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2010 Chevrolet Camaro: What's It Like to Live With?

Read the latest updates in our long-term road test of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS as our editors live with this car for a year.

Chevrolet Camaro 2010

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Introduction

August 25, 2009

Every Camaro has a story, and we expect this 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS will be no different. When you're around a Camaro, things happen.

Just like we remember the time when Betty was sitting at the top of the grandstand at the drag strip and looking idly into the night sky when Billy began desperately trying to get her attention from the driver seat. He's next up, and the staging box is being hosed down while the V8 in his Camaro lopes like an unbalanced dryer. She finally gets with the program, turns her head toward the track in time to see the first red light in the Christmas tree flash on. Then two red lights. Then three. And green!

Billy drops the clutch. The tires, still sticky from a pretty epic burnout, hook up hard and there's no wheelspin. Then the rear end grenades. Billy coasts to a stop 700 feet from the tree. We spend the next few hours under Billy's car repairing what we can; we've gotta get home somehow. Betty watches from afar.

This was our first Camaro story, and we've found that everyone who's ever been around one of Chevy's pony cars has some kind of story to tell, too. Now that we've bought a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and started another 12-month/20,000-mile long-term road test, we expect that everyone here will soon have a new Camaro story of some sort to tell.

What We Got
No good Camaro story has ever started with, "Well, I got the V6 because...." If you're expecting some kind of story to happen to you, then your Camaro needs a V8. A big one. (Note: A Camaro story is perfectly acceptable if it has a V8 but the car is only running on six cylinders.)

Our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS has got a pretty big one, a 6.2-liter V8 with more ponies than a horse farm — some 426 horsepower to be exact, all of which is available at 5,900 rpm. As for twist, 420 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm does the trick. And thanks to giant leaps in the engineering of large-displacement engines with simple pushrod-operated valves (not to mention optimal gearing in this car's six-speed manual transmission), this 3,864-pound pony car is rated by the EPA at a not-so-terrible 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway, with 19 mpg combined. Actually using the aforementioned horsepower, however, will net significantly lower numbers, as we've discovered.

The 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is fairly well appointed from the factory with a full complement of airbags (front, side and head curtain), a limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, halogen headlights, a tilt-telescoping steering wheel and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics stereo with aux input. Naturally we wanted even more, so we're happy to have the 2SS trim level, which adds leather-upholstered seats (heated in the front), Bluetooth capability (a necessity here in California to abide by the law against cell phone use while driving), the auxiliary four-gauge instrument cluster and a USB port that can handle an iPod.

We didn't necessarily want the RS package, but our 2010 Camaro SS certainly has it. This means 20-by-8-inch front and 20-by-9-inch rear cast-aluminum wheels that are painted, not chromed (welcome to the new century, Chevy), and 245/45ZR front and 275/40ZR20 rear Pirelli P Zero tires. Then there are HID lights with halo rings and RS taillights. The RS package adds $1,200 to the bottom line of our new Camaro, and while it's stuff we could live without, we had a hard enough time finding a relatively plainly equipped 2010 Chevy Camaro to buy on any dealership lot in Los Angeles.

In fact, it would appear that from a supply/demand perspective that Chevy is possibly the most brilliant financial strategist in the automotive marketplace. Back in 2002, Chevy cleverly anticipated the forthcoming collapse of the economy and discontinued its Camaro, leaving the Ford Mustang to carry on the whole rear-wheel-drive pony car thing. (We'll forget all about the Pontiac GTO episode, which didn't work out for Pontiac, GM or anyone, really.) Mullets shook with anger when this happened, but few others noticed.

Until that is, the Camaro concept car appeared at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show, and then some Hollywood guy, Mike Bay, saw it and thought it might fit the movie he was making about warring robots. The hype machine chugged, churned and spewed for more than three years. Take away what people want and then give it back a few years later at a premium. It was a bold strategy for sure.

So when examples of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro hit dealership lots, man, they went fast. Real fast. Camaros with a manual transmission were completely sold out almost overnight. According to one dealer, ordering a Camaro with a manual transmission would net us a car in seven months. Then he told us that he had a buyer who had pre-ordered a Camaro but had backed out. It was going to show up in a couple of days and we were welcome to it — if we wanted an automatic transmission. We did not, but we decided that we'd call every Chevy dealer in Los Angeles, hoping to find another pre-ordered Camaro abandoned by its prospective owner and then buy the one with the lowest markup.

Weeks of searching finally netted a hit at M.K. Smith Chevy in Chino, California. We hoped to pay MSRP, but this one was silver (no way we'd take yellow), had the leather interior and was available the same day. Dealer markup? About 2,500 bucks. Seems fair. With tax, title, license, doc-prep and everything else signed and done, the total tab for our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS came to $42,192.

Why We Got It
Well, it's an American icon, isn't it? Actually it's an American icon for two different subcultures in our national automotive life, those with mullets and a set of cinder blocks to use as jack stands who don't want some kind of Cash for Clunkers mpg machine, and regular guys looking for high-speed hi-jinks who are smart enough to keep the cost down.

There's a little bit of both groups in those of us here, but we're probably most interested in the speed thing. Either way, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS has us covered. It looks like the kind of car you wanted when you were 12, and it's got stupid power under the hood with the 426-hp V8.

The Christmas Tree Goes Green
We don't know where the road will lead our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, but we only have 12 months to explore it. Some things to expect in our long-term blog about this car:

  • New rear tires
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Grudge night at Irwindale Speedway's drag strip
  • Pointless reminiscences about the 1960s
  • Dismay that significant others don't like the Camaro as much as Betty did
  • Complaints that a Camaro has never been great to sleep in

But maybe we're speculating too much. Maybe for this test we'll just sit back, let the back of our hair grow out and relax. We've got 12 months and 20,000 miles to find out what kind of stories are going to happen to us.

Current Odometer: 1,636 miles
Best Fuel Economy: 20.9 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 15.6 mpg
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 17.3 mpg

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


WRONG Wheel

August 28, 2009

You're going to hear a lot about form over function in the next year regarding our new long-term 2010 Camaro SS. The entire car is an extravaganza of exuberant car designers getting the upper hand on ergonomics and practicality. The debate on whether this is a good thing or bad thing shall be interesting.

But sometimes there should be no debate and that's what the WRONG stamp is for. And my largest WRONG stamp is reserved for bone-headed disasters like the Camaro steering wheel.

You've probably heard it before, but this wheel is pure nonsense, seemingly designed only on paper without a thought that someone would actually be holding it. Unless that someone is a member of Species 8472, but I find that highly unlikely.

There is simply no easy, comfortable way to hold this thing. 3 and 9 isn't going to work because the spokes are huge and canted inward with a narrow ridge at top. 2 and 10 is the least uncomfortable, but they aren't shaped for human hands either and you feel like you're in driver's ed. I tried the Rolls-Royce chauffeur method at 4 and 8, which sort of worked, but this is a muscle car not a limousine. I could keep going around the clock — 1 and 7 maybe? Perhaps my knees instead? Heck, even the buttons on the wheel are difficult to reach.

I would not buy this car because of this wheel. It isn't a frivolous thing, either. This is the one part of the car you touch every single time you're in the car for every single second you're driving (well, hopefully). This isn't a hard dash top or a weird wood grain or a big sunroof gap. I'd rather have an ugly or boring wheel that's passably comfortable like the Challenger's than a visually interesting one that's impossible to hold.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 1,890 miles

A Viable Family Car? Sure

August 31, 2009

A weekend with our new long-term 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS meant it was time to put it through my most important test regimen. Power slides on Mulholland? Smoky burnouts in the quiet industrial parks? Seeing how far it goes after the fuel light comes on?

No, those are my second most important test parameters. First, in any car with a back seat, I have to see if that seat is a functional feature or simply a cruel joke meant to fool insurance companies into offering lower rates. In too many two-door coupes it's often the latter.

But not in the new Chevy Camaro. While four full-sized adults will never fit comfortably in this car, two adults and two children can realistically travel for extended periods. My son, at 5-foot even, fit easily behind my wife of 5'4", while my daughter at 4'8" squeezed behind my 6-foot frame with no actual contact between seat and legs (though it was pretty close).

While the kids easily fit in the back seat I was initially disappointed by what appeared to be a major ergonomic faux-pas. "Where's the quick-release lever? Ugh! You mean I have to use the SLOW power seat adjustment every time the kids get in and out?"

Actually, no. There is a quick-release lever, it's just not apparent by looking at the side of the seat (as the top picture shows). I found it on my second entry/exit run-through with the kids. While this location works for people already sitting in the back seat it's not great for people standing outside of the car who are trying to flop the seat forward (which, of course, is where every rear passenger starts...).

Speaking of ergonomics, the new Camaro does have one I've come to expect in every modern car: a gas cap holder. The Camaro's is pretty basic, with just a tab to hang the fuel-cap tether over. But it's also proof of how easy it is to include this simple feature, thus removing any and all manufacturer excuses for not having it on every 2010 model.


The Right Chevy Wheel

September 04, 2009

Last week after I WRONGed the Camaro's wheel, I seem to recall a lot of people commenting to the gist of "Chevy can't win. If GM had put the boring wheel from the Vette in the Camaro, you guys would have complained about that too!"

That's probably true, but as I commented at one point, "There is a middle ground to be found. It's not like you can't design an interesting steering wheel that's also comfortable."

Turns out, I was right. Behold, the steering wheel in the new 2010 Chevy Equinox. It's a nice size, the spokes at 3 and 9 are contoured for human hands, ditto the grips at 2 and 10, its buttons are easy to reach and I think it looks pretty nice. Oh, and you can grip it at 6 o'clock for whatever weenie said they like driving like that.

