The wait for the new Camaro was long-painfully long. Chevy first showed the concept in 2006, and until recently the reenergized Ford Mustang was the only game in town-until now. The Camaro is here, and damn, it looks great. And wherever I went in this new Camaro, people would come up to me and ask “What’s under the hood?” And I told them “The V-6.” The usual response was “Oh”, with a look of slight disappointment.
I understand. I was 9 years old when the F-Body Camaro came out, with its Iron Duke four cylinder, and wheezy 2.8L V-6 from the Chevy Celebrity. Dark times. But times have changed. This V-6 Camaro pumps out 304hp, will vault you to 60mph from a standstill in 6.1 seconds, all while delivering 29mpg highway on regular gas. According to Road & Track, this V-6 Camaro will outrun a mid-1990’s Z-28. Now that’s progress.
I’m sure it’s because the Camaro is new to the market, but this car attracts attention. From a styling point of view, the car is a complete success. It transcends age, race, gender and social class. School kids point at the car, elderly men smile and wave at it. It didn’t matter if I was at a working-class deli or at an apple farm in uber-wealthy Fairfield County, Connecticut, people approached me wanting to know more about the car. The subdued Imperial Blue color did nothing to dull the magnetism.
The Camaro is a strong styling statement, but a very handsome one. Sure, it’s retro, which is a four letter word to some, but this is a modern interpretation of an iconic design. The car looks perfect at any angle, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Proportionally, the car looks good too, but for a 2+2, this is one big car, and you sense this as soon as your settle into the driver’s seat. To put the size of the Camaro into perspective, the current VW Passat four-door sedan is 2″ shorter and nearly 4″ Ã‚Â narrower. From the driver’s seat, looking down the long, tall hood it’s nearly impossible to tell where the front of the car is, and you could hide a Hummer H2 in the rear blind spots. But that’s the price you pay for style.
That style continues inside the Camaro. The driver is greeted with large dials sporting retro fonts, and the four-pack auxiliary gauges were a nice touch that the baby boomers who sat in the car loved. The comments were glowing, with most people saying it was the highest quality interior they had ever seen on a Chevy. The Camaro, my friends, is in the modern age. The two-tone heated leather seats were comfortable, but for taller folks like me, you need the power seat to get low enough so your hair isn’t grazing the headliner. While all the modern conveniences of OnStar, XM satellite radio, and Bluetooth were present, the simplicity of the car’s interior pleased me. You turn a key to start the car. You pull the e-brake. You tune the radio, volume, and adjust hot/cold and fan speed with knobs.
So how does she go? Very well. The V-6 had all the power I needed in all day to day situations, and was a joy to blast up highway onramps, and on my favorite country roads. Most of the time the engine goes about its duty quietly, but if you stomp on it, it emits a nice growl. This is a car you can cruise all day long at 80mph and be no worse for the wear. Our tester had the six-speed automatic (unfortunately), but it was a smooth shifting tranny that was always ready to drop gear when needed, and would spin up to redline. There is a manual mode that allows you to upshift/downshift via buttons on the back of the large steering wheel.
With the 20″ wheels on our tester, I expected the car to crash over potholes, and offer an unforgiving ride, but the Camaro was was quite compliant, and a very forgiving car to drive. The steering was well-weighted, and offered decent, but not great feel. Brakes felt good too; my overall impression was this was a fun car to drive, and doesn’t mind being pushed despite its size and weight. While the last generation Camaro was a crude but quick implement, this Camaro is the complete package.
There is a strong case for the Camaro V-6 RS. Why? Because in reality, it’s all the car you’ll need in the real world. It’s genuinely quick, and with the RS package, nearly no one will know it’s not packing the V-8. But….you expect a V-8 rumble, and violence in a Camaro, and they offer that in the SS. My advice to any buyer is to pick the Camaro V-6 if this will be your daily driver. If this is a second car, or a treat to yourself? Get the V8. Either way, you’ll have no regrets, as this is the greatest Camaro we’ve seen yet.