What's New for 2002
Few changes are made to the Camaro in what is its final year of production. Minor additions include a special 35th anniversary package and Sebring Silver to the color palette.
"From the country that invented rock 'n' roll" claimed the advertisements for this Quebec, Canada-built sport coupe when it was last redesigned nearly a decade ago. A small technicality, we suppose, but there are no technicalities when it comes to the Camaro's performance abilities, particularly in Z28 or SS guise. These Camaros are blazingly quick, hold the road tenaciously, cost less than the average price of a new car in this country and get decent gas mileage when they're not being hammered along a twisty two-lane road.
Two trim levels are available for 2002 in either coupe or convertible body styles. Base Camaros are powered by a 3800 Series II V6 that makes 200 horsepower. Mated to a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission (coupe only), this stout motor makes a strong argument for avoiding the higher insurance rates and prices of the Z28. An optional performance-handling package adds dual exhaust, tighter steering and a limited-slip differential on V6 models.
The Z28 is the go-faster Camaro. Equipped with a 5.7-liter LS1 V8, the Z28 is good for 310 horsepower, 50 more than the Mustang GT. Opt for the SS performance package, and you get 325 real horsepower, thanks to forced air induction through an aggressive-looking hood scoop. Chevy says the SS will hit 60 mph in a little over 5 seconds from a stop and continue on to a 13.5-second quarter-mile if you keep the pedal planted -- about as fast as it gets for under $30K.
For 2002, revisions are few. Z28 coupes and convertibles get P245/50ZR16 Goodyear Eagle RSA tires as standard equipment, and all V8-equipped models get an auxiliary power steering cooler. Sebring Silver metallic paint has been added to the exterior color palette, while Mystic Teal metallic has been dropped. A special 35th Anniversary edition adds sport stripes, blacked out wheels, and numerous cosmetic add-ons for a one-of-kind look. The interior of the Camaro is functional, but cheap in appearance, and visibility is limited through the sharply raked windshield. The Camaro holds a respectable amount of gear in the cargo hold (more than 33 cubic feet of space with the generally useless rear seats folded down), and airbags and antilock brakes are standard.
Chevrolet has officially announced that this will be the last year of Camaro production.. Steadily declining sales are to blame, and the company is eager to slice non-performing models from the lineup. So if you want a tire-shredding sport coupe that won't leave you with a perpetually empty wallet, better snag a Camaro soon before this legend gets put out to pasture.