Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

June 2, 2021 8:47 pm by

The Chevrolet SS is a Used Car Hidden Gem

2014 Chevrolet SS

The Chevrolet SS is a bit of an odd duck. It looks unassuming, but it boasts Corvette power. It’s a big sedan, but it handles well. It’s an American car, but it’s imported from Australia. Perhaps that makes it less of an odd duck and more of a platypus.

Like the platypus, the Chevy SS is a pretty rare sight. Despite plans to sell as many as 15,000 units a year, GM unloaded only a fifth of that number, or about 13,000 total over its four-year run (2014-2017).

That’s a mixed blessing for used car buyers. On the plus side, the limited supply helps to keep depreciation at bay. On the minus side, a good used SS still commands a premium, with prices ranging from around $30,000 to as much as $50,000 or more, depending on the year, miles, and options.

But considering what that buys you — a modern Q-ship that’s equally capable of driving grandma to bingo as it is of breaking the tires loose on the 2-3 upshift — we think that makes the Chevrolet SS a used car hidden gem.

red Chevrolet SS driving


Produced from 2014 through 2017, the Chevrolet SS is a successor to the beloved Pontiac G8 GXP, a one-year-only model that was sadly discontinued along with the entire Pontiac line in 2009. Both were based on the rear-drive Holden Commodore platform, built by GM’s Australian subsidiary. And both feature Chevy’s 415 hp small-block LS3 V8 under the hood, the same engine that powers the sixth-generation Corvette.

The SS is based on a newer version of the Commodore than the Pontiac G8 was, and so it benefits from a number of improvements in the design, which debuted in 2013 as the Commodore VF. These include updated styling inside and out, new weight-saving components, such as an aluminum hood and trunk lid, as well as a more upscale interior.

The result is a handsome, if understated, shape that belies the beast hidden in the engine bay. But if you look closely, you can spot plenty of performance cues, like staggered 19-inch forged wheels, Brembo brakes, a subtle “power bulge” in the hood, dual exhaust tips, and of course plenty of SS badging throughout.

A mild refresh for the 2016 model year brought styling updates both front and rear, including new functional hood vents and LED running lights, plus revised cast-aluminum wheels (which are slightly less blingy than the earlier forged rims).

2014 Chevrolet SS engine

Engine and Transmissions

If you think the Chevrolet SS looks like yet another generic GM sedan, just open the hood. There you’ll find a good old-fashioned 6.2 liter pushrod V8, making 415 hp and a matching 415 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough grunt to get the big sedan to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds, which is only about half a second slower than a Corvette of the same era. And it makes a great noise, too, as you might expect from an American performance V8.

For 2014, the SS was fitted only with GM’s Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed automatic. It’s a fine gearbox, used widely through the GM product line, and sends the SS’s ample power to the rear wheels without fuss. To maximize your fun, though, you’ll want to hold out for a 2015 or later SS, when a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission was offered as a no-cost option. With a take rate of about 33%, the manual is rarer than the automatic and thus harder to find. But we think it’s worth the effort. The SS is likely to be one of the last big sedans ever offered with three pedals.

The manual isn’t actually any faster than the automatic, despite being fitted with a more aggressive 3.70 rear axle ratio (vs. 3.27 for the automatic). That’s because it’s easier to keep your foot in it when accelerating with the auto. The slushbox also helps keep wheel spin at bay.

On the plus side for the manual, it provides a +1 improvement in city fuel economy, bringing it to 15 mpg (vs. 14 mpg for the automatic). That’s thanks in part to its 1-4 skip-shift feature, which engages during unhurried acceleration. Highway economy is rated at 21 mpg for both versions.

2014 Chevrolet SS on the highway

Suspension and Handling

The SS employs a sport-tuned front strut, rear multi-link suspension, and it works surprisingly well. It helps that the big sedan weighs in under 4000 lbs, which is distributed in a near 50/50 balance front to rear. On sticky Bridgestone Potenza stock tires, a 2014 SS recorded an impressive 0.95 g on the skidpad in Car and Driver’s road test.

Things got even better in 2015, when Chevy added Magnetic Ride Control (or MagnaRide), its clever adaptive damper setup. This helps to smooth out the ride in everyday driving, while a twist of the drive mode knob quickly transforms the car into a track-ready beast.

