California Autos Examiner

Thursday, October 01, 2009

2010 Chevrolet Camaro review: Can you relive your youth? (Part I)

Camaro by Crystal Springs Reservoir

I was fortunate to own a Chevrolet Camaro in my youth. That gray 1986 model covered a large span of my early adult years: The end of high school, college, my first “real job” job after I graduated and the purchase of my house. When I saw the concept Camaro that foretold this 2010 model, I was impressed. It was a nice mixture of old school with a bit of modern design aesthetic mixed in for good measure.

The 2010 Camaro model GM provided for this test was a V6, automatic, 1LT RS model. Certainly my druthers would have been for a V8, but the 304HP V6 acquitted itself nicely. The six does not shove you around like a monster V8 might, but the Camaro will never leave you embarrassed at the light or sweating out a passing a slower car. During my time with the Camaro, fuel economy averaged in the low twenties. While that certainly isn’t the 29MPG highway plastered on the window sticker, it was the result of my lead foot and hilly test routes. Put this baby out on I-5 and I have no doubt that it will obtain the stated fuel economy.

While it was in my care, I was able to give the Camaro a bath and take some tasteful photographs (a line that never worked that well on my college girlfriends). Please check out the slideshow below this article to see the results!

If you would have told anyone back in the late eighties or early nineties that you had purchased an automatic, V6 Camaro, well they would have formed certain opinions of your automotive credibility that may not have been favorable. Time has moved on and that V6 now packs 304HP and the transmission sports six speeds and crisp shifting. Sure there were times where I caught the transmission trying to save fuel at the cost of engine droning, but I was never that annoyed. What was annoying were the buttons on the back of the steering wheel for controlling the sport mode. At first I thought the paddles on the steering wheel were there for that purpose, but they are merely to show you which is the upshift button and which is the downshift button while the paddles themselves are immovable. I pretty much skipped using this “feature” and let the transmission sort things out on its own.

When you look at the equipment levels, you might be fooled into thinking that because you don’t have the SS’s Brembos, this Camaro’s stopping distances would suffer. That is not the case as I learned during some testing of the brakes on a lonely freeway off ramp. After I removed my eyeballs from the windshield and put them back in their sockets, I made notes in my logbook that braking was “more than adequate” in jittery handwriting.

Ride and handling were very good. While the 20” wheels did add some “character” on rougher roads, I’ve suffered far worse on other cars equipped with dubs. The Camaro handled flat and steering heft was good. If the steering wheel told me a little more about the road surface, that would be even better, but after numerous conversations with vehicle engineers at launch events, most consumers don’t seem want that level of feedback. Overall the Camaro’s weight, size and rigidity endow it with a very safe, large car feeling.

Please join me for Part II of this review where I discuss the Camaro’s interior, the option packages on this particular car, the loss of my youth and your local weather forecast (okay, maybe I’ll leave that part out).

For more info: Visit Chevrolet's website.
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1 comment:

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