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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2015 Chevrolet SS

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      The Last Australian Hero

    A lot of automotive writers have a list of vehicles that we wished more people would consider purchasing. For example, my list of vehicles I wished more people would consider includes the Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS, and Mazda6. Let me add another one to this list, the Chevrolet SS. This car on paper has a number of items that should bring in people such as potent V8 engine, a choice of automatic and manual transmissions, long list of standard features, and a price tag under the $50,000 mark. But this isn’t happening. Sales figures for SS came to 2,479 vehicles in 2014. This year isn’t any better with 2,199 vehicles sold through August. Now, we should note that GM was only planning on selling a couple thousand a year - something the company is achieving. But we think the Chevrolet SS is worthy of more and deserves some time in the spotlight. Let us explain.

     

    Unfortunately, we must begin with a negative to the Chevrolet SS and that happens to be the exterior. The SS happens to be the Holden Commodore from Australia. With the model coming to the U.S., GM made a number of small changes such swapping out the Holden emblems for Chevrolet ones, putting the SS name to the trunk lid, and adding a set of nineteen-inch alloy wheels. However for a model that has the performance credentials like the SS, we were expecting a bit more in terms of design. Maybe some hood vents, flared out fenders, or more aggressive bumpers to make it stand out. Now the understated look does give the SS an understated look to put under the radar of many folks. But maybe it is a bit too understated. The first day I had the SS, my dad said it looked like a Malibu. Ouch.

     


    2015 Chevrolet SS 10


    At least the Chevrolet SS begins to improve when you go inside. This has to be one of GM’s best efforts in terms of interiors outside of Buick and Cadillac. The interior is trimmed with suede with contrasting stitching, soft-touch plastics, and faux aluminum trim. The seats come wrapped in leather with suede inserts. The front seats provide excellent support and hold you whenever you decide it's time to play around. A set of power adjustments and heat and ventilation make the front seats the place you want to be in the SS. For the back seat, passengers will find more than enough head and legroom.

     

    Chevrolet has fitted the last-generation version of the MyLink system to the SS. While that means you don’t get a fancier interface to use, it does mean you’ll be avoiding a number of problems that currently plagues the current version. The interface is simple looking and easy to understand. Moving to the various functions of the system only takes a few moments. One other bit of technology that Chevrolet has fitted to the SS is a heads-up display. This display provides key information such as speed, navigation, what’s playing, and much more on the windshield. This helps reduce the time you take eyes off the road.

     

    In terms of power, the SS comes packing with a 6.2L V8 with 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. Previously, you could only get a six-speed automatic with the SS. But for the 2015 model year, Chevrolet has added a no-cost six-speed manual as an option.

     

    The first time you start up the 6.2 V8 in the SS, it sounds like a monster being rudely awaken. The engine boasts a pronounced growl at idle. When you put the vehicle into gear and get moving, the V8 begins to purr and produce a distinctive burble that increases in tempo and volume the higher you climb in the rev range. In terms of outright performance, the SS has oodles of power at its disposal. Whether you are leaving a stop light, merging onto a freeway, or accelerating out of a turn, the V8 has power throughout to get you moving.

     


    2015 Chevrolet SS 7


    Our test SS had the six-speed manual and it is unlike any manual transmission that I have driven so have so far. The shifter requires a firm hand and some force to have it go into gear. The clutch is also slightly tricky since there is a small window between moving and stalling. Once you understand these traits, the manual transmission becomes quite fun to play with. Now there is one issue with the manual transmission and that is the skip-shift system. This locks out second and third gears to improve fuel economy. This system proved to be more of an annoyance than help as we found ourselves confused as to why we couldn’t go into second after leaving a stop, before realizing the skip-shift system had kicked in. Also, the engine would bog down when we shifted into fourth. This meant we found ourselves shifting into third to give the engine some breathing room.

     

    In terms of fuel economy, the SS equipped with the manual is rated by the EPA at 15 City/21 Highway/17 Combined. Our average for the week was around 16.2 MPG.

     

    If you were worried about the size of the SS being a detriment in overall driving experience, you can breathe a sigh of relief as the SS is a fantastic handler. A lot of this comes down to GM fitting the magnetic ride control system on the SS for the 2015 model year. This system uses special shocks filled with magnetic fluid that instantly change the firmness in milliseconds. This allows the SS to hunker down and show no sign of body roll when you are playing around in the corners and also provides a smooth ride when you’re doing some errands. You can adjust how firm or soft the suspension is via a knob in the center console. The steering has a lot of feel that will inspire a fair amount of confidence for a driver. We just wished there was a little bit more weight to go with it.

     

    It’s a shame the Chevrolet SS isn’t getting the time in the spotlight that it fully deserves. Now some of this has to put at GM since there hasn’t been any marketing for the vehicle. Do you remember the last time you saw an ad for the SS? We going to assume the answer has been never. But some of this must be leveled at the SS’ design. It just blends in with every other car. But the overall package and performance does combat most of the design issues for the SS. This is a car that you kind of have to take a chance on. But if you decide to do it, the SS will reward you greatly.

     

    Disclaimer: Chevrolet Provided the SS, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Chevrolet
    Model: SS
    Trim: N/A
    Engine: 6.2L V8 W/SFI
    Driveline: Six-Speed Manual Transmission, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 415 @ 5,900
    Torque @ RPM: 415 @ 4600
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 15/21/17
    Curb Weight: 3,960 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Elizabeth, Australia
    Base Price: $45,745
    As Tested Price: $46,740 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

     

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    Sweet Review and you hit is head on, I wish for a bit more dynamic in the body, hood, etc. This is an SS after all. It should have forced ram air in the hood and some other tweaks to say do not mess with me.

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    Is that red SS in the pics the same one you drove?  Did you get it from Chevrolet?  It might be the same car that made the auto show circuit this past year?  Are they going to sell it? 'Cause I WANT it!

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    Sweet Review and you hit is head on, I wish for a bit more dynamic in the body, hood, etc. This is an SS after all. It should have forced ram air in the hood and some other tweaks to say do not mess with me.

     

    The 2016 refresh gives the SS a more aggressive front clip and functional hood vents.

     

    2016-chevrolet-ss-013-1.jpg

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    Is that red SS in the pics the same one you drove?  Did you get it from Chevrolet?  It might be the same car that made the auto show circuit this past year?  Are they going to sell it? 'Cause I WANT it!

    Let me the answer the first two questions: Yes and Yes

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    Sweet Review and you hit is head on, I wish for a bit more dynamic in the body, hood, etc. This is an SS after all. It should have forced ram air in the hood and some other tweaks to say do not mess with me.

     

    The 2016 refresh gives the SS a more aggressive front clip and functional hood vents.

     

    2016-chevrolet-ss-013-1.jpg

     

    This still looks very placid, this is not what an SS should look like. It is a nice sedan for true, but an SS should have a more aggressive look.

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