2015 Chevrolet SS

Starting MSRP: $45,745 - $45,745

Estimated MPG: 15 city / 21 hwy

2015 Chevrolet SS Review

The 2015 Chevrolet SS may look somewhat plain, but its potent V8 and revised suspension offer a lot of bang for your buck. Unlike most performance cars, the Chevy SS also has room to take passengers and cargo along for the ride.

By William Maley
Last Updated 05/03/2016

The third time is the charm: At least that's the hope for General Motors and its Australian subsidiary Holden. Previously, GM tried selling two Holden vehicles in the U.S. as Pontiacs. The 2004 to 2006 Pontiac GTO and 2008 to 2009 Pontiac G8 were widely loved by many auto enthusiasts, but dealers couldn't seem to get enough people to come in and buy one.

Now comes the Chevrolet SS. Using the Holden Commodore as its base, GM believes that have figured out how to make the SS a success: Offer a punchy V8, every possible amenity inside and out, and a price tag under the $50,000 mark.

For 2015, the Chevrolet SS gets GM's Magnetic Ride Control suspension as standard equipment and the option of a six-speed manual transmission.

Exterior

Exterior
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The Chevrolet SS is a performance car, but the exterior doesn't give any of indication of it. Sport sedans are often expected to be aggressive looking with flared fenders, hood vents and other exuberant touches. Instead, Chevrolet changes the badges and adds a set of 19-inch wheels to transform the Holden Commodore into the Chevy SS. On one hand, we wish Chevrolet had done more with the SS' exterior to make it stand out, especially when some bystanders asked if we were driving the new Chevrolet Malibu. On the other hand, the plain Jane look does give the SS a sense of anonymity that masks its true capabilities.

Interior

Interior
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The 2015 SS' interior has a simple design for the dashboard and door panels. This allows for the controls to be laid out in a logical fashion, which provides easy access to various functions for the driver and front passenger. However, that doesn't mean Chevrolet has skimped on the materials used. The dash features a mixture of suede inserts with contrast stitching, faux metal and soft-touch plastic.

The seats are wrapped in a combination of leather and suede. Front-seat passengers will find the right amount of bolstering to hold them in place, as well as enough support for long-distance trips. 

Heat and ventilation come standard for the front seats. Rear-seat passengers will find more than enough head- and legroom. Trunk space is slightly small for a large sedan, with 16.4 cubic feet of cargo space.

Performance

Performance
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Under the hood of the SS lies the heart of the last-generation Chevrolet Corvette: a 6.2-liter V8 with 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. New for 2015 is the addition of a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is still available for those who prefer to let the car do the shifting.

The V8 makes the Chevrolet SS a blast to drive. It has an engine note that is fitting for a muscle car, with a pronounced growl at idle and burbling as you accelerate. The V8 seems to always have power regardless of where you are in the rev range. 

It doesn't matter if you want to leave everyone in the dust at a stoplight or make a pass on the expressway, the Chevrolet SS has the power to do it.

Our test SS had the new six-speed manual transmission and it takes some getting used to. The shifter requires some effort during gear changes and the clutch action is slightly tricky. Once you understand these idiosyncrasies, the manual transmission becomes quite fun to work through the gears.

One item that drove us crazy was the skip-shift system that locks out second and third gears to help increase fuel economy. The system proved to be more of a hindrance than a help as we found ourselves wondering why we were forced to shift from first to fourth. In some instances, the powertrain would also bog down on that mandatory shift, which makes it necessary to downshift into third to give the engine some breathing room.

The SS equipped with the six-speed manual is rated at 15/21 mpg city/highway by the EPA. Opt for the automatic and the number for city fuel economy drops to 14 mpg. We saw an average of 16.2 mpg during our week of mostly city driving.

Being a large sedan, you might expect the SS to be as graceful as a bull in a china shop. But the SS has a clever piece of tech to solve this problem. For 2015, the SS boasts GM's Magnetic Ride Control suspension system. A set of shocks are filled with magnetic fluid that can vary the how stiff (or compliant) the ride is within milliseconds. You can adjust this setting via a knob on the center console. Put the SS into Race mode and the car hunkers down onto the road. Body roll is non-existent and the steering firms up, though some will want a bit more road feel. In Tour mode, the SS becomes an effortless cruiser that soaks bumps up with ease. A set of massive Brembo brakes brings everything to a stop.

Technology

Technology
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An older version of the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system is used in the 2015 SS. While it looks somewhat dated in comparison with the newer version found in many Chevrolet models, this version of MyLink is simple to use thanks to large touch points and a set of redundant buttons underneath the touch screen. It's also quick to respond whenever you press a button or use voice commands.

The SS also comes with the latest version of OnStar, which features 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity. This allows you or your passengers to connect to the Internet via OnStar's data connection.

One other bit of tech on the SS is the head-up display, which projects in front of the driver onto the windshield, essentially putting information like vehicle speed, rpm and navigation instructions directly in your line of sight. The display can be adjusted for height and brightness via a set of controls next to the headlight switch. It's a clever solution for providing key information without taking your eyes off the road.

Safety

Safety
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The 2015 Chevrolet SS hasn't been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (NHTSA). The SS comes standard with a full suite of air bags, anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control. A rearview camera, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning are also included.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The Chevrolet SS starts at $45,745 and comes in one well-equipped trim level. The automatic model is subject to a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. Aside from the choice of transmission, you have the options of a sunroof and full-size spare tire. Add both of them and you'll still get a very capable sedan for less than $50,000.

The Chevrolet SS' closest competitors include the 2015 Dodge Charger, specifically R/T Scat Pack or SRT 392 models. While both Charger trims offer much more power – 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque – and a bolder look, neither has the option of a manual transmission. The Charger also doesn't feel as agile as the SS.

It should be noted that the Charger R/T Scat Pack undercuts the SS by about $6,000 before you start adding options. However, you'll need that money to add a number of features that come standard on the SS, such as leather, blind spot monitoring and summer tires. The Charger SRT 392 comes closer to the SS in terms of standard features, but has a slightly higher starting price of $47,995.

Overall

Overall
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The 2015 Chevrolet SS is rare species in the automotive world. It offers thrilling performance at a respectable price. We wish Chevrolet would add some excitement to SS' exterior design, but its unassuming look may be its strongest selling point to some buyers. If you're looking for a high-performance vehicle with a bit of practicality, the 2015 SS deserves your consideration.