This is the wheel that should be in the Camaro.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor


Utah Is a Good Place for the Camaro

September 07, 2009

For a good chunk of my life, I never thought I would see a speed limit higher than 55mph. Then the feds wised up and let the states choose their own limits. Not surprisingly, many of the less-densely populated areas out west changed to 65, 70 and even 75mph limits.

As you can see, Utah has gone even higher, at least in this 30-mile or so "test section". It was a welcome sight as the Camaro cruises quite nicely at such speeds. There's very little wind noise for a car with such a distinctively-shaped exterior and even the tire noise from our car's optional 20s wasn't all that noticeable.

Don't have a bad word to say about the seats either. I made the roughly 10-hour trip from L.A. to Salt Lake City with barely a hint of soreness. Don't know how well they would fare on a tighter, twisty road, but for highway cruising they felt great.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 2,106 miles

Is OnStar a Suitable Cell Phone Alternative?

September 08, 2009

I didn't even know our Camaro had OnStar's hands-free calling service until a number popped up on the screen asking me if I wanted to "answer" or "decline." At the time I was driving through rural Utah, so I was both curious and bored enough to I hit "answer" just to see what happened.

A woman came over the speakers and asked for Stephanie something-or-other. Since my name is not Stephanie I politely told the caller she had the wrong number.

She persisted, "Is there a Stephanie there?"

I responded, "This is my car ma'am, unless Stephanie is stowed away in the trunk, I'm pretty sure she's not around."

That was enough to convince her and she hung up. I then proceeded to play around with the system to see how well it worked as a Bluetooth alternative.

It's quite useful, sort of.

The actual interface is very user friendly. You either hit the button on the steering wheel or press the phone button on the OnStar panel just below the rearview mirror. It then asks you for a prompt and you then say "dial" and follow it up with the number. Simple enough.

I used it to make a few calls to the office and the sound quality was quite good. It was right about then that I was reminded why I didn't think to use it before. A voice chimed in and said I only had 10 minutes of talk time remaining.

Now I didn't expect to make a bunch of calls for free all day, but the idea of "recharging" my account with additional minutes suddenly made me question its usefulness. It's convenient and all, but do I really want to pay another cell phone bill? Especially one that I can only use in the car?

Um, not really. I'll stick to using Bluetooth thank you. It works just as well and all my numbers and info are all there. Glad the Camaro offers both.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 2,389 miles

On the Highway, It Gets 21 MPG

September 09, 2009


Like just about every car on the road these days, the Camaro doesn't really get its advertised highway mileage (24mpg) unless you're crawling along at 60mph or so.

On a recent trip on the wide open highways of California, Nevada and Utah, I consistently averaged 20.5 mpg cruising at a constant 75mph or so. Occasionally I would slow down a bit and edge up to 21mpg, but that's about it.

I'm not surprised it fell short of the EPA number, but I am impressed that it could even achieve 21mpg. That's not bad for a 3,900 pound vehicle with 426 horsepower. Come to think of it, my '68 Chevelle SS weighs about that much, was only rated at 350hp and gets about 10mpg on the highway if i feather it. Now that's progress my friends.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor @ 2,676 miles

Front Plate Folly

September 10, 2009

Those of you who don't live in front-plate-states, consider yourself lucky. Living in the Republic of California, we're stuck with 'em. But hey, State's in a budget crisis and no-front-plate tickets are easy money — and money we don't want to spend. Our plates arrived yesterday and I went down to the garage to install them.

Step 1: Get screwdriver. Step 2: Find front plate bracket (Hooray, it's in the car. I hate when dealers forget to include this.) Step 3: Find mounting hardware for front plate bracket. Damn. Not taped to the bracket. Not in the glove box. Not in the trunk. Step 4: Check front bumper for guide holes. Nothing. Not even dimples. I don't want to G8 this and have it all crooked. Step 5: Go to Santa Monica Chevy.

While I was waiting on the techs to get back from lunch, I figured I was bright and mechanically inclined enough to mount the rear plate all by myself. Screwdriver (the + kind) in hand I removed the dealer plate, which oddly enough was only attached at the bottom, and found this

Yep, it was only mounted at the bottom because there were only tabs to hold screws on the bottom. I'd have thought this is something the guys at the dealer would've caught and fixed when they mounted the plate. Goobers. When I got to SM Chevy, I told them about the back plate. It's just a couple of plastic tabs that, unfortunately, they didn't have available right now.

The front plate, they said, would take about 30 minutes. I walked down the street for a coffee.

40 min later I came back and the car was ready to go. I walked to the front to check out the work and the damn thing was off center. Not crooked like the G8, but off center by about half an inch. Now, that's not huge, but the new Camaro has a crease down the center and the mounting bracket is creased to match — essentially, what you've got to do when mounting the front plate is put a V on top of another V. When this is done correctly, it's a snug fit with no gaps, when done incorrectly there are gaps everywhere. I was too mad to take a picture, I just threw them the keys back said, "It's crooked. Fix it." and went back in the waiting room.

It took another 20 minutes but now the plate is on and almost right. It's now about a half centimeter off and there are some gaps at the edges, but I had been there two hours and wasn't going to argue anymore. Maybe Dan will fix this one, too.

The good news in all of this was our service advisor. He was as mad as I was that the plate was off center and apologized profusely. Though he wasn't good enough to waive the $49 flat-rate front-plate installation fee.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

Bitchin' iPod Interface

September 10, 2009

Our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS has one of the best iPod interfaces going.

I'm not saying that because you can connect your iPod to a simple USB port in the center console with the standard white iPod cord you use to synch-up with your computer.

And I'm not just saying that because you get full menu control, with podcasts and audiobooks broken out in their own top-level menu categories alongside song, artist, album, etc.

Neither am I saying that because you get easy access to all of that with the above standard display instead of having to fork over major bank for a navigation system and a touch screen.

These things are indeed true, but the real reason I am giddy about this interface is that GM has also provided an elegant solution to one of the most vexing in-car iPod control problems that I encounter on a daily basis.

Say you want to listen to a particular song or artist, and that song or artist's name begins with the letter U, such as U2's Unforgettable Fire. Furthermore, you own an 80Gb iPod with some 2,000 songs by 500 artists.

In many cars it's a tedious process to work your way up through the alphabet to the letter U. Our Honda Insight, for instance, shows 5 songs at a time on its navigation screen, but you can only page up in increments of 5 songs at a time, and you must "press" a touch screen button for each of those 5-song jumps. It...takes...forever.

The Ford Flex's touch screen is a little better because it allows you approach the problem library style: You can select from A-F, G-K, L-Q or R-Z (or letters to that effect). That's a bit better, but these sub-groups can still represent hundreds of songs for those with large song libraries. [I'm intentionally ignoring voice commands because they are unreliable.]

Things are all better in the Camaro SS, though at first it seems like a case of "Here we go again." Twirl the Menu/Select knob at your usual speed and the interface will sift through the menu at a song-by-song pace.

But when you twist said knob with more vigor or if you perform a quick left-right-left flick the software jumps into something called "Alpha Acceleration" mode and each detent begins to represent a letter of the alphabet. All of a sudden you can scroll quickly from A-songs to the U-songs in (pardon the upcoming pun) record time.

Back off your twirling speed for a sec and song title scrolling drops back into song-at-a-time mode.

Bitchin', Camaro.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,543 miles

Papa John's Double Team Pick-Up

September 11, 2009

Remember a few weeks ago when Papa John found his beloved Camaro and to celebrate offered a free pizza to any Camaro owner in the country? Well, I heard about that and thought aloud, "Hey, I wonder if anyone on staff owns a Camaro?"

After a few seconds, the lightbulb went off. "Wait a minute, we have a Camaro! Hell, actually, we have two Camaros!"

One was our new long-termer (then un-introduced) and the other a short-term V6 model. Well, that was too good of a blog post to go unwritten. Mark Takahashi called up our local Papa John's to place our order.

"You know you need Camaro to get free pizza, right?" the Papa John's man said.

"Yes and we have two Camaros," Takahashi replied.

So we grabbed the cool Camaro flip keys and just because it sounded so much fun to get two free pizzas in a pair of Camaros, Editor in Chief Karl Brauer tagged along.

We drove up and found two perfect open spots in front of the Papa John's. The store owner happily came from the back and handed over the pizzas — it was just that simple. We took a picture and for the next few days each Camaro smelled a little like pepperoni.

Mmmm Camaro pepperoni aaaaaaah

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Picture by Mark Takahashi

Soul of a Sports Car?

September 11, 2009

I've driven a lot of Camaros and Firebirds over the years.

The first-generation Firebird 400 that Skip Robidart's father had. The small-block Firebird that belonged to the current boyfriend of Lissa, my old high-school girlfriend. The second-gen, black-and-gold, screaming-chicken-rampant Firebird 400 with the Detroit locker and a CB radio antenna on the roof that I drove cross-country from New York City to San Francisco the week that Smokey and the Bandit was released into theaters (couldn't figure out why all the trucks kept waving to me and blowing air horns until I saw the movie some weeks later). GM engineer Fred Schaafsma's third-generation Camaro. The tastefully styled third-generation Firedbird of John Schinella (the guy who ironically designed the screaming chicken graphic, something completely out of character for him). The revised fourth-generation Camaro with structurally adhesive in every crevice that eventually was restyled to look like a butter dish. The Pontiac GTO from Down Under (a great car to drive) that was a Camaro/Firebird in all but name.

The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS isn't like any of these cars.

