2014 Chevrolet SS not to be sold in Canada

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Despite it being 17 years since Chevrolet offered a rear-wheel drive sedan in Canada, General Motors' Canadian division won't be selling the 2014 Chevrolet SS north of the 49th.

"There are no current plans to bring the Chevy SS to Canada," said George Saratlic, Product Communications Manager, General Motors of Canada, Ltd. "Our Canadian Chevrolet showroom has a strong product offering in the mid to large sedan segment with the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu and soon to be launched, made in Canada, all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala."

Saratlic makes a good point, although while the General has mid- and full-size dimensions covered nicely with these two completely updated sedans, none will offer anywhere near the performance of this new rear-wheel drive sport model. Not since the now defunct Pontiac G8 has GM offered anything near as exciting with four doors, unless fuel economy and clean air get your adrenaline flowing. Chevy has these points covered in spades with their Spark city car, subcompact Sonic, compact Cruze Eco and new Cruze Diesel, plus of course the electrified Volt, while the aforementioned midsize Malibu offers a claimed 8.1 L/100km city and 5.3 highway fuel economy rating in e-Assist trim, but so far at least there's no real four-door performance model. That's where the Chevy SS fits in across the border at least, a four-door sedan for those who can't fit a Camaro SS or Corvette into their lifestyles.

The 2014 Chevrolet SS is the spiritual replacement for the Caprice-based Impala SS that was discontinued after the 1996 model year. It will hit U.S. showrooms around the same time as the entirely new 2014 Impala, but as mentioned has nothing to do with the front-wheel drive Buick LaCrosse-based luxury model other than parentage, and even that relationship is murky at best. Where the LaCrosse originally hails from GM's German brand, Opel, before being massaged by both of the automaker's U.S. and Chinese divisions, the SS comes to us by way of GM's Australian brand, Holden, just like the G8 did from the automaker's now defunct Pontiac brand, and before that, the Holden Monaro-based 2004 through 2006 Pontiac GTO, which wasn't available in Canada either. The G8 has since been sold as a Chevy, incidentally, wearing the Caprice badge in the Middle East and is now the basis for GM's dedicated Police Interceptor offered here in North America, so in a way we're back to square one. The new SS is in effect a Caprice-based rear-wheel drive sport sedan.

"The Chevrolet brand was largely built on the strength of rear-drive performance sedans, yet it's been 17 years since we've offered one," said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors North America, during the vehicle's introduction program next to the Daytona International Speedway. "The all-new Chevrolet SS fills that void and fills it better than any other vehicle in the brand's rich history. The comfort, convenience, spaciousness and V8 power make the SS a total performance package unlike any other on the road today."

While a reborn Chevy SS would be a great way to boost morale amongst Canadian bowtie enthusiasts, GM Canada probably thinks its upcoming 2014 Corvette, along with its various Camaro models, will fill its "halo" positions well enough. Facing reality, the SS sedan might optimistically sell in the hundreds here rather than thousands, and with today's tight budgetary constraints it's probably a risk not worth taking. Just the same, one of its main competitors, Chrysler/Dodge offer 470-horsepower rear-drive "SRT" versions of their full-size 300/Charger sedans while still delivering on ultimate performance with their Challenger SRT coupe and SRT Viper, a sports coupe and sports car that endow the automaker with equal halo points to Chevy's Camaro and Corvette. Likewise, Hyundai, which offers the very competent Genesis Coupe with a V6 powerplant to rival Chevy's base Camaro, also has a 429-horsepower rear-drive midsize sedan in the form of the Genesis 5.0 R-Spec. Would the new Chevy SS be a worthy competitor to these ultra-hot four-doors even if it did come here?

If Holden's VF SS-V model is anything to go by, we would've been in for a treat. Just like the Australian super-sedan, the 2014 Chevrolet SS will be powered by GM's LS3 V8 with output numbers expected to reach 415-horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. That should produce zero to 100 km/h sprints of just over five seconds, says Chevrolet (albeit metric converted). Initially, at least, U.S. SS buyers won't be able to opt for a manual gearbox, with just a six-speed automatic making the grade, although with TAPshift manual mode.

Handling should be good thanks to a fully-independent MacPherson strut front suspension and multilink rear design, while Chevy says the car's electric power steering system has been set up for performance driving. Stock rims will be a set of forged aluminum 19s wrapped in ZR-rated Bridgestone performance rubber, slightly wider at the rear. Brembo disc brakes take care of stopping duties.

As for styling, anyone who liked the old Pontiac G8 should find the new Chevy SS appealing. It's understated, with a neat and tidy trapezoidal grille up front, bookended by premium-looking HID headlights that are enhanced with LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lights). The big engine will make its presence known by a noticeable "power bulge" atop the hood, while four exhaust tips should make the appropriate rumble at idle and aggressive V8 roar at full throttle. A discreet rear spoiler has been added to the trunk lid for styling points as well as to help keep its rear wheels glued to the road at high speed.

While some U.S. buyers might want to get their SS without any luxury features in order to reduce weight and therefore increase performance, it looks like its only upgrades will be paint colour choices and an optional sunroof. Leather sport seats with eight-way powered adjustment will be standard, as will a heads-up display unit and Chevy's first application of automated parking. Other standard features will include a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel connecting through to Chevy's MyLink infotainment system along with a nine-speaker Bose audio system. MyLink will also include a backup camera, while standard safety features are to include blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert.

Pricing will reportedly begin slightly under $40,000 in the U.S., which would have probably put it under $50k here if Oshawa had chosen to import it. For now, feel free to keep your hopes up, but don't cancel your Ford Taurus SHO, Chrysler/Dodge 300/Charger SRT or Genesis Sedan R-Spec order just yet. And don't expect a hypo version of the Impala anytime soon either. The very existence of the new Chevy SS should end any hopes of a front-drive Impala SS in either jurisdiction.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sport Sedan, Chevrolet, 2014, SS, $40,000 - $49,999, Midsize,

Geographic location: Canada

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