#2015 car reviews
2015 Chevrolet SS review notes
Chevy delivers major improvements to SS for 2015
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: Is the 2015 Chevrolet SS a Christmas miracle? To car enthusiasts, it just may be. It s got a manual transmission available now, and the adaptive Magnetic Ride Control damping system has been added as standard equipment for the 2015 model year. Last year I hustled around in a 2014 SS for a weekend with a six-speed automatic and enjoyed it, but I wasn t thrilled with it. It was also a stiffly sprung car that made for rough going on the crumbing roads around these parts. At that time, I knew the SS could be better with a stick and an adaptive suspension. Did I think it was going to happen? Not really. But Chevy delivered.
What makes the SS so much fun is its neutral handling behavior. With the center mode select knob, I punched up performance mode; two taps of the traction control button turns off traction, but keeps stability in competitive mode. Throw it into a corner and oversteer is easily controlled by the throttle. And there is a fair amount of slip angle given before the computer cuts in and straightens things out. Holding down the traction control button turns traction and stability off, leaving everything up to the driver — which is lovely with the lively rear end.
The weighty steering feel is great through the flat-bottom steering wheel with quick turn in response. There are Brembo front and rear brakes now, which were plenty powerful for the driving I was doing. The brake pedal begins to bite at the top of the pedal stroke, but I would be interested in seeing how the system holds up when subjected to track work.
No surprises with the LS3 V8 that has good grunt everywhere in the rev range, quick throttle response and makes great V8 rumbly noises. The six-speed shifter is notchier than I would like and I did get hung up between second-to-third gear shifts a few times, but I m guessing more seat time would ultimately remedy things. The clutch pedal isn t overly light or heavy, and grabs in the middle of the pedal stroke and the pedals are spaced well for my tastes.
Besides the manual raising the SS performance game, the magnetic suspension helps make it a more user-friendly vehicle. You now have the best of both worlds with the ability to firm things up when you want and to soften the suspension when you re commuting around normally. Even with things in sport mode, the ride is livable, but it s real comfy in the tour setting.
2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat first drive
If Dodge had its way, there d be a 2015 Charger in every garage. The fresh-out-of-college kid commuting to his first big job would drive the 31-mpg, $28,990 Charger SE. His 38-year-old.
There s just something so right about an American rear-wheel drive sedan. I know, this SS is built in Australia and all that good jazz, but it s wearing a Chevy bowtie on the grille, so it s American in my book. With V8 power under the hood, an available manual transmission and a very well-sorted chassis, it s difficult to find something to really be disappointed about in the SS now. Even the as-tested price of $46,865 doesn t seem absurd considering the clean sheetmetal styling and amount of performance you get.
You can call the SS a budget BMW M3 of sorts. The M3 starts at $62,950 with 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbocharged I6, which matches up fairly closely with the SS 415 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque from its V8. No, the SS doesn t have a fancy carbon fiber driveshaft and roof panel. Without weight-saving efforts like that, the Chevy is quite a bit heavier than the M3 (3,940 pounds vs. 3,540 pounds), but it doesn t feel overweight or lumbering on the streets. Maybe those extra pounds would get real annoying on a track, but I can t speak to that just yet. Hopefully I can in the future. But there s wholesomeness to the SS that the BMW doesn t have. It s a simple vehicle with a big motor and rear-wheel drive that you get into and want to drive hard.
Obviously, there is a tradeoff of fuel economy when you re operating a vehicle with a V8. The best I could muster on a fill-up was an average of 16.4 mpg, which isn t great. Though gas prices have been falling lately
Our test 2015 Chevrolet SS was equipped with the now optional six-speed manual gearbox, and for no extra coin we might add. Photo by Jonathan Wong
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: This is a great car to drive, a great car to look at — though there s a little too much chrome for me — and a surprisingly great car to listen to, if you keep the radio off. I hope Chevy sells a ton of these, but I doubt it.
I m worried that big sedan buyers, probably your average 35-54-year-old demographic, would either step up to a BMW 5-series or stick with the FWD Chevy Malibu. But, if you re looking for a RWD American sedan, this Chevrolet SS should be high on your shopping list.
The 6.2-liter V8 provides a ton of power. I even started in third gear by accident, but got going very quickly and didn t bog out at all. Oh yeah, and hooray for a manual transmission! Please, please people, buy this configuration, or we ll never see them again.
Like our long-term Jaguar F-Type R. but to a lesser extent, if you leave it in gear a little long, or abruptly come off the throttle, you get a nice pop from the muffler. I d like a little more exhaust volume, maybe with a button to turn it on and off. The actual gearbox is pretty easy to use, though it did get hung up a few times on the 2-3 and 4-5 shift, and in the morning it felt a little notchy.
It ll burn up the tires, and the winter tires were even less likely to stick. It goes sideways with a little stab of the gas pedal, but slips slowly and predictably. It was fun in the slippery 2 inches of snow we had for a day.
We hit up all the big box stores over the weekend, but never had to go into the trunk. Those backseats will fit day s worth of Christmas shopping.
I like the look and shape and size, but like I said, that chrome is a little too much. Make the wheels, accents and grille points brushed aluminum or body color. On the other hand, Americans do like it loud, visually.
Unfortunately, if you re spending $50K, and aren t set on American, there are a bunch of RWD sedans to choose from. I hope everyone gives this a shot before they go across the pond.
We like the look and side of the 2015 Chevrolet SS, but the chrome is a bit too much for our liking. Photo by Jonathan Wong