By on December 22, 2014

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(Please accept my apologies for this long-ago-promised and painfully overdue comparison. -DK)

With the demise of the Chrysler 300 SRT, Americans are limited to two choices for a domestic sports sedan. And neither of them are built in America.

The Chevrolet SS, as we all know, is built in Port Elizabeth, Australia. Based on the Holden VE Commodore, the SS gets the best of what Holden has to offer: a rear-drive Zeta platform, an LS3 V8 engine and styling that many find to be far too restrained and understated – to me, that’s a big part of the appeal.

When Bark M drove this car a year ago (to help kick off our Reader Ride Review program), he was diplomatically lukewarm about the car, praising the small-block V8 and the 7/10ths handling prowess, while criticizing the car’s balky gearbox and Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. I was dumbstruck. As a big fan of the Pontiac G8 (and Australian rear-drive sedans), I wanted to believe that Bark’s impressions of the SS were colored by the fact that he drives a Boss 302 on a daily basis. It turns out he was right.

While GM nominally describes the SS as a limited production sports sedan, it’s easy to understand why sales of this car are in the toilet, marketing support or no marketing support. The G8 was a brilliant last stand from a dying brand when it was introduced in 2009. Driving the SS today just shows how the competition has moved on.

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Yes, the interior with the big MyLink touch screen and the heads-up display is a vast improvement over the old G8. There’s lots of space for passengers both fore and aft. Flimsy paddles aside, everything is high quality, pleasing to the touch and sufficiently upscale – if you can ignore the bright red “SS” emblems stitched into the seats. The trunk is made for an Australian family, which is to say, it’s huge.

I wanted to like this car so, so badly, but the driving experience fell utterly flat. Yes, you get big thrust and a nice small-block soundtrack from the LS3 (finally a proper LS, unlike the 6.0 mill in the old G8). A naturally aspirated V8 is fast becoming an endangered species, and this is one of the best. But the transmission can’t keep pace.

Nor could the rest of the car, for that matter. On the winding backroads around Summit Point Raceway, the SS just didn’t feel that special. At a hair under 4000 lbs, it’s lighter than the Charger SRT, but you’d never know it. The SS isn’t as buttoned-down in turns as the Charger, while the uncommunicative steering doesn’t flatter the car’s size or heft. In the brilliant shade of metallic black, the SS seemed to be the closest thing available to an old moonshiner’s hot-rod. It also drove like one too.

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If you want the top-performing American sports sedan, you’ll have to opt for the Charger SRT 392, which is actually built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It’s not as elegant as the SS, though I bet that many people will prefer its more aggressive looks. The new for 2015 restyling tones down some of the overly-aggro snout on the outgoing car, but there’s no mistaking it for the V6 SXT you’ll find on the Avis lot.

At nearly 4400 lbs and just under 200 inches long, the Charger is, as they’d say in the Antipodes, “a big fucker”. The lighter SS makes do with less power  – 6.2L and 415 horsepower versus the Charger’s 6.4L and 485 horsepower -, but the seemingly minor differences are deceptive on paper. Sort of like how there is but a mere millimeter difference between a 9mm and a 10mm handgun cartridge, but one is used by police forces while the other can stop a grizzly dead in its tracks.

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The SRT V8 is not as refined or as smooth as the storied LS3, but the extra output, combined with the utterly brilliant 8-speed automatic means that the Charger 392 has the Chevrolet beat hands down for aural drama and straight line performance. The soundtrack is a masterpiece of pyrotechnic sounds that mimics the AMG 6.2L V8s NASCAR-esque notes, and the engine is as strong between 60 and 100 mph as it is from a dig. If that weren’t enough, the 2015 SRT adds the Hellcat’s massive Brembo brakes (15.4 inch rotors up front, 13.8 inches in the back) and a whole suite of adjustable driving modes for the suspension, throttle, gearbox and traction control. There’s also an updated interior with better materials and the excellent UConnect/Alpine stereo system – I concur with Baruth when he says it might be the best mainstream audio system in the business.

