By on May 20, 2014

ss8

t’s easy to forget that the vast majority of TTAC readers have never commented on and never will comment on any article. While there are many usernames that are familiar to me, there are thousands upon thousands more anonymous readers who come here each day to peruse our virtual pages. Some may be one-time visitors who come here as a result of a Google search for a review. Others might stop in every and and then to see what crazy things we are up to.

Finally, there are those who stop in every single day. To those readers, this site and this community are just as much a part of their lives as their morning cups of coffee. But we’ll never know them. They’re simply content to read and enjoy.

It was from one of these everyday anonymous readers that we recently received this email:

ss3

I just bought a 2014 Chevy SS. It has ~ 300 miles on the odo.

I live in Alexandria VA. If any TTAC’er would like to review the car, can get here to do it, and ‘promises’ not to abuse the dear thing, then… You’d be welcome to do so for a day.

Gene

As luck would have it, I had plans to be in the Baltimore/Washington area not too long after that, and I made arrangements to meet Gene at BWI Airport to drive his newly purchased big Bowtie.

Although I have no idea what GM was thinking with the packaging and marketing of the SS (as I’ve made plain here on this site before), I feel certain that Gene was not representative of their target audience. He’s an adjunct professor at a large Washington, D.C., university and a consultant at a high-powered firm. His other two cars? A pair of Lexuses (Lexi?)—an SC 430 that belonged to his wife and a CT200h. He’s also approaching retirement but is in better shape than I am.
ss5
Gene pulled into the Arrivals area of BWI in his grayish-green Q ship, and I flagged him down. I realized that it was the first one that I had ever seen on the street. Those who complain that it looks like a Malibu…well, I won’t say you’re wrong, but you’re not exactly right either. It has a presence about it in person that surpasses that of its GM relatives, including the ones sporting big, tacky Cadillac badges.

After a friendly handshake and warm greeting, I threw my trusty Tumi luggage into the cavernous trunk and prepared to walk to the passenger side of the car. Gene smiled and redirected me to the driver’s side. Amazingly cool.
ss9
I hopped into the driver’s seat and took note of my surroundings. As a former G8 GT owner, I immediately noticed some similarities and some differences. GM definitely did a complete overhaul of the interior. While the underlying architecture may have been similar, the end result was very different. The G8 had no navigation option due to the placement of the stereo head unit—it was lower than US regulations would have allowed a nav unit to be placed. The SS has a big, full color screen right in the top center of the dash. The heads-up display was a nice addition, as well. The seats felt a little smaller and less supportive than I remembered the G8′s being.

Gene’s complaints from a few weeks of ownership were few but significant. “I hate the suede interior accents, and I don’t know why they bothered with such a tiny sunroof.” Indeed. GM appears to really be struggling with the right way to tastefully design the interior of this car. The “SS” logos in red suede that adorned the dash and the seating are not what one would expect in a $50K car. Suede. I just had to type that one more time. It’s really an Alcantara-like material, but still.
ss2
“Also, the paddles really are as flimsy everybody says they are. How much more could it have cost to put metal paddles there instead of those plastic ones? Fifty bucks?” He was right. They literally flexed when I used them to shift as we exited BWI and headed out onto the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

The plan was for me to go to the Hotel Monaco in downtown Baltimore, drop off my stuff, and then head back out to Find New Roads on which I could Drive Really Fast. The nav system was providing limited functionality at speed, so I opted to speak my destination to Siri on my phone. The parkway was a little congested, and besides, I didn’t want to scare Gene too much before I got to know him, so we kept it at or near the speed limit as we drove toward Charm City.

During our quick 11 mile jaunt, I discovered that Gene had cross shopped the SS with the predictable competitors—the 300C 5.7 and the Genesis R-Spec. He had owned both BMWs and Mercedes before, and “I will never buy one of those again. After my third ECU on my E Class, I decided I’d had enough.”

But why did he choose the SS over the competition? The answer surprised me.

“The dealership experience was fantastic.” Which made me think—$50K for a Chevy isn’t so uncommon to a Chevy store. They’re just used to seeing that price tag associated with names like “Tahoe” or “Suburban.” So maybe they do know how to treat that type of customer, after all.

The always-under-construction nature of the roads of Baltimore’s downtown provided an interesting challenge for the SS’ suspension. I found it to be a bit too soft for any serious sporting intent, but just right for daily driving around the Beltway. In day-to-day driving, or from stoplight-to-stoplight downtown, the SS never gives you any hint of what’s under the hood. It’s more Impala than Corvette in those circumstances.

However, that was about to change. After a quick check-in at the Monaco…oh hell, I can’t just give a quick description of the Hotel Monaco. It’s in the original headquarters building of the B&O Railroad, which a magnificent marble staircase and a chandelier that makes it worthy of its registration on the National Registry of Historic Places. Perhaps due to “Bodymore’s” less than stellar reputation as a tourist destination, it is easily the best hotel for the dollar on the eastern seaboard—rooms are often available for less than $200 a night. And yes, I paid for my corner suite…no sponsored content here.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. We were heading back out onto the highway. I punched in a favorite Baltimore destination into the nav—the Arundel Mills Casino. Unfortunately, the nav wasn’t as familiar with the location as I was. It took us to a cul-de-sac on its first attempt. It then made us do two consecutive u-turns and had us headed for a third when I declared it unusable and reverted back to Siri.
ss6
But that, and every other niggling concern I had about the car, was coming close to disappearing as I re-entered the highway. The automatic transmission is full of hesitation, so rather than mess with it again, I decided to make full use of the paddles.

