A performance sedan with racing DNA

2014 Chevrolet SSIt’s hard to believe that there are some drivers on the road today that weren’t even alive yet when Chevy last offered a rear-wheel-drive, performance sedan in the U.S.

But, alas, it’s been 17 long years.

Chevrolet’s last was a handsome and surprisingly sporty Impala SS which was based on the full-size Caprice. When the Caprice lost its lease on life in 1996, so too did the Impala SS.

After that, the demographics of those seeking rwd performance from the bowtie brand typically didn’t involve kids or clients. The choices were down to a tight-fitting coupe, a two-seater and occasionally a truck.

Very soon, as in the fourth quarter of this year, a five-passenger sedan will be back on Chevy’s list of rwd, V8, performance models.

A familiar package with a peculiar name
Behold the 2014 Chevrolet SS.

2014 Chevrolet SS front left

So here we are after months of speculation and years of anticipation, the Chevy SS is finally revealed. Prepare to start hearing the question, “Chevy what SS?” As in, isn’t there more to that? Such as a model name before the acronym?

1961 Impala SSMany, including me, found it odd that Chevy named a model simply SS. Those letters have always represented a performance variant of an existing model. It started out as a performance package available midyear on the 1961 Impala.

Could it have to do with its Holden cousin named SS-V? Unfortunately, I don’t have the story behind the name decision but I have emailed Chevrolet’s communication department with the question. If I get any information on it, I’ll update this post.

Enlarge the pictures in this post by clicking on them, in lieu of a gallery.

2014 Chevrolet SS rear left

Seeing it from this angle adds credence to Malibu’s rear. I see a family resemblance. In fact, it’s at the rear that I see the only family resemblance.

2014 Chevrolet SS front

Gone is Chevy’s traditional crossbar grille. Even though a case could be made for the essence of a crossbar on this face the emphasis, at least to my eye, is on the two stacked shield-shaped openings, particularly the bottom one. A styling feature that caught my eye up front is how the painted portion looks as though it’s been stretched taut over the bumper and framing. There’s a continuity between adjoining surfaces. I feel that is an under-used design method.

I see a lot of Caprice PPV, which makes sense, but what doesn’t make sense is the faint Hyundai vibe I’m getting from that lower opening. I think it has to do with the shape of that thick horizontal black panel.

It does seem to veer from Chevy’s new front end design they just introduced on the upcoming Impala, recently refreshed Traverse and reportedly soon-to-be-updated Malibu. Those all look Camaro-inspired to me. SS doesn’t.

And I think its non-conforming mug is fine. I’m not a big fan of the same cookie, different size approach. But, it would be neat to see what a Camaro-inspired face would have looked like on the SS.


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