With the SS getting a 6-speed manual and an updated suspension for 2015, a rematch is only fair. But driving the two cars back to back opened my eyes to the possibility that, aside from CAFE and a shrinking market for full-size cars, there’s a reason we’ve never gotten the Commodore as a mainstream Chevrolet product: it’s just not good enough to compete. Right now, FCA has the full-size rear-drive mainstream sedan segment all to itself, and its sales are still strong, even after all these years. For an Americanized-Commodore to steal sales away from the LX cars – and the Taurus, and Avalon and Azera and the Impala- it would have to be extraordinarily compelling. Right now, I can’t say that about the SS, no matter how much I like the idea of it.

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120 Comments on “Capsule Comparison: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392 Vs. 2014 Chevrolet SS...”


  • avatar
    theupperonepercent

    The refreshed Charger looks less aggressive than the refresh.

    The SS doesn’t look “terrifying” at all. It looks boring.

    The Charger has nicer proportions, better technology and a fold down rear-seat.

    I only drive manuals.

    The 392 Automatic is a great powertrain. Too bad you can’t get the Challenger’s 6-speed in the Charger.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you read the article? Nobody said it looks terrifying.

      • 0 avatar
        theupperonepercent

        I am personally saying that I don’t like it because it doesn’t look terrifying.

        I expect the car to strike fear into the hearts of men.

        When a Dodge Charger is in your rear view, you immediately think it’s the police Highway Patrol and you are fearful.

        That’s what an American muscle car should be.

        The Hellcat’s grill is more aggressive than the standard Charger , R/T and SRT.

        I prefer the Hellcat but only with a manual.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Strange comparison, as the Chevrolet SS, is the Holden Calais here, not a sports sedan. TWR has just released a 550kw, buy my rough estimate, 740hp, Sports Sedan based Commodore
        http://www.caradvice.com.au/307731/walkinshaw-racing-limited-edition-v8-supercharger-pack-boosts-hsv-to-550kw-holden-to-500kw/photos/

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Makes for a better sleeper.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        I get that some people like a sleeper. I would think though that most people want a performance purpose car to look the part. It adds to the experience in my opinion. Dodge does a great job of this. Chevy, not so much.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          “Most people want a performance purpose car to look the part.”

          That just means more unwelcome attention from law enforcement and gas-station mouth breathers.

          • 0 avatar
            mnm4ever

            All you have to do is look at the sales figures to see which “look” more people prefer.

            I would also guess that many people who want a sleeper performance car also may prefer a more subtle approach to performance, and shop the European options.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            I don’t think production figures are all that far apart considering…when comparing apples to apples

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            dal, when you drive a car with this kind of performance, you don’t need it to look bada** for Five-O to lock on to it. All you need to do is show up in their radar gun at extra-legal speed, which either of these cars can do real easily.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Freedmike

            But the thing is, the cop is more likely to let you go if you are driving something that screams “Soccar Dad” instead of “Boy Racer”. I can’t tell you how many times I have wailed past a cop in one of my station wagons with nary a twitch from the cop. Try that in a murdered out Charger or a be-winged Subie and see how fast you get pulled over.

        • 0 avatar

          I always preferred the Firebird Formula to the Trans Am. A 4 door sedan can always be driven faster than a sports ride. This means I can hold a higher average speed in my black TDi with steelies than a C7 vette in most north american driving.

          Crazy, yes, but there you have it. I learned this years ago in my GLH Turbo…

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I don’t think there’s anything about which reviews have been more inconsistent than the SS’s steering. Some (like Derek) say it’s lifeless. Others say it’s brilliant. There’s little in between. The hydraulic steering in my G8 *is* brilliant, and I really hope the EPS they used in the SS didn’t ruin that. But reading all of the reviews just leaves me confused. I’d love to test drive an SS to find out, but that’s a tall order when there are so few in my area.