Holy. Mother. Of. God. This thing moved. Not in the visceral way that a Vette or a Shelby does, but not in the matter-of-fact way that a BMW 550i does, either. It sheds its pedestrian exterior like Clark Kent ripping the buttons of his polyester shirts to reveal the S on his chest. The 0-60 launch was impressive, for sure, but the car really comes to life in third and fourth gears. Feel free to look up official data and times elsewhere—what I’ll tell you is that 60-100 in this car as as good as it gets. The 6.2 liter V8 exhaust note that is nowhere to be found in first gear roared to life as I redlined the car in third gear at nearly eighty miles per hour, slicing and dicing through traffic, then shifted to fourth and continued to climb at equal pace as the omnipresent German sedans of the corridor became black and silver blurs around us.

The SS simply didn’t run out of Go. No gap was unshootable. As long as I kept the shifting decisions out of the hands of the six-speed automatic, we had no problem finding endless torque and power at the ready whenever I wanted it.

The Potenza RE050s, however, didn’t always like my decisions, especially when it came to on-ramps. The suspension that had dealt so effortlessly with the potholes of Baltimore now gave too much body roll and allowed the heavy Chevy to push its nose well past apexes. The Brembo rotors, while impressive looking, required significant heat in the brake pads to apply any serious stopping force.
ss3
Calling it a “four-door Corvette,” as other outlets have done, is pure laziness. Either that, or those journos simply don’t know what the true limits of a Vette are. The SS is much better than a Corvette as a daily driver, and much worse as a performer—which, considering its weight, is just fine.

The SS is badly in need of two things—a manual transmission and a better suspension. So guess what GM has on the drawing board for 2015? You betcha. When I asked Gene about the upcoming changes for the SS, he simply stated, “I bought it a year too soon.”

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the drive wasn’t driving at all, but the opportunity to sit down at Longhorn Steakhouse and just talk with a loyal TTAC reader over dinner. Seeing Gene’s obvious enthusiasm for his car, and his excitement about having just doubled the highway speed limit as a passenger in it, was beyond refreshing. It transcended the somewhat academic and hypothetical conversations that we as enthusiasts often find ourselves mired in.

Gene had to give a final that evening, and I had a baseball game at Camden Yards to catch, so we had to cut the evening short. As we drove back toward my hotel, something quite amusing occurred—we found ourselves behind a black CLA 250.

“Look,” I said. “A $30K Benz sharing the road with a $50K Chevrolet.” Two cars, neither what they seem to be. Maybe some would prefer the idea of the black Mercedes, as immortalized by DJ Quik. I prefer the direction taken by another Nineties rap group—the SS is, without question, a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. If you’d prefer to fly by unnoticed, the SS is the car for you. I am not sure if I can wholeheartedly recommend it over the Charger SRT-8, but it’s a contender.

Thank you, Gene, for letting us take a crack at your baby. I hope it brings you many years of enjoyment. If you, the reader, would like to have a TTAC editor review your car, contact us. We’ll find a way to get there.
ttaccss

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

143 Comments on “Reader Ride Review: 2014 Chevrolet SS...”


  • avatar

    So your direct competition from American manufacturers are the Taurus SHO, the Chrysler 300 SRT and the Dodge Charger SRT.

    Set aside the 300 and compare the Charger:

    The Charger gives you:
    #1 fold down rear seats
    #2 far more aggressive looks
    #3 more power
    #4 heated/cooled cup holders
    #5 SRT performance apps

    The 300 gives you everything the Charger does and adds:
    #6 panoramic sunroof.

    The Taurus SHO is aging technology and not as much power, but the Twin turbo V6 won’t suffer as much at different altitudes.

    I would take the SS over the SHO for interior comfort because the Taurus is too bunkerized up front and the steering wheel doesn’t telescope enough.

    The SS I drove didn’t have a power tilt/telescope wheel so I’m not sure if any of them have that option.

    But unless you are a die hard GM/ Holden fan who’s desperate to replace your PONTIAC GXP, you’d be a fool to take an SS over a Charger.

    The looks of the Charger sell it far more than the SS’ looks can.

    It’s no wonder S.R.T is taking over Down Under.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @bigtrucksreview
      Then you jump in the Charger and have to drive it.

      Sounds like you should by a Chinese or Korean car for the cheap bling you want.

      I suppose you want an illuminated drivers side mirror in the sun visor…..so every morning when you drive to work you think about how gorgeous you think you look.

      If you want to have a good drivers car, buy Euro or an Australian muscle car. Four doors are versatile.

      • 0 avatar

        Here’s a question:

        considering I’ve driven both the SS and own the 300/JGC SRT

        How many times have YOU driven them and how many MILES/DAYS have you owned either???

        The 300 is a great daily driver – which is why I prefer it.

        But when the time comes to eat someone up off a stoplight, which one would you rather be in?

        Here’s a hint…

        …not the SS

        …you will LOSE.

        • 0 avatar
          gtrslngr

          You really are quite the cheerleader/fan of those aged Mercedes Benz E-Class all decked out in their bargain basement Dodge/Chrysler KMart Party Dresses now aren’t you BT !

          Oh well . Hopefully someday you’ll own a real Mercedes and come to realize once and for all what the phrase Quality & Reliability really means

          FYI BT . From my experiences going up against the Dodge/Chrysler 21st century Mod Squad performance wanna be’s ?

          Theres not much on the road performance wise that cannot kick the crap out of any of them . Heck BT . I made mince meat out of a Challenger SRT on a track day in my previously owned MINI . Not … an S mind you . Which is to say . Beep Beep my @$& Dodge/Chrysler ;-)

          Ahhh .. now i definitely feel much better .

          • 0 avatar

            “Hopefully someday you’ll own a real Mercedes”

            I’m guessing you just make stupid comments and don’t pay attention…

            My last car was a W221.

            Leased.

            Brand new.

            TRY AGAIN :)

          • 0 avatar
            Rick T.

