With the SS gone, we remember Chevy's performance cars.
Now that the SS sedan is dead and buried, the Camaro is the only SS model that Chevrolet currently sells. Short for Super Sport, the SS badge debuted in 1961 on the Chevy Impala, and once acted as a sport division for the brand akin to Ford's ST line. GM's history is littered with amazing SS models, but we wanted to focus on seven more recent models, all of which are now quite affordable to buy on the used market. The list spans many price points, and all offer fantastic used value for performance-minded enthusiasts on a budget.
The Chevy SS is the most recently departed car on this list, but enough time has past to make it a used bargain. When it was still being sold, we objected to the use of SS as the model name rather than a trim, thinking GM could have come up with something more interesting. Still, the name doesn't detract from it greatness. All cars came powered by a 6.2-liter V8 producing 415 horsepower going out to the rear wheels. The later manual transmission cars are more desirable and more expensive, but 2014 and 2015 automatic models can be found starting in the $25,000 to $30,000 range with well under 100,000 miles on the clock.
Long before Jeep decided to stuff a Hellcat engine in a Grand Cherokee and Lamborghini decided to build the world's first Super SUV, Chevy made the interesting decision to plop an SS badge on a Trailblazer. This was no styling package either - the Trailblazer SS was powered by a 6.0-liter V8 from a Corvette producing 390 hp. It also had stiffer suspension, an air leveling system, wider tires, and a tougher differential. The Trailblazer SS was available in both RWD and AWD, and both can be found for less than $10,000 with high mileage. A good one can still be found for less than $20,000.
The ninth generation Chevy Impala SS was one of the strangest SS cars GM ever sold. Like many of the cars on this list, it was sold with a V8 engine. However, it was an unusual 5.3-liter LS4 V8, sending power to the front wheels. GM sold this model from 2006 to 2009, and also offered the LS4 in the Pontiac Gran Prix GXP, Buick LaCrosse Super, and Monte Carlo SS. The Impala SS produced a rather healthy 303 hp, and can now be found in the bargain bin for around $5,000 to $15,000. It may look like a rental car, but this Impala will burn plenty of cars off the line.
Like the Impala on which it was based, the sixth generation Chevy Monte Carlo SS was sold with an LS4 V8 under the hood. Unfortunately, the only transmission choice was a four-speed automatic, so manual lovers need not apply. The Monte Carlo SS was sold for just two years, 2006 and 2007, and can now be found for less than $14,000 with surprisingly low mileage.
General Motors went a bit mad in the mid 2000s, something that was never more apparent than with the Chevy SSR. The SRR was GM's attempt to build a retro pickup truck that doubled up as a convertible sports car. Suffice to say, the idea didn't work out well and GM only sold around 24,000 units from 2003 to 2006. The base 5.3-liter V8 was simply too slow with a 0-60 mph time of around seven seconds. Luckily, GM decided to ditch the slow V8 and four-speed automatic and offer up a 6.0-liter LS2 V8 with an optional manual. This SSR was able to hit 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, and is now somewhat of a collector's item. The styling isn't for everyone, but even a slower automatic SSR can command over $20,000 today.
The last pair of cars on our list are unique because they aren't powered by a big, V8 engine. The Cobalt SS was first sold with a supercharged four-cylinder engine, then with a naturally aspirated unit, before GM finally decided on a turbocharged 2.0-liter LNF engine. In the Cobalt, this turbocharged engine produced 260 hp sent to the front wheels, making it one of the quickest FWD cars on the market when it was new. Buyers could choose from a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual as a coupe or sedan. Today, manual Cobalt SS models can be found starting at around $5,000 for a decent one.
GM's lunacy didn't stop with the SSR. Along with the Cobalt SS, Chevy also sold an SS version of the retro-styled HHR. Like the Cobalt, the HHR SS produced 260 hp from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which could be mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual. Buyers could even purchase a panel van version of the HHR in SS trim, which is an extremely rare combination. Even by modern standards, 260 hp in a FWD vehicle is nothing to scoff at.