    Derek, have you ever driven a 2011-2014 Charger/300 SRT? If so, are the 2015’s suspension and steering noticeably better?

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      This is the first truly negative review of the SS I’ve read, so I’m confused too. MT and C&D both gave the SS a solid lead over the SRTs in comparison tests (granted, those were pre-facelift). Heck, even Consumer Reports loves the SS. I guess if I were in the market for something like this I’d just have to test drive them extra carefully.

  • avatar
    caltemus

    These are all pictures of hellcats. There’s maybe one 392 in the background.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      It clearly says 392 HEMI on the fender.

      Also the radar cruise control/FCW “circle” dead center in the lower grill is a giveaway.

      An R/T is in the background.

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        The white Charger in the background of the lead Charger (showing approximately 6 cars) is a HellCat. The badge is different. The HellCat uses the cat’s head logo whereas the SRT 392 says plainly that “392 Hemi”.

        • 0 avatar
          caltemus

          Upon zooming in I am wrong. I didn’t think they had the same wheels and hood that the Hellcat did. I saw the one on their site and saw only one similar one in the background of the red car.

          http://i.imgur.com/smY3UhG.png
          http://www.drivesrt.com/2014/charger-srt/392-edition/

          EDIT: read the model year in the title, disregard

  • avatar
    mcs

    Two choices for a domestic sports sedan? What about the Model S?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Hmm. Good point. They’re not even very far apart in price if you get the Tesla Model S 60.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Not remotely the same price range. The most basic Tesla S 60 is $71k. Both of these products are in the high 40s.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Or SHO…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        He said, domestic “sport sedan,” Poncho…a SHO Taurus might be fairly quick, but it’s decidedly un-sporty.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I was gonna say … it’s not RWD, but it is AWD, and it’s American, and it’s got plenty of power ,and it’s a sedan…

        From other comments, maybe the problem with the SHO is that it doesn’t look horrible enough?

        (Per Wikipedia, “sporty” is “whatever the driver feels like”. An Altima might be “sporty”. I see no reason an SHO can’t be.)

        • 0 avatar
          John R

          There is a dynamics threshold (read: ability to turn a corner) relative to a car’s competition that must be met and or exceeded for an AWD car to be considered a “sports sedan”, I think.

          An AWD Fusion and an AWD Audi A4 2.0t may make rougly the same power, but after the first corner…

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          As much as I’m inclined to agree that the SHO isn’t super sporty, it is probably as much as a sport sedan as these other two pigs.

          Lets be realistic here, a sports sedan that weighs 2 tons? Almost an oxymoron.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            2 ton sport sedans are common these days. They handily outperform their predecesors that weighed less in every way, so I’m ok with them using the moniker.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            danio
            I see what you’re cooking…of course that is really all we have to choose from these days.

            A 3500 lb Fusion SHO or Sebring SRT sure would be a nice sports sedan, and more fitting of the label than these things. Technology is what has really allowed these beasts to be as good as they are, not that I’m complaining. I’d still pick a Charger over a Sebring SRT.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I would expect a Fusion ST/Sport sooner or later. Ford is rolling out more than a dozen new performance vehicles in the next few years. I’d be shocked if the Fusion didn’t get some love with the 2016 refresh.

            I’ll be at Joe Louis Arena on Jan 11th or 12th for what should be a Ford Performance rollout.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The Tesla has ’em beat in many of the performance categories, except perhaps for the rumbling Nascar exhaust note.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Yes, but with less sound you don’t attract as much attention. Put it to the floor in an ICE performance car and you send out plenty of sound to alert any nearby cops that you might be having a bit of fun. With a Tesla, you don’t attract the same sort of attention.

  • avatar
    sexyhammer

    Derek, I like the fact that the Chevy is much, much lighter in comparison to the Dodge. So could we then presume (as potential buyers of either on the resale market), that the SS is an infinitely better starting point for modification than the Charger?