            “Hopefully someday you’ll own a real Mercedes and come to realize once and for all what the phrase Quality & Reliability really means…”

            Oh, both the owner of the reviewed car and I certainly did. But certainly not in the way you intended!

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          @BTS YouTuber – I have also driven both and the the LX platform cars are simply too heavy in the front when equipped with V8 engines. The only thing you can do to stop the car from chronic understeer in corners is to induce oversteer via the throttle. That’s fun a few times but its a one trick pony. If the Chevy SS is the like the other SS Commodores in OZ then it is a much more dynamically capable car. Much of that comes down to less weight, the LS3 superiority over the old Chrysler cast iron block 6.1 and the quicker GM 6 speed over the old Chrysler 5 speed auto.

          • 0 avatar
            Drewlssix

            Charger has more cogs than ss and the hemi is seven years newer than the ls style engines and while I don’t know the weights for the gen v the hemi iron or not is it so much heavier than the last gen chevy. How much weight has all the ecotec3 stuff added?

        • 0 avatar
          rushn

          “My last car was a W221.

          Leased.

          Brand new.

          TRY AGAIN :)”

          Put your e-pen away, you are in public.

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      One thing I do note that the SS does right. That rear seat looks nice. I think you might be able to fit 3 child seats across in that thing! The Charger seats are also wide, but it looks like the SS might have more leg room.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      And an empty Charger SRT weighs as much as an SS with two guys your size sitting in the back, and handles accordingly. And that extra weight also means the considerable power advantage only gives you a very slight acceleration advantage. The Charger is a high 12s car and the SS will do 13 flat.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not sure why a muscle car should have to look aggressive. And while some stylists have done an excellent job on making cars like aggressive–the ’48-’53 Buicks come immediately to mind, and certain Mustangs–I think the Charger looks overwrought. Furthermore, if you’re going to drive a powerful car, making some use of that power, it’s nice to be a little incognito. They might as well put a sign on the back of Chargers that says, “pull me over, Officer!”

      I also would not want to drive any car with such tiny slit windows. I like to be able to see out of the car, especially when I’m driving.

      Two minor quibbles on an otherwise ***great*** article:
      *I would have loved to know more about Gene. Sounds like a really great guy.
      * The first two paragraphs about who comments, etc., could have been boiled down to one sentence.

      I loved that second to last paragraph about the $50k Chevy sharing the road with the $30k Benz. And I could practically feel the car roaring to life when Bark started using the paddles.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      1. A nice addition to the Charger, but with todays high beltline sedans fold downs aren’t all that important.

      2. Subjective, besides the newest Chargers sport a Korean-ish Dart styling cues, not exactly aggressive imo.

      3. Computer flashes and tweaks

      4. Isn’t there something called ice for this?

      5. Naturally SRT apps wont come with a GM car, what good are SRT apps anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      SS is the unanimous winner so far;

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1402_2014_chevrolet_ss_vs_chrysler_300_srt_comparison/?fullsite=true

      http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/2014-chevrolet-ss-vs-2013-dodge-charger-srt8-392-comparison-test-final-scoring-performance-data-and-complete-specs-page-4

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      The problem with both the Charger and the 300 is there are way too many v6 ones just off lease with rent-to-own 22′s on them. At least the SS seems to have an air of class and understatement about it.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      Don’t forget, the SHO has AWD.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Great review of what looks like a great car.

  • avatar

    The Genesis R-Spec was LAME.

    While the steering improvements were great, the engine was neither as powerful or as throaty as my 6.1-L 300cSRT8.

    What I will say is that the SS has far nicer seats and the interior was more comfortable to me than the Genesis.

    Downside: whoever sees you in the SS won’t really notice you. It could be a Malibu-strech or an Impala with a skirt kit.

    Imagine how you’ll feel when someone asks you: “is that the new Malibu”? and you have to get out and open the hood to explain to them what you have.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @bigtrucksreview
      We have a similar problem here in Australia.

      People see a Silverado and ask how much the Thai built Colorado cost you.

      You really are talking up some real $hit.

      If you really can’t distinguish the difference between a Malibu and Commodore SS, then maybe your drivers license should be revoked.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe in AUSTRALIA it’s easy to tell the difference, but here in the states, there’s so much stuff on the road…with so much that looks alike, some people can’t tell the difference between a Hyundai and an Audi or a Kia Cadenza and a Maserati.

        There ain’t no “commodores” up here buddy!

        And what the hell do you need that kind of power down under for?

        You blokes got a problem with loose dingeroos?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @bigtrucksreview
          Well, where I live we have open speed limits. When was the last time you drove at 185kph, legally?

          Plus we have many miles of uninterrupted roads. Many more miles per person than the US or most any other nation has. This equates to less traffic.

          Traffic light drag racing is for numpties and kids.

          Learn to drive around curves. It’s more fun than drag racing a senior driving a Focus at a set of lights.

          Then what’s amazing you’d probably feel good you ‘beat’ her.

          • 0 avatar

            @Big Al

            Enjoying your comments. for a great car story that takes place mostly in Australia, google “the crashmeister rusty”. It’s the first hit.

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ Big Al, Big Truck lives on the east coast, we generally have a lack of twisty stuff here or what is here is just short stretches.

            My reference road is literally an on ramp with about 14-15 miles of straight away then the back road that leads to my current abode and 1 or 2 miles of nice twisty narrow two lane road with deep ditches on the side. Fun stuff barreling down that last bit of road at 170-190 kph but living in the flat lands just lends itself naturally to drag racing or just seeing how much terminal speed you have.

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            @David C. Holzman: “…google “the crashmeister rusty”. It’s the first hit.”

            Not any more it isn’t. :-)

          • 0 avatar
            CRConrad

            The correct link, which apparently David’s modesty forbid him from posting directly, is:

            http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-crashmeister

        • 0 avatar
          gtrslngr

          Errr … BT ? In light of those Antipodes pretty much out hot rodding as well as damn near out Americaning some of the best we have to offer .. not to mention a storied history of motor sports participation along with kicking some serious ___ worldwide .