Instead what we have here is a Chevrolet Silverado HD dually. It looks like it and it drives like it.

The American GT car is my favorite ride, a perfect mix of power, weight and handling. But the guys who put the new Camaro together seem never to have driven any kind of car at all, much less any Camaro or Firebird. This car is a kind of stunt, a strange kind of genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The right guys had this project to start with, but it seems to have fallen into the wrong hands somewhere along the line.

Saw a guy driving a Hummer H3 while driving the Camaro for the first time and envied him. An H3 is the soul of honesty and genuine utility compared to this car

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 3,645 miles.

Animated Design

September 14, 2009

So my architect friend from 5+Design is looking at the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and saying that the Nissan GT-R is a more successful example of an American-style look.

The Nissan is oversize and a little bit of a mess, just like a big American coupe of the 1970s, as if it had been assembled from a lot of disparate pieces. The result is kind of utilitarian yet appealing, kind of like a Harley Davidson. Even the GT-R's oversize badges are sort of clumsy and overstated, like something provided from a third-rate casting company in Gary, Indiana. And yet the GT-R's design really works for him, he says.

In comparison, he says the Camaro looks so integrated and finished, it might as well be Japanese. It's not the retro thing, but instead the way it looks more like a transformer robot than a car. It's brutal and dramatic, but it's been processed by a sensibility that's more into animation than cars.

Even the glowing angel-eye headlights remind him of something from a Japanese manga, the graphic novels that Japanese subway commuters are so addicted to.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 3735 miles

Youth Please Ignore

September 14, 2009

Here's my problem with the current Camaro (Challenger too). Granted, I've had some fun at the expense of Camaro owners in the past. - You know the stereotypes, they're all tweakers or jerks or pot heads but here's the thing about that last generation Camaro - love it or hate it the look was original. It wasn't derived from some other car from back in the day. Not that I don't love old Chevys, I do. By making the Camaro draw so heavily upon it's past, the car seems destined to appeal only to old guys - double true for the Dodge.

PS - Even ten thousand replies of "I'm only 20 and I think the Camaro looks tough" won't convince me otherwise.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor.

Lets Take The Hood Off

September 15, 2009

This morning I stepped on this 1968 Camaro Hot Wheels on the way to the coffee maker. It hurt, but now I have a few ideas on how to improve our 2010 Camaro SS. What do you think? Blower? Zoomies? Green metal flake? I think we'll pass on the black stripe.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Why Silver?

September 17, 2009

When I heard we were adding a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro to our long-term fleet, I was so excited! Until I saw that ours was silver. Ugh. Bo-ring! Turns out Oldham asked the folks in charge of buying the Camaro to get any color except yellow because of the whole Bumblebee stigma.

OK, I realize color preference is all subjective and has nothing to do with the performance of a car blah blah blah but shouldn't a car like the Camaro be dressed in something a little snazzier or bad-ass? You know, to make everyone lust after it? As it is, ours seems almost invisible. So I went on Chevrolet's Camaro site and built my own. I like both five-oh magnetic reds — Red Jewel and Victory Red — and the black. Now that's better.

What color would you get?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 3,998 miles

The Steering Wheel of Safety

September 18, 2009

Yes, the steering wheel of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS is very much a retro design with its recessed hub. It has aroused a lot of comment because the odd ergonomics of the rim make it hard to hold the wheel comfortably and also compromise the action of the controls mounted on the spokes.

But back when the Camaro was new (and before three-point seat belts had become more than just a wacky bit of safety technology from Volvo), the recessed hub was considered a serious safety feature. You see, a steering column close to your chest proved a very unpleasant thing in a car crash, and a recessed hub not only reduced chest injuries but the rim design also provided a crude form of energy absorbtion.

When safety began to be taken seriously during the 1950s, recessed steering wheel hubs became a useful feature. Even in the front-engine roadsters at the Indy 500 had elaborately padded steering wheel hubs.

So there once was a time when a steering wheel like this served a useful (and very serious) purpose. We'll see how we get along with it over the next year.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 4,025 miles.

LT is fine too!

September 20, 2009

I recently drove a V6 version of the new Camaro, it's actually quite good. Before you start name calling, keep in mind this one has 304 hp - that's the base or LT engine. Opt for a Mustang GT - you know the V8 Mustang? You'll get 315 hp. I think the V6 Camaro is perfectly acceptable - would I rather have the SS? Sure but a very well equipped LT would run about $30k. Our long termer is more than $40k.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor @ 4,107 miles.

No Remote Start

September 21, 2009

We can debate all we want about things like the Camaro's look, likely buyers, funky steering wheel - frankly, once the smoke clears, this is a pretty freaking great car. It makes the right sounds, looks cool on the INSIDE too (glaring right at the Challenger) and is a blast to drive. A well sorted car at a decent price - end of story.

Our 2SS model with the RS package is missing one feature I'd really like to have, remote start. It looks like that feature is only offered on cars with an automatic transmission. I really like remote start but I'm not sure I'd be able to give up the manual trans to get it - anybody prefer a Camaro SS with an A/T and remote start over a manual?

PS - those halo light rings are tough looking so RS package - probably worth it.

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor.

"Pair Device (GPS)" Setting a Dead End?

September 23, 2009

After hopping in the Camaro SS last night, I started to pair my phone and came across this perplexing option in the Bluetooth menu: "Pair Device (GPS)."

I've used several portable GPS devices with built-in Bluetooth. But why would you need a separate setting for GPS when portable nav systems and cell phones share the same Bluetooth device-pairing profile?

A call to Chevy PR didn't provide an answer (at least not as of post-time), but a quick Google search got us one from the fanatics at camaro5.com.

According to a thread in a post by Codeman71, who claims to be a GM employee who designed the interface for the Camaro's Bluetooth interface, the mysterious "Pair Device (GPS)" setting is a dead end.

He writes, "It was initially intended to basically allow you to pair up a laptop or phone and get GPS coordinates from the OnStar module. You could then run a navigation program like Streets & Trips on your laptop. This functionality was eventually disabled, but wasn't removed from the radio for some reason."

I was hoping it was for what my colleague Al Austria guessed: So that voice instructions from a portable nav system could be played over the vehicle's speakers.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology, Edmunds.com

Nice Little Detail, Good Job Chevy

September 24, 2009


This is a simple thing. Just a small strap to keep the seat belt close to the seat so you don't have to reach very far to grab it. Looks nice doesn't it? There's even a real metal snap on the end to open it up if you need too.

So why does this deserve praise? Because I've seen far too many cars, both cheap and expensive, with an ugly piece of plastic mounted on the seat to accomplish the same job. Not only do they typically look flimsy, they usually have some narrow little slot to get the belt out that inevitably causes the belt to flip and tangle, or it simply releases the belt entirely rendering the whole contraption useless.

I don't imagine the Camaro's strap was the least expensive option, but Chevrolet's engineers found a way to use it anyway. Good on them.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 4,223 miles

Bitchin'

September 27, 2009

It's got a 6.2-liter V8 capable of 426 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm.

It's got 420 pound-feet of torque at 4,600 rpm.

It's got a six-speed manual transmission.

It's the car that got Shia LaBeouf Megan Fox. (The picture is for the obsessed boys.)

It's not Bumble Bee yellow but our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is Car of the Week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Find the AC Button

September 28, 2009

Try to de-select the air-conditioner's recirculation button while driving the Camaro SS (at night or early in the morning), and this is what it looks like. A combination of a busy ride and lots of small buttons makes it a challenge. Follow the jump to see the same center console after I parked and the task becomes only a little easier.

Did you find it? It's within the right-side glowing-red ring at the 3 o'clock position.

Also over the weekend, the car began displaying "Service Airbag" warnings on the I.P., but of course, the intermittent warnings would always last about 2-seconds then disappear before I could get the camera out, turn it on, and take a picture. We'll have the code checked out on the next scheduled service.

I also found a good use for the gauge cluster and rear fenders of car this weekend:

...and before you alert M.A.D.D. regarding how irresponsible the next photo is, the car is parked on a Sunday evening (not to be driven again) while I was extracting my daughter's child seat from the rear seat. It was the perfect place to set my adult beverage. Get over it.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 4765 miles

Service Bulletin Issued

September 29, 2009

General Motors has issued a service bulletin for multiple fixes on 2010 Chevrolet Camaros. What could happen if your Camaro doesn't make it to the dealer soon?

The quick answers: Its rear spoiler could come loose. The HVAC system evaporator could freeze solid. And the engine harness could be rubbing against heater hose clamps.

The detailed answers: Here.

These aren't recalls yet. But still worth a look next time you're at the dealer. We will have these looked over when we take ours in to address an intermittent airbag service light.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager

Handles Domestic Duty Just Fine

September 29, 2009

I've done burnouts in the Camaro, road tripped across three states in the Camaro and commuted in the Camaro. Clearly there was little left to do, so I finally broke down and forced it into domestic duty. Yes, I went grocery shopping in the Camaro last night. That's right, I used all 426-horsepower to pick up some Triscuits and Orange Juice.

And you know what? This modern muscle car handled it just fine. In fact, thanks to its cargo net, it handled it better than most of the cars in our fleet. The trunk opening isn't huge, but check out those struts, nice.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 4,820 miles

Open Thread: Part 2

September 29, 2009

What do you want to know about the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS?

Have you driven one? Seen one on the road? Write your review in the comments section.