    Aftermarket availability aside, assuming one had the means and ends to rectify the more glaring issues on-hand: How do they stack up if you intend to build-not-buy your domestic sports sedan?

    Would you be able to raid the GM parts bin and piece together a T56 swap with (relatively) minor headaches to rid yourself of the lackluster shifting performance of the automatic? Would investing in some suspension upgrades do much more for this thing than give your wife a reason to complain about every expansion joint and speed bump that crosses your path? What can be done about the steering feel and feedback?

    I’ve driven a G8 and a Charger (not the SRT model compared here) and I felt like the Dodge was the clear loser even when taking the drivetrain out of the equation; there was just no driving impression whatsoever to be had from the latter. The package came together in such a way that I could have been sitting in a recliner playing Gran Turismo 3 (yeah, from a decade or so ago) and been totally unable to tell the difference. But I also don’t want to unfairly apply that impression to the Mopar’s performance models, and I’ll never be a new car buyer… So who rules the roost when it comes to outside-the-warranty upgrades?

  • avatar
    superchan7

    This segment is about attitude. The Charger has that in spades, and now it even has a nice interior.

    The SS is conservative in appearance, not unlike an E-class AMG. It can’t compete with the Charger in badassery, and it can’t compete with the Germans in refinement, design or features. It’s an unfortunate product that is neither here nor there, wrapped in sheetmetal from 2003.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I do love that deep blackberry color that Chrysler offers. Mmmmmmmmmmm… It seems that the SS was made for the fanboys and to assure law enforcement that there would be “civilian” models on the streets so all their unmarked cars weren’t all dead giveaways while the Dodge truly intends to capture the attention of people who didn’t even have Dodge on their radar previously.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Cops want Explorers, Tauri, and Tahoes. Another GM fail.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Perhaps in the snow belt, I saw quite a few Charger PPVs in Virginia.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          We have Chargers here in Michigan too. The State Police use them. The only Caprice cop cars I have seen are in Warren (GM Tech Center is in Warren) and Detroit (gifted to the city). I see more RWD Expeditions as cop cars than the Caprice.

          My state cop neighbor says his two favorite cars for highway patrol are the Charger V8 and Taurus Ecoboost.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I understand the Taurus 3.7 police spec is indeed fast and well liked in chases, although I was told it was not turbo.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Police Interceptor Sedan (Taurus) has four different engine options now. 2.0T FWD, 3.5L FWD, 3.7L AWD, and 3.5EB AWD.

            Other problems with the Caprice include the fact that it doesn’t have a column shifter, is only available in RWD, many of the basics aren’t standard, and it’s not made in the US or Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            You can order the Fords with or without turbos.

            The Washington State Patrol has Caprices, as do a few cities here. Worth noting (again) that the Caprice PPV is on the LWB Zeta platform while the SS is on the SWB platform. They look rather different. The Caprice did get the WN interior upgrades for 2015, so now cops can have MyLink.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “The Police Interceptor Sedan (Taurus) has four different engine options now. 2.0T FWD, 3.5L FWD, 3.7L AWD, and 3.5EB AWD.”

            2.0T really just a detective car, and for other “light duty” applications. They are not pursuit rated.

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            Does anyone else love the fact that the 3.5L FWD Taurus will do 0-60 in the high 6s? In my world, that’s fast. All hail this era of big V6s we’ve been enjoying for the past decade or so. I’ll look back on it fondly.

            Back on topic: Are those fake cut-outs for a racing harness on the SS’s front seats? I seem to remember a reviewer’s complaining about those in some video or other. If so, ugh.

            I’ve seen only one or two SSs in the wild, and I like the understated exterior.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The WSP are the only ones I’ve seen using the PPV around here. The Charger is virtually non-existent. The few Chargers you see on the used market have been retired at 60K because they just don’t hold up.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Now, if you want a REAL sleeper, I’d suggest the police-spec Caprice with the 6.0. I’d buy that one.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I saw my first SS in the wild a couple weeks ago, a really nice steel grey model. I seriously looked at it and said to my wife “that is a really nice looking Impala”, before it got closer and I saw the SS emblem. So it fools even die hard car guys.