          Ahhhh …. ya might want to reconsider your tone and attitude with this Big Al fellow .

          Just a suggestion mind you . But one best taken seriously

        • 0 avatar
          pacificpom2

          That’s the problem when your local designers don’t have the money to do a complete exterior redesign or the corporate orders are to, dare I say it, “integrate the design to the corporate design style”. Therefore when you see the SS you see a big Malibu. When we got the Malibu all we can see is a larger Cruze or a smaller Commodore. The directives have made all of the sedans look alike, leaving the Corvette to its own style. But Ford is also guilty of this, from the focus to the Falcon/Territory et al.. all look like Aston Martin’s or Jaguars. Deliberate on Ford’s part? Either Ford has only one designer/stylist on the payroll and subcontract them out or Jaguar/Aston Martin/Ford still have connections in the styling department.
          On another note the sunroof is too small. Try driving in Australia, where the majority of sales are, in summer with a sun roof that’s larger than a A4 piece of paper. Big hats and sunscreen are a must!. I rarely open the blind on my sunroof in the “M” class and only open the roof at a whole on a warm night or spring day. A panoramic sunroof would fry the interior.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            “prisoner-of-mother-England” indeed! The first time I owned a car with a sunroof was my 2002 Saab 9-5 Aero wagon. Previously, I had avoided them because the eliminated an essential 2″ of headroom needed to accommodate me. For about a month, I had fun opening the sunroof and driving around with it. After the novelty wore off, I never opened it again. My wife’s current car has a sunroof. Neither of us ever opens it.
            Car manufacturers have solved the headroom problem, but I would never pay for them. Unfortunately, I usually have no choice.

            This “corporate style” business, which has afflicted seemingly all motor car manufacturers is tedious. I agree with you. If the style is good — like Ford’s its bearable. If it’s bad — like Toyota’s — it’s just a blight.

          • 0 avatar
            jhefner

            “The directives have made all of the sedans look alike, leaving the Corvette to its own style. But Ford is also guilty of this, from the focus to the Falcon/Territory et al.. all look like Aston Martin’s or Jaguars. Deliberate on Ford’s part? Either Ford has only one designer/stylist on the payroll and subcontract them out or Jaguar/Aston Martin/Ford still have connections in the styling department.”

            It is deliberate; it is called Kinetic Design. The idea is to give them all a family resemblance; it will shortly be fully extended to the Ford Mustang and Transit Connect. The current Fiesta has “the look” as well.

          • 0 avatar

            @JHefner
            Thanks for the info on “kinetic design.”

            In my opinion, it’s boring, and evidence of how low styling has gone. I well remember the mid-’60s. In any given year, All the Chevys, all the Fords, and all the Plymouths looked quite different from each other, and yet, they all looked related. And they all looked good.

            Today’s Chevys and Fords look pretty lame. (As do most other brands.)

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Hahaha…surely you can’t be serious. There’s not a Hyundai on the planet that could be mistaken for an Audi. Even Helen Keller would laugh at you for making such a silly statement.

          Now of course I can think of a Hyundai that can be mistaken for a Mercedes Benz, but definitely not an Audi.

          • 0 avatar
            IHateCars

            Maybe not Hyundai but you can definitely see Audi in the latest Kias, which kinda stands to reason.

          • 0 avatar
            PunksloveTrumpys

            I think the point being made is that cars have been looking more and more alike over the past few decades. Safety regulations, styling wholly done by computers rather than humans and just plain lack of imagination by the (human) stylists have taken their toll on the distinction and character of the automobile.

            Hyundai’s compared with Audi’s might not be the best example. Personally Id have mentioned the silhouette of the VF Commodore and Jaguar XJ to get my point across… but if the trend(s) continue Hyundai’s and Audi’s will probably go the same way before long.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Big Al – Well . Y’alls got your Chavs and Hoons . And we’ve got our BTs . All of us having our cross to bear .

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @gtslngr
          We have the same type of people here in Australia.

          At work we have a number of HSV and FPV drivers, along with those pathetic B&S ute drivers. GM and Ford freaks.

          At least we don’t have those smAllpar ones yet. I hope they stay in NA.

          What bigtrucks doesn’t realise we have a much larger choice of vehicles than the US.

          Even with the Euro cars we have a greater choice within models.

          Racing is best left for a weekend at the race track. Drag racing at the lights is a real dumbass move.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            but you (or at least your lady-folk) in OZ have that brilliant hand gesture to derisively describe the stoplight drag “racers”. I think it involves a pinkey finger…

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      who really cares what uninformed people think? is that why you buy a car? if you need to act like you’re 16 and drive a hot wheels, get an old pink dodge charger with green flames and cragers

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      @bigtruckseriesreview: “Downside: whoever sees you in the SS won’t really notice you. It could be a Malibu-strech or an Impala with a skirt kit.”

      That’s not necessarily a downside.

      “Imagine how you’ll feel when someone asks you: “is that the new Malibu”? and you have to get out and open the hood to explain to them what you have.”

      Idunno, if that question means you “have to” open the bonnet to explain to them what you have, then I imagine it made you feel insecure about your manhood.

      Furthermore I imagine that for someone to react that way, they would have to feel that way all the time, even when nobody’s asking, and that having a car with a V8 — even one that screams “I have a V8!” — doesn’t really help.

