He Said: John Miller The Car Counselor Show
The best American car I have driven in years comes from Australia. The all new 2014 Chevy SS is built on the Commodore platform from Holden Motor Company. When mated with the 6.2 liter (378 cubic inch) Corvette power plant and connected to rear wheel drive it is an amazing combination of power, styling, comfort and performance.
As the only member of our little radio crew who is old enough to have been driving when the original full size Impala SS came out in 1967, I can’t resist making the comparison of the two muscle cars. While the 67 through 69 SS was a powerhouse of 385 to 425 horses it would be no match for the new SS. The original SS was a brute without manners compared to our test car.
Raw horsepower is only the start; the total package is what makes this car such a winner. The body is tight, almost rigid, allowing for a suspension that ties the car to the road under all conditions. The handling is tremendous for any car in its price range and unbelievable for a family sedan.
First impression is that the SS is a nice looking sedan that is smoothly aerodynamic and modernly stylish. This impression is quickly upgraded when you sit in the car. The leather seating is accented with imitation suede and bold stitching. The cabin is spacious, the dash is arranged to focus on the driver, the 8 inch information screen is crisp and all of the controls are clear and easy to reach. Then you start the car!
The tuned exhaust plays a note of excitement to an enthusiast. Without being loud it stirs the blood and makes you need to hear more. The 6 speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters couples the 415 horsepower to a 3.27 ratio limited slip differential. High performance Bridgestone tires glue the car to the ground.
The base model comes fully equipped with Stabili-Trac, ABS, lots of air bags, lanes departure sensors, back up camera with cross traffic warning, collision warning, keyless entry and start, My-Link infotainment, dual zone climate control, heated and cooled seats and On Star. The full size sedan can seat five and has a huge trunk.
Of course this is a performance car and as a driver you are not disappointed with the 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds and Brembo high performance brakes that will stop the car from 60 in the same time. The acceleration is surprisingly good from any speed and from a highway cruise to triple digits is impressive.
Of course every car has it shortfall. The interior lighting fades up failing to instantly illuminate the interior. That bothered me for some reason. While for the most part I found the My-Link system adequate, I didn’t find it very intuitive and never did find the option to turn on the back up camera grids. Without an overlaying grid system the backup camera loses some of its safety function.
This car is one of the best efforts from GM in more than a decade. It is the first full size rear wheel drive V8 in more than 18 years, and the first car truly deserving of the SS label since the late 60’s.
She Said: That Car Lady, Lynn Beckwith
The throaty exhaust, tight handling and remarkable acceleration of the 2014 Chevrolet SS Sedan had me feeling like I had returned to bygone years when American Muscle cars ruled the streets. Over and over again, I found myself glancing at the driver next to me and thinking, “You over there, yeah… you in the Kia…wanna go for it?”
Despite its Aussie origin, the SS screams American muscle car. With a powerful 415 horsepower V8 in front of the pedal, I was constantly reminding myself to behave and wondered if there would still be a driver’s license in my pocket at the end of the week. It’s the kind of car that makes every stop light look like a racing tree. Pulling up next to a Camaro on the freeway I noticed the same look on the driver’s face that I had been experiencing all week – “Yes indeed, I am a teenager again.”
“This is a sports car – not a luxury sedan. Your Mom’s Buick is smoother.” my 83 year old father was quick to point out from the spacious back seat as we drove to dinner. The SS is definitely a sports car despite its four doors and plush interior. It was understandable that the tight suspension was not as smooth as Dad’s Buick Lucerne. It then seemed like a good time to punch the pedal (I rather like doing that anyway) in hopes that my parents would see the vehicle for what it is under the hood. Rose, my 85 years young Mom, seated in the passenger seat started grinning and didn’t stop. I thought her cheeks were going to break. In hindsight I should have taken Mom when we turned off the traction control and track tested the SS at 106.6mph in the quarter mile in just over 13 seconds. Thanks to Hennessey Performance and Lonestar Motorsports Park in Sealy for their hospitality.
From Caprice to Cobalts the Super Sport badge has always adorned cars with a little extra “umph”. This SS began its life as the Holden Commodore SS and is not the first time that Chevrolet has tried to bring Australian models into the US (others include the Pontiac GTO and the G8 Sedan). With rumors of the Australian plant closing – this is one driver who hopes they shift to a new US based plant and continue production. The 2014 represents the first Chevrolet rear wheel drive, v8 engine, full size sedan in 17 years. The last one was the 1996 Impalla SS.
As far as the interior is concerned, details such as micro-fiber suede door panel inserts, leather dash trim and thickly cushioned seats give it a luxurious feel. Spacious bucket style front seats have just enough bolstering to keep you in place around corners, but allow you to move in comfort during normal driving. Suede details accent the seats and bold red stitching gives the SS the look of a very comfortable race car.
This throwback to American muscle cars survived its travel through time and arrived with modern features appointed with excellent connectivity, heads up display, assisted parallel parking, remote start, smart key access, 8-inch touchscreen display for navigation, reverse camera, audio and other functions; plus dual climate control and Satellite radio.
An amazingly large back seat and pass through tunnel that extends the already ample trunk through the back seat and over the front console completes the SS’s spacious interior. Large doors made access easy, even for my parents, and the pass through allowed me to bring home a new rug without calling for pickup truck back up.
Wishing that the SS had the newest Corvette engine? – well, spend the extra $25,000 and buy the Vette. The LS3 V8 met the power model that GM targeted with 415 horsepower as well as 415 pound feet of torque and still keeps the price tag under $46,000 even with the $1300 gas guzzler tax. Unlike many new vehicles with add on luxury and sports packages that keep Maroni tags bouncing higher by more than $10,000, the Chevy SS comes the way it’s supposed to.
With Chevrolet’s concrete purpose being to deliver a performance feel while presenting a vehicle that will haul your work associates to lunch, the 2014 Chevrolet SS met the challenge. It comes in at 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway so you can afford to take a road trip in this car without over flexing your credit card. It helps if you can force yourself to drive calmly, good luck!
The list of don’t likes is short. The blinkers are unnecessarily loud and there is excessive chrome on the interior. Chevrolet has due cause to be proud of this throwback to American muscle, but “come on guys,” put the “SS” back on the grille and lose the bowtie.
“It’s the kind of car that makes every stop light look like a racing tree.” – Lynn Beckwith, That Car Lady
“The best American car I have driven in years comes from Australia. The all new 2014 Chevy SS is built on the Commodore platform from Holden Motor Company.” – John Miller, The Car Counselor
2014 CHEVROLET SS SPECS
• 6.2L (LS3) engine with 415 horsepower
• 8-inch diagonal color touch-screen with Chevrolet
• MyLink(3) Radio
• Bluetooth® Wireless† audio streaming
• Voice-activated technology
• Siri Eyes Free(8)
• CD/MP3 player
• Auxiliary audio input jack and USB port†
• SiriusXM Satellite Radio† with 12-month subscription
• Steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls
• OnStar Directions & Connections® Plan† standard for six months
• Premium leather-appointed seating
• 10-way power-adjustable driver and front passenger seats
• HID headlamps with LED daytime running lamps
• Zeta Unibody platform (Camaro too)