    And it was a good looking car, has nice proportions, its just not special enough for the badge whores while being expensive enough to have to compete with the badges. It is what it is, a RWD V8 sports sedan for the lifelong Chvey fan; the guy who has owned every generation of Corvette, has a Silverado for work and a Tahoe for the family, now he doesn’t have to buy a Buick or Cadillac for a nice sedan. I don’t think they expect to sell many of them anyways.

    Anyone see the movie “Drive”? I was thinking the SS would make the perfect getaway car for The Driver, instead of a hopped up FWD Impala.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Leave it to Canadians to hunt bears with handguns!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Chrysler/Dodge are kicki!ng a$$ & taking names.

    GM’s got NOTHING on the 300/Durango-GrandCherokee/Charger/ChallengerHellcatOrHemi/JeepAnything vehicles.

    Chrysler/Dodge don’t jack their MSRP to insane levels like GM, and offer VALUE for MONEY and TRUE PERFORMANCE/CAPABILITY BONA FIDES.

    Charger/Challeger Hellcat > Anything Cadillac/Chevy (Vette excluded), and for less $$$

    Chrysler 300? The Comfy, plush Cadillac for 28k to 38k (loaded) that Cadillac NO LONGER MAKES.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    LOVE that 392…

    Here in Denver, we have a monthly “cruise night” for classic/performance cars in Golden (where Coors is brewed), and last year a few guys showed up in their 392 Challengers. Lord, what an exhaust note…like a purring tiger with a subwoofer, but fierce as hell once you open it up. Glorious. Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

    Long live Mopar.

  • avatar
    ItsMeMartin

    Nice timing, Derek – you posted this article about a day after I recalled “Hey, didn’t they promise to do the SS vs SRT comparo some months ago?”
    By the way, are there any plans to post the remaining V6 Charger vs Impala comparison?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    One minor nit Derek – the SS is based on the VF platform, not the VE.

  • avatar
    midnite_clyde

    I keep reminding my wife her Journey is a piece of crap but she doesn’t believe me. 3.6 6 speed auto, leather, remote start heated seats and on and on for $24k. Smooth and very quiet. Motor Week did a comparo a while back. 9 or 10 CUVs. Journey was 2nd. Great looking interior, 8.5″ screen….18 months and NO problems whatsoever.

    …and you guys have driven one when? Too much bandwagon jumping with opinions not facts.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      CR is pretty good with facts. And if hers is so good why are you telling her otherwise?

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        CR should stick with washing machines…..which they can’t really do as we bought a “top rated” one and it spent more time being repaired than it did washing clothes. Lowes actually offered a different set for all the trouble.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “CR is pretty good with facts”

        Says the man with the Dell computer and a refrigerator that crapped-out after 5 years. Stop reading your Consumer Reports and save yourself some money and aggravation

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          B-b-but then I’d have to think for myself!

          THE HORROR

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          So what’s wrong with Dell computers? I had one I bought in 1999 with (Ugh) Windows ME that I gave to a broke friend who needed a PC, and it still works fine, I put XP on it before I gave it to him. I’ve had two Dell laptops and they’ve been trouble free. Where I used to work, we had Compaq, HP, Dell, and Gateway PCs. The Dells were the best, hands down. Very few non Windows issues. The HP’s were the worst, but HP was very good about swapping bad ones out and fixing/replacing them.

