by John Tallodi
The Chevrolet SS is a full-size performance sedan that offers the increasingly rare fast car formula of a big, uncomplicated V8 coupled to a manual transmission driving the rear wheels. In its final year of production, this outwardly unassuming big sedan continues unchanged from the mild updates it received in 2016.
The SS offers a lot for the money in many areas but the interior is not one of them, the quality of the materials used and general fit and finish is not quite up to modern standards. The buttons, infotainment system and dashboard styling also give away the SS’ age. There are a number of modern technological touches but they can’t hide the fact that the SS is an older design.
On the plus side, the large seats are supportive and comfortable for longer trips while the SS’ generous dimensions mean that even taller passengers will have ample room whether seated in the front or in the rear. Cargo space is decent too although there is no option for the rear seats to fold down which makes loading bulkier items a frustrating experience.
This is where the SS comes into its own, equipped with standard adaptive suspension, 4-piston Brembo brakes and a limited-slip differential the big car hustles around corners and over challenging terrain with an unexpected deftness.
The steering and brakes are also excellent and the selectable driving modes allow for the car to be both boulevard cruiser and competent handler in one package. The overall refinement inside the cabin is commendable and the SS is a quiet and refined highway companion.
The big 6.2-liter V8 is the only engine option available in the SS, producing 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque it sends everything to the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
A limited-slip differential attempts to put all the power down without turning the tires into smoke and helps hustle the big car to 60 mph in 4.7-seconds. While the exhaust note could be a bit more vocal the big V8 provides effortless acceleration across the rev-range.
There are faster cars out there but the SS delivers its performance in a characterful way that is missing from some of the more modern turbocharged offerings. What is also missing from newer performance sedans is the SS’ thirst, it achieves 14 mpg in city driving improving to 22mpg on the highway.
The Chevrolet SS is available in one trim level which covers most of the bases. Standard performance equipment includes magnetic selective ride control, 19-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, 6-speed automatic transmission with TAPshift, limited-slip differential and a 3-mode driving system.
Technology offerings include an 8-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity, voice control, 9-speaker Bose audio and navigation.
Safety systems are comprehensive with forward collision alert, lane departure warning, side blind zone alert, rear vision camera, automatic parking assist and brake assist all standard fitment.
Luxury levels are high too with standard leather interior, 10-way heated front seats, head-up display, steering audio controls, cruise control and remote vehicle start.
The only available options are a choice of 7 exterior colors a 6-speed manual transmission, power sunroof and a full size spare wheel. Available are hood and side decals as well as Appearance Packages which include minor exterior detail changes add a touch of exclusivity to the otherwise modestly styled SS.
The Chevrolet SS is a performance sedan for the old-school introvert who values a generously proportioned interior and involving handling over the latest infotainment systems. Fit and finish could be better and the infotainment system is outdated but the SS comes packed with standard equipment and offers an honest and engaging drive.