Recently, I've spent a lot of time behind the wheel of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible. As you might expect, it's awesome, and as a life-long Corvette enthusiast it has pegged my "want" meter. This is wildly impractical of course. I'm married, I have three kids, and I like taking my wife and children with me when I go places. Sadly, the Corvette's two seats don't allow for much in the way of family outings.

Also: 12 Best Family Cars of 2014

But the 2014 Chevrolet SS sedan is a compelling substitute.

This is not a 4-door Corvette, mind you. Heck, it's not even a 4-door Chevrolet Camaro, even though it shares a lot of that sport coupe's running gear. In no way do I want to oversell the SS. This is a big, rear-drive, V8 powered sedan in the tradition of big American cars. The 6.2-liter V8 puts out 415 horsepower and routes it through a six-speed automatic transmission. It makes all the right V8 vroom-vroom sounds too. It comes in one very well equipped model, with just color choice, a sunroof, and a full-size spare tire on the options list. It's also not cheap, costing about $45,500, including the destination charge and $1,300 gas guzzler tax. 

But it's a blast and a half to drive. The car rockets to 60 mph, and if you put it in Sport mode and use the paddle shifters, the transmission reacts quickly, with the engine revving as you downshift. The suspension is stiff enough to hustle this big sedan around a corner, but no so harsh that it beats you up on the highway. It's not the smoothest or quietest car in the Chevy lineup, nor is it the most luxurious; that would probably be the front-wheel drive Chevy Impala. But it's not supposed to be; tellingly, the SS is listed under Chevy's Performance lineup on its website, sharing space with the Camaro and Corvette. 

Chevy's not kidding either. Buyers of the SS put a premium on performance instead of luxury, and while this big sedan is certainly comfortable, and packed with higher-end features, it's missing a few things. There's no active cruise control, for example, and it uses a slightly older version of Chevy's MyLink. It's also a thirsty beast, with even the Corvette beating it out in fuel economy during its stay here (although not by much). 

Also: 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000

That's all beside the point though. The SS fills a small but significant hole in the Chevy lineup, for people just like me, who maybe want a Corvette or Camaro, but with enough pragmatism to override their car lust. It's not cheap, but if that describes you, start saving.

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Read our expert review or build and price your own 2014 Chevrolet SS to unlock its Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more. 

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