MSRP: Not announced, but you can bet the price will be competitive with the Ford Mustang. That means a base model at around $21,000, with the top ‘o the line SS getting close to $30,000. Sounds good, true, until you factor in dealer markup. So save your pennies and come back later when things settle down.
WHAT’S NEW: Since 1969, old is new and new is old – at least when it comes to design. Looking very much like the concept and the famed ’69 model, this reincarnated Camaro has a little retro in its style but a lot of modern technology in the way it drives and the conveniences it offers. Consider, for example, that a 3.6-liter V6 engine delivering 300 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque…with an estimated 26 highway miles per gallon…is the base engine. Perhaps most impressively, the interior also shares a retrofuturistic (sorry, J) feel, with a ’69 style but all the modern conveniences, like an auxillary port – so you can listen to the ‘Stones as you drive down your hometown main street.
MPG: General Motors estimates 18/26 for the V6 model, 15/23 for the V8.
EPA AIR POLLUTION RATING: Not available
EPA GREENHOUSE RATING: Not available
JD POWER DEPENDABILITY: 3 Stars (2002 model, no relation to the 2010 Camaro, but what the heck)
CONSUMER REVIEWS: Forums and links, from Camaro5
TECHNOLOGY: First Look, from Edmunds
VIDEO: See the debut, courtesy of GM
BUYING ADVICE: Available spring of 2009 as a 2010 model. Sign up for updates here…
AUTOMAKER: General Motors
CHEVY CAMARO: HOW LONG WILL THE GOOD TIMES ROLL?
It’s about time.
Seriously, I thought they had changed their mind for a second there, and am really relieved to see that yes, even in these dark days of falling sales, bankruptcy talk and high gas prices, GM still has the sense to bring out a large, sporty 2+2 to do battle with the Challenger and the Mustang. It may not boost sales, it may not be a hybrid, but you know what? It’s a big hairy middle finger to all those people out there who say driving is supposed to be logical and plain, and that having a little fun with a car, why, in these times of global warming, is almost a sin.
Bah. I’m more in favor of hybrids and fuel economy than most, but if you can’t have fun – if you can’t have your Camaros, well, I guess I’ll just take the bus.
LAST MAJOR UPDATE: NEVER-EVER LAND
The Camaro is all-new, and if gas prices continue to spike it may not get the honor of becoming old, given the lack of demand for gas-sucking 2+2s. General Motors could easily get away with making changes, say – once a decade or so, like another pony car we know.
VERSUS: DODGE CHALLENGER, FORD MUSTANG
Give Dodge credit where it’s due: their new Challenger will be a serious competitor in the inevitable burn rubber comparisons coming soon to a street near you. One looks great in black, the other better in yellow, and the war is on at least until all the enthusiasts grow tired of talking about ’em, at which point they’ll wind up being sad, forgotten cars, out of touch and pulling down their share of sales via rental fleets. At the start, it looks like Chevy has an edge, courtesy of gas guzzler tax avoidance. According to multiple sources, the Camaro’s six-speed uses skip-shift software in order to game the EPA’s rating. The Challenger has the tax penalty and the scarlet letter. Then there’s the Mustang – which Ford is promising will be new at the 2008 LA Auto Show, for the 2010 model year – and will certainly jump up and join its new competition in terms of ride, handling, power and efficiency. At least it better, because on paper the Camaro (and Challenger) look ready to rumble, with credible powertrains from base to top of the line.
IF YOU TEST DRIVE: DUMP THE SALESPESON AND HEAD TO CANADA
We haven’t driven the Camaro, but count on power and handling. With an independent suspension front and rear, a six-speed automatic or manual transmission and a base V6 on the LS and LT models that makes 300 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the Camaro is going to be fun, fun, fun, making the SS version a certified barn burner. Want proof? General Motors officials confirm that the big boy SS model gets the sublime 6.2-liter V8 that makes 422 horsepower and 408 lb.-ft of torque, also with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The SS will get GM’s Active Fuel Management system, not that it will matter much to the speed freaks who buy the SS model. Two suspensions serve to heighten the driving experience, one for the LS and LT models and a special, isolated setup for the SS that moves the rack-and-pinion power steering system forward of the front axle, improving driver feedback. All Camaros get four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and the SS gets Brembo calipers. Also standard is GM’s StabilTrak electronic stability control system, and SS models include a Competitive/Sport mode that is adjustable for performance driving and includes a Launch Control feature with the manual transmission. It enables quicker, more consistent takeoffs during performance driving. Safety features include the standard airbag and seatbelt fare, along with driver and front-passenger seat-mounted thorax side-impact air bags and side curtain air bags for front and rear seat occupants.
ENVIRONMENT AND EFFICIENCY: WHO CARES?
Yeah, um, sorry about that. But really, at this point the Camaro is all about shouting in the face of convention, right? Granted, the General Motors press release mentioned fuel economy about 37 times in the first three paragraphs, but the reality is that those buying the Camaro are going to be willing to sacrifice mpg in order to drive this beautiful car.
HOT TECH: TURBO-KILLER FOUR BANGER
During the, oh, four years or so that we’ve all been waiting for this car, loads of rumors have circulated about the Camaro’s powertrains. There was the one about the hybrid Camaro, and then the four-cylinder, turbocharged Camaro got a little run. We think that if the General can squeeze more than 25 mpg out of a 3.6-liter V6 and six-speed combo, plus get 300 horsepower, why there’s little reason for a marginally more efficient option. We like the idea of a Camaro Monster getting a power plant that handles, say, 500 or so horsepower. Shoot – if the doctor says you’ve only got a few years to live, do you go on a diet? Aside from rumors and specualtion, however, it seems that most of what’s for sure is revised (sometimes heavily) componentry from existing GM vehicles.
INTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS: BACK TO THE FUTURE, IN STYLE
We sat inside the Camaro Concept, and marveled at the attention to detail. Now through our monitor window, we can see that same dedication to the design of a retro Camaro, one that’s grounded in today’s requirement for modern conveniences. To that end, you will see deeply recessed instrument binnacles that feature round gauges in square housings, heated leather seats as options, large chrome-timmed controls and a center console gauge cluster. Add to that Bluetooth connectivity and an auxillary port – and what you get is a Camaro that looks like a Camaro – a new Camaro.
WRITTEN BY: Brian Chee
PHOTOS BY: General Motors