The Chevrolet Camaro (along with the V8-powered Camaro SS) re-entered the muscle car market in 2009 after an eight-year hiatus. It offers menacing, retro-flavored sheetmetal, a powerful yet frugal engine and - new for the latest model year - an available MyLink infotainment unit that can be spec'd with a navigation system.
For the latest model year, the Camaro benefits from a subtle nip-and-tuck that includes a narrower upper grille flanked by restyled headlights, a widened lower grille, single-piece taillights and a new spoiler.
Even in base form, the Camaro is potent: power comes from a 3.6-liter V6 -- mated to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission -- that produces 323 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque.
While boasting more power than the V6 version of the Ford Mustang, the V6-powered and automatic-equipped Camaro Coupe returns slightly lower fuel economy with 30 mpg on the highway (up front 29 at launch), compared to the Mustang's 31 mpg, along with 19 mpg in the city. The manually-shifted Camaro is rated at 17/28 mpg.
The Camaro tips the scales at a somewhat hefty 3,700 pounds, but is said to have a near-ideal 52/48 weight distribution.
Recent interior changes include a revised instrument panel layout, new instrument graphics and trim, a new steering wheel design and a power lift feature for the front passenger seat. There is also an available Rear Vision Package, which addresses the limited rearward visibility issue when backing up by adding a rearview camera system to the park assist functionality.
The Camaro's cabin features deep, recessed gauges, located in square housings outlined in chrome, giving a nod to the classic Camaro. The instrument panel gauges include both speedometer and engine rpm, with a driver information center located between the large gauges, with its readouts and features capable of being controlled via a stalk on the steering column. There is also an optional, console-mounted gauge package includes oil pressure, oil temperature, volts and transmission fluid temperature.
The Camaro recently benefitted from the addition of an optional MyLink infotainment system, which offers voice control of certain entertainment functions and includes Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and streaming audio via Pandora radio and Stitcher SmartRadio. MyLink comes with a color touchscreen and can be outfitted with navigation.
Trim Level Breakdown
The entry-level 1LS trim comes standard with A/C, full power accessories, a six-speaker FM/CM/CD/SiriusXM stereo, Bluetooth connectivity, power-reclining front seats, cruise control, keyless entry and 18-inch painted aluminum wheels. The 2LS brings an automatic gearbox.
Stepping up to the 1LT nets sport cloth seats with full power adjustability up front, projector-style foglights, MyLink, a USB port and SiriusXM Satellite radio. The 2LT adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, an eight-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system, an auxiliary four-gauge cluster, a heads-up display, a rearview camera and 19-inch painted aluminum wheels.
An optional RS appearance package and includes HID headlamps with an integrated halo ring feature, spoiler, specific tail lamps and 20-inch wheels. There is also a recently added Rear Vision Package with combines Rear Park Assist, Rear Vision Camera and inside rearview auto-dimming mirror with built-in rearview camera display.
All Camaro models are equipped with dual front, front side and full-length side-curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
The Camaro faces competition from V6-equipped Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger models, as well as the Hyundai Genesis Coupe outfitted with the turbo four-cylinder engine.