Chevrolet's current bad-boy sedan, the SS remains one of the few full-size muscle cars on the market. While big American cruisers with powerful V8s and eye-opening acceleration times have a long history, the SS handles and stops like a genuine high-performance car. That apparent contradiction, compared to muscle cars of the past, has doubtless been the primary ingredient of its appeal. Built in Australia by GM subsidiary Holden, the SS is based upon the Australian-market Commodore sedan.
What's New for 2017
This is the final season for Chevrolet’s last big muscle sedan, which debuted as a 2014 model. It’s also the finale for all Holden production in Australia, where the SS has been built. Apart from some changes in available body colors, little is different for the 2017 model year.
Choosing Your Chevrolet SS
At the heart of the rear-drive SS is a Corvette-sourced 6.2-liter V8 that scares up 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. A performance-tuned six-speed automatic transmission comes standard, but you can order a six-speed manual at no additional cost. The SS has been the only full-size American car in decades sold with a manual transmission. It's also one of the fastest, capable of hauling from zero to 60 mph in a mere 4.7 seconds.
The sophisticated Magnetic Ride Control system enhances both ride and handling, and is shared with costlier GM products, including the Corvette and Cadillac Escalade. Naturally, GM engineers tuned the suspension for aggressive performance, but the SS still manages to provide a rather serene cruising experience. Brembo-branded brakes, hidden behind 19-inch, forged-aluminum wheels and grippy performance tires, stop the SS, while the V8 sings through a standard dual-mode exhaust.
The SS comes in a single, impressively equipped trim level, including standard leather upholstery with imitation suede trim, heated and ventilated front seats with driver’s memory, a nine-speaker Bose sound system with satellite radio, navigation, and remote start. Safety technology is present in quite a big way, with a standard head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, frontal collision alert, and a rearview camera. You even get an automated parallel parking system. The exterior is finished off with xenon headlights, heated power mirrors, foglamps, and rain-sensing wipers.
All of this leaves room for just two factory options: a sunroof and a full-size mounted spare tire. Chevrolet prices the SS at $47,620 (destination charge included), plus a $1,300 gas guzzler tax.
The SS sedan is an exclusive car, made all the more so by the availability of a manual transmission. Since the manual provides slightly better fuel economy and performance (and is more fun), we recommend it without reservation. Despite recalling rear-drive V8 muscle cars of the relatively distant past, Chevrolet’s SS is a fully modern automobile, which accounts for its handling and braking capabilities. Naturally, the big, powerful V8 provides the kind of performance potential that enthusiasts crave.