      Personally, I imagine I’d just answer something like “Yeah, kind of; it’s the sport version”, and not bother too much about what people who obviously neither know nor care too much about cars think about my car.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Always interesting to hear from a GM apologist…

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I haven’t driven one, but I had a chance to sit in one and I found it to be well appointed. If it drives anything like the G8 GXP than I’m sure it’s a blast. While even Chevy knows they won’t sell a lot of them, I’m glad they offer the LS powered sedan. It seems to nicely fill the gap as an alternative for the buyer who finds the Charger styling to extreme and the 300 too blingy.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I did get to drive a G8 GT (auto, sadly) at the last dealership. Probably paid a little too much for it, I fell in love with the performance and sound of the engine. Plus, you know, I love Pontiacs. (We all have our faults)

    This car is less unique / ugly looking, but is ugly in a more generic way. Still would love to try one out.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    … and to think . For some $50k + … he just paid for a highly vulnerable when it comes to depreciation Parts Bin left over Holden in an SS party dress … [ that SS might be a clue ... hint hint ] that like everything else GM has on offer present will no doubt be recalled as well .

    [ GM just recalled another 2 million plus today ... now having recalled more cars in the last year than they\'ve sold in the last five ]

    Yeah . Good ole Mericun ingenuity at its finest .

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @gtslngr
      I doubt it.

      Many parts don’t come from the US.

      We haven’t had as many recalls yet on Holdens.

      It seems this GM issue is mainly US centric……………..so far.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      “and to think . For some $50k + … he just paid for a highly vulnerable when it comes to depreciation Parts Bin left over Holden in an SS party dress … [ that SS might be a clue ... hint hint ]”

      So what? It’s his money, he liked it and he bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      yes, he should have bought an audi. wonder which one will be on the road in 10 years

      • 0 avatar
        Drewlssix

        Don’t know about the chevy from down under but the Audi IF it is on the road in a decade will be a drastically devalued car owned by a 3rd or 4th owner who paid to much for it from an independent car lot. It will spend way to much time at an equally independent shop struggling to concoct workarounds for at least the most critical of its failing systems and worn chassis bits since the foolish owner will not have the means to buy genuine Audi parts nor pay for the dealer exclusive flashes.

        The “teutonic” aura of the interior will be replaced with ceaseless rattles and distracting signs of badly wearing interior materials again far to expensive to replace given the owners continuously depleted funds.

        I would never ever own an Audi out of warranty… I have worked on to many.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Judging by how many used Audi’s my uncles shop takes in with a plethora of issues I would have to vote on the chevy. Heck the 18 year old Caprice sitting in my driveway with the original small block engine and 4L60E transmission runs and drives as new despite having nearly 100K on the clock. This car sounds and feels like it has another 300k to go.

    • 0 avatar

      @gtrslnger

      the growing size of the recalls isn’t so much a reflection on corporate quality as on the fact that so many different models share parts. (and, no, I’m not a GM fan. I was as a kid, in the ’60s, a time when their quality was nowhere near Chrysler’s, and eventually the cognitive dissonance made me get over it. Have avoided fanhood since.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/beating-the-one-brand-blues-circa-1960/

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    “How much more could it have cost to put metal paddles there instead of those plastic ones?”

    I counter with, how much more could it have cost to use ignition switches that wouldn’t turn the car off if you had more than one key on your ring?

    Such is the end result of freaking MBA’s engineering cars instead of engineers.

  • avatar
    Adept

    This is Gene. The proud owner. Or, as one of our dear posters wrote so kindly, the “fool to take an SS over a Charger”.

    I want to thank Bark, Derek, Caroline, and the rest of the TTAC staff for making this little test drive happen. It was great fun for me. Hopefully for them, too.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Hi, Gene,

      Thank You kindly for allowing a review on your new “toy” :)

      Don’t worry about what the fan boys say. Once you get past them, there’s a lot of great readers and commenters here, who are appreciative for the chance to read up on your sweet ride.

      Enjoy your SS, bud. Looks great and apparently it’s a monster when you lay into it.

      Thumbs up

    • 0 avatar
      azmtbkr81

      And this is why many of us choose to remain in the shadows or post only occasionally. Kudos to you for going out on a limb and allowing us a look at an uncommon and very cool car.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Enjoy your high resale values in the future.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      Someone as nice as you shouldn’t be subjected to BTRS and GTRS – for that matter, neither should any of the commentariat most of the time.

      Can you tell us why you hate the Suede/Alcantara? I realize it’s a material choice meant to appeal to a younger, sportier set, but I don’t think I’ve ever really found it’s use offensive.

      • 0 avatar
        Adept

        I was impressed by the overall materials quality and fit / finish of the interior; it’s the discord that bothers me.

        The faux suede adds one more texture / color variation to an already slightly overwrought interior design. Take a look at the front passenger seat photo to see what I mean.

        I especially dislike the ‘boy racer’ SS logos on the dash and the front seats. Subtle they are not.

        I hope this makes sense; for those of you who understand the nature of a Q-ship, probably it will. And anyway, all of these concerns evaporate when the big V-8 rumble and torque come on-line.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        TRUTH.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Regardless of the merits — or lack of them — of your new car (about which I have no particular opinion), you deserve a kudo for making it available for Bark to drive and write up.

      Well done.

      Personally, unlike, say BigTrucks, I like Q-ships. For 10 years I was the proud owner of one of the original American Q-Ships, the Taurus SHO with the screaming Yamaha engine.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Did you derive your screen name from the video game Adept? If you so might qualify to be one of the coolest human beings alive.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      I am going to look at them this coming weekend. Might buy one…if I can find one in white. My biggest doubt is exactly what was stated in the article, maybe I should wait ’til the ’15′s are out.

    • 0 avatar

      Kudos! I hope you enjoy the hell out of that car!

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Adept,

      Thank you for letting Bark drive the car and making the review possible.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Gene, thanks for stepping up and offering your car for this article.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Gene – many of the people who made multiple replies in this thread lack intellectual horsepower. The claim of US build above by a self proclaimed expert of all things auto industry was particularly hysterical.