Any details you want us to take pictures of? Now is the time to ask.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Adding Oil

September 30, 2009

After several minutes spent wrestling with our Camaro's 22 ft. long and oddly twisted dipstick, I determined that the car's LS3 V8 was in need of additional oil. Therefore, I just poured half a quart of Mobil 1 5W-30 into the engine. Total cost? About $4.50.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 4,888 miles

It's The Beast Under The Hood That Counts

September 30, 2009

I just looked through all 31 posts on our still new long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro. All of them seem to deal with the car's interior or exterior. Well I'm here today to tell you it's the beast under the hood that counts. Anybody out there that thinks GM can't build greatness needs to experience the 6.2-liter all-aluminum V8 that lives inside our silver Camaro.

With the possible exception of the supercharged beast in the big-buck Shelby GT500, this is the best engine available today in an American muscle machine. And I'll go as far as saying it is the absolute best normally aspirated overhead valve engine in the world. Sorry Hemi.

It tuns out that pushrods work. And the SS Camaro's pushrod V8 is worth the premium (in fuel and MSRP) over the LT Camaro's "more sophisticated" double-overhead cam V6.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

On The Dyno Rollers

October 01, 2009

You knew it was only a matter of time before we strapped down our long-term 2010 Camaro SS to the Dynojet rollers. There are nearly 5000 miles on the big silver lunchbox's odometer, and what better way to celebrate than a dozen wide open-throttle pulls to redline.

Yes, it took several runs for the power to reach a stabilized result but once it was in the zone, it remained fairly consistent from run to run.

Click the jump for the dyno chart and video.

As always, the best fuel in our area is 91 octane, but the Camaro's big, understressed 6.2-liter LS3 V8 probably doesn't care too much about frivolities like octane.

MD Automotive's Dynojet chassis dyno was used for this test, and SAE standard correction applied.

No real suprises here aside from the dips in the power delivery at 3200 and again at 4300 rpm. They're fairly pronounced and were repeatable, run after run.

Peak power at the wheels is 370 hp arriving at 6000 rpm, while torque peaks at 343 lb-ft at 5000 rpm. That's about right considering the Camaro generates 426 hp at the flywheel — GM definitely didn't under-rate the claimed power output.

Having 300 lb-ft at your disposal at just 2000 rpm looks great on the dyno chart. However, the Camaro's tall gearing and massive curb weight dull the LS3's low-end snappiness. Still, there's plenty of sauce here, especially for the price.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 4,977 miles.

Track Tested

October 01, 2009

A Camaro at a drag strip? I never thought I'd see the day...

About 2,000 miles ago, literally the day the odometer said we no longer had to abide by engine break-in rules, we brought our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS to the track for some testing: 0-60, quarter-mile, slalom, skidpad...we did it all.

Follow the jump for the full results....

Vehicle: 2010 Chevy Camaro SS
Date: 8/25/09
Driver: Chris Walton
Odometer: 1,576
Price: $35,425


Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-wheel-drive
Transmission Type: 6-speed manual
Engine Type: Aluminum OHV V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 6162 / 376
Redline (rpm): 6,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 426 @ 5900 400 @ 5900
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 420 @ 4600 410 @ 4300
Brake Type (front): Ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed caliper
Brake Type (rear): Ventilated disc with 4-piston fixed caliper
Steering System: speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front) MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear) multi-link
Tire Size (front): 245/45ZR20 103y
Tire Size (rear): 275/40ZR20 106y
Tire Brand: Pirelli
Tire Model: P-Zero
Tire Type: Summer Performance
Wheel Material (front/rear): Aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,864


Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec): 2.5 (2.9 traction control on)
0 - 45 (sec): 3.8 (4.2 traction control on)
0 - 60 (sec): 5.4 (6.0 traction control on)
0 - 75 (sec): 7.3 (8.0 traction control on)
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph): 13.5 @ 108.6 (14.0 @ 108.1 traction control on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.1 (5.7 traction control on)
30 - 0 (ft): 28
60 - 0 (ft): 112
Braking Rating: Very Good
Slalom (mph): 66.0 (64.8 with Competitive mode. 64.3 traction control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): .84g (.83g with traction control on)
Handling Rating: Average
Db @ Idle: 51.1
Db @ Full Throttle: 79
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 64.8 (engine rpm: 1,800)


Acceleration Comments: As per usual with a Camaro, the best run is with minimal tire spin and going to WOT asap. The shifter is a little heavy, the clutch pedal doesn't offer much info where engagement occurs and the car sounds faster than it is.


Braking Comments: Strange progression of stops (112, 125, 123, 122, 115, 116, 115) could be due to low mileage. Still the pedal effort remained steady and the ABS cycle consistent. no smelly brakes or fading.


Handling Comments: Skidpad: Moderate and stubborn understeer with Stabilitrac off and both throttle intervention and mild brake application with it on. Very difficult to see painted skid pad line in clockwise direction. Steering feel is only a little useful in terms of front tire grip info. Slalom: It's as if I'm slaloming with blinders on. It's very very difficult to determine where the front tires are and it's critical for a good run to stay tight to the cones. Also, the inherent understeer requires an early turn-in that (more often than not) results in a cone strike.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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.


How Much Room is Back There?

October 02, 2009

Commenter akitadog mentioned earlier this week that "I'd like to see someone sitting in the rear seat to gauge how much (or little) room there actually is back there."

Well, as resident tall person (6 foot 3), I was tasked to drive the Camaro home last night and let you all know how much room there actually is back there.

Well, not much.

Head room's obviously not working for me, and leg and foot room aren't great either. Unlike the 135i, I can't sit behind myself. Then again, the 135i looks all goofy so what you have here is a trade off.

James Riswick, Jammed into the back seat of a Camaro @ 5,003 miles

Priorities

October 02, 2009

Over the last year we've produced, shot, and edited almost 10 different videos featuring Chevy's latest Mustang slayer. But as with most road tests, we don't drive much. Actually, we never do. Now's our chance to get behind the wheel.

During three hours of highway time, and a healthy back and forth banter between Edmuunds Video Team members, we were able to get a consensus, a first impression, of our long term Camaro.

Here's what we don't like. It's got a mushy and ill-placed shifter. The salad bowl-like steering wheel. The visibility is horrible. Transformers association. Will it be worth anything in 5, or even 2 years?

But really, at the end of the day, when you hear this, does any of that matter?

Seth Compton, Field Producer

Milestone 5,000

October 02, 2009

Our long-term Chevy Camaro SS hit 5,000 miles this morning. Thus far, it's been trouble free other than an intermittant airbag service light. We've added oil and there's been a service bulletin involving a loose spoiler, freezing HVAC system and the engine harness rubbing against the heater hose clamps. These aren't recalls but we'll have them looked at when the Camaro eventually goes into service.

We also curbed the right front wheel when driving it home from the dealership, which is mostly to blame on the driver, but the Camaro's visibility certainly didn't help matters.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,003 miles

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

October 05, 2009

Last night was the first time I've had to gas up our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. And since it was dark and I'm not familiar with this car, I was a bit irritated when I couldn't find the switch to display the tripmeter on the instrument panel. I frantically felt around the IP trying to find that little knob but to no avail. Can you figure it out looking at the above picture? (BTW apologies if someone else has already blogged about this. I can't figure out how to look at the old Camaro posts. Aarrrgh! I've already reported this bug.)

OK, it was probably obvious by the way I framed the previous shot but when sitting back in my seat, this stalk is obstructed from view by the steering wheel. However, I was able to figure everything out without having to reach for the owner's manual since, once found, it's very easy to operate. You can look through Vehicle Information and Trip/Fuel Information and move through the items by turning those arrows at the end of the stalk up or down. The Set/Clear button is what you use to return the trip to zero.

The info is displayed in the Driver Information Center (DIC) in the center of the IP.

In the Trip/Fuel Information Menu you can look up:

  • Digital Speedometer
  • Trip 1
  • Trip 2
  • Fuel Range
  • Average Fuel Economy
  • Average Vehicle Speed

In the Vehicle Information Menu:

  • Unit
  • Tire Pressure
  • Remaining Oil Life
  • Coolant Temp
  • Battery Voltage
  • Speed Warning — This lets the driver set a speed they don't want to exceed. Hm.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,135 miles

Nothing To Write Home About

October 08, 2009

This might be a record for an ostensibly interesting long-term car: with just 5,317 miles on the clock, our long-term Camaro SS was the last car standing when my low-ranking ass got the sign-out sheet yesterday. Actually, that's a lie. The Civic GX was available too. But a 426-horsepower muscle car slumming it with a natural-gas Honda? How the mighty have fallen!

Here's your explanation. Quite simply, the Camaro may be fun to look at, but there's no joy in the drive. It's damn fast, but the combination of too-tall gearing and oddly soft low-rpm response (a non-issue in the similarly engined Corvette) makes that speed less accessible than it should be in a muscle car. The interior reeks of cheapness with the exception of the comfy seats, the well-padded armrests and the precision feel of the center-stack knobs. The steering's all light and loose on-center like a big sedan's — it's as if they just dropped in the G8's steering rack without recalibrating it for Camaro duty. We've already touched on the mystifying steering-wheel design and the miserable visibility.

Add it all up, and what you've got is a car that elicits exasperated sighs from its drivers, never mind the admiring glances from passers-by. I like the concept of the Camaro and the fact that GM actually built it, but next time I have that choice on the sign-out sheet, I just might go with the GX.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor @ 5,317 miles

Gas, Oil and Money

October 08, 2009

The other day I realized that our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS runs on regular gasoline (87 octane) but requires expensive synthetic oil. But our long-term 2009 Nissan 370Z requires more expensive premium gas (91 octane) but its engine is filled with much cheaper conventional oil.

