History of the Chevy SS / Holden Commodore
Holden Commodore / Chevy SS History (4th Gen - 2013 - 2017)
The 2013 to 2017 Holden Commodore was an executive car produced by the GM Australia marque Holden. This model year range was the last generation of the Commodore and was imported to the USA under the nameplate of the Chevy SS. Previously, the Commodore was briefly imported to the USA under the Pontiac G8 nameplate. The G8 was only sold between 2008 and 2009 before being discontinued due to the elimination of Pontiac as a brand. The Chevrolet SS is essentially the sequel to the G8, effectively taking over where the G8 left off.
The Holden Commodore / Chevy SS was built on the GM Zeta platform and came in a front-engine, RWD layout. Body styles offered for the Holden Commodore included a two-door coupe, a four-door sedan, and a five-door station wagon. The Chevy SS was marketed in the USA as a performance sedan and only came in a four-door sedan body style. The only engine available on the Chevy SS was a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 from the C6 Corvette. However, the Holden Commodore came with two different V6 engines and four different V8 engines, which included the LS3 V8.
Chevy SS Evolution and Changes
2014 - 2015
The Chevrolet SS went on sale for the 2014 model year and was the first RWD V8 sedan offered by Chevrolet in 18 years. Size-wise, the SS was slotted between the Malibu and Impala in the Chevy model lineup. The LS3 V8 engine from the C6 Corvette was the only standard engine available. Output was 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. For 2014, only a six-speed automatic transmission was available. Compared to the Pontiac G8, the SS offered improved handling and a smoother ride thanks to its stiffer chassis and the addition of high-strength steel to its core structure.
The horsepower rating for the 2014 Chevy SS was about 35 less than the Corvette Stingray of the same model year, but it still managed to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in five seconds. The SS came with 19x8.5-inch front wheels and 19x9-inch rear wheels. Inside, the SS sedan was capable of seating five passengers and included standard leather upholstery and a Bose sound system. Automatic Parking Assist was later added to the Chevy SS, which made it the first Chevy vehicle to offer that feature. For 2015, Chevy also included a manual transmission option and standard Magnetic Ride Control.
For the 2016 model year, the Chevy SS received a slight facelift that included LED lighting, a revised front design, dual-mode exhaust system, red Brembo brake calipers, cast-aluminum wheels, and a new paint color called Slipstream Blue.
The 2017 model year was to be the last for the Chevy SS as the Holden Commodore was also ending production. Three exterior colors were eliminated for this model year, and two were added.
Holden Commodore Differences and Changes
The Holden Commodore offered many different options compared to the Chevy SS, including several standard models and limited editions. The Evoke was the base model of the Commodore and offered a standard 3.0-liter V6 engine and an available 3.6-liter V6. Both engines only came with an automatic transmission.
The Commodore SV6 was the next model, and it used the 3.6-liter V6 with either a manual or automatic transmission. A different 3.6-liter V6 was also offered, and it was paired with a sportier body kit.
The Commodore SS, SS V, and SS V Redline were the performance models of the Commodore and began with the 6.0-liter V8 in 2013 and 2014. From the 2015 model year on, these Commodore models were equipped with the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine, which was the same configuration as the Chevy SS.
Limited editions of the Commodore were as follows:
- International 35th Anniversary edition
- 2014 Storm SV6 and SS sedan
- 2014 Collingwood for SV6, SS, or SS V sedan
- 2015 Craig Lowndes for the SS V Redline
- 2015 Sandman for the Sportwagon or Ute models
- 2015 Black Edition for the SV6 and SS variants
- 2016 and 2017 Reserve Edition (never sold to the general public, only to Holden employees)
- 2017 Director Sedan
- 2017 Motorsport Sedan
- 2017 Magnum Utility
Another unique aspect of the Commodore was the Ute version. It came in nearly every iteration of the Commodore, including the base model, SV6, SS V, SS, and SS V Redline. This model essentially looked like the Commodore from the front, but the rear included a short pickup bed instead of a rear cabin and seats.
Fast Facts for the Holden Commodore / Chevy SS
- In 2013, GM decided to close the Holden plant in Australia by 2017, and they hoped to bring the Commodore over to the US and sell it as the SS.
- Lack of advertising kept the SS from selling anywhere near GM's goal of 12,000 to 15,000 models.
- Chevy SS models on the used market can still fetch between $25,000 and $30,000 due to their rarity.
- The Chevy SS was supposed to replace the popular Pontiac G8, which was nixed due to GM's bankruptcy restructuring.
- Compared to the Commodore, the SS had far fewer options available.
Legacy of the Holden Commodore / Chevy SS
Sales for the Holden Commodore were solid in Australia between 2013 and 2017. In 2014, it saw the highest sales for the sedan and sport wagon at over 30,000. Production for the Holden Commodore ended in October 2017, but some leftover models continued to sell through 2018 and 2019. On the other hand, sales for the Chevy SS were not particularly brisk in the USA. Over 4,000 models were sold in 2017, and that was the highest sales amount for any year. No replacement was planned for the Commodore or the Chevy SS. A Holden Commodore ZB was eventually made in 2018, but it was a large family car and not a performance model. It corresponded with the Buick Regal in North America.
More Performance Car History: Performance Car Histories