      I have a G8 GT that I converted to a Holden. Five years old, love. On True Delta the G8 has proven to be well above average in reliability (early production 2009 9L1 cars suffered from lifter and LCA issues, 9L2 cars addressed) and there is quite the G8 “tax” if you want to buy a used one.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Looks like a way fun car. I hope you enjoy the heck out of it! And don’t get too many tickets.

  • avatar
    geo

    So what are they going to call the “even sportier” model?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    If you haven’t actually DRIVEN the SS, like Gene and Bark, then you’re not especially qualified to say whether it’s better or worse than [insert your preferred car here].

    I’ll also just add that Camden Yards is the finest ballpark there ever was or will be. It’s the Qarth of ballparks.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Camden Yards is on the top of my list too. I also like PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Petco Park in San Diego. My least favorite stadium (besides Wrigley) to go to is Chase Field in Phoenix.

      • 0 avatar
        zaxxon25

        I’d put PNC and Comerica at the top of my list, though I agree that Camden is in the top 5. It’s amazing how Camden feels both well-aged and modern at the same time. Petco is a very nice experience as well.

  • avatar

    I’ve got to agree on the presence of the car. On the street, it’s a real looker, like a linebacker in a business suit. You know there’s lots of power there, but it’s beneath a veneer of civility

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Yeah, the sedate shape of the basic profile almost makes it a sleeper. And yes, I am turned off by the Charger, which is just too ostentatious and crude-looking for my tastes.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Nice car but a little too fancy for me. I think I’d prefer something like the Caprice or an EVO.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Where some may prefer the “hey look I’m a macho cop” look of the Dodge, to me this SS is the stealth bomber. And thank you Lord for giving us the LS small block.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Don’t forget your aviators, trusty Glock, and a box of a dozen glazed.

      Fits the macho cop “motif”.

      (And the LEO’s all began shaking their fists…)

  • avatar
    Cirruslydakota

    Next time you’re in the area take Falls Road (runs along 83n all the way to the PA line and cut over to York Road on the way back down to Hunt Valley. Its a nice set of back roads that offer a little salvation for the local enthuasists such as myself. My speed3 eats up the pavement on them every weekend after cars and coffee in Hunt Valley.

    Also, I’m in Towson so next time you guys are anywhere near the Baltimore or DMV let me know.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Although I still have a hankering (if you will) for a Genesis R-Spec, this is truly a business casual beast, in a most unassuming color.

    Me likey.

  • avatar
    redliner

    At this price it should have been sold as some kind of Buick Super.

    Would I buy it? No. But no one asked me. This man bought it because he liked it enough to part with many thousands of his dollars. More power to him, may he enjoy it to the fullest.

  • avatar
    319583076

    I’m a massive fan of Kimpton hotels – great locations, sometimes historic buildings (Burnham-Chicago), great service, and the best value I’ve experienced.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I must admit to a secret love of this and the previous Holden transplants. The unassumingness of it is 90% of it’s charm. Really a shame that GM can’t manage to keep the best cars they make in production.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      Oh, I’m sure GM will keep it in production for a couple of years, get it nearly perfect, then discontinue it suddenly. Meanwhile, the Cavalier soldiers on for 23 years…

  • avatar
    jkross22

    GM is a crap company with a crap culture, so I’m amazed they can turn out a car like this or the new CTS sedan. It’s clear that the company can do better than the, what, 3-4 million cars they’re not recalling, but it’s also clear that don’t know how to do it consistently.

    Still this SS and the CTS seem to be VERY solid rides.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    GM is a crap company with a crap culture, so I’m amazed they can turn out a car like this or the new CTS sedan. It’s clear that the company can do better than the, what, 3-4 million cars they’re now recalling, but it’s also clear that don’t know how to do it consistently.

    Still this SS and the CTS seem to be VERY solid rides.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Yeah and I suppose the 2014 Impala that beat out the Avalon/Taurus/Cadenza in various tests is crap too right? Or the new Vette and Camaro are garbage too. Really aside from the foreign sourced Spark there isn’t one GM that I have driven the past 3-4 years that I would remotely call crap. Even the somewhat maligned 2013 Malibu has been made better for 2014 and I was actually surprised how much I liked a rental 2LT that I drove a few months back.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I like the SS as a concept a lot. I haven’t driven one, but it just seems like a winning combination. Though I think the G8 did a better job pricing it.
    I have to say though, the first couple times I’ve seen one I wasn’t 100% sure it was one. That’s not to say I don’t like the styling, I do.

  • avatar
    EBradley

    First, I’d like to thank Gene for volunteering his car for this review and apologize for some of people who comment. When I notice certain names in the comments, I scroll right past.

    Second, and off topic, is what I think the real gem of this review is:

    “The dealership experience was fantastic.” Which made me think—$50K for a Chevy isn’t so uncommon to a Chevy store. They’re just used to seeing that price tag associated with names like “Tahoe” or “Suburban.” So maybe they do know how to treat that type of customer, after all.”

    Therein lies what I think is one of the most common overlooked aspects of car ownership.

    In November of last year, I decided that we needed a SUV. I had custom ordered a MINI in the Spring of 2013 and after finally letting the RR go, realized we truly needed something bigger. I settled on a 2014 Jeep GC based upon the dealership experience in the small town beside of ours (It also helped that the GC reminded me so much of the RR). The sales and service experience are right there with our previous experience with Lexus.

    Mid Summer last year, my husband wanted a new car. We ended up with an Cadillac XTS. The small town dealership that takes care of it is better than Lexus (and that says a lot about them). They are hands down the best dealership we’ve ever had (That covers MB, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus and Infiniti.).

    Neither dealer has marble floors, flat screens nor fancy coffee machines and treats. However, they are honest, straightforward, professional and knowledgeable. Where the rubber meets the road, to say, is where each of them excels.

