With new hardware under the skin and a four-cylinder under the hood (on base models, at least), the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro advances the iconic pony car's legacy into the future.
New chassis promises improved handling and better fuel economy; current model's bold styling carries over mostly unchanged.
Needs upgraded interior to compete against the nicer cabins in newer rivals.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro gets only subtle lifts and tucks outside, but it rides atop a brand-new chassis good enough for a Caddy. It also gets more powerful engines and an upgraded interior.
A Chevrolet based on a Cadillac? Wait, isn't it usually the other way around? Hasn't General Motors been down this road before?
Like you might say on Facebook, it's complicated. Cadillac has picked through the blue-collar Chevrolet inventory before, yielding the crummy Cimarron in the 1980s and the pretty decent Corvette-based XLR last decade. The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro flips that history on its head, however.
What Is It?
For its sixth generation, the Camaro is thoroughly overhauled. It dispenses with its old bones in favor of a chassis derived from the Cadillac CTS and, in a shorter variation, the ATS. We've praised both cars for a deft blend of athletic handling and ride comfort.
The new Camaro is 2 inches shorter and about an inch lower and narrower, than today's car. Fans of the current Camaro needn't worry, though. The new model does not look radically different. You'll see softer, rounder lines here and there, but the Camaro still squats in its same low-slung, broad-shouldered stance, enhanced with gun-slit windows. Chevrolet has good reasons for moving the Camaro to a new platform -- cost savings and fuel economy among them -- but not much incentive to change a winning look.
What's Under the Hood?
Both V6 and V8 engines carry over. There's also a new turbocharged four-cylinder for those who want a Camaro with maximum fuel economy.
A revised 3.6-liter V6 makes 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque -- modest gains compared to the outgoing engine. The 6.2-liter V8 also gets a power bump, now up to 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque.
The new 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rated at 275 hp/295 pound-feet. Chevy says four-cylinder Camaros should return more than 30 highway mpg while still dashing from zero to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds.
All three engines are available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
What Unique Features Will It Have?
The 2016 Camaro will initially be offered in LT and SS trim levels. LT models come with 18-inch wheels standard, with 20-inch wheels optional. SS models come standard with 20-inch alloy wheels and LED taillights.
The Camaro will feature up to four selectable drive modes -- Snow/Ice, Tour, Sport and, on SS models, Track -- that optimize acceleration, transmission, steering and traction settings depending on road conditions.
The new Camaro offers a noticeable upgrade in interior design, quality and materials, a necessary step to keep pace with its new Mustang and Dodge Challenger rivals. New features include analog dials with a configurable gauge cluster, customizable ambient cabin lighting, and an 8-inch media display for interfacing with navigation, entertainment and Chevrolet MyLink app functions.
Preliminary specs suggest the new Camaro has lost a bit of front headroom (less than an inch) and gained an incremental amount of front legroom.
How Will It Drive?
Chevy says the 2016 Camaro structure is nearly 30 percent more rigid than the outgoing car. The whole car is also at least 200 pounds lighter, aided by increased use of aluminum in structural areas as well as in suspension components. Less mass and less flex should help the new car handle quicker and more responsive than ever. Chevy says the new SS model clocks faster lap times than the track-focused model from the last generation.
Camaro SS models can also get the Magnetic Ride Control active suspension found on Corvettes and Cadillacs.
How Much and When Is It Available?
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro will be made in Lansing, Michigan, and should be in dealerships by the fall of 2015. We expect a four-cylinder Camaro to start at just under $25,000.
Check back for more information on the new Camaro, including specs, driving impressions and buying advice as it becomes available.