2017 Chevy SS Review: Goodnight, Sweet Prince
– Detroit, Michigan
Today, I mourn the death of a fabulous car. A fantastic machine that checks all the right boxes for driving enthusiasts. V8? Yep, small-block. Rear-wheel drive? You got it. Manual transmission? Sure thing. Throw in some suspension technology normally reserved for Corvettes and you’ve got a car that I will eagerly drive over and over again.
Of course, the Chevy SS isn’t all perfect. It looks weird. The interior is so-so. This is a car spawned from the heart of General Motors’ Holden division in Australia, and is a proper muscle sedan through and through. But no one bought it, and with Holden’s demise in sight, there won’t be a replacement for the SS anytime soon, if ever.
So, one last time, here’s a look at the most overlooked car in GM’s recent history. Pour one out for the SS, folks. This is its last hurrah.
It’s a four-door Corvette (kind of). That’s not just any V8 under the hood – that’s General Motors’ 6.2-liter LS3 engine, which you might remember from the C6 Corvette. Here, it produces 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque, sent exclusively to the rear wheels. It’s even got a tough-guy Tremec six-speed manual transmission and GM’s lovely Magnetic Ride Control suspension. It’s more than just a big four-door with a muscular engine – it’s smooth when cruising and stays flat and composed when tossed into a bend. The SS drives more like a Camaro than a fullsize sedan.
Loud and proud. This thing sounds bitchin’. Fire up that V8 and you’re greeted with muscle car grumble. Mash the throttle and rev high, and the exhaust will sing its small-block sound all day long. It’s intoxicating.
Tons of room. Despite its sports car antics, this is still a fullsize sedan, and easily carries five adults without complaints. The driver and front passenger have ample room, and there’s plenty of leg- and headroom for folks in the rear, not to mention a generous trunk. If you want a Camaro, but enjoy being able to see out of the car and want to bring friends with you, get an SS (but hurry!).
One of a kind. As of this writing, Chevy has sold just over 10,000 SS sedans since its launch in 2013. That makes it rarer than most cars. Consider this, in the same timeframe, Smart sold twice as many ForTwos than Chevy sold SS sedans. What a damn shamel. Look for these – especially late-model manual cars – to show up as great eBay and Craigslist finds for years to come. It’s a truly special car, and Chevy likely won’t build anything like it again.
Bland styling. You would never know this thing has a 415-hp V8 under the hood. Park it next to a last-generation Malibu and the two look remarkably similar, especially from the rear. Even here, in dazzling Orange Blast paint, the SS looks more mainstream sedan than muscular superstar.
Outdated interior. You get a lot of stuff for the sub-$50,000 price of this car – a full infotainment suite, heated and cooled seats, dual-zone/automatic climate control, really everything you could ask for. But it’s all housed in an interior that feels as old as it is. This cabin was nice a few years ago when the SS launched, but Chevy’s really stepped up its interior game, and that simply isn’t reflected here. Everything on the dash looks and feels good, and the seats are comfortable, but there’s a lot of hard plastic in this interior, mixed with generally old-looking graphics and displays.
Photos: Steven Ewing / Motor1.com