    I wonder if that is something the best and brightest would be interested in talking about/finding out. Does the dealership experience really impact customer satisfaction? Does the dealership diminish a good car? Does the dealership experience help outweigh a “bad” car?

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Gotta agree a dealer can not make me buy a type of brand but they can make sure I do not buy one. I live in metro NY so have plenty of choices which helps. I bought my last car 90 minutes from me and took it there for the service for 2 years because that VW dealer made it easier for me, gave me a good deal and was fair and honest. I have 7 other VW dealers closer to me than that one but they got my business. Looked at a Saab when they were going under, did not bother me, I had three others in the past loved them, dealer was 1 mile away from me walked in and the dealer basically told me saab is fine no issues no deals, full sticker, I walked out laughing and shaking my head. They lost me as a customer, I do not use them for parts on the Saab I have. A Good dealer can make sure you leave happy.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Due to a whole lot of very complicated circumstances, my last car deal was at a Chevy dealer, located 2 miles from my front door.

        Two days of wrangling, via text, and phone, and 3 months later I’m still satisfied.

        I can’t ask for more than that.

        BTW.. Does anybody know if the SS is available in Canada? I’m not buying one, but I like the looks.

        • 0 avatar
          Adept

          Hi, Mikey. Gene here.

          AFAIK, the SS is not available in Canada (where I lived and worked, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, long ago).

          If you’re ever in the Washington, DC area, let me know and you can take mine out for a spin.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Hi Adept…Thanks for the offer. Let me add, how very kind of you to give Bark the opportunity to share the SS experience with the rest of us.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I wish I could find any of these excellent dealers for a lot of makes! I’ve had two excellent dealership experiences. One was with the Acura dealer from which I bought my 2004 TSX new. The other is from the Subaru dealer from which I bought my wife’s 2013 Forester. I would love to find a really good Chevy dealer, because I’m interested in trading my G8 GXP in on a SS (especially if the 2015 has magnetic shocks). But all of the ones around here (Seattle metro) have bad reputations.

      • 0 avatar
        kjb911

        Take the trip to Rhode Island and I will make sure you will have an outstanding experience hahaha we have a Red Hot with sunroof and spare tire

      • 0 avatar
        jrasero23

        Living in NYC there are a ton of car dealers and to be honest the worse dealers have been anything in Queens but more so the high end Japanese brands like Acura. Maybe they think they don’t have to work as hard since Honda/Acura has a huge cult like following but my experience with Chevy, Buick, and Lincoln has been awesome. This is not to say all there cars are great, but the service I got from American car places has been amazing.

  • avatar
    FBS

    I don’t know how intentional it was, but the introduction to this piece got me to finally register an account despite being a regular reader for a few years now.

    TTAC has excellent content, and the most excellent of that content has the most interesting discussions in the comments. I’m not sure what I’ll be able to contribute to any of this but at least now I can do so at a whim.

    As for the SS, well, I don’t really know what to make of it. It strikes me as insincere somehow, after what happened to the G8 and Pontiac. I’m reminded a lot of the SSR – a vehicle sold with no expectation of sales success but for some reason they sold them anyway.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Too bad the styling is so outdated.

    The Chinese market Buick version looks better.

  • avatar
    thoro_headz

    I wasn’t expecting this article to reference DJ Quik and Black Sheep. I’m pleasantly surprised, Bark!

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Hats off to Gene for doing thievery cool, one of the few US cars I would consider would be the SS, not flashy at all and there is a group of us who find that a plus.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen both cars in person and on the street and I think that the new Impala has more visual presence than the SS. YMMV but the SS is a bit nondescript for my tastes. Of course if you’re looking for a sleeper or “Q car”, that’s just what you want.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I really love the new Impala. My wife and I got stuck in Florida back in January and Enterprise set us up with Impala with the 3.6. We did a high-speed (for me, I hate tickets) blast (averaged 73mph over two days) up I95 all the way from Palm Beach to DC. The Impala returned 30mpg, accelerated with authority and (in common with other GM front-drivers) exhibited almost no torque-steer whatsoever. It was large, comfortable and we were sad to drop it off. I also think that they’ve managed to channel some of the Impala styling mojo from the 60s. It’s subtle, but it’s there. GM does some things really well. The Impala is one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        I’ve bought the LT with the 2.5. With most of my driving around town, the Impala is a pleasure to drive. She is a little sluggish on the highway. At first I found it shifted too much at highway speeds. Once I learned to watch the tach, and control my right foot, it made a world of difference.

        Were flirting with 5 USD a US gallon up here. I can live the 4 banger.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        So far anybody with a new body style 2014 Impala loves them and has very little to carp about. It really is a great car.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Call me inaccurate, but to me a better way to describe the SS would be a “Caddy without the tackiness”, or perhaps “A Camaro you can see out of”, its certainly no Corvette nor should it be.

    Enjoy your SS though, smart move ditching Mercedes after ECU troubles. The SS may have weird styling, no real name, but underneath its not so bad. Marketing dont matter once you own the car.

  • avatar
    Hemi

    Good review and cool of the reader to let you test the car. Was also nice to get owners perspective. I’ve only seen one on the road so far and it’s not as obvious as a SRT, but doesn’t look like a typical Impala/Malibu. Definitely looks better in person. Glad he likes his car and that’s what matters.

    I love the G8s, but rarely see one. Tried to buy one, but they were asking crazy prices for used GTs.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    First of all, Gene, it was awesome of you to let Bark test-drive your baby.

    I didn’t realize that was the reason the G8 didn’t offer nav…which a lot of buyers complained about. I thought that GM of America was simply being lazy/cheap and didn’t want to design a navigation head-unit for the car’s American customers. Fortunately, the SS uses the Global-A electronics architecture (which debuted with the 2010 Camaro, Equinox, Terrain, LaCrosse and SS and has since expanded to include all of GM’s consumer vehicles, as well as the Caprice PPV), and so as you see it’s got the same MyLink system as many of the Buick/Chevy models.