The SS also stops as well as it goes. For 2014, it employs big Brembo brakes up front, with 14-inch, two-piece rotors and four-piston calipers. They haul the car down from 60 mph in just 110 ft, according to Edmunds. Chevrolet upgraded the rears to Brembos, too, for 2015 and later models.

If there’s a shortcoming in the handling department, it’s probably the steering. Like other cars with electric steering assist, the SS can feel vague on center. However, it’s still quite communicative and precise, so this is a minor grumble. It didn’t stop Car and Driver from calling the SS “the most underrated sports sedan in America” in a 2016 review.

Chevrolet SS interior

Features and Equipment

The SS was something of a halo car for GM, and as such it came well equipped. Standard features include heated and ventilated leather sport seats, xenon headlights, keyless entry and ignition, a Bluetooth-enabled infotainment system with Bose audio and factory navigation, and even automated parallel parking. It’s a thoroughly modern car, too, with standard active safety tech like forward collision alerts, electric brake assist, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warnings.

For 2015 and later cars, GM also added an available 4G LTE data connection, including WiFi hotspot capabilities, which requires a subscription.

Other than the no-cost manual transmission option for 2015 and later models, the only additional items available on the SS were a sunroof and a full-size spare.

While the SS came in traditional colors like Heron White, Phantom Black, Silver Ice, and Red Hot 2 (shown here), you could also splurge on some fun and even wild hues, reminiscent of 1960s and 1970s American muscle cars. These include:

  • Alchemy Purple (2015 only)
  • Jungle Green (2015-2016)
  • Some Like It Red Hot (2015-2016)
  • Regal Peacock Green (2015-2017)
  • Slipstream Blue (2016-2017)
  • Orange Blast (2017 only)

While most reviews of the day praise the SS for its comfy and well-appointed cabin, some note disappointment in the less-than-luxury-grade materials used here and there. But that’s to be expected in a car that offers the performance of a top-of-the-line European sports sedan (think BMW M5) for nearly half the sticker price.

Chevrolet SS side view

Buying Tips

Even though the Chevy SS was considered something of a sales flop when new, used examples are holding their values quite well. That’s thanks to relatively low production numbers (~3000 per year), plus the car’s performance reputation among those in the know.

In a quick search on Autotrader, we found about 100 examples for sale nationwide. The lowest price was $28,995 for a first-year model with over 100,000 miles as well as an accident history. At the other end of the range were several sub-5000 mile final-year examples, priced from $55,000 to $70,000. Those eye-popping asks hint at the big Chevy’s potential collector car status.

But if you’re planning on actually driving the car (which we encourage), we’d suggest targeting a clean, one-owner specimen with around 30,000 to 60,000 miles. That will set you back about $40,000 to $45,000, depending on the year, color, and gearbox. Later models (especially from 2017) in interesting colors tend to go for more, as do those equipped with the rarer manual transmission (2015 and later).

That said, these are fairly simple cars, and the LS3 engine has a reputation for durability and longevity, so opting for one with higher miles isn’t a bad idea. Accident-free examples with 80,000 miles or more can be had for around $35,000, occasionally less.

Chevrolet SS parked

In a world where EVs are rapidly gaining marketshare and engines are growing ever smaller and more turbocharged, we’re not likely to see another car like the Chevrolet SS. It’s a big engine, rear drive, row-your-own throwback. Yet it’s hidden in a modern, easy-to-live-with package. And that’s why we love it.

Buy one while you still can.

Details and Specs

  • engine: 6.2 liter naturally-aspirated pushrod V8 (LS3)
  • horsepower: 415
  • torque: 415 lb-ft
  • transmission: 6-speed automatic or 6-speed manual (starting in 2015)
  • mpg: 14 city / 21 highway (with the 6-speed automatic)
  • fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons
  • fuel type: premium unleaded (recommended)
  • drive type: rear-wheel drive
  • curb weight: 3975 lbs
  • turning circle: 37.4 feet
  • exterior colors: Alchemy Purple, Heron White, Jungle Green, Mystic Green, Nightfall Gray, Orange Blast, Perfect Blue, Phantom Black, Red Hot 2, Some Like It Hot Red, Regal Peacock Green, Silver Ice, Slipstream Blue
  • interior color: Jet Black (leather)

Photos courtesy of Chevrolet


Back to top