The Chevy SS: The new sedan with Corvette soul


June 7, 2013

The Chevy SS is the first rear-wheel drive performance sedan from Chevy in nearly two decades

The Chevy SS is the first rear-wheel drive performance sedan from Chevy in nearly two decades

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It has the Corvette and it has the Camaro, but since slicing Pontiac back in 2010, GM has lacked a non-premium rear-drive performance sedan in that same vein. The 2009 Pontiac G8, particularly the LS3 V8-powered GXP version, was the last car to fill that niche. The all-new Chevy SS puts the rear-drive performance sedan back in General Motors.

When you're so broke that you need to cut brands and beg the government for money, you don't have resources to invest in limited appeal products like a four-door muscle car. Arguably, you don't have that money a couple of years later, either, but in the case of the new SS, GM didn't really have to invest all that much. The car uses GM's global rear-wheel architecture from the Camaro and Holden VF Commodore and the LS3 engine is hoisted out of current cars like the C6 Corvette.

Chevy is quite aware that the SS will appeal to a very limited demographic. Despite being its first rear-wheel drive performance sedan in 17 years, it introduced it at the Daytona International Speedway in February, rather than using an international auto show like Detroit or New York. Instead of trying to make the car appeal to fringe buyers with upgrades and customization options, it's offering the car in one trim level with a full-size spare tire and power sunroof as its two options.

Yep, this car is aimed very narrowly and directly at those that want muscle car power and performance but don't want to be limited to two doors. And with only a US$44,470 415-hp 6.2-liter V8 configuration, Chevy's not messing around with lesser competitors, going directly after other performance sedan flagships like the 470-hp Dodge Charger SRT8, one of the only other cars that belongs in the same conversation.

The LS3 engine works in concert with a six-speed automatic transmission with TAPshift paddles on the steering wheel. The SS has a sport-tuned suspension system with MacPherson strut front and multi-link independent rear set-ups, electronic power steering, four-wheel disc brakes with Brembo fronts, and 19-inch alloy wheels rolled up in Bridgestone ultra-high-performance tires. That package, along with a 50/50 weight distribution and low center of gravity, is sure to open the door for driver-centric performance available on few other available sedans, including a 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) time of five seconds.

Design-wise, the SS really doesn't exude muscle and speed the way the Charger does, and it looks pretty out of its league when parked next to the Camaro and Corvette. At the very least, it could use a set of hood vents like the G8 had. Chevy explains that cues like the pushed-to-the-corner wheels, hood bulge, bright dual exhaust tips and wedge-shaped flank created by the character line give the car a strong, athletic appearance. Meanwhile, the tapered rear enhances aerodynamics.

While it harkens back to the days of fast-but-simple muscle sedans, it includes some of the latest technologies, such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. Technology extends behind the windshield with an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Chevy MyLink, 220-watt Bose audio system with SiriusXM, color head-up display, keyless access and push-button start. It's also OnStar equipped and comes standard with six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service.

The $44,470 base price that Chevy announced this week includes a $995 destination charge. The full-size spare tire adds $500 to that price and the power sunroof adds $900. The car will hit dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year, where it will be joined by the new 2014 Corvette Stingray and new Camaro Z/28.

Source: General Motors

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

I'm so glad that GMC is back to the strategy that caused them to need a government bail out... I mean really? Really GMC?

Jon Smith

I don't understand. All of Chevy's new cars look amazing and fresh, why does this one look as if it WAS designed two decades ago (excluding the interior, thats nice).

The new Impala looks more aggressive than this ugly thing.

Richard Auchus

What am amazingly boring looking car, right up there with that "GTO" Pontiac pinched not too long ago.

Suspicious Chihuahua

That's one crappy looking car. fire those.. need new designers...

Jonathan Kim

It looks boring because it's a hotted-up family car! Everything is essentially a LHD Holden VF Commodore.


Not everyone who drives sports cars wants to be noticed but I agree the market for anonymous sports cars is pretty small.

I actually test drove the 415 HP G8 but didn't really like the feel of it. It accelerated but it felt a little heavy at 4000 lbs. It didn't have a manual transmission (neither does the SS) and I just felt too disconnected from the road to be comfortable in corners at speed but I couldn't put my finger on why. The G6 GXP is kind of the same way with the squishy/disconnected steering but it is FWD and it torque steers a lot for ~260 HP. It has this oversized steering wheel and it just feels comical trying keep it in a straight line under acceleration.

Hopefully chevy does a better job with it than Pontiac but with only an automatic transmission and statements like "helps isolate the cabin from road inputs" and "electronic power steering" on their website I'm not going to hold my breath that the power is intended for more than marketing. It makes the power more of a bragging right than a home run sleeper car which seems kind of misguided given its anonymous appearance.

I should probably wait for the reviews though before I judge it too harshly.


They need to make thousands of economy sedans that are externally identical to it.


The car does not look as aggressive as other American Muscle cars because it was never designed to look like a children's toy with big, obvious, stupid looking, non functional bulges and vents dating back to the 1970's era of muscle car styling.

Instead it is designed to be more subtle and understated like European rivals at a much smaller cost to the buyer for similar performance.

Instead of being armchair critics/experts - get out and drive the car, it will handle better than most American muscle cars, it's not just for straight line performance!


It only looks like a 20 year old design because it is. This is a rebadged lumina ss which has been on sale in Saudi Arabia for years. They made 400HP stock.

Michael Wilson

"The all-new Chevy SS puts the rear-drive performance sedan back in General Motors"

Huh? it just a Aussie SS commodore... why cant America just keep the name instead of changing it, I mean we are about to import Mustangs as part of the line up here... we still call it a Ford Mustang not a boob jepashki. America .. go back to the old days when your cars had real style that the world looked up too!

Paul Harris

This is just a plain car with a V8 engine in it. Look up the Gen-F HSV GTS Here is a quote from their website "The GTS features a 6.2litre Supercharged LSA engine which provides a staggering 430kW of power and 740Nm of torque." This is a proper muscle car. Not sure if it will stay here, in Australia, or if it will be sold in the USA

Nic Kirby

So Gm should make cars that look boring as crap Oztechi? Wow it does not need to be in your face styling but not this boring old looking.

Terrance Cox

This is just a badge engineered Holden Commodore built in Australia, isn't it? Most Chevy muscle cars and utilities in the past few years have been built Down Under

Randall Berger

The only GOOD news: .... They didn't give it one of those ugly crapazoid front grill designs. But then again, maybe that's only because their design group is so far behind the curve.


Might be an idea to compare it to say a 540 BMW or a Benz of comparable power or price tag, the comparison to a Chrysler product don't really do much for a lot of people..


OK... So that HSV (Holden Special Vehicles) GTS is $45,000 in the USA - but in the country that makes them (with near dollar parity) is around $95,000.

The USA can have them as it seems that, yet again, the country that makes a car is subsidising the USA for theirs. Same goes for the luxury Euros as well.

NO Holden (unless an old one with a documented race history with a good driver) is worth that much.

Matthew Giles
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