    Honestly, the reason GM isn’t marketing this car is probably because it isn’t detrimental to the brand that it’s sold under. It also doesn’t enjoy five-figure profit margins like the full-sized BOF vehicles do. But I still wish they’d called it something other than “SS”.

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    More modern Hemi Chargers with world class ZF 8 speeds on the way. Aussie built GM rwds are going the way of the dodo bird while Mopar is sharing genetics with Maserati going forward.

    Mopar über alles

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Now that is one professor who will never be late for class again.

  • avatar
    Mattsterzz

    From a Australian perspective (and a person who rarely comments), who has read many extremely wonderful reviews of the Commodore locally, I am constantly saddened when the American press keep ridiculing the SS. Considering the negative press on the 300C we get here, I can understand the bias in the magazines locally, however it still makes me sad as this is the last hoorah for Holden, and we want to go out with a bang, and with a limited budget to modernise the thing, I thought it was fantastic, although I will sad that I was surprised by the huge plastic grill, which isnt my cup of tea. Coming from a Ford guy, its far better than the Falcon, and I still want it to succeed for Australia’s sake.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    How difficult would it be to convert this to an American Holden Commodore? Just a matter of ordering grille and trim bits from Australia?

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Correct – parts are VERY expensive. Crazy Paul or JHP would be your sources.

      Converting a G8 to a VE front clip is about $4K with paint ( includes hood). VE SS conversion closer to $5K. GTS faux conversion kit (not genuine parts) will push $7K, add fenders think $10.5K with paint.

      It can be done – but it hurts.

  • avatar
    shaker

    As an “enthusiast’s car”, I can see the point of this, but as a “commuter” car, all I can see is Exxon-Mobil cracking a sly smile every time you put the hammer down.
    If I were a man of your station, I would have popped another $30k on a Tesla Model S. In gun-metal grey, with a layer of road grime, quite the “Q-Ship” itself.
    I enjoyed the sound and thrust of many V8′s back before the oil crisis of the 70′s, but after that time, I realized the stranglehold that “The Juice” has on us, and have bought 4 or 6 cyls since.
    That said, if you *do* buy a Model S, I’d certainly love to hear about it. Thanks for the contribution.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    For gods sake man take the Metro to work and get a decent car.

  • avatar
    jrasero23

    The first picture makes me cringe. I hate those high curbs that either scratch or crumble your front bumper.

    Secondly this is the great car, basically the G8 but in a Chevy jacket and it pairs well with the Camaro so Chevy has two legitimate performance options one being a four door. My main problem is looks. The SS looks like a Chevy Cruze with specs of Cadillac (side vents), but other than that a pedestrian car that looks like any average mid size sedan. On looks alone the car doesn’t even come close to a $40k car while the G8 looked like a poor mans Pontiac version of a BMW M3. But maybe that’s the point to have a every mans sports car that doesn’t look as austintatious as other $40k cars and that surprises you when it burns you at the light. Still I but a lot of people want the total package of performance and looks for $40k, something Pontiac did a better job with compared to Chevy.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      In person the SS does not look like a Cruze. For one it’s much larger and longer. Second it has a more noticeable presence that the smaller Chevy lacks. Third the interior is far roomier and fancier. And lets not forget that V8 roar compared to the hair dryer sound the 1.4T!

    • 0 avatar
      lukemo2

      Good God man. The SS looks nothing like a Cruze. It looks like a Chevrolet. Just as all manufacturers all over the world do; Chevy vehicles share a common design language within their family. That way, they can be distinguished as chevrolet’s.

      It bothers me when people say “this dodge looks like that dodge”, or “this chevy looks like that chevy”. In my mind, its akin to racial profiling. While the statement may not be completely untrue, most of the time is downright degrading. Especially in this situation. There is no way in HELL I could ever mistake an SS for a Cruze. That’s silly talk would never escape the lips of a true car enthusiast.

  • avatar
    jrocco001

    Sorry GM. I was your demographic for this car years ago. Blew a lot of money on a new 99 Grand Prix GTP only to see it die early, despite a lot of TLC and never running it hard. Bought a 2009 Acadia that also died young. Looks like a fun car…that will also die young.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    I saw the Gener crying in his sleep.

  • avatar
    achevroletman

    Thank you for the review, it was fun to read. First laid eyes on the SS at Spring Mountain Ranch during some schooling and I really loved the demure non agro looks and style. The first time I heard the exhaust growl to life, it was exciting, nothing sounds quite like American V8 muscle.
    The SS fits a niche market and with the addition of some suspension improvement and a manual offering, sales will be in line with expectations. I thought the comments about being done with the German offerings after his 3rd ECU were very revealing and quite on point, based on what I hear from former German car owners about their experiences. American exceptionalism is alive and well, if you build it, they will come.

  • avatar
    Ibleedburgundy

    I actually bought the SS in part because I thought it would be low key – a sleeper. Maybe red wasn’t a good choice because people comment on it everywhere I go. In person it is still a touch understated for a car that packs a 6.2, but still has an aggressive stance and that sound! I can see how someone would think it looked lame based on some internet pictures. In real life you might change your mind – as I did.

    I am also surprised to read that the author didn’t think the car handled well. This makes me wonder if the owner didn’t pump the tires properly or something. Other car magazines have this thing doing .95 g’s of lateral grip. I’ve driven a 300 SRT and a Challenger SRT extensively (my brother’s last two cars). I traded in my Magnum RT for the SS. I love the Chrysler full size RWD cars. I drove one for 10 years. When it comes to cornering though, there is no contest. The SS is on another level.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India