          A funny story: 20 HP high dollar laptops once went “missing” after they were delivered, but not given to employees yet. They had been returned due to them having bad WIFI cards in them, but nobody told the guy(How this happened in the days of email, I don’t understand) who was in charge and had been on vacation when they were sent back, so as far as he was concerned, they were “stolen”. A huge investigation was started, including an undercover woman posing as an employee, polygraph tests, grilling of certain employees who had access to them, etc. It went on for some time, and then one day, they showed back up. When the boss saw they had been returned, he went off the deep end. It was explained to him why they had been returned, and he got even angrier that no one had sent any emails out telling someone about this. The guy who was in charge of distributing and configuring PCs was aware of the laptops being returned, and that there were 20 “missing” laptops, but he never thought they were the same machines, so he never asked that question.

          My only complaint about Dell, and it’s funny looking back on it, was with Dell Financial. I bought a high end 17″ gaming laptop from Dell, with 6 months same as cash financing. After I got it, I didn’t get an invoice, and no matter how many times I tried, I could not generate one online. I called, and got someone in India, of course, and I explained that I wanted to make a payment, but was unable to do so, and wanted to start paying on it, so I would avoid interest. Her English wasn’t too great, and after a couple of calls with other people, finally one in Texas, all was well, so I thought. I sent in my first payment of $350, and it was received fine. Then one morning, I got a phone call. This guy was in the Phillipines, and spoke very good English, and he says, “I am in charge of investigating your missing laptop!, We have confirmed that you, who was known by the delivery driver took delivery, so we know you have it!”. I laughed, and he yelled, “This is a very serious matter Sir!”. I said, “Well, my laptop isn’t missing, it never was, it’s sitting here about two feet from me!”. When I explained that my calls were about a missing invoice/bill, he started yelling, “Oh my god, this is a disaster! Why can’t they hire people who can at least speak English worth a damn!.” I’ve thought the same thing, speaking to many support people for many PC companies.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Why can’t they hire people who can at least speak English worth a damn!.” I’ve thought the same thing, speaking to many support people for many PC companies.”

            This is why I’ll never have a Dell again. Since switching from Dell I’ve not had a support issue because my non-Dell computers haven’t needed support

          • 0 avatar
            petezeiss

            Dell is great. Bought them for years for everyone in the family. It’s a reliable standard and suffused with the power of Good Enough.

            The only computer related support hell I’ve ever entered was all about Mac. Candy-coated pieces of poo. Although Mac’s OS is sheer beauty.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            What the hell, I’ll weigh in – another happy long-time Dell user here. Have owned probably a dozen total and no problems that weren’t OS-related. And the Dell outlet flat out rocks.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            My Dell is about 5 years old. I’ll second the outlet store, some good bargains there. Also Dell works well with Linux which is what I use.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      midnite
      you expect anything more from the huge group of armchair quarterbacks here?

      I mean, TTAC is the only blog/publication that put the Charger above the SS for driving enjoyment…

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Just remember for every car made no matter how good or bad it is there will be someone out here who’ll think it’s the biggest POS that was ever built immediately following the guy who thinks it’s the greatest car ever made

  • avatar
    DPerkins

    Another low volume, low profit potential product from GM. Why does GM put so much effort it low volume products? Why don’t they offer lower cost, entry level performance (eg: Ford Focus and Fiesta ST) under the Chevy brand?

    The SS, CTS-V, ATS-V, Z28, Camaro SS 1Le, ZR1s, etc. – are all good products that get kudos from performance fans, but GM doesn’t pay attention to potential volume segments (CUVs for Cadillac, the current SRX (long in the tooth), Malibu, Equinox (overdue to update despite sales), Cruze (why no performance version when powertrain exists in Verano).

    Just wondering.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      DPerkins
      Where was the effort put with the SS? They already made this car and sold it around the world. The only effort involved tooling up for the bowtie badges.

      The Equinox is still printing money for GM in a big way. The SRX has done pretty good, but yes, needs to be updated. The Malibu..well, it could be worse. I’ll bet GM is actually doing ok with them in the big picture.

      The only reason Ford has the Fiesta/Focus ST is because they also sell virtually the same car overseas…similar in concept to the SS.

