2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: The Purchase Dilemma
November 09, 2009
Our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS leaves me a little perplexed. On one hand, I'm pretty sure I like it more than some other editors on staff. But when a friend posed the following question yesterday -- "Would you buy one?" -- I stumbled with uncomfortable uncertainty.
Well, first, let's assume that if I didn't buy one, which new muscle/pony car would I buy? I do find it more than a little ironic that the Ford Mustang GT, live rear axle and all, handles and steers better. You get a better interior out of the deal, too. But current-generation Mustangs are ubiquitous and I'd get tired of seeing myself all the time. When is the next Mustang Bullitt coming out? That'd be what I want.
Then there's the Challenger, the Washington Redskins of the new pony car wars. It came in third in the two comparison tests we've done, and that was with the R/T and SRT8 -- I'd hate to see how the V6 model would shape up. But it's also surprisingly lovable when viewed with retro 3D glasses. All is right with the world in our long-term R/T when I load up some James Brown, prop my elbow on the window sill and hit the highway. Our black Challenger is down on muscle, and I'd need to give it a redo in regards to the tires, wheels and suspension to make it look right, but there's a refreshing honesty here.
Which leads me back to the Camaro. The Camaro's interior foibles don't really bother me. Yep, the steering wheel is lame and outward visibility is poor, but as Jay wrote in the first pony car comparison, "You want to kick ass, or fondle the door panels, sissy?" Meanwhile, for the two things muscle/pony cars are supposed to do best -- go fast and look good -- the Camaro SS gives you a beefy V8 under the hood and well-conceived exterior styling.
So what's missing? I think it's personality. As awful as they were, the old F-bodies had a certain appeal that translated roughly to: "Let's go do burnouts at the high school!" They were low-brow, but they were fun. The new Camaro, in contrast, is more refined. That's a good thing, of course, and it's the best pony car here. But there's very little here that speaks to my heart. I don't find myself aching to own one, and I have to admit that I'd probably put a Challenger in my garage before a new Camaro.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,302 miles