Attention, performance aficionados, super Dads and especially collectors: this is it.
The 2017 Chevrolet SS rear-wheel-drive, V-8 performance sedan is in its final year. The performance sedan that was nearly invisible on the streets is in its final lap.
Chevrolet based the SS on the Australian Holden VF Commodore SS sedan. Now that GM has ceased production of all vehicles in Australia, the limited-production SS sedan (around 4,000 in current form) will cease to exist.
The beast in my test car consisted of an LS3 V-8 with 415 pound-feet of torque backed by a six-speed automatic — a six-speed Tremec manual is a no-cost option. The SS is a firmly sprung, rear-wheel drive sedan with sticky tires and performance exhaust. Sounds like a great package, especially when you throw in front/rear tire stagger, a low nose profile and subtle rear spoiler. However, a new SS looks like a dead ringer for the last-generation Chevrolet Malibu (ho-hum). Thankfully, this car is about the drive and pulse-raising performance and not flashy paint and body creases.
A performance “driver’s car,” the SS was designed to run with a pricier herd, as I discovered on nice road trip to Indy. Performance stats include a sub-five-second 0–60 mph time. Short and straight braking is courtesy of standard Brembos (front and rear); electric assist steering has a nicely weighted balance with decent road feel. The performance (stiff) ride is courtesy of a true multi-link independent suspension and may not be to everyone’s liking. A big handling aid is the nearly 50/50 weight distribution, as the car was just glued to the pavement during aggressive cornering. The SS can carve up a corner nicely or kick out the rear if you disable traction control. The SS is set up aggressively, and it answers the Dodge Charger R/T’s Hemi power with a lithe handling experience. The SS borrows its magnetic ride control from the Camaro and Corvette. My test car came with attractive 19-inch aluminum wheels with Z-rated P245/40ZR19 (front) and P275/35ZR19 (rear) staggered rubber.
The V-8 is gutsy and well-seasoned after duty in the previous-generation Corvette. Engage the clutch, work the throttle and “bang” — hang on for some spirited acceleration as you hammer through the gears. With the automatic, you get saddled with the $1,300 gas-guzzler penalty. Additionally, the automatic comes with a lower 3.27:1 final drive versus the manual’s 3.70:1 ratio.
On the inside, you have to be the right “fit” for the narrow, bolstered, leather sport seats. The SS is bigger on the inside than it looks, with enough room for teens and average-sized adults. During my travels, I appreciated the cockpit-styled cabin, the placement of the controls/switch gear and the premium look/feel. I also appreciated the quiet interior.
The SS comes well equipped, including automatic parking assist (helps you find a spot), leather, dual-HID headlights, zoned automatic climate control, heated/cooled front seats, remote start, a nice head-up display, powerful/crisp Bose stereo and Chevrolet MyLink with an 8-inch color touch screen.
The 2017 Chevrolet SS is a nice performance sedan alternative to a CTS-V, Dodge Charger SRT or Ford Taurus SHO; however, you’re going to have to act fast to find one.