Obviously, over the life of the car the Z will cost you more as you'll buy far more fuel than oil in the years you own the vehicle. But I'm still not sure it's right that the budget-buyer minded Camaro requires expensive synthetic oil.

By the way, the V6 in the Camaro LT uses conventional oil and runs on regular gas.

What do you think?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Track Ready Temp Gauge

October 09, 2009

The other day I noticed a cool feature on the Camaro's instrument panel. With the push of a button you can put a large numerical engine tempurature gauge directly in front of the driver.

Anyone that has driven a car on a racetrack knows this is cool, and it's one of those small details that tells you that the Camaro development team at GM actually had some real gearheads on it. Gearheads that knew the Camaro's small temp gauge (seen on the left) with its simple H and C range just wouldn't cut it when the car is driven hard.

You know the more I drive our long-term Camaro the more I like it.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Down Low

October 12, 2009

After a full weekend with the Camaro, I'm starting to get used to some of its little (and not-so-little) quirks. But one that still gets me every time is the position of its interior door handles. They're down low. Real low. After dark, there's not a lot of light down there, and I always find myself struggling to get a grip on the handle.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

Boring, boring silver

October 13, 2009

Like Caroline, I don't care for the color of our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. I've seen it in red, yellow, and black, and although I'm not completely sold on the styling, at least it looks exciting in those colors.

But silver? No. That's more suitable for your papa's Accord. Or your girlfriend's Jetta.

I'd even prefer the orange/metallic gray graffiti paint job on the Camaro pacecar Nascar presented this past Sunday at California Speedway.

Roll in this, and you probably won't get hit because someone didn't see you.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer

Tire Pressure

October 14, 2009

Today I've got good news and bad news about our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS.

The good news is that it has this tire pressure readout on its instrument cluster. Actually its very good news since it's raining today and checking the tire pressures old school would not have been fun.

The bad news is that all four of the Camaro's 20-inch Pirellis is low. Spec is 36 psi cold.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 5,404 miles

Where Are My T-Tops?

October 15, 2009

After two days of rain, today the sun came out. Seizing the moment, I rolled down the Camaro's very short side glass to enjoy the great outdoors and began my drive to work.

After only a few miles, however, I found myself wanting more. More sun. More wind. More sky. Despite the sunny day and open windows the Camaro's interior still had that dank dungeon feeling thanks to the car's chopped-top-style bodywork and black interior. Remember our car does not have the optional sunroof.

Obviously there's a convertible version of the Camaro coming, but that doesn't really interest me. What I want is a set of T-Tops. I'm with The Mechanic on this one.

Why? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's because I'm from New Jersey. Or maybe it's because I got my driver's license in the 1980's. Or maybe it's because T-Tops rule.

What do you think? Are The Mechanic and I alone on this one?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 5,421 miles

This Is A Good Car

October 19, 2009

I just spent seven days living with our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. Yes, seven days in a row. I drove it to work. I drove it to the store. I drove it home. I used it to take my kids to school, the family to the pumpkin patch and the dog to the groomer. The car and I enjoyed several clutch dump burnouts. Sat in more than enough traffic. Touched 100 mph more than once. And on Friday it got me to the Formula D event at Irwindale Speedway.

Overall we covered about 450 miles together.

And the more I drive it the more I like it.

If you know me this wouldn't surprise you. I like big motored, big cars. Always have. And my garage is filled with V8-powered, overweight American muscle. Fact is, if you like stock Miatas and get goosebumps from a Civic Si then the Camaro SS will be disappointing. But if you ask me, that's exactly as it should be.

No it's not perfect. In fact I can find more than a few things to complain about. But, the past seven days have convinced me that if the Camaro was my car, my one and only mode of transportation, then I would be happy. It's right in all the right places. And it pushes my buttons.

I enjoy it. It makes me smile. It's always fun to drive if I can use the cliche, but it knows when to back off and just be a comfortable, usable, tractable vehicle when that's what you need. In fact, my wife and kids didn't complain once yesterday during the hour and half drive to the pumpkin patch (pictured above in the mud parking lot) or the two-hour drive home.

Well, that's not exactly true. My 6-year old did say I was driving crazy when I powershifted second for the 20th time or so. By the way, a 2010 Mustang GT lays more stripe on a hard second gear shift.

That aside Camaro is a wonderful combination of performance, comfort and practicality and I'm a fan.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

One Detail They Missed

October 19, 2009

Despite the fact that my first car was a Cortez Silver 1969 Camaro RS convertible, and I rallied for our long-termers Silver finish for sentimental reasons, I sometimes wish we had gotten our 2010 Camaro SS in black.

Why? Well, there are three reasons.

1) Every single car ever made looks best in black. Of course keeping it clean is a killer, but there's no denying the appeal.

2) The CAMARO badging on the car's front fenders are chrome and have thin letters so they get a bit lost when the car is silver.

3) The shark fin antenna on the Camaro's roof is black and not bodycolor and it just looks like Chevy forgot something, or worse like they installed the wrong one on my car at the factory. Personally I find this to be troubling on a car this expensive.

Meanwhile, despite my whining the thing stops traffic.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Wave Like a Man

October 20, 2009

So I'm driving our silver long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS the other day westbound on the 105 freeway when I see this silver 1969 Camaro with black Z28 stripes coming up on me in the left lane. As he pulled alongside I looked over ready to exchange nods or waves or thumbs ups or toothy grins or whatever it is guys do these days when they want to acknowledge each other vehicle to vehicle.

It didn't seem unreasonable. After all, we were both in silver Camaros.

But he was having none of it. In fact, he completely ignored me. Jerk never even looked over. I was shocked, angry and yes, a bit hurt.

Other guys in new Camaros have waved at me, maybe it's just a new Camaro thing? Maybe guys in old Camaros only wave to guys in old Camaros.

Come to think of it, guys in fourth-gen Camaros haven't been waving. I guess they just wave to guys in other fourth-gen Camaros.

This sucks. I think guys in Camaros of all ages (the cars, not the men) should reunite. Come on, where's the love?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Ergonomic Fail? Almost...

October 22, 2009

Our Long-Term 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS is equipped with the 2SS package, and that includes the cool console-mounted gauge cluster. If you're a fan of the 1967-1969 models you probably recall the original version of these gauges. I remember seeing them for the first time during a cruising event in the late 1980s (inside a mint silver 1969 Z/28).

I'm glad GM decided to offer them on the latest 'Maro, but depending on your seating position they aren't easy to see. Actually, they're never easy to see because of how low they sit, but that much I'll forgive in the name of reto cool.

However, the new Camaro's protruding climate controls can block these gauges if you sit close enough and or high enough in the driver's seat. When I adjust the seat for my comfort/control position the fan-speed dial just brushes the top of the oil pressure gauge.

I suspect the center stack designer and the console/optional-gauge-cluster designer didn't talk much before the design of both items was set (not sure how else this could happen).

Regardless, I'll give Chevy a pass on this potential ergonomic fail. But I can't speak for people who adjust the seat to a different position than mine...


Should We Modify?

October 23, 2009

I'm really enjoying our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. I like it so much, I've been driving it for two weeks straight. Well, almost, I drove a Taurus SHO home Monday night, but on Tuesday I was right back in the Camaro and its key is still in my pocket.

However, that doesn't mean I think it is perfect. In fact, it's shift knob is the pits. I like the shifter's action, but the Camaro's bloated knob stinks.

Should we stick with it or turn to the aftermarket for solutions? In the above video KILLER74Z28 (mike), a forum moderator at www.camaro5.com, domonstrates the Hurst Billet/Plus shifter he put in his Camaro SS. And I love the way the units chrome stick and white ball look in the Camaro's interior.

Trouble is, we used that shifter in our Project Mustang GT a couple of years ago and hated its action. It felt right in our hands, but just didn't work the way we wanted and was hard to shift quickly.

So what do you think? Should we modify our Camaro or leave it stock?

I'm thinking we should do a roots type supercharger, shifter, lower suspension and deep dish wheels with a flat black finish. Exhaust too. However, anybody that has ever modified a car knows that with every gain there is pain. And all of those mods would also deminish some of the Camaro's good points, whether it's the car's ride comfort or its fuel economy, etc. And as I said before, I really like the Camaro SS as it is.

I'm getting together with other Camaro owners at the Cars and Coffee early tomorrow morning in Irvine, California, and in two weeks or so I'll be attending the SEMA show were there will be dozens of modified Camaros. I think I'll check out what other guys are doing to their cars before we decide how to proceed, but I'd still like to know what you think we should do.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Cars, Coffee and Camaros

October 26, 2009

I got up early Saturday morning. Very early. Alarm went off at 5 AM. I didn't even know there was a 5 AM. But the gang from www.camaro5.com were heading down to Cars and Coffee in Irvine (about 60 miles south of my house) and I had agreed to come along in our long-term SS.

"We'll be getting there at 5:30," they told me. "You know, so we can all park together before it gets crowded."

"Well, save me a spot," I replied.

And it's a good thing they did. I rolled in about 6:30 to find about 25 Camaros waiting for me, along with nearly 400 other cars, ranging from a street driven 1970 Porsche 917 to the most beautiful Datsun 1600 Roadster I've ever seen. I arrived just as the sun came up and what a sight it was, all those new Camaros in the same place at the same time.

Many of them with modifications as you can see in the photos below. And while I can live without the scissor doors, the blacked out treatement and creative use of badging I saw on more than one example does appeals to me. As does a big roots-type supercharger.

It reminded me that owning a car like a Camaro is more than about the vehicle. You basically become part of a family. And that's a big part of the fun. Saturday morning was a blast.

