Manual transmissions are becoming such a rarity in the U.S., the news of an automaker adding one calls for a ticker-tape parade.
So strike up the band: Chevy's 2015 SS is getting a stick shift.
When we last left this kick-in-the-pants performance sedan, we found it to be a thrilling yet composed driver. A 6.2-liter V-8 pumps 415 horsepower and equal pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. Car and Driver clocked it at 4.5 seconds from zero to 60 mph.
The SS is a full-size sedan that fits five adults in surprising comfort. For the cheap-seats price of $46,000, buyers get a touch-screen navigation system, a backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, leather seats that are heated and cooled up front, suede interior trim, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automated parallel parking, and eight air bags.
What buyers couldn't get in the 2014 version was a manual transmission. Instead, an OK-not-great six-speed automatic with paddle shifters handling the gear changes. With the V-8's power and the car's balanced grip on the road, we felt the connection and control of a manual gearbox would really make the SS come alive.
We'll find out in 2015. Chevy will make a host of improvements to the SS for the new model year, including a six-speed manual as a no-charge option.
The cars will also get GM's excellent magnetic ride control suspension system standard on all SS models. The continuously controlled setup has three modes -- tour, sport and performance -- and gives a more refined ride.
Chevy has also added standard Brembo brakes in the rear to complement the ones that already come on the front.
Here's hoping these upgrades make the already-compelling SS appeal to more customers. Although Chevy had modest expectations for sales of this car (it imports the car from its Australian subsidiary, Holden), the automaker sold just 1,660 cars in the first six months of 2014.