|2010 Chevrolet Camaro
By Danny Chang
• In-your-face styling
• Plenty of power to burn rubber
• Uncontrollable urge to drive recklessly
• Very poor visibility
• Jared-from-Subway weight problem
• Less-than-impressive MPG
I’ve been pretty stressed out lately, been very busy at work, just moved into a new house and my wife and I are expecting our first baby. Yeah, a little stressed out. So when my editor called to tell me that a 2010 Camaro SS2 was on its way, I was ecstatic! Just as Bumblebee in Transformers coming to Earth to save Sam Witwicky from the Decepticons, this silver ice metallic Chevrolet Camaro SS2 arrived to rescue me from the tense situation in my life. And just like Bumblebee and Sam, I formed an immediate bond with the SS2, with its 6.2 L V8 with SFI pumping out 426 HP paired with a 6-speed manual, capable of hitting 60 MPH in 4.9 seconds. I loved the twin black striping down the middle of this silver tester, making it a Raiders themed kick-ass Camaro.
The SS2 had plenty of power, there was no doubt about it. What was surprising, however, was how conservative first gear was. It did not leap from a stop like the Challenger SRT8 that I drove a couple of months ago. But once I shifted into second and kept the right foot down, the Camaro took off and leaves everyone else in the dust. Third, fourth, came naturally and I was flying dangerously fast on the local expressway. Highway acceleration was good but you definitely feel the weight of this car. The Camaro SS2 weighs in at almost 3,900 pounds, a little less than the Challenger SRT8 but is still a lot of steel on wheels. The ride is tight, resulting in some pretty great cornering around my office building complex. The big 4-wheel disc Brembo brakes do a great job of stopping this beast. The V8 on the Camaro SS2 does not resonate with the bass that was so soothing on the Challenger SRT8.
The most distinctive impression the Camaro leaves you is the cockpit and the small greenhouse areas around you. Actually I meant the tiny greenhouse. The high belt line on this car makes you feel like you’re driving a military vehicle with small windows and windshield to minimize exposure to enemy fire. The gigantic C pillar makes it impossible to see out the right rear corner of the car, which makes backing out of parking spots at your local Safeway a hair-raising experience. You do feel like you’re in the cockpit of a futuristic military vehicle, like an Autobot.
The Camaro felt extremely well built for a GM. I remember the last generation Camaros that I rented out when I worked at Enterprise Rent-A-Car after college. Those things were truly POS that had the structural integrity of a paper airplane. This Camaro is light years ahead and the body was very solid. The doors close with a strong thud like on a bimmer and the panel fit on the car was consistent and narrow. There were no rattles or creaks on the tester, and wind noise was minimal on the freeway. GM has come a long way and done a great job with the Camaro’s structural integrity. The interior, on the other hand, is a different story.
Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The interior design is distinctive on the Camaro, and harks back to the Camaros of the 1970s. The retro dials in front of the stick shift are original (from the ‘70s) and do differentiate the Camaro from the Mustang and the Challenger. The doors feature huge expanses of body colored plastic panels with strips of LED lighting that emit a greenish blue haze at night. The instrument panel is retro as well and feature modern displays that provide the various data points available in all GM cars today. That’s about it for the good news on the interior.
The stereo unit would have benefited from a little more attention from the designers. It is of a strange shape that’s neither attractive nor easy to replace with after market units. It has neither a GPS unit nor does it offer high quality displays that you expect from a $30,000+ car. It does have one redeeming quality – it features a simulated analog dial not seen since the 1980s. For someone like me who used to have a radio like that, nostalgia heaven. The rest of the interior suffers from a basic problem of cheap-feeling materials.
As I mentioned previously, visibility out of the Camaro is next to nil. The high beltline and the low-slung roof make for a challenging task to judge where the corners and edges of the car are. The fat C pillars are worse than the Challenger and make it impossible to back out of parking spots. There is no grip bar on the passenger side and passengers were constantly reaching for it when I was driving, too bad. The door handles on the inside were also pretty poorly designed and made it hard to pull them close from the inside.
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