      • 0 avatar
        DPerkins

        They spent a ton of money updating the SS platform – electrical harness, etc. to federalize it. Spent a ton on integrating it into NASCAR. All for very few sales.

        The Equinox is making money, but they seem to be into the old GM habit of milking a product dry while the competition continually improves.

        The Ford ST cars show Ford is at least paying attention to the entry level performance customer.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          DP
          They didn’t do all that just for the US. The cars were set to be updated for global sales.

          The Nascar thing is pure marketing anyway, just a drop in the bucket from another department’s budget.

          In reality the Equinox has about the same cycle that everyone else has been using for their CUV’s. The Rav-4 was around for 7 years virtually unchanged, Escape was even longer, the Honda almost as long…

          The ST cars too are a drop in the bucket. I suppose GM might be smart in bring over some of the hotter Opels to compete, but hen there would probably be someone saying the same thing you are “why are they wasting the money in federalizing…”

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The ST cars have done alright for Ford. They may be a drop in the bucket, but Ford wouldn’t be expanding Ford Performance if the ST products didn’t make money.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Ford said they made just under 11K Focus ST’s for the 2013 model year in the US.

            Not bad, but not exactly on fire either.

            I’m glad Ford is doing more in this area, even if it isn’t my cup of tea. Is it a hot enough area for GM to jump in head first? I think they have more important things to improve on in some more mainstream cars first.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s about 5% of total Focus sales in the US. Not bad, but I am sure each ST unit is more profitable than a SE unit.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            That was Focus, can’t find Fiesta numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Yeah, I misread and then edited it. I assume that it wouldn’t be that much different.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Found it
            Looks like just over 4,500 Fiesta ST’s in 2014

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            So a slightly higher ST take rate on the Fiesta than Focus. Both in the 5% range though.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      The V6 Camaro IS GM’s entry level performance car. Depending on what source you read, it is as close as makes no difference to the Focus ST in MSRP and 0-60 times. Also relatively cheap and easy to squeeze a few more HP out of the NA V6 – slap a decent intake and exhaust on the Camaro and it will spank a stock Focus ST rather handily (cheap bolt-on mods pretty much don’t exist for turbo motors).
      I know, it weighs 500lbs more than the Focus, but that doesn’t necessarily disqualify it as “entry level performance”.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Right, but Ford also has the V6 and 2.3T Mustang as well as the Fiesta ST. They’ve been able to sell enough Focus STs to justify bringing the Focus RS over and expanding the ST line. Sport compacts seem to do decent sales wise in the US. It would be nice if GM had a Cruze SS. The drivetrain in the Cobalt SS was great, but the problem was that it was a Cobalt. Maybe the Cruze SS would fix that problem.

        • 0 avatar
          hybridkiller

          DPerkins cited all the higher-priced V8 performance cars and suggested that GM offered nothing “entry-level”. I was simply pointing out that they, in fact, do.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’d like something else in the Chevy portfolio. I know they have the Verano and Regal, but a Cruze SS would be interesting. GM seemed to figure out how to bring a diesel version over (that makes up under 2% of total Cruze sales).

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            where is Norm when you need him to tell you all you need is a Trifecta tune to make a Cruze SS

            I agree. I would love it if my car had 100 – 150hp more. The chassis sure can handle it.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            @bball
            Agreed – Ford has had a smaller/lightweight, more global sort of performance ethic for a long time, something GM doesn’t seem to want to “focus” on (see what I did there?)

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The Cruze is a very good car. If someone isn’t particularly concerned with sportiness, I’d recommend the Cruze over just about everything in the compact class.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Mine has actually been a pos, but it can be fun to drive with the manual transmission and sport suspension (base engine and automatic are completely boring appliances).

