2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: The Back Road
January 14, 2010
Yesterday afternoon I did something I don't do nearly often enough: I left work early to go drive a car, our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
I don't know our Camaro especially well, and even after this drive, we're still just friendly acquaintances, not close friends. As you can see, it took me a while to get to my favorite roads and, once I did, the sun dropped quickly.
In a lot of ways, our Camaro is everything our 370Z is not. The Chevy has a ride quality I'd describe as compliant, at least by sports coupe standards, but it's still plenty composed over lumps and ruts, too. The Camaro is also quiet, with wind and road noise kept to a minimum.
But it isn't very exciting through turns. This car weighs well over 3,800 pounds (500 more than our Z car). Although, it doesn't feel too big for two-lane roads, its reflexes are slowed by its chub. And there's more suspension movement than I'd like. The steering also doesn't feel that precise and the effort level doesn't increase soon enough as you move the wheel off-center.
Others have mentioned that this Camaro doesn't take a tail-out attitude when you boot the throttle. It just plays it safe. I haven't driven than many old muscle cars (only drove an F-body one time), so I think I could live with that -- if the Camaro felt sharp through the turns. But it doesn't really. It just feels relaxed and dumb-driver-proof. (And I get that. We can all be dumb at times. And when we're dumb while driving a car, we're liable to sue.)
That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my drive. Pacific Coast Highway was wide open on the trip back. I leaned into the 6.2-liter V8 a bit and created opportunities to downshift the 6-speed. Though the cockpit layout has gotten mixed reviews, the pedal layout is just to my liking for heel-and-toe downshifts. And every time I rip off a clean one, I get a lot of satisfaction from the distinct exhaust note of a GM small-block V8.
I wouldn't choose our Camaro SS for back-roads work, but it feels great on the open highway -- and it's a lot more relaxing to hang with than our 370Z.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,732 miles