Chevrolet SS tries to keep its power under wraps

  • Article by: TERRY BOX , Dallas Morning News
  • Updated: June 21, 2014 - 5:19 PM

Little do your neighbors know about the strong V-8 heart under the hood of the full-size, rear-wheel-drive sedan.

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The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the first full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan from Chevrolet in nearly 20 years. (Mueller/Chevrolet/MCT) ORG XMIT: 1154197

Photo: Mueller/Chevrolet, MCT - MCT

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Silver sedans tend to disappear in the suburbs, melting into well-tended, wide-open gray pavement.

Somebody call True Detective.

That sort of semi-invisibility works fine for the forgettable Camrys and Rogues and Outbacks buzzing down new boulevards hell-bent for Tom Thumb.

Who cares about seeing another tot-toter with a bunch of family stick figures on its tinted back window — though you have to wonder what’s going on in there to rate so many sticks.

But I really thought the silver 2014 Chevrolet SS I had recently might draw more envious looks than it got in my leafy new home ground in Richardson, Texas.

Most people probably presumed old Poppy was just headed to church in his gussied-up Malibu, its trunk filled with sacks of canned goods for the poor and his heart brimming with Sunday morning benevolence.

Little did they know.

To paraphrase Professor Didley, the SS might look like a farmer, but those 4-inch duals protruding from its generic rear rumbled with the distant fire of a deep-breathing 6.2-liter V-8.

The SS is the first full-size rear-wheel-drive sedan from Chevrolet in nearly 20 years.

This one, however, came mostly from General Motors’ Holden division in Australia, a notable bunch that also built the last Pontiac GTO and late, great Pontiac G8 — both cousins of the SS.

Like those vehicles, the SS rides on a taut, independent front and rear suspension, blisters the pavement with a Corvette-derived engine, and can boil up muscle-car performance numbers.

As I mentioned in a recent review of the 2014 Dodge Charger SRT8, the new SS is also the Charger’s most direct competitor.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that the SS looks as if it spends its gym time jogging while the bulky Charger loudly pumps steel.

At about 3,930 pounds, the SS weighs 440 pounds less than the big-bruiser Charger and yet gets about the same fuel economy - 15 miles per gallon in town and 21 on the highway, compared with the Dodge’s 14/23.

I can’t explain that, particularly since the Dodge has a slightly larger engine (6.4 liters) and a less-efficient five-speed automatic.

Nonetheless, with the SS, think growl, not roar.

Up front, for example, it wore a fairly innocent-looking blacked-out grille with Chevy’s big corporate gold bow tie in the center.

Below that was a larger, more sinister grille, also blacked out, but it wasn’t sufficiently evil to scare slow-moving traffic out of the way.

  • 2014 Chevrolet SS

    Type of vehicle: Four-door, five-passenger, rear-wheel-drive sedan

    Fuel economy: 15 miles per gallon town, 21 highway

    Weight: 3,931 pounds

    Engine: 6.2-liter V-8 with 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque

    Transmission: Six-speed automatic

    Performance: 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds

    Base price, excluding destination charge and tax: $43,475

    Price as tested: $45,770

    SOURCES: GM’s Chevrolet division; Car and Driver

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