For more on the big Camaro gathering click here.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

1,860 rpm at 80 mph

October 26, 2009

On Friday I posted about possible modifications we should make to our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. In that post I stupidly forgot to mention my desire to put numerically higher (shorter) rear-end gears in the car.

Of course many of you picked up on my idiocy and began screaming for a set of 4.10 gears to replace the Camaro's tall 3.45s. But it made me wonder what it would do to the car's highway cruising ability.

As you can see in the photo, right now at 80 mph in 6th gear the Camaro's V8 is lumbering along at just under 2,000 rpm (1,860 rpm to be exact). With 3.73 gears that number would jump to 2,015 rpm and with 4.10 gears it would leap up to 2,216 rpm.

What do you think? Would the decrease in highway fuel economy be worth the additional acceleration? I say yes.

Scott Oldham, Inside line Editor in Chief

My humps

October 29, 2009

The radio suppliers to our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS went all-out in designing the radio tone setting/graphic equalizer in the car, sparing no expense.

You see, I heard from a guy, who heard from another guy's cousin, that the cousin's high school classmate said that the radio's engineers took
Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine to the 80's when designing the Camaro's radio tone settings.

Perhaps it's hard to tell from the top pick, but this thing looks like it was designed at the University of Atari.

Check out more pics after the jump.

Here are two more shots, one with max bass, the other with max bass and treble.

There are also four EQ presets: Rock, Country, Talk, and Classical.

These humps are supposed to show the emphasis on treble or bass.
But c'mon Atari, I mean, Chevy!
These radio tone graphics are downright silly.
Like this LT blog entry.

Happy Halloween!

Albert Austria, Senor Engineer @ 5970 miles

A Transformers Halloween

October 30, 2009

More Halloween fun: this has been circulating recently. It's neato!

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer, Halloween, Inc

Halloween Treat For Dad

November 02, 2009

For Halloween night, I was interested to see what kind of reaction the Camaro would get from trick-or-treaters, so I parked it on my driveway. Little kids were pretty much oblivious (though, disappointingly, this included one dressed up as Bumblebee from Transformers 2). One memorized mesmerized teenager in a group of boys gushed "Your car is beautiful!" as soon as I opened the door and then said it again as I was passing out candy. I don't think he even remembered to say "trick or treat."

Then there was this encounter: Doorbell rings. A little princess with her parents behind her. Usual candy procedure commences. Twenty seconds later, the doorbell rings again. This time it's the dad of the princess. "So what do you think of the Camaro?" He was really into the car and had come back to ask questions. His wife was mortified that he had done this. But I grabbed the key and showed him around. He liked the nighttime illumination and was blown away when I told him it makes 426 horsepower and not the "280" that he guessed.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,225 miles

Coolest Guy At School

November 05, 2009

The parking lot of my daughter's preschool/daycare is full of family-friendly vehicles at pickup and drop-off times — you know, minivans, crossovers and such. So it was amusing to watch another dad's reaction yesterday as I pulled up for kid-pickup duty in the Camaro. He was walking across the lot when he spied me. The result was a double-take and then an envious stare as I drove by with the Camaro's V8 burbling away.

There's something to be said for school runs in a hot car.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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

Kudos to New GM Key

November 11, 2009

The New GM has a new key design — it's about freakin' time. That old separate key and fob set-up was so very 1996, while the writing on those gray rubber buttons would wear off substantially faster than other key fobs. Our long-term's Silverado's unlock button was barely visible after a year. Most of the GM fleet continues to use the old keys, but the latest models (Camaro, Equinox and LaCrosse) utilize a switchblade design almost identical in concept to the one Volkswagen came up with back in the late 1990s.

I say better late than ever because the new key is a quality item. The switchblade snaps up and down with a solid, mechanical action. The button icons are raised so that you can identify them by touch alone. The key ring connection at the bottom seems very robust. In total, it seems to me like the highest quality switchblade key currently around.

There are other GM key designs. One is used for models with keyless ignition/entry, like the CTS and Corvette, just to name two. The Aussie G8 also had a switchblade, but it wasn't as nice as this one.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 6,700 miles

2010 Chevy Camaro vs 2010 Pontiac G8: Face-Off What If?

November 13, 2009

Just for fun, let's imagine that Pontiac hasn't joined Oldsmobile and Geo in the great GM brand graveyard (located amongst a block of abandoned buildings in Detroit).

With that assumption, which would you buy: the 2010 Pontiac G8 GT or the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS? Both are from the same platform from Down Under, both have V8s, both are rear drive, both are General Motors products, both have switchblade flip keys, both are built in former British colonies not of the Original 13 variety. Am I missing anything?

If this were a Face-Off, which car would you pick? Click through to see what my selection would be.

For me, I'd pick the G8 GT. I can see out of the thing and place the front end better, I can put people in the giant back seat and it still looks pretty damn cool. I love the ride and handling balance, power delivery is excellent and the entire car just feels "right" to drive. Oh yeah, the steering wheel fits human hands and I don't look like a pratt driving it. On the downside, I'm not a fan of the interior controls, which were designed by some dude in the Outback after a few too many Foster's.

And sure, the G8 GXP makes power more on-par with the Camaro, but it's only 0.2 seconds quicker from zero to 60 than the GT. Also, it may have a manual, but I could live with the auto in a car like this.

Finally, the G8 is cheaper when similarly equipped to the Camaro. You get a few additional niceties, but I don't think they are worth the extra cost. Besides, I certainly don't find the Camaro more fun to drive and I can live with a car that is only 0.4 seconds slower from 0-60. The Camaro seems more like a fashion accessory. The G8 is actually useful and ultimately far cooler by being subtle.

(Look for the return of Face-Off in the coming weeks)

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Rear Spoiler Is Unbolting Itself

November 19, 2009

Yesterday I was driving our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS and noticed a minor rattle coming from the rear of the car.

Turns out the Gamad's rear spoiler has unbolted half itself from the vehicle, which you can see in the photo of the Wolfman yanking on it. And the rattle? That's the two errant nuts rolling around inside the structure of the Camaro's decklid. It's a fairly easy fix. We'll let you know how it goes after we get around to it.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 7,400 miles

Unlikely Cargo Space

November 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago Jacquot waxed on about fitting his mountain bike in the trunk (with the seat folded) of our long-term Audi S5.

He called his post "Unlikely Cargo Space" and he wrote: "Something I don't normally expect from a coupe — even a decent sized one like the S5. That's a full suspension mountain bike with 29-inch tires. In other words, it's big. But it fits in the S5 when the seats are folded with no problems.

Nice."

Well, the Audi has got nothin' on our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. That painting you see in the Camaro's trunk (It's called Open Road and it was painted by my dad Joe Oldham, so be kind.) is about five feet tall, but it fit in the Camaro easily once we folded the backseat, which took about a second.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Members Only

November 20, 2009

When I first saw the seat belt strap on our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, I couldn't help but remember those old Members Only jackets from the 80s. To this day I can't look at the seats without a laugh.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,400 miles

Old School

November 23, 2009

Hanging with some old friends at Donut Derelicts car show, Huntington Beach, California.

Pretty cool.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 7,642 miles

Sitting in Traffic Edition

November 25, 2009

I sat in pre-Holiday traffic for two hours yesterday on my way home. I had nothing but time and a digital camera on my hands so I thought I'd share with you a number of vanity plates I managed to capture. The one above has been sitting on my computer for some time waiting for just the right moment. More after the jump.

Must resist snide comments...

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 7,858 miles

Heated Seats Are Good

November 26, 2009

Recently, one of you guys asked for a review of our Camaro's heated seats. Well here it is. Don't ever say I don't come through for ya

The Camaro's two-level heated seats are very good. They warm up quickly, deliver even heat throughout the seatback and bottom cushions and are powerful enough when on "high" to force me into the sweats on a 55 degree evening. Usually after five minutes or so I have found myself backing the heat off to the "Low" setting and leaving it there for the duration of the trip.

In truly cold climates I think the Camaro's seat heaters have the power to satisfy the butt warming needs of most consumers. Even on Thanksgiving.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Good Road Trip Ride

November 27, 2009

My recent road trip to Palm Springs, California in our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS wasn't quite the excursion of my Monterey run in our long-term Genesis, but it did reveal the road trip friendliness of Chevy's new muscle car.

This thing loves the highway.

Now, Palm Springs isn't exactly on the other side of the Earth from our Santa Monica office. It's about 125 miles due east on Interstate 10. Still, I appreciated the Camaro's compliant ride, its well-shaped seats and its above average cross-wind stability, which was truly put to the test our in the gusty California desert.

More than once we've complained about the Camaro's large size and high heft, but out on the open road, lumbering along at 1,900 rpm at 80 mph, that big long wheelbase and nearly two-ton curb weight are appreciated. They help give the car a locked down feeling, which makes a long drive less fatiguing on the driver. In the old days they used to call it road hugging weight. And while I understand its drawbacks (which are many), it's one of the reasons the Camaro is so good on a long drive.

Our long-term Dodge Challenger R/T is cut from the same cloth. Neither of these machines is rather intoxicating on a mountain road. They handle fine, but they are just too large and heavy to really carve up a twisting two-lane.

But they both thrive on the highway. On the open road. Out in the great expanse that is America.

I don't think I'd have it any other way.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Turkey Trot

December 01, 2009

At 5am, I started out on the 360 mile drive to be with my family for Thanksgiving. Heated seats? Check. Full tank? Check. Coffee? Check. There was a surprising amount of traffic heading out of town for a Thanksgiving early morning, mostly trucks and the family truckster caravans. Thankfully the Camaro has a TON of power and it allowed me to pass the long lines of Lemmings on their trek north.

