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Chev Lumina SS AT

by Gareth Dean on 29/01/2007

Comments: 0

At A Glance

Make CHEV Lumina
Retail Price R467 400,00
kw 260
Torque 517
Top Speed 250

You could call the SS an example of “when Nascar met GM saloon” – that description does not have much of a ring to it, but pretty much sums up the nature of the flagship Chevy Lumina. With colossal power and a modicum of practicality, the SS automatic must be one of the best cars R350k can buy.

Being used to a 1,4-litre Citi Golf as my everyday means of getting around, there was a tangible feeling of trepidation coursing through my veins as the keys of the Lumina SS were dropped into my hands… I’d listened to the reverential whispers and gasps about the mammoth, 270 kW, 6,0-litre V8 lurking under the SS’ bonnet and the colossal 530 N.m of pin-you-in-your seat torque that it can generate. That’s a lot more than the 54 kW usually at my disposal.

Just looking at the Lumina SS, you can see that this car does not hide its intentions behind the guise of a pseudo-executive saloon face. The huge rear wing, ground-hugging skirts, conspicuous SS decals, flared wheel arches, and a quartet of exhaust pipes jutting from the rear valance tell you this car does not intend to dawdle.

According to GM, a billion dollars has been pumped into redesigning the Lumina with clear rear light binnacles and a front end more akin to the rest of the Chevy family. You’d never call it beautiful, but there is an honesty and purposefulness about the SS’ design that you cannot help but admire.

Inside, the family saloon underpinnings make themselves known in a generously proportioned cabin fore and aft. Fit and finish are generally good, but some of the plastics are of the brittle, shiny and nasty variety. The leather-trimmed seats are comfy and easy to position to your liking, although there is surprisingly little in the way of lateral bolstering on the cushions. Apart from the red-backed dials and digital oil/volt meter (located above a pleasantly legible centre console display), the interior does little to hint at the car’s performance potential.

Around town, my apprehensions surrounding this car began to ease; the ride is smooth (although potholes will announce themselves through the body) and the steering is light – almost a little uncommunicative. That massive piece of boot lid scaffolding does intrude into your rear vision a bit, but not enough to warrant any real concern. Power delivery is smooth and all is fairly serene; the cabin is well insulated from noise and the V8 rumbles gently up front…not quite the Sodom and Gomorrah performance I was expecting.

Then came the opportunity to push the Lumina; with a prod of the accelerator the SS instantly transforms from family car to Nascar. When the engine’s rumble deepened into an addictive snarl and the Chevy surged forward – with almost comic alacrity – I had to stifle a nervously excited giggle as the big Chevy gained steam!

There is no let up in the power delivery to the rear wheels and the ride does not suggest that the SS wants to escape from under you. There is little body roll in the corners and healthy levels of grip. The six-speed auto box holds the ratios nicely as you press on; just leave the manual override alone as it hesitates before deciding to adopt the cog of your choice.

The narrative surrounding the Lumina so far has hopped between performance car and practical saloon. It is actually quite a difficult car to pigeonhole. On one hand you have a riot of 18-inch alloys, spoilers, V8 decals and a beast of a powerplant. On the other you have comfortable, spacious accommodation, four doors and a cavernous boot.

This is a car you could easily use to nip to the shops or drop the kids off at school, then floor the accelerator and smile for the speed cameras. Granted, the SS’ styling cannot compare to the likes of BMW, Mercedes or Alfa, but where else will you find this much metal, power and practicality this side of R349 000?

Prices And Specs

Make CHEV Lumina
Model Lumina 6.0 SS MY11 AT
Retail Price R467 400,00
kw 260
Torque 517
0-100km 6.25
Top Speed 250
Fuel Type Petrol
Fuel Consumption 17.4
Tyre Size Front 245/45 R18
Tyre Size Rear 245/45 R18
Rear Tyre Size Width 245
Rear Tyre Size Profile 45
Rear Tyre Rim Size 18
Spare Tyre Size 245/45 R18
Tyre Pressure Monitor No
Wheelbase 2195

Safety And Features

Air Conditioner Automatic
Audio System CD Frontloader
Rev Counter Yes
Gearbox Automatic
ABS Brakes Yes
Power Steering Yes
Seats 5
Steering Wheel Heated No
Speakers 7
Colour Coded Bumpers Body Colour
Leather Trim Full
Alarm Yes
Anti Skid Control Yes
Electronic Defferential No
Gears 6
Height 1465
Onboard Computer Yes
Immobiliser Yes
Split Rear Seats No
Brake Assist Yes
Electric Seats -
Cup Holders Yes
Electric Mirrors Yes
Electric Windows Front Rear
Airbag DPS
Doors 4
Airbag Driver Yes
Airbag Passenger Yes
Navigation System No
Park Assistance Camera
Side Impact Protection Bars Yes
Sunroof Optional
Fog Lamps Front Yes
Fog Lamps Rear No
Headlight Type Halogen
Towbar No
Payload -
Bull Bar -

  • Kenny Rogers

    This is certainly a good car. This Chevy Lumina SS was built with good car parts that really compliment its performance. A good car like this should have car covers for its protection.