Forget the auto shows, the public at large knows the new 2010 Camaro as the star of Transformers, Bumblebee and that is not a bad thing. Chevrolet needs an Autobot to help the tarnished name and increase revenue. Stirring the pot is not the only thing the new Camaro is doing. Consider this, since it has gone off the market the evil enemies known as Decepticons have landed and are known as the newest iteration of the Ford Mustang and the new Dodge Challenger. The Camaro has been off the market since 2002 which I must say feels a lot longer then 8 years. With slowing sales and lack of interest the car was pulled from the line up. They say you always want what you can not have and that is obviously the case here. The new Camaro has beat both the Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang in sales for the past four months straight.
The new muscle car wars are in full swing and everyone seems to be bringing the big guns. The all new Camaro is full on retro with improvements of the 21st century. With independent rear suspension and a wide stance the Camaro actually handles well. That said it is not a light car, it could stand to go on a diet and lose a few hundred pounds. Driving through the country side on twisty winding roads this car handled with little to no body roll. When I attended the Product and Technology event put on by GM, I test drove a Camaro equipped with a V8 and a manual transmission. While hustling that car around the track it was even more evident it needs to go on a diet, though the car was predictable and completely under control. Turning off the traction control allows for effortless burnouts whether in a V6 or V8. This car is built on a shortened Zeta platform which was shared with the now deceased but still awesome Pontiac G8.
The new Camaro comes with two engine options. For the first time in history the V6 in a muscle car can not be called a “secretary special”. The Base engine is a direct injection V6 with variable valve timing. Putting out 304 hp and 273 lb-ft this V6 is technologically advanced and powerful. The SS with the V8 will net you 426 hp and 410 lb-ft with the manual transmission (400 hp and 410 ft-lb when equipped with a automatic). The car I had was equipped with the V6 and the optional automatic. The V6 was actually enough engine in this car. The V6 engine sound is similar to that of the new Nissan 370z which is not bad company to be in. Do not fret I have not gone soft I would still purchase the V8, though I might pause for a mere second and think about the V6. With less weight over the front wheels, the V6 has slightly better balance. The automatic was actually good and was consistent with keeping the engine on boil when left in sport mode. The paddle shifters were almost useless considering how good a job the sport mode did though still fun to play with. When driving in normal drive mode the engine is refined and easy to drive around town. Rated at 18/29 mpg the V6 with the automatic is definitely not your typical gas guzzler rather a great highway cruiser.
The interior of the new Camaro has many retro throw back cues from the 60’s. With switch gear not shared with other Chevrolets it is nice to have a car that is not all parts bin. The climate control switch gear is all Camaro exclusive as is the gauges. The radio is similar to other new cars from GM but really it is different as well. With a high belt line you feel like you are sitting low in a bunker with a slit cut out for the windshield. The windshield base is at your eye level so looking out you see the the huge expanse of hood in front of you and then it just drops off. Visibility could be better. This vehicle could really use a back up camera similar to that one in the new Equinox which integrates the screen into the rear view mirror. The interior is great looking though I wish there was more use of soft touch plastics. I would not knock the Camaro too much for the interior, for me the design outweighs the feel and there is a ton of retro cues in the design. For me the interior is a win.
The Camaro I had was a 2LT which means it was pretty loaded up. Optional equipment outside of the 2LT package included 21 inch tire and wheel package #2, ground effects package, RS package, six speed automatic transmission with remote vehicle start, and body-color painted engine cover. The wheel and tire package while they looked great they were $4680! That seems ridiculously priced when compared to aftermarket wheels and tires. I think GM needs to re-evaluate the price on that option package. The ground effects package, RS package are both great options that really finish off the cars styling. I can not invest a body-color painted engine cover for $285. I would say while I personally would buy a manual transmission in this car, the automatic in this car is not bad, it is still a sports car and I am a car guy. The sticker on the car I had with all the options and packages was $37,345.
The Camaro is back and for a week I pretended I had my own bumblebee. Though Megan Fox never did show up I have to say the car rocks all the same. With more then acceptable gas milage, great sounding engine this car makes sense once again. It is no real wonder why GM can not make enough, the public at large wants what they could not have. The question is where is the future for this car? I truly hope they keep up and do not let the car get stale in years to come. If you are in the market for a sports car I would definitely take a spin in the new Camaro, that is if you can find one to get your hands one.