My exposure to the new Camaro has been fairly limited. I'm not a muscle car kind of guy, but I thought it'd be fun to have a go at it over the long weekend. Before I got in the car, I kept hearing people complain about the shifter and steering wheel. After a few hundred miles, I couldn't have agreed more.

I get a touch of arthritis in my hands in the winter weather and the oddly narrow but deep set ring of the steering wheel made it uncomfortable for me to grip the wheel in any place other than the 10 & 2 position. When you're doing the long haul, you like to grip the wheel in places other than that position. It became annoying and uncomfortable after a few hours

Because duty (aka my job) called and needed me at Dodger stadium on Sunday morning for the Chevy Volt drive, I made the drive south on Saturday. Again, loved the power for passing, fairly comfortable ride, but the steering wheel really annoyed me and my old man hands. It made my uncomfortable condition worse.

For the most part, I liked driving the Camaro on short trips around town. Normally this isn't my kind of car, but a couple of nice blip-down shifts, the simple joy of a gurggling exhaust note and the thrill of a good acceleration pull make this thing plenty of fun to drive around town. Ultimately that steering wheel is a deal breaker for me. To make this car work for me, I'd have to get a fat grip sport style steering wheel installed to alleviate the discomfort and I don't think I love it that much to do so.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 8,854 miles

These Gauges Don't Work

December 03, 2009

Ergonomically speaking, they don't work. Electrically speaking, they don't work either.

I have a feeling the guy that bolted on our spoiler also installed the gauge pod.

PS. Nothing gets the heart going like looking at your oil pressure gauge and seeing it read zero.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 8,916 miles

Exhaust Burble

December 07, 2009

On the overrun in our longterm 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, the exhaust note responds in a way that was probably intended to sound burly and burbly and old-school-y.

While I appreciate the effort to add some flavor to the experience, the end result is a hollow plip-plip-plap that doesn't quite sound right to my ears. In a word, it's feeble. The flip side is that it's not obtrusive, either, so there's no real drawback related to it.

I'm reminded of another recent sporty car that had carefully-crafted spice in its exhaust — the original Dodge SRT4. With its pops and cracks, the little four-banger turbo did Sporty Car On The Overrun more convincingly than this Camaro. Perhaps a bit too convincingly, though, as the SRT4's constant exhaust enthusiasm could grow tiresome in prolonged stop and go driving.

There's a balance between character and annoyance to be had here. Striking it must give exhaust NVH engineers sleepless nights.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 9,198 miles.

2010 Chevy Camaro SS vs. 1969 Chevy Camaro RS

December 10, 2009

It's obvious which is larger. And it's obvious which will out perform the other. But which is cooler?

On the left is our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS. On the right is my father's stone stock 350 cubic-inch 1969 Chevy Camaro RS convertible (with air conditioning and power windows) that he has owned and meticulously cared for since 1980. In fact, it was my high school ride back when it wasn't really worth much and it wore Cortez Silver paint just like our new Camaro.

Personally I dig the old school. 1969 Camaros will always peg my coolometer.

How about you?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

How it Should Drive.

December 25, 2009


(Photo by Kurt Niebuhr)

First thing ya know, there's a big screw up with traffic and we need to bring our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS out to the track as a support vehicle for a certain vehicle testing assistant. Next thing ya know, well, the track's all wet, the traction control's off, Josh Jacquot's snagged the keys and the Camaro's all sideways around the skidpad.

Sigh. These things happen.

But really, why doesn't this thing drive like this ALL THE TIME? On dry pavement the Camaro is all grip all the time. You've gotta drop the clutch from like, 5 grand to have any fun. Slam the gas from 20 with the wheel cranked and it just sort turns...quickly...booorrrriiiinnng. That's not what a Camaro should do. At least, that's not what the Camaros (third and fourth gen) I grew up driving did. They went sideways if you werent' careful. It took skill to drive it in the dry and it really took some attention to drive it in the wet. Oh, and I grew up in New Englad...and we drove them in the snow and frankly, we're better men now because of it.

The kids who will, in a few years, end up in used 5th gen Camaros won't have to deal with any of that. They'll just hold the gas down and let the traction control and the wussy gearing keep them safe and coddled.

Driving the 5th gen in the rain was fun. It was stable and controlable, but it finally commanded the respect a 400+ hp RWD car should.

Follow the jump for a quick video...Josh's last lap of about, oh, 12?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ @ 9,000 miles

Not My Camaro

December 28, 2009

This new Camaro is less than the sum of its parts.

Or to be more accurate, it's less than the sum of its numbers. 6.2 liters + 426 hp + over 108 mph trap speeds + 112 ft braking = zzzzzzzzzzzz.

I thought Camaros were supposed to be good, clean, stupid fun? This thing has zero personality. Oh sure, it pulls like a train but it just feels like it was built to look good on paper.

Until the General is able to put a little fourth-gen (lively handling and the ability to perform instant, low speed pants-filling powerslides for a start) into this new Camaro, you can have it. I'll pass.

Is it wrong to say I'd rather have a Mustang?

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 9,118 miles

Coupe Carrying Coupe

January 04, 2010

On your 16th birthday you dream of walking into the garage to find a shiny new Chevy Camaro coupe wearing a big red bow.

On your 1st birthday your expectations are a little more realistic, considerably less expensive, and your dream coupe will fit in the rear seat of a 2010 Camaro.

But boxed or assembled, the Cozy Coupe won't fit in the Chevy's trunk.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 9,763 miles

Fast

January 06, 2010

Yes, I was nine miles late. Whatever. I was too busy going fast. And no, I'm not being puerile with this particular speed reading (though I know you are). I made it so because it's the velocity at which the Camaro gets real fast provided you play it right.

Granted, the procedure I'm about to describe is not one you'd normally associate with a 400-plus-horsepower muscle car. We're not kidding about this car's lazy gearing. But trust me — if you've ever got a Camaro SS on one of those closed course things, give it a shot.

Step 1: hold it at 69 mph and downshift to 3rd, which puts you right at 4,000 rpm.

Step 2: floor it.

There aren't many cars on the road that can keep up with the SS after that. The Corvette-sourced V8 just makes a whole bunch of country-strong power from 4,000 rpm to redline (also atypical by historical muscle-car standards). I prefer the subjectively brawnier low-end torque of my newly beloved Challenger R/T's 5.7-liter Hemi, but there's no doubt the Chevy will flat smoke either Challenger (R/T or SRT-8) once that LS3 gets going.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor

Color My World

January 10, 2010

I see them all over the road now: in Inferno Orange (that's my favorite), in Cyber Gray (cool name), in basic Black (looks bitchin'). Haven't seen one in Aqua Blue or Rally Yellow yet.

Have you seen many on the road? What's your favorite Camaro paint color?

Let's have fun with our Silver Ice Camaro as car of the week.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

The Afterthought

January 11, 2010

I imagine it went down a little like this:

Designer A, "I dig those tail lights."

Designer B, "Thanks, man. Kinda Old. Kinda new. Everything's been integrated."

Designer A, "Yeah, they look good."

Designer C, "Where are the back-up lights?"

Designer B, "Oh s#!%."

Designer A, "Dude, Welburn's gonna kill you."

Desinger C, "No worries. We'll just punch some holes in the bumper. It'll be cool."

Hit the jump to see how it SHOULD have been done.

Much better.

*edit

Or how about...

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 10,521 miles

Speak Softly and Carry a Big V8

January 12, 2010

When I was a teenager I briefly dated a guy who had a semi-beat Camaro that he used to tinker with himself. That thing idled so high and was so loud inside, it used to turn my stomach. That relationship didn't last very long, especially when my Dad spotted me in that car.

Our 2010 Camaro doesn't have any of that grit. Well, it also hasn't been worked over by whatever-his-name-was.

This new Camaro keeps you insulated from its own noise. The cabin stays fairly quiet. I made a video for you of it starting. But it was so quiet, I had to make it again with the windows down so you could hear it:

It's still kinda quiet. Sounds like any car.

When driving, the revs stay very low. I assume for fuel economy? It seems no matter how fast I was going, even if I was only in third gear, the tach always hovered around 2,000 rpm.

It's reserved for a muscle car. But it's got plenty left in case you find a hole in traffic.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Open Thread

January 12, 2010

What do you want to know about the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS?

Have you driven one, been a passenger in one? Write your review in the comments section.

If there are any details you want us to take photos of or video? Let us know.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Dealer Service and TSBs

January 12, 2010

We stopped by Santa Monica Chevrolet for a laundry list of items on our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS. On the agenda:

- oil and filter change
- intermittent airbag warning
- center instrument cluster inop
- loose rear spoiler (TSB)
- reprogram HVAC system to prevent evaporator from freezing (TSB)
- inspect engine harness position (TSB)

Oil and filter were changed per the maintenance schedule. Nothing of note here. The airbag warning light was not illuminated at the time of our visit, nor was there a stored error code of the incident. We'll consider it fixed for now. Removal of the instrument cluster revealed a wiring issue (open circuit 2840 red/white wire) as the cause of the problem. Gauges now operate properly. All TSB items, including our loose spoiler, were also addressed.

So now we're back on the road. Here's hoping the Camaro remains bulletproof from this point forward.

Total Cost: $37.61

Days out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 10,224 miles

First!

January 13, 2010

Speaking of valets giving special treatment to certain cars... At the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel last night, even though my friend and I turned in our valet tickets at the same time, my ride, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, arrived first. His Acura TSX? Two cars after mine.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 10,600 miles

Visibility

January 13, 2010

More video. Yay!

