CHEVY'S SS BLENDS IN WITH JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER FAMILY SEDAN OUT THERE...BUT WAIT THERES MORE
BIG BREMBO BRAKES IN THE FRONT MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN HARNESS ALL THAT SPEED
ALUMINUM HOOD AND DECK LID SAVES 70% WEIGHT
You drive a lot of cars when you do what I do...over 100 a year easy and to be honest the differences between the cars in a class are well, not a lot. Ride, options, even price. It is hard sometimes to say one is so much better than the others in most segments. This weeks Drivetime Road Test car, Chevy's SS performance sedan blows that concept out of the water.
I love a great performance car and the SS is a great performance car. I also get an extra kick, growing up a "Chevy Guy" when it wears a bow tie on the grille. Sure, I know it really is a Holden Commodore dressed up for American success but hey it's a crazy new automotive world isn't it?
The first gaze at the SS does not produce a lot of testosterone gurgling in the blood stream. It is non-descript. No racing stripes here. Lower to the ground, a spoiler on the trunk and 19 inch aluminum wheels with Brembo 4 piston calipers peeking out from the front wheels about the only prequel to what is about to take place.
Visually It is a quite attractive car with muscular wheel wells and a softly curved roof. It has attractive lines that don't stick out from the crowd and thats really the beauty of the SS. The guy at a valet parking I go to wrote Impala on the ticket...until he drove it. Weight reduction is achieved in part by using an aluminum hood and rear deck lid that are 30% lighter than steel panels.
Inside the cabin is well thought out, spacious, functional and comfortable. The large screen with the standard my link system doesn't take away from the interior design. Materials are top flight and the bolstered heated and ventilated racing seats may be the most comfortable ever in a Chevy. Paddle shifters, a 180 mph speedometer and the red SS on the dashboard and seats the only clues that there is something spectacular going on here. Chevy also smartly gives you a heads up display that includes a G Meter, the less time with eyes off of the road in this baby the better.
Start the SS up and the sound of the corvette LS 6.4 liter engine is unmistakeable. Like music to a hotrodders ears the motor gurgles out of the dual exhausts. Not a deafening sound by any means but one of power. Slap it into gear and stomp the gas and you get glad that those soft headrests are included as the SS pins you back in the seat. 0 to 60 comes pretty quick and 60 to 80 even quicker. The 6 speed transmission could have delivered a sharper shifting sequence in sport mode but it was still more than adequate.The SS just sweats top end power feeling like it is ready not just for street duty but itching to get on the track as well.
Stopping is accomplished with 4 piston Brembo's in the front making the SS feel confident in bringing you back from any speed. Where the SS is going to make its bones though as a passenger car is in its handling and this is again where the exceeds expectations. There is no adjustment here...the suspension is tuned for performance at the factory and they have a bunch of virtuosos working in the shocks and struts department. The 19 inch wheels and summer Michelin tires grip the road and give you good road feel while the SS absorbs the asphalt imperfections. You get jarred at times but following a rally course I did just two days prior in my Corvette, the SS never wavered in the curves. The electric power steering is well tuned and feels quite natural. This car gives you the best of both worlds...a phenomenal straight line performer and a spectacular dancer through the curves.
Not a lot of options available for the SS from the factory. The SS is also the first Chevy to come with Automatic Parking Assist that gives you hands free parking help although I suspect if you are laying out the scratch for this ride you know pretty well how to park a car.The sticker price on the model I tested $45,770. If you get the advertised EPA figures of 14 city and 21 highway you ought to get a prize. The safety features are numerous and include a center air bag, forward collision alert, blind spot warning, and Chevys first auto park system.
This is an incredible car. Forget that it is made in Australia. It is a perfect marriage of an era gone by. Chevys first rear wheel drive performance sedan since 1996 brings back the tradition of the 409 Impala SS, the Super Duty Pontiacs and other full size asphalt burners with one big difference. This one stops and handles like a major league sports sedan. Chevy isn't going to bring a lot of these into the US and Canada so if you want one expect to pay a premium for it but if you do get one you will have a world class performance car. The Little Old Lady from Pasadena would be darn proud of you!