By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The 2017 Chevrolet SS might just be the perfect sleeper sedan. Its fender vents and big wheels and tires suggest aggressiveness without screaming it. But the reality is that this is a full-fledged sports sedan, with a Corvette-derived V8 engine powering the rear wheels through an available 6-speed manual transmission, a sport-tuned suspension and Brembo brakes that give this big, comfortable, 5-passenger American sedan the moves of a high-end German luxury sports sedan. All this American power and German sophistication comes to us via Australia, where the Chevy SS is sold as the Holden Commodore. While its subdued styling may not turn heads like a Dodge Charger SRT, once you're behind the wheel you may find yourself involuntarily reaching for your checkbook.
This may be your last chance to get the Chevrolet SS, as the Australian Holden Commodore it's based on ceases production soon. But even if you aren't a collector, you'll want the 2017 Chevy SS for its uncanny blend of sophisticated styling, excellent driving manners and tire-smoking power.
Some people simply want more visual flash with their sports sedan, and the Dodge Charger SRT's hood scoops and more aggressive appearance deliver it. Foul-weather drivers should know that all-wheel drive isn't available. And a nearly $50,000 sedan with a Chevy badge on the nose might turn off some buyers.
KBB Expert Ratings
As it's likely this is the final year of production, the 2017 Chevrolet SS officially sees no changes, despite persistent rumors of a limited-edition, super high-performance final model.
The 2017 Chevrolet SS tells you it's special from the moment you hear the 6.2-liter V8 roar to life. But it's not just the 415 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of...
... torque powering the rear wheels through a limited-slip differential and an available 6-speed manual transmission; a 6-speed automatic is standard. The Chevy SS backs up its power with a suspension boasting GM's excellent Magnetic Ride Control adjustable shock absorbers, big Brembo brakes, and quick and linear steering. It makes the Chevy SS an eager companion on the open road, with 0-60 happening in about 4.7 seconds, and with the confidence to aggressively take corners. It's no exaggeration to say that we're reminded of German sports sedans like the BMW 5 Series when driving the Chevy SS. Downsides are few; the suspension is harsh on rough surfaces despite the Magnetic Ride Control, and it's no surprise that the big V8 isn't very fuel-efficient.
LONG LIST OF STANDARD FEATURES
There are few choices confronting the prospective Chevy SS buyer, because aside from color choices, most of the features we'd usually consider optional are standard. There are Chevy's MyLink navigation system, ventilated front seats, color head-up display, and more.
Considering how rare manual transmissions are these days -- especially in sedans -- finding a stick in the Chevy SS is a gift that keeps giving. And this one is no slouch: The SS’s Tremec TR6060 is one of the best you'll find, and it's mated to an aggressive 3.70 axle ratio.
With all the sports-sedan hardware, it's easy to forget that Chevy’s SS is also a comfortable sedan for five people. All seats are upholstered in leather and suede-like trim, and the front seats are especially supportive, offering plenty of leg and headroom. The rear seats offer good legroom, although headroom is a little tighter. There's some hard plastic, but most materials are about right for a car in this price range. The infotainment system is straightforward, but it's an older-generation system that doesn't offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Additionally, the generous 16.4-cubic-foot trunk features only a small pass-through for long objects.
The 2017 Chevrolet SS is a good-looking car, but not a particularly aggressive one. Yes, there are big fender vents, a big grille opening, and a small spoiler on the trunk. That, plus the standard 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in performance tires, all hint at the performance under the hood, but without shouting it to the rooftops. The term is "sleeper," and it's a nod that sometimes advertising your speed capabilities isn't always the best idea. One quirk: There's no exterior release for the trunk, meaning you have to either pop it from inside or use the key fob.
The 2017 Chevy SS is sold in one very well-equipped model, meaning the price you see is pretty all-inclusive. For example, there are the heated and cooled front seats, 9-speaker Bose audio system, Magnetic Ride Control suspension, Chevy’s MyLink infotainment with 8-inch touch-screen display and navigation, rearview camera and in-car Wi-Fi connectivity. There are also safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and a system that automatically helps parallel park. The standard transmission is the 6-speed automatic. Two years/24,000 miles of scheduled maintenance are also included.
While the automatic may be standard, getting the 6-speed will cost you nothing and notably increase your grins-per-mile, so we strongly recommend it. The only other options -- other than paint color -- are a power moonroof and a full-size spare tire that replaces the tire sealant and inflator kit.
There's nothing subtle about the power output of the 2017 Chevrolet SS. Its 6.2-liter V8 engine puts out 415 horsepower through either a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters, or a true 6-speed manual transmission, all of it going to the rear wheels. The downside to all this fun is fuel economy. It's unrealistic to expect a big sedan with a powerful V8 to get good economy, and the Chevy SS certainly delivers on that expectation, getting only 22 mpg on the highway in the EPA's test cycle; if you're a lead foot (like we are), expect notably less. (Some 2017 models show slightly different fuel-economy numbers from last year, due to changes in EPA testing.) Premium unleaded gasoline is recommended but not required.
415 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
415 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg (manual), 14/22 mpg (automatic)
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a 2017 Chevrolet SS, when adding in the $995 destination charge and $1,300 gas-guzzler tax, starts at just under $49,000. The only way to change that is by adding the $1,000 sunroof, which brings the price right to that $50,000 mark. That's quite a bit, several thousand more than the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack with its 485-horsepower V8, but not too far off the somewhat nicer Charger SRT 392. The price is also several thousand above the 365-horsepower, all-wheel-drive Ford Taurus SHO, although in fairness the SHO is an entirely different beast. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their SS models. When it comes to resale value, the Chevy SS is expected to hold up very well over the next five years.