2010 Chevrolet Camaro Long Term Road Test


2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: The Textcast

October 02, 2009

Sadlier: Quite the Camaro post by Mr. Jordan, eh? Stirred the pot.
Magrath: Sums up my feelings on the car pretty well, i.e., it's not a Camaro.
Magrath: Our service advisor yesterday at Chevy: "Like your Camaro?"
Magrath: Me: "Eh, it's okay."
Magrath: Him: "No f---ing kidding" (he swore a lot). "If it was a real f---ing Camaro I'd have bought one. It's not a real Camaro. No guts."
Magrath: Me: "Yep."
Sadlier: No guts = wrong gearing. Give it a performance rear axle like the Mustang's 3.73 and you'd be happy.
Magrath: No, then I wouldn't be bored. Well, as bored.
Sadlier: Need I remind you, you couldn't outrun me on straights in the GT-R on Angeles Crest, never mind what gear I was in. Dead even at speed with a Camaro SS! How embarrassing for the Japanese "supercar."

Magrath: It's true, but I was pulling on you through the corners with one hand out the window. If we were really going for it, you wouldn't have seen me at the end of the corner to catch up on the straights.
Sadlier: Fair enough. But the Camaro isn't supposed to be a Nurburgring champ. It's a head-turning car with enough power to keep pace with a GT-R in a straight line, and it starts at $31k. What's not to like?
Magrath: That's solid logic. Too bad it doesn't apply here. For $31K you could build a Civic hatch that would turn heads and beat the GT-R. Does that mean it's good? You're falling into the McDonalds / Wal Mart trap: It's almost as good and it's WAY cheaper!
Sadlier: I doubt your Civic hatch claim. We're having a hard time building a $50k Evo GSR that'll beat the GT-R.
Sadlier: But in any case, it's pretty impressive that the Camaro down at your local Chevy dealer can keep up with an $80k world-beating Nissan. If I'm paying GT-R money for a car, I'm going to feel a little sheepish when I can't shake that Camaro SS on my bumper.
Magrath: Then get a Z06.
Sadlier: Yes! I would take a Z06 over a GT-R in a heartbeat.
Magrath: And I'll take composure through the corners over pulls to 150 mph any day. But we digress.
Sadlier: Yeah, back to the Camaro. I was going to say that I actually respect its handling. Confident and stable. Feels big and you can't see out of it, sure, but it's got some moves.
Magrath: Stable yes, confident no. Fun, no. Exhilarating, no. And it's got moves in the same way that, say, current Madonna has moves -- they're only moves because you expect it to be way worse.
Sadlier: Look, here's the deal with the Camaro, and I know I'm right because the Weekly Top 3 guy says so. It's a styling exercise with substance. It looks good for those who don't care about anything else, but it also drives good for those who do. Mustang drives better, but Challenger drives worse. Camaro's competitive. It's not like a Solstice or a Prowler where it looks interesting and drives like crap.
Magrath: It's exactly like the Solstice!
Sadlier: Ha. A richly undeserved compliment to Solstices everywhere.
Magrath: No, the Camaro is EXACTLY the same as the Solstice. People fall for the looks and ignore the suck. The veneer washes off, sales fall and the car gets canceled. The diehards complain. Everyone else says, "What took so long?"
Magrath: There was a forum that quoted one of our Solstice stories where we said, "The Solstice is fine, but it'll never be a driver's car like the Miata." Or something similar. The Solstice people got all hot-headed because "they're real drivers."
Magrath: No they aren't. And like the Solstice, this Camaro isn't a long-burn car. It's high-heat and lots of fuel, but not good enough for a sustained burn. Seriously, who does this car appeal to that isn't already under the GM umbrella? The Camaro will only sell to people who REALLY WANT a Camaro.
Sadlier: It'll appeal to people who like style and speed, i.e., millions of Americans. The gearing's obviously too tall; on that Angeles Crest drive I had to downshift to second gear to pass people, Honda-style. But if you fix that, how can you say this thing is not a solid performer?
Magrath: You can't argue massive changes are necessary to make a car acceptable and then tell me I should like it anyway.
Sadlier: Massive changes?! Performance rear axle. Done. You can't tell me a Mustang GT with the 3.73 is "massively changed" from stock.
Magrath: I think it's more than a rear-end away from being good. I'd have to see the gear ratios.
Sadlier: And let's not forget, even with the current setup, the Camaro is stupid fast when you get on it. Downshift into 3rd at 65 mph (there's the Honda part) and you're going 100 before you can say "The truly weird thing about Madonna is all those veins popping out of her arms."
Magrath: You make all of these Honda references but forget that the Camaro motor LUGS to its powerband while a Honda motor revs freely to get into the sweet spot. So, inevitably, you underrev for the first few miles and then overrev trying to find the sweet spot in a pushrod V8 that should be at the f---ing bottom of the rev range, as that service advisor might have put it.
Sadlier: All I know is, it's got a lot of motor. Give it proper gearing (and a proper soundtrack too -- you're right about that in your Second Op) and it's all set.
Sadlier: And by "all set" I mean it's a two-door G8 that looks mean and goes really fast. I don't see what your problem is with that formula.
Magrath: Right, a barely more capable G8 with poor visibility, pathetic old-guy looks, horrible ergonomics, crappy materials, a ride that's crashy over speedbumps, crappy steering that can't keep up with itself and a steering wheel you can't hold.
Magrath: Awesome car!
Sadlier: Who cares about ergonomics? This is a 426-horsepower muscle car, not a Honda Fit.
Magrath: This is 2009, you can have 400 horsepower and a useful interior.
Sadlier: But who needs a useful interior when a car looks this good? "Pathetic old-guy looks"? Nonsense. Check it out nose-to-nose with the GT-R. Makes the Nissan look all jagged and awkward.
Magrath: HA. No. Camaro's a tacky transformer.
Sadlier: GT-R's all discordant origami folds and stuff. Camaro's perfectly proportioned, muscular, concept-car cool.
Sadlier: Come on. You like things that go fast, you like daring aesthetics, you like V8s. You should be on board here.
Magrath: I want to be, but I'm not.
Magrath: It needs more.
Magrath: It's a good concept car right now (I'm still against the look, but that's neither here nor there...). But rational buyers have options, like the Mustang and Challenger you mentioned, both of which I'd buy over the Camaro.
Sadlier: Shut up, you would not buy the Challenger over the Camaro
Magrath: Oh yeah.
Sadlier: Now you're just being polemical
Magrath: Absolutely not. Objectively, the Camaro's better. Subjectively, I would rather drown myself than own one.
Magrath: The Dodge is less offensive.
Magrath: The Challenger is like NY pizza in LA. It's ok. It's not great, it's rarely offensive and it's a little bit diluted and sad.
Magrath: The Camaro is like Japanese Fusion NY pizza. It's weird and bad and only appeals to people who think "Hey, that's a great idea!" Nobody else wants octopus balls on their pie.
Sadlier: You can't be serious. You've taken so many rhetorical craps on that Challenger.
Magrath: Okay, I'm lying a little. But believe this: I'd gladly drown my grandmother for a 2010 GT500.
Sadlier: I'm out of grandmothers, but otherwise, I'll second that.
Magrath: Yeah, I am too.
Magrath: Probably makes the drowning easier. Or harder as they don't breathe and probably aren't that, you know, easy to hold.
Sadlier: Somewhere Grandma is smiling.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro in VA is:

$147 per month*
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