For most of the past four decades, the Chevrolet Camaro has been the poster car of young (and not so young) speed freaks and boulevardiers alike. You know, the type of folks who value the rumble and thrust of a small-block V8 and sleek styling as much as would-be Hollywood starlets value a photo op.
Starting out in the late 1960s as an answer to Ford's Mustang, the original Chevrolet Camaro could be had in coupe or convertible form and with six-cylinder or V8 power. Forty years and five generations later, the concept really hasn't changed, as the current Chevrolet Camaro also can be had in coupe or convertible form with six-cylinder or V8 power. It even looks similar and carries the classic Camaro qualities of tire-spinning performance and a reasonable base price. But this is a thoroughly modern car that makes for a decent everyday driver, despite some significant practical drawbacks.
Current Chevrolet Camaro
The Chevrolet Camaro is available as a two-door coupe or convertible and in five trim levels: base LS, midgrade LT, high-performance SS and hyper-performance ZL1 and Z/28. The LS comes standard with niceties like alloy wheels and air-conditioning, to which the LT adds power seats and a touchscreen with smartphone integration. The V8-powered SS includes a limited-slip differential and a sport-tuned suspension. The ZL1 boasts a variety of performance parts like Brembo brakes and adaptive suspension dampers, plus standard leather upholstery and Boston Acoustics audio. The hard-core, coupe-only Z/28, on the other hand, has a race-ready suspension and modifications for reduced weight.
The Camaro LS and LT pack a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 323 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the V6, and a six-speed automatic is available. The Camaro SS is equipped with a powerful 6.2-liter V8 matched to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The manual-gearbox SS cranks out 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, with the automatic version tuned to "just" 400 hp and 410 lb-ft. Offering the same transmission choices, the Camaro ZL1 gets a supercharged version of the 6.2-liter V8 good for 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque. The Z/28, which is 300 pounds lighter than the ZL1, employs a 505-hp 7.0-liter V8 and comes only with the six-speed manual.
On the road, any of these Camaros will provide brisk performance, a reasonably compliant ride (though the Z/28 is significantly firmer) and respectable handling, while the V8-powered versions should satisfy the most ardent acceleration addicts. The ZL1 and especially the Z/28 are astoundingly capable on a racetrack with their special suspensions. However, in day-to-day driving, the poor outward visibility, mediocre cabin trim, cramped backseat and tiny, oddly shaped trunk opening could be deal-breakers. As such, we'd advise potential buyers to also consider the Camaro's equally classic competitors, the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang.
Read the most recent 2014 Chevrolet Camaro review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Chevrolet Camaro page.
For more on past Chevrolet Camaro models, view our Chevrolet Camaro history page.