As you can see, visibility from the Camaro is not terrible. It's certainly better than our Challenger and 370Z.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Thank You, Mr. Tremec

January 14, 2010

No mystery about the reason we chose a manual transmission for this Camaro. Every time you move the lever, you're connected right to the heart of this car. The shift lever has the crisp action that reminds you that a car is a mechanism, a jumble of bolts and rods and gears that miraculously work together. In fact, I'd argue that the transmission does more to give a car its personality these days than the engine or tires or anything else.

This six-speed gives you what you ask for, no waiting and wondering what the electronics might have in store for you (aside from skip-shift, though it's easily circumvented). It combines a slick rifle-bolt action with positive gear engagement, yet at effort levels low enough to be manageable at commute hour as well as Sunday mornings. Big biceps are not required, and you pick up the next gear with the smooth, practiced smoothness of a skilled professional.

The Camaro's TTC TR-6060 six-speed has come a long way from the original Borg-Warner T-56 design developed specifically for the 1992 Dodge Viper, where it felt as agricultural as something from an old tractor. It has triple synchros on the first two gear ratios and double synchros for the rest, while low-friction strategies are employed throughout the shift linkage. The reduced shift lever travel required because of the synchros also enables wider gears to be used to handle more engine torque. Overall the TR-6060 is a miracle of refinement compared to the old Muncie M-22 Rock Crusher used in GM muscle cars in the late 1960s.

Now that drivetrains are being even more aggressively calibrated for squeaky clean air emissions, we might be coming to the end of the line of pure manual transmissions. We'll find ourselves driving an eight-speed automatic or a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual, cursing the early upshifts, tardy kick-downs, and hanging throttle between gear changes. Even today, much of what we perceive to be serious drivability flaws in vehicles as disparate as the BMW 750i, Ford Edge and Infiniti FX50 have to do with the electronic programming for the transmission, not the relative goodness of the mechanical bits.

The Camaro's manual transmission is one of the best I've ever encountered. Unfortunately, it might represent the end of the line for the evolution of manual transmissions, just as the Camaro itself might be the end of the line for muscle cars.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 10,883 miles

The Back Road

January 14, 2010

Yesterday afternoon I did something I don't do nearly often enough: I left work early to go drive a car, our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS.

I don't know our Camaro especially well, and even after this drive, we're still just friendly acquaintances, not close friends. As you can see, it took me a while to get to my favorite roads and, once I did, the sun dropped quickly.

In a lot of ways, our Camaro is everything our 370Z is not. The Chevy has a ride quality I'd describe as compliant, at least by sports coupe standards, but it's still plenty composed over lumps and ruts, too. The Camaro is also quiet, with wind and road noise kept to a minimum.

But it isn't very exciting through turns. This car weighs well over 3,800 pounds (500 more than our Z car). Although, it doesn't feel too big for two-lane roads, its reflexes are slowed by its chub. And there's more suspension movement than I'd like. The steering also doesn't feel that precise and the effort level doesn't increase soon enough as you move the wheel off-center.

Others have mentioned that this Camaro doesn't take a tail-out attitude when you boot the throttle. It just plays it safe. I haven't driven than many old muscle cars (only drove an F-body one time), so I think I could live with that — if the Camaro felt sharp through the turns. But it doesn't really. It just feels relaxed and dumb-driver-proof. (And I get that. We can all be dumb at times. And when we're dumb while driving a car, we're liable to sue.)

That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy my drive. Pacific Coast Highway was wide open on the trip back. I leaned into the 6.2-liter V8 a bit and created opportunities to downshift the 6-speed. Though the cockpit layout has gotten mixed reviews, the pedal layout is just to my liking for heel-and-toe downshifts. And every time I rip off a clean one, I get a lot of satisfaction from the distinct exhaust note of a GM small-block V8.

I wouldn't choose our Camaro SS for back-roads work, but it feels great on the open highway — and it's a lot more relaxing to hang with than our 370Z.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 10,732 miles

Retro Gauges

January 14, 2010

I love the retro cool look of these gauges in the 2010 Camaro SS.

But do you think they are hard to read?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Singin' in the Rain

January 19, 2010

The rain has returned to Southern California, and the timing couldn't have been better. Somehow I was able to snag the keys to our Camaro for the extended weekend and it transported me back to my musclecar days. I find great joy when combining wet pavement, rear-wheel drive and gobs of torque. In the wet, I found the Camaro to be just as well-mannered as my old SVT Cobra - pitchable, controllable and very entertaining. Yes, it's true, I am praising our much maligned bitchin' Camaro. But don't worry, I still found something to complain about.

I echo Brauer's (as well as the rest of the staff's) criticism of the wonky steering wheel controls. Here's another feature I found that is also worthy of the "fail" stamp: sometimes my iPod will play a song that is just right for my mood, and I'll routinely skip back to hear it again. And again, and again. In most cars (I actually can't think any that don't), if you hit the skip back button, it'll start the song over (unless the song just started). Nope, not in the Camaro. It skips to the beginning of the previous song, then I have to skip forward to get the song I intended. Sure, I know, it's a minor irritation, but how is it that they got this wrong when every other car got it right?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 10,810 miles

Source...of Frustration

January 19, 2010

The steering wheel in our long-term Camaro SS has been the source of much frustration over the past 6 months. Most people don't like the shape of the rim, and the location and thickness of the spokes further complicates how and where you grab it.

But more frustrating than either of those traits is the combination source/track advance button on the right spoke. To move forward or backward in station presents or CD tracks you're supposed to move the button up and down. To switch between media sources (CD, radio, iPod, etc.) you push the button straight in. And to keep from screaming at the button I just use the primary audio controls in the center stack.

It's a sloppy design, really, and one that makes using the button difficult even at a dead stop. With a weak spring underneath the button you're as likely to jump from satellite radio to iPod playlists as you are to switch tracks/stations — regardless of which action you're truly seeking. Any interaction with the button while in motion is a complete roll of the dice.

A vehicle's steering wheel is the primary touchpoint between car and driver. Like a computer's keyboard or a motorcycle's handgrips. It's unfortunate the Camaro's is so poorly executed, as it makes it tougher to enjoy the Chevy's relatively nimble handling and willing engine.

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 10,940 miles

Shifter Also Not Intended for Humans

January 20, 2010

So it's not as bad as the nonsensical steering wheel, but the Camaro's shifter is also an ergonomic annoyance. Note how its knob is essentially a ball with its edges chopped off. As such, it doesn't exactly fit well or comfortably in the human hand.

Instead, Mike Magrath instantly identified the person this shifter is meant for ...

See, Lego Man's hands are perfectly shaped for the Camaro shifter. They'd slot perfectly around those chopped edges.

Now, I can approximate Lego Man's hands, but it's just not as effective.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 10,870 miles

Silver Linings

January 22, 2010

You know, I really want to like our Camaro. But it seems like every time I come across a positive attribute, something gets in the way. I've got some examples. For one, our Camaro has got a pretty good stereo. The nine-speaker Boston Acoustics system is quite impressive, with hefty and clear bass and clean tones in the upper registers. It ably got things bumpin' and thumpin' with L.L. Cool J's "Goin' Back to Cali" and revealed all of the complexity of a Thomas Newman film score (his mischevious use of pizzicotto amazes me). But, there's a rattle in the passenger door somewhere that bugs me when the bass hits. Rats!


I like the seats in the Camaro. They have plenty of padding and just enough support for my frame. I can see myself driving cross-country in this car, were it not for the headrest. Ugh! I did it again, didn't I? Well, I might as well finish my thought. The bottom of the headrest seems to jut out just enough to contact the bottom of my neck (my chiropractor would call it the C4 or C5 vertebrae). I slid the headrest up as far as it'll go and it still pushes uncomfortably against the base of my neck.

OK, so there's one silver lining I'm sure that doesn't have a dark cloud - the sound of the engine. It's mean and gruff. It's just as effective as the horn to scare L.A.'s idiotic drivers back into their own rain-soaked lane. And the wonderful backpressure burble when I lift off the throttle. It's as good as a baffle-free Harley. There, no complaints on the exhaust!

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 10,890 miles

Stop Doing That!

January 25, 2010

Our Chevy Camaro has that same feature as our Dodge Challenger. You know the one that keeps trying to put you in 4th gear. It drives me crazy. I didn't notice this the first few times I drove it. I must have been in an aggressive mood.

But this weekend, I guess I was feeling mellow. I was listening to music from the 1970s which put me back into Bobby's basement with the black light and the glowing posters. So, I guess I was just kind moseying along to the tunes and the Camaro thought I was in a fuel-saving mood.

The problem is, this skip-shift function is not as smooth as it is in the Challenger. In the Challenger you just sort of end up in 4th. Oops, the Challenger put me in 4th again. But with the Camaro, it's more like you wrestle with the shifter because it feels like it is sticking. And it does it at inappropriate times, like when I'm slowly spiraling the floors in our parking garage. You can bypass this function by driving harder or just hanging onto 1st longer. But why can't it just leave me alone?

Once I learned to drive around its little sidestep, I enjoyed the car. It feels good, has a nice rumble, and you should have seen how many men tried to tackle it at the car wash today.

By the way, the photo above is my favorite angle on the Camaro, low and Corvette-esque.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Reminding Me I Have a Pretty Sweet Job

January 28, 2010

So I was getting out of our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro after having just parked it in the very touristy Hollywood & Highland shopping center when a GMC Yukon packed with 20-something dudes pulled up to the too-small parking spot