It's rare for a domestic automaker to give birth to a new rear-wheel drive sedan, and it's even less common for that same vehicle to offer world-class levels of performance - two things that make the 2014 Chevrolet SS a car to watch out for. The 2014 Chevrolet SS succeeds in shaking off Chevrolet's full-size doldrums and gives the automaker a halo vehicle that it can be proud of even in the face of more expensive competitors.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Chevrolet SS.
01. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Is An All-New Sedan
The 2014 Chevrolet SS carries a familiar name, but it’s a brand new full-size four-door car that doesn't share any of its underpinnings with the automaker's existing retail lineup. Although SS has often been used in the past as a high performance trim level on existing Chevrolet models, the sleekly-styled Chevrolet SS marks the first time these two letters hold forth as their own unique model. On top of its sporty pretensions, the SS is also notable for offering family-friendly levels of interior room, which should help gearheads justify its purchase on purely practical grounds.
02. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Hails From Australia
Although the 2014 Chevrolet SS might be unique in North America, it actually borrows its platform from one of GM's most revered foreign nameplates - Australia's Holden. Specifically, the Chevrolet SS is based on the Holden Commodore, a sedan that has long been a paragon of performance Down Under. If the name Commodore sound familiar, it should: it's the same model that previously donated its design to the Pontiac G8 GXP, a spiritual forerunner of the Chevrolet SS that had its time on Earth cut short by the post-bankruptcy elimination of the Pontiac brand from the market.
03. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Offers Robust V-8 Power
There are, of course, numerous differences between the Holden Commodore and the Chevrolet SS, and one of the biggest can be found in the Chevy's engine bay. Specifically, the Chevrolet SS is motivated by a 6.2-liter LS3 V-8, which is a slightly de-tuned version of the same engine that has previously been installed in the brand's iconic Corvette sports car. Capable of generating 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, and spitting hot fire from dual tail pipes that exit underneath the car's rear bumper, the Chevrolet SS is the most generously-engined four-door sedan to be built by the brand in decades.
04. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Is Auto-Only
The 2014 Chevrolet SS offers a single transmission option: a six-speed automatic that makes use of a traditional torque converter rather than a dual-clutch design. Fear not, however, as performance fans are placated by the addition of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters that allow for the manual selection of individual cogs (something not even the Australian market gets). This is no ordinary six-speed slushbox, either, as GM's engineers have done their utmost to make sure that the transmission is capable of blasting off rapid shifts when the gas pedal is mashed to the floor without sacrificing smoothness when cruising around town.
05. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Features Rear-Wheel Drive
The fact that the 2014 Chevrolet SS shares its platform with the Holden Commodore means that it features a rear-wheel drive layout. This is notable for several reasons: not only does rear-wheel drive offer better handling and a purer experience behind the wheel when compared to a typical front-wheel drive arrangement, but it's also the first time Chevrolet has offered a full-size, rear-wheel drive sedan since the mid-1990s. The only other domestic automaker to provide a rear-wheel drive full-size car with similar performance to the Chevrolet SS is Chrysler, in the form of the Dodge Charger SRT and Chrysler 300 SRT models.
06. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Is Startlingly Quick
To the surprise of no one, the 2014 Chevrolet SS is a very rapid automobile. Blame it on the car's 415 horsepower, eight-cylinder engine: this four-door sedan can hit 60-mph from a standing start in an ultra-quick 4.5 seconds. Drag racers will also be pleased with the Chevy's ability to tear down the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds with a trap speed of 111 miles per hour. Of course, the Chevrolet SS isn't just quick in a straight line. The sedan's sophisticated suspension also gives it better-than-average performance in a slalom situation, as well as 0.95 g of road-holding when tested on a skid pad. 14-inch front Brembo brakes help the car slow down from its heady top speed of 160-mph when the radar detector lights up like a Christmas tree on the dash.
07. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Comes In A Single Trim Level
The 2014 Chevrolet SS only offers one trim level, dubbed the 'SS.' This means that all versions of the Chevrolet SS feature Bluetooth connectivity, the Chevrolet MyLink interface that integrates cell phones into the car's entertainment and communications system (and also provides access to voice commands), a CD player that can read MP3 files, power adjustments for the front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Chevrolet SS also comes with a rearview camera, a remote starter, a head-up display, a forward collision alert system, an automatic parking feature, keyless entry, and a lane departure warning system.
08. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Skirts The Luxury Market
You might have noticed from some of the items listed above that the 2014 Chevrolet SS offers buyers a level of equipment that isn't all that far off from what one would expect in a luxury vehicle. The Chevrolet SS is positioned as the flagship sedan in Chevy's fleet, and while that means it has to avoid competing with the full-on luxury of Cadillac's four-door offerings, it still provides a premium experience that is a cut above other Chevrolet models. This is particularly evident when comparing the SS' interior to that of some of its domestic rivals, as the Chevrolet provides softer materials and a more elegant passenger compartment layout.
09. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Is Making A Mark In NASCAR
The 2014 Chevrolet SS has replaced the Chevrolet Impala as the brand's entry into the popular NASCAR stock car racing series. While this might seem like a perfunctory switch - after all, the tube-frame and fiberglass cars that compete on NASCAR ovals bear little resemblance to their 'stock' equivalents - it's actually an important alignment of Chevy's brand philosophy with its racing persona. The Chevrolet SS is the only NASCAR entry whose street version offers rear-wheel drive and a V-8 engine, just like the Sprint Cup edition. The SS marks the first time GM has been able to make that type of connection in over 20 years.
10. The 2014 Chevrolet SS Is Surprisingly Affordable
The 2014 Chevrolet SS starts at an MSRP of $44,470. This figure might seem surprising given the level of performance, comfort, and style that the full-size four-door sedan delivers, but it's one that is in keeping with Chevrolet's brand philosophy concerning value, and its need to play nice with in-house rivals from Cadillac and Buick. The Chevrolet SS is in fact a few thousand dollars less expensive than the Dodge Charger SRT, its closest competitor in terms of features and performance, and just a bit pricier than the Ford Taurus SHO, which can't match the SS' rear-wheel drive feel nor its combination of safety gear and performance features.