It's far less tame than the exterior might suggest.

2014 Chevrolet SS

Australian rules, American sports.

By: Andrew Krok

Web2Carz Contributing Writer

Published: December 13th, 2013

For the longest time, the Dodge Charger SRT remained the single big-body, big-displacement sporty sedan with an American badge - the Ford Taurus SHO possesses neither a naturally-aspirated V-8 nor rear-wheel drive. Now, with a little help from our cousins down under, we've got a new contender.

And what a contender it is. Based off the VF-generation Holden Commodore, the all-new Chevrolet SS is a return to what makes America great - lots of noise and lots of power. Under the hood lies a 6.2-liter LS-series V-8 engine from a Corvette, which provides an equal amount of horsepower and torque (415) sent directly to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Of course, any old schlub can shove a V-8 into a sedan and call it finished. Thankfully, Holden and Chevy made sure no stone was left unturned, and so the United States has been given a big-body sedan that's capable of turning as well as going in a straight line.

Think of it as a Camaro for those that want a little extra subtlety. Instead of an aggressive sports-car shape with tiny slats of glass that are technically considered windows and windshields, the SS looks downright tame from certain angles, and the greenhouse provides more than enough visibility for watching all those smoky burnouts you know you'll be doing.

Chevrolet had a lot on the line when they announced their first new V-8 rear-drive sedan in nearly two decades. Much to everybody's delight, they've delivered an outstanding sports sedan that's closer to its German competitors than its American ones.

  • Interior

    If there's one place where Chevy has made leaps and bounds this year, it's the interior - starting with the Corvette Stingray and its noticeable lack of cheap, hard plastics. The SS continues that trend with a number of soft-touch surfaces and more suede than a pair of Prince's pants. In order to appeal to everybody, a number of the features behind Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment software can be accessed through redundant dashboard switchgear, good for those who find touchscreens a little difficult to navigate while in motion.

    In terms of comfort, there's plenty. The seats are comfortable, yet bolstered enough to keep your rear end in place when you want to move the Chevy's rear end around a bit. The steering wheel is a chunky, leather-wrapped one, adding to the performance aesthetic.

  • Exterior

    The exterior of the SS is surprisingly low-key. The Corvette and Camaro both contain a large number of sharp angles that give off an almost-European look, whereas the SS has an overabundance of smooth lines that speak to the more adult nature of the car. Some of the other journalists on the media drive wished for a little more anger in the sheet metal, but in our opinion, there needs to be an adult on the playground to keep the kids in line. It's smooth, but it isn't weak, and it looks leagues more sensible than the current iterations of the Impala and Malibu.

    The only real issue with the vehicle's exterior is the sole choice of wheel finish - highly polished. While it does hearken back to a day when all things shiny were displayed on vehicles with pride, the current trend incorporates darker colors with matte or satin finishes. A set of satin-black wheels would look great on the SS.

  • On the Road

    Unlike the Charger SRT, which drives more like a roofed bathtub due to its high beltline, the SS feels low and in tune with the road. The electric steering is only slightly vague (mostly with the wheel pointed straight), and under spirited driving conditions, it's precise enough to go exactly where you point it. Handling is out of this world for a full-size sports sedan; Chevy struck a great balance between a comfortable low-speed ride and high-speed tautness. It begs you to beat the hell out of it, and when you do, it rewards you. Even the automatic transmission likes to play along, banging out upshifts and downshifts quickly and without a lot of additional jostling.

    Chevrolet really knows its target audience, and that's no more evident than when you drive through a school zone. The navigation system makes sure to let you know that you're entering a school zone, presumably so you can stop speeding so damn much. We've never seen a car so invested in saving you from the long arm of the law. Although it might be tough to listen to the SS's suggestions, as the exhaust note is just aggressive enough to encourage playing with the throttle at every available moment.

  • Final Thoughts

    To summarize, Chevrolet has taken a sedan that handles with grace, shoved a massive V-8 under the hood, and didn't manage to muck a single thing up in the process - well, minus the shiny wheels, but that doesn't really count. This is a great successor to the rear-drive Impala SS, a true sports sedan that somehow manages to exude both professional demeanor and childlike glee at the same time. And for a starting price under $44,000, it's one hell of a bargain. It might be down on power compared to the SRT, but there's something to be said about using a scalpel versus a Patriot missile.

    Just make sure to start calling dealerships yesterday if you're interested in one - they don't plan on bringing more than a few thousand copies over, and not every dealership will be selling them.

  • Specs & Price

    Engine: 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated V-8

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Power Output: 415 hp / 415 lb-ft

    Fuel Economy: 14 city / 21 highway

    Base Price: $43,475

    As Tested: $44,375 (not incl. $995 destination and $1300 gas-guzzler tax)

    Optional Features: Power moonroof, full-size spare tire

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