2013 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe (6.2L V8 6-speed Manual w/2SS, 1LE)
Driven On 4/2/2013
The Camaro SS ranks high in most categories in the muscle-car class. Its 6.2-liter V8 churns out a tire-shredding 426 horsepower. The 1LE package tested here noticeably improves handling. As with all Camaros, outward visibility is seriously lacking.
ComfortComfort is not an area where the Camaro excels, and the stiffer 1LE suspension makes the ride a bit more punishing. We were impressed with the support the driver's seat gave over long hauls. While the car is noisy, we enjoy the sounds.
We found the driver's seat comfortable even over long distances. The rear seat is the smallest in the class, and adults will cringe at the sight of it. The kids might fit.
The 1LE suspension doesn't pull punches. It serves up a rougher ride than most folks will want to deal with on a daily basis. The benefits are found in the handling.
The Camaro is far from quiet. Tire and road noise can be excessive. The engine and exhaust make a racket at full throttle, but for enthusiasts it's a beautiful V8 soundtrack.
InteriorThe Camaro's interior makes some compromises, mostly in the name of style. The chopped roof makes entry difficult, there's minimal storage and poor outward vision.
Most controls are within easy reach and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel is handy. The gauges below the center stack are still uselessly tucked out of sight.
The doors are long and open wide, easing entry, although in tight parking situations their size is a disadvantage. The low roof and cozy interior make getting in/out a challenge.
It's snug inside the Camaro, particularly the rear seat where leg room is nearly nonexistent. Even front-seat occupants feel confined for such a wide car.
Parking lot maneuvers are aided by a rearview camera. But it's difficult to judge the car's fender and bumper locations, and the short glass area makes outward vision a challenge.
At 11.3 cubic-feet, the Camaro's trunk is below average for the pony-car class. Worse still, the opening is laughably tiny. The door pocket storage is about average.
PerformanceThe Camaro SS 1LE means business. It's essentially a track package and features firmer suspension and stickier tires. The 426-hp V8 has no additional power versus the non-1LE SS, but it makes quick work of drag strips regardless.
The Camaro hits 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and the quarter-mile in 13.0 sec. The car has Launch Control, but we were quicker without it. The 6-speed manual and clutch are easy to use.
The SS 1LE needed just 108 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, thanks largely to the sticky tires. Panic stops were drama-free, with nary a hint of a wiggle and minimal nosedive.
Quick turn-in, but the electric-assist power steering should offer more feedback to the driver. The flat-bottom, suede-wrapped steering wheel feels good in your hands.
The stability system's Competitive Mode allows a large envelope with which to play before it cuts throttle and adds brakes. Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires give plenty of grip.
The Camaro 1LE gets high marks for an easy shifter/clutch combination and a natural throttle delivery. But the poor outward visibility can make the car feel cumbersome.
ValueThe Camaro SS 1LE offers average value for the class. It's priced comparably to the Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the Ford Mustang Boss 302. All three have similar fuel economy and competitive warranties.
Build Quality (vs. $)
The Camaro's interior has an overabuncance of hard, cheap-feeling plastic trim and controls. It falls below the Mustang and Challenger in this category.
At its starting price of $36,135, the 2SS offers quite a lot for the money, including Brembo brakes, a limited-slip rear differential, a rear camera, heated front seats and a USB port.
Tack on the 1LE package with stiffer suspension, special wheels/tires and a flat-bottom steering wheel, plus the RS package and a dual-mode exhaust, and the car costs $43,105.
This Camaro is rated at 16 city/24 highway/19 mpg combined. We averaged just 15.2 mpg over 600 miles. Our best single tank was 19.1 mpg during mostly highway driving.
The basic warranty covers the car for 3 years/36,000 miles. Drivetrain is 5 years/100,000 miles, which is slightly better than the Mustang and identical to the Challenger.
Chevy doesn't offer a free maintenance program, but roadside assistance is covered for 5 years/100,000 miles.
Fun To DriveThe Camaro has its share of quirks, but in terms of driving fun, it's tough to beat, especially at the base price. The 6.2-liter V8 has instant power, the optional dual-mode exhaust is addictive. And the 1LE's handing is nicely improved.
If you can get beyond the harsh ride and poor visibility, the Camaro provides a pure American muscle-car experience. You want to drive this car. And you want to be seen in this car.
It's loud. It's fast. It does smokey burnouts. Big V8. Manual transmission. Huge amounts of tire grip. It's all here.