New Car Review

2015 Chevrolet SS: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2015

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, most full-size sedans employed rear-wheel drive and a healthy dose of V8 power. Starting in the 1990s, automakers started to focus on smaller packaging, fuel economy and platform sharing, and V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive cars largely left the mainstream.

The 2015 Chevrolet SS has now revived rear-wheel drive and V8 power in a big way. The full-size sedan, which was first released last year, combines old tradition with amenities that include the latest safety features, high-end luxury options and modern styling. It also offers a technologically advanced 6.2-liter V8 engine with big power and makes a muscular 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque.

Unfortunately, sales haven't quite been brisk, especially considering that Chevrolet also offers the comfortable, similarly sized Impala, which boasts better gas mileage and more affordable pricing. But enthusiasts sure are happy to see the SS return to Chevrolet's lineup, and so is anyone with a hankering for full-size sedans the way they used to be.

What's New for 2015?

The Chevrolet SS gains two new features for 2015: an available manual transmission and optional Magnetic Ride Control suspension for a smoother ride and better handling.

What We Like

Excellent power; surprisingly taut handling; upscale creature comforts and convenience features; new magnetic suspension

What We Don't

No entry-level base model for drivers who just want the performance; interior quality could be improved

How Much?

$46,700

Fuel Economy

The rear-wheel-drive Chevrolet SS offers just one engine: a 6.2-liter V8 that is good for 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque. Two transmissions are offered: a 6-speed automatic with fuel economy ratings of 14 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway and a new 6-speed manual, which boasts up to 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The SS is offered in just one trim level. Priced from $46,700, it includes leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a navigation system, automatic wipers, heated and cooled front seats, dual power front seats, keyless entry with push-button starting, automatic parallel parking, a remote starter, 19-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, a rearview camera, an 8-in center-mounted touchscreen with standard MyLink infotainment, a blind spot monitoring system and rear cross-traffic alert. For 2015, the SS also gains GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control as standard equipment.

The SS only offers three options: a sunroof ($900), a full-size spare tire ($500) and a 6-speed manual transmission, which is offered at no cost.

Safety

The 2015 Chevrolet SS comes standard with front- and rear-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, knee airbags, stability control and traction control. It also comes with a wide range of technologically advanced safety features such as a rearview camera, front-collision warning, rear cross-traffic alert, a blind spot monitoring system and an automatic parallel-parking system.

Due to its low production volume, the SS has not yet been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

Get behind the wheel, and the SS quickly impresses. This isn't because of its interior materials -- they're just OK -- but rather because it's able to combine quick acceleration with agile handling and makes you feel like you're in a much smaller car. The SS weighs a whopping 4,000 pounds, but thanks to fine-tuned suspension and a brute-force engine, the SS certainly doesn't feel like the large sedan that it is.

But the SS is indeed a large sedan, and that's good news when it comes to transporting passengers. The rear seats are roomy, and there's ample headroom and hip room both in front and back. If you think of the SS as a more practical, more upscale 4-door Camaro, you wouldn't be too far off.

Speaking of "more upscale," we must admit the SS surprises us with its level of standard equipment. Sedans from mainstream brands such as Chevrolet don't usually include a parallel-parking system as standard equipment -- nor do they typically offer navigation, cooled seats, Magnetic Ride Control or 19-in alloy wheels at no charge. We appreciate all the features, and we feel spoiled when we use them, but we wonder if eliminating them could have lowered the price of the SS. After all, $47,000 is a little expensive for a Chevrolet -- no matter how well-equipped it is.

Other Cars to Consider

2015 Dodge Charger -- The 4-door, 5-seat Dodge Charger is one of the few other large sedans to continue the rear-wheel-drive tradition. To compete with the SS, we suggest the high-performance SRT model. It's more powerful but nowhere near as refined.

2015 Ford Taurus SHO -- If you're not dead set on rear-wheel drive, consider the all-wheel-drive Taurus SHO, which boasts 385 hp and a turbocharged V6. The Taurus doesn't handle as well as the SS, and it's not as well-equipped, but it boasts a lot of power and much better gas mileage.

Used Cadillac CTS-V -- If you're thinking that the SS doesn't quite offer enough power for you, consider a used version of Cadillac's high-performance CTS-V. Available as a sedan, coupe or wagon, the V boasts 556 hp, and it offers Magnetic Ride Control and a wide range of high-end features.

Used Chrysler 300 SRT8 -- The SRT8 model has left the Chrysler 300 lineup, but that doesn't mean it's gone for good. After all, you can still buy used versions of the 470-hp monster luxury sedan, and you can probably even find some recent examples for less than the SS's $46,700 base price.

Autotrader's Advice

There's something about a rear-drive, V8-powered, full-size American sedan that still has some appeal after all these years. We'd be very happy with an SS, and we'd make sure ours had the power sunroof and full-size spare.

Find a Chevrolet SS for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Chevrolet SS: New Car Review - Autotrader