2010 Chevrolet Camaro: Family Road Trip
February 16, 2010
Normally vehicles like our Ford Flex or the XC60 are the vehicles of choice for family road trips. But over the weekend I decided to try out our Chevrolet Camaro by doing a 600-mile trip with my wife and two-year-old daughter. I knew the Camaro would automatically be more interesting to drive than about 90 percent of every other new car out there, but would its inherently small backseat and trunk make it a poor road-trip companion?
Results from the Camaro drive follow after the jump.
First, some specific observations:
Highway passing power: Heh, with the 426-horsepower V8, there's not much to worry about here. But sixth gear is pretty tall. At speeds less than 70 mph, I typically kept it in fifth gear. For a respectable highway pass, you'll want fourth.
Ride quality and road noise: For a sport coupe, the Camaro was fine. Its ride is not as comfortable as our long-term Challenger's, but it doesn't beat you up, either. Wind and road noise are again acceptable.
Fuel economy: For the trip, I averaged 21 mpg.
Comfort: I happen to find the Camaro's driver seat pretty comfortable. The oddly-shaped steering wheel, which we've covered plenty before, is an annoyance if you like your hands to be at the 9 and 3 positions. Then again, if you like keeping your left hand underhand at the 8 o'clock position and your right hand on the gear shift, you'll be perfectly happy during highway cruising.
Interior room: I had my wife and two-year-old daughter with me. A forward-facing child safety seat installs pretty easily in the back seat, but I quickly realized that there wasn't going to be enough legroom for my daughter if we kept the front seats positioned normally. The Camaro's backseat does not have a middle position with a seatbelt, though I found I could get our safety seat cinched down tight on that middle hump by connecting to one LATCH anchor from each side.
Trunk: The trunk opening is rather narrow, but I was still able to shove a large suitcase down its throat. Trunk capacity is listed at 11.3 cubic feet, and from that I fit the suitcase, a Pack 'N Play (a kid's playpen), a laptop bag, a diaper bag, a backpack and a few other items not in the photo.
Miscellaneous: I really like the iPod adapter in this car. The headlights seemed to be pretty effective while driving at night. The small and non-extendable sunvisors are pathetic if you're hoping to block the sun out the side window. People still pay a lot of attention to the car, most typically saying that they the love the way it looks.
In sum, the drive went pretty well. Driving something like our Volvo XC60 would have been more comfortable, but the Camaro managed alright, and it return it made the drive more interesting and fun.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,204 miles