet SS is a four-door sedan with a very small following, but with some serious performance credentials—including rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission, and a V-8 engine.
The SS is actually a lightly reworked Australian-market Holden Commodore sedan once sold in the States as the Pontiac G8. After Pontiac's demise, the Holden gained a bowtie along with a few aluminum bits to shed pounds.
The SS is the brand's 415-horsepower return to the rear-drive sedan market. With its 6.2-liter V-8 borrowed from the sportier Camaro, some say the SS is the Corvette sedan enthusiasts have always dreamed of—especially when outfitted with the no-cost optional 6-speed manual.
MORE: See our 2016 Chevrolet SS review
With its return to the mainstream, the car gets the SS badge and a bowtie, but it still will be a relatively rare sight on the roads. The four-door companion piece to the Camaro coupe will be sold in limited volumes, as a halo car for a sedan lineup that now includes the Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, and Impala. Since its time as a Pontiac, the car has gone on a bit of a diet, using aluminum in places such as the hood and fenders to shed weight. It has also finally been gifted with modern telematics, including the navigation system that the G8 lacked.
The SS looks the part of a classic rear-drive sedan. It's still a handsome shape, years after similar body panels were introduced on the G8, with a light upkick to its tail and squat muscle-car proportions. The cockpit gets the most updates compared to the Pontiac, with blue interior lighting and other new surfaces and features to bring it up to a more modern pace.
There's only one engine offered in the SS: a 415-horsepower, 6.2-liter small-block V-8 lifted from the Camaro and the last Corvette. For 2014, only a 6-speed automatic was available, while a 6-speed manual is now a no-cost option. The big V-8 sends its output to the rear wheels, and GM says the SS will run to 60 mph in about five seconds.
The heavy emphasis on performance extends to the Chevy SS's ride and handling. With ideal 50/50 weight distribution and a multi-link rear suspension, the SS is set up more like a sports car than a typical large sedan. It rides on Z-rated tires for great grip and comes with Brembo brakes that provide fantastic stopping power. Steering-wheel shift paddles are included on automatic models.
On the safety front, each Chevy SS has eight airbags as standard equipment, including a pair of knee airbags for front passengers. A rearview camera; lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems; and blind-spot monitors are all included as well. The SS hasn't been, and likely will not be, tested by either of the national safety agencies given its low sales volume.
Leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated-and-ventilated front seats, keyless access, push-button start, remote start, a head-up display, and 220-watt Bose audio are all included. So is Chevrolet MyLink, which is controlled through an eight-inch color touch screen and can help manage hands-free conversations, media, and infotainment apps on a connected smartphone. The G8, for comparison, didn't even offer navigation.
The 2015 Chevrolet SS added some notable new features. Among the key ones for enthusiasts: an available six-speed manual transmission and standard adjustable dampers. It will also feature Brembo brakes at all four corners; the 2014 SS had Brembos only at the front. Other upgrades for 2015 included OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in wi-fi hotspot, which General Motors is rolling out across its fleet.
Changes were minimal for the 2016 model year.
If you're looking for a hyper-miling sedan, perhaps you've missed the point. The Chevrolet SS equipped with a manual manages 14 mpg city, 22 highway, 17 combined, according to the EPA. The automatic manages 14/20/16 mpg according to the agency.