            I can’t say I’d recommend it, but I also can’t say it is better or worse than anything else in the segment. I think it is more or less what you get in that size/price range.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well that sucks. As far as compacts go, it’s big and comfortable. I would rather have it as a rental than an Altima.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            That’s ok, hasn’t cost me a dime in 88K miles other than 1 set of tires, oil and filters, and the dealer has been 1st class. I have accepted that I should not have bought a 1st model year car. Mine has had almost all the 2011 model year known issues.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Pretty close to how many SS’s are sold for every (non-limited) Impala sold. Depending on point of view, the SS isn’t doing too bad.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            But the SS doesn’t roll down the same line with the Impala. It is made in a completely different country on a completely different plaform and cost WAAAAAAY more to bring to marker than any ST Ford product.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Are you sure about that. They are both global platforms. The SS might not do all that well here but, like the ST, it is sold all around the world. In the big picture are they really any different.

            I was more or less going for similar cars in the class.

            I’m sure if I dug it would be fairly similar for the Charger and Charger SRT8, only they don’t have a global field they play in.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            Impala is essentially a stretched Malibu, FWD – SS is a rebadged Holden Commodore, RWD – different cars, designed and built on different continents.
            Charger SRT8 IS a Charger, just with beefier powertrain and suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            PonchoIndian

            Hybrid,
            I’m going to sound like an ass and I don’t mean to and this isn’t really directed at you…but come on. I certainly know they aren’t the same car and am very familiar with the differences…sometimes it seems like people feel the need to educate everyone on here even if they know the other person has some knowledge…

            They do sell in the same “class” of car however, and they have similar sales numbers and transaction prices.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            Just pointing out that IMO the Charger/SRT8 analogy didn’t really apply well to your Impala/SS comparison. Remember, it’s called the “Chevrolet SS”, not the “Impala SS”. I get that they’re both full size Chevy sedans, but the similarities end there.

            btw, I’m not weighing in on the sales numbers discussion, I understand that was what you were actually referring to.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Dperkins
      Built in Australia for Australian and New Zealand markets. Also buit here and rebadged as a Vauxhall for UK market

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Great article. This is why I read TTAC. And a second thanks for mentioning the fold down seat in the Charger.

    Bring back the Magnum!

  • avatar
    nickoo

    For the longest time I thought I wanted a charger R/T type sedan, but the more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards something like a mustang GT. The charger is an awesome car, but what’s the point of getting a car that tries to compromise on two things instead of a pure sports car?

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      For you I guess there is no point, but many people want/need a car that does more than one thing well, and are happy with a car that does multiple things reasonably well.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      There’s always a middle ground for people’s needs and desires in their cars. Why not get a Lotus Elise, if you want to go all the way to a track weapon? It can sit in the garage while you commute in another car on weekdays. I’d bet most buyers don’t want the practicality compromises of a 2-door car. When I talk to my colleagues about cars, it’s always “I want an XYZ someday…..” but they drive Toyota Highlanders and Siennas.

      I’m not a potential customer at this time (not sure if I’ll ever move away from impractical sports cars, barring financial needs), but I do see the appeal in a family car with a mean-sounding V8.

      Whatever your preference is, we need more cool cars on the road. We have enough Camrys.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Good point on the Elise, if I could afford one that would be on the table. As I do have another vehicle to take care of other duties, I was also thinking late model corvette could be an interesting option…

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve owned both, so I can answer that. They’re decidedly different cars for different purposes. The Charger is a sedan with room in it that can also go fast. The Mustang is smaller and decidedly more sporty but compromised with cargo and people space. I now have a Challenger which lies somewhere in the middle, noticeably more sporting than the Charger, but with enough room to carry a good amount of people/things.

  • avatar
    rb48901

    Another small factual correction, the cars are made in the City of Elizabeth in South Australia, not Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Actually a large factual error. How do I know? I drive past the factory about once a week, and I am not South African!

  • avatar
    baconator

    The manual transmission + Magnaride option package is the Chevy’s hole card. I prefer the sleeper look and am looking forward to the rematch.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Now Ford needs to bring back Yamaha’s SHO engine…

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