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2014 Chevrolet SS Road Test

No, it's not a Chevy Malibu. It's the insanely powerful 2014 Chevrolet SS.

What It Is
It's a performance beast that breaks every rule for a sedan.
Best Thing
Top-notch interior, especially for a sports car.
Worst Thing
Horrific fuel economy.
Snap Judgment
While we had fun driving the 2014 Chevrolet SS, we have plenty of reservations.


Imagine what would happen if a Corvette and a Malibu had a baby. Apparently Chevrolet did exactly that and created the SS performance sedan, an all-new model that competes in a unique segment of the auto market. With a Corvette engine under the hood and the spacious interior of a practical sedan, the 2014 Chevrolet SS is a giant contradiction on wheels. But get behind the wheel, hear the roar of the engine, and you probably won't care.

Not to mention the fact that this nearly-4,000 pound behemoth can sprint to 60 mph in an incredible 4.9 seconds, we also like the 2014 Chevrolet SS for its heavy feature content. But while it is practical in many ways, there are many other, faster performance cars out there that get better fuel economy. All in all, we are still left wondering who will ultimately buy this car.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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What We Drove

The 2014 Chevrolet SS comes in one standard trim level that is filled to the brim with features. Standard amenities include full leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, MyLink infotainment with navigation and Bluetooth, a high-tech head up display, and more. Its starting price is $43,475, but this is before a nasty gas guzzler tax of $1,300. (Don't worry, we'll get more to this later). The model we drove tacked on a power sunroof ($900) and a spare tire ($500). All in all, our Chevy SS came to $47,170, including a destination fee.

If safety is your main swaying point with this car, unfortunately we can't provide much information on that. Neither the government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released crash test scores for this new model. But we can say it is fully loaded with safety features, including eight air bags, auto park assist, lane departure warning, forward collision alert, blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert, rearview camera, and six months of OnStar.

The Commute

During our time with the Chevy SS, we took the car through plenty of city and highway driving. In the city, we noticed the car's responsive Brembo brakes and firm handling. On the highway, this car definitely makes its presence known when passing other cars. You can hear the 415 horsepower go to work with the thunderous groan of the engine. Only the sounds you want to hear come through to the interior, so there is minimal road and wind noise. Acceleration is swift, but things really kick up a notch when you put it in Sport mode. Still, we would recommend the Corvette, CTS-V, or a number of other sports cars for those whose top priority is speed.

For a performance car, the ride is surprisingly do-able. But not the same can be said for its fuel economy. This car gets an atrocious 14/21/17 mpg city/highway/combined. This is the same city fuel economy as a 2010 Hummer H3 and worse overall fuel economy than the Chevy Suburban. We found these numbers to be pretty accurate in real-world driving; I averaged about 17.2 mpg in the SS. And according to FuelEconomy.gov, you will spend $4,000 more in fuel costs over the course of five year compared to the average new car. Ouch.

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The Grocery Run

Yes, the 2014 Chevrolet SS is a true performance sedan, but it can also double as a mommy mobile. Toting groceries for the whole family isn't a problem with this car's spacious 16.4-cubic foot trunk. While shallow, it extends deeply back without intruding on rear passenger space. Two large suitcases can easily fit into the back of this car. A removable cargo net helps store smaller items in the back.

Whether heading to the grocery store or the nearby mall, parking is surprisingly easy. The SS isn't terribly wide, which makes it capable of squeezing even into small spaces. Its capable turning also helps in this regard.

The Weekend Fun

So we've established the car is fast and provides plenty of space, but how is it when you want to have some fun? We found the car had plenty of room for family and friends to enjoy the ride. Weekend adventures required the use of Chevrolet's navigation system. We liked the "One Shot" destination feature with voice commands, which allows drivers to forgo separate voice entries for city, street, and number entries. However, we found it isn't always as accurate as systems from other automakers.

However, we did thoroughly enjoy this car's interior. This is probably my favorite part of the entire car. It features a nice mix of leather and suede-like materials almost everywhere. The seats are full leather, accented perfectly with red stitching. To top it off are the prominent SS badges and alloy brakes. We also enjoyed the awesome Bose nine-speaker sound system, glitzy infotainment system, and dual-zone automatic climate control for hot winter days in California.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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Summary

Powerful yet comfortable, sporty yet spacious, the Chevrolet SS is an automotive anachronism if there ever was one. It truly follows its own path of what a sedan should be. For what it is, the car provides great value in its high feature content. However, its low fuel economy and gas guzzler tax diminish this value. The SS may be an alternative to other large sport sedans, namely the Dodge Charger. However, the Charger SRT8 provides a robust 470 horsepower and achieves better fuel economy while the midrange 370-hp Charger R/T is available for a much smaller price tag. Overall, we feel like this one-of-a-kind car will come down to an emotional decision for buyers. Those willing to sacrifice the atrocious fuel economy and so-so exterior styling for pure performance may find this car to their liking. However, the car's other downfall is that it doesn't have as much tradition in the U.S. behind it as the Charger, Challenger, and other classic muscle cars.

Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $47,170
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 14
EPA Highway: 21
EPA Combined: 17
Cargo Space: enough groceries for the family
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Fair
Estimated Combined Range: 320 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Average

Notebook Quotes

"The engine feels like a cammed big block sitting under the hood with gobs of insta-torque. You'd think it'd be a one-trick pony, a muscle car with a bunch of luxury accouterments. But then you drive it and realize how tight its steering is and how willing its chassis is to go exactly where you want it, how you want it, you realize just how special this car is." -Jacob Brown, Online Editor

3 comments
Michael Harris
Michael Harris

For this coinage I can get a nice 2011-2012 CTS-V.

Michael Harris
Michael Harris

I can't justify it's poor mpgs. A 662hp GT500 gets 15 & 24 mpgs. What's worse s this thing has economy gearing. 4000 lbs of sedan (0-60 in 5 flat) is nt impressive. Everything else in its class or price is faster,gets better mpg etc. bring the stick, slap some 3.55's in it and massage the engine for another 20-30hp & tq then put it on a diet to drop 150lbs. Then I might think about it.

Robert Dwyer
Robert Dwyer

I like this car. I just can't do the gas guzzler tax on top of the MSRP. It would be a good replacement for my 2009 G8 GT if it wasn't so expensive. I saw it at the local dealer in a sort of sage green. I would rather have the red or black one. 

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