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.
A lightly reworked Australian-market Holden Commodore sedan, the SS is the next generation of the car once sold in the States as the Pontiac G8. After Pontiac's demise, the Holden returned with a bowtie.
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 the last-generation Corvette, some say the SS is the equivalent of a Camaro sedan.
The SS will be discontinued after the 2017 model year.
MORE: See our 2017 Chevrolet SS review
Limited in production, the SS is a relatively rare sight on the roads. It is sold 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's look is somewhat generic within the Chevrolet lineup. Look closer, though, and you see traits 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 was made a no-cost option for 2015. The big V-8 sends its output to the rear wheels, and GM says the SS will run to 60 mph in about 4.7 seconds.
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.
The heavy emphasis on performance extends to the Chevy SS's ride and handling. With a close to ideal 52/48 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 8.0-inch touchscreen and can help manage hands-free conversations, media, and infotainment apps on a connected smartphone.
The 2015 Chevrolet SS added some notable new features. Among the key ones for enthusiasts: an available 6-speed manual transmission and standard adjustable dampers. It also received 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.
Changes for 2016 mostly involved the exterior. It received a revised front fascia with vertical ducts at its outer edges, LED front signature lights, functional hood vents, and 19-inch alloy wheels with painted pockets. Inside, it got a standard navigation system. The 2017 model year sees only two new colors: Orange Blast and Nightfall Gray Metallic.