By contributing editor David Colman
- Fold down back seat and trunk pass through
- Stellar combo of wheels, tires spring rates and sway bars
- Highly informative 4 gauge pack on center console
- Poor rear and lateral vision
- Impeded rear seat access
- Long reach for front seat belts
In days gone by, any Camaro that posted over 300 horsepower was considered to be a Grade A muscle car, a real pavement ripper, like the original ’67 Z28. And, of course, any Camaro surpassing 300 horsepower relied on the small block Chevy V8 for propulsion. And in keeping with that grand tradition, the current Camaro LT makes 312hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque with Chevy’s latest take on the small block engine. In fact the block in the LT is so small that it displaces only 3.6 liters and relies on 6 rather than 8 cylinders.
To be sure, you can still upgrade to a 6.2 liter V8 in the SS model, but you’ll forego a couple of important V6 advantages in doing so. The most obvious benefit of choosing the V6 is its excellent fuel consumption. Expect a low of 18 MPG around town, but a steady 29 MPG on the freeway. The 426hp SS will have you ponying up 4 bucks per gallon much more often with its 16/25 rating. Even more to the point is the weight difference between the two models. The LT tips in at 3,719 pounds while the SS clocks 3,902 pounds. Since most of that 200 pound difference sits over the front wheels, the LT feels livelier in response to steering input than the SS.
The athletic prowess of the LT really comes alive when you equip it with the optional RS Package. Pay a modest $1,500 extra and you’ll get a set of the handsomest alloys on any car today: flangeless 5-spoke painted aluminum rims that measure 8” x 20” front and 9” x 20” rear. Chevy slaps a set of sticky Pirelli P Zero gumballs (245/45R20 F., 275/40R20 R.) on these rims that afford leach like traction. The RS package also includes such cosmetic upgrades as body color roof channel moldings, and a special RS rear spoiler. Halo ringed HID head lights and model specific tail lights complete the makeover.
A couple of standard features are worth noting because they are included in the base price of this vehicle. First, Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist is part of the basic package here. Because side and rear vision are limited due to the Camaro’s chopped roof line, it’s nice to have a helping sensor to judge distance when reversing out of a parking slot. Similarly surprising as standard fitment is the 9 speaker Boston Acoustics entertainment system, which offers XM Satellite Radio (free for 3 months) and 6 months of free OnStar service. If you lose your Camaro in a parking lot, call 888-4-OnStar and your lights will flash and your horn will blow. They can also unlock your car for you, find you a restaurant, or offer you turn by turn directions. The stellar infotainment unit also houses a CD player with AUX input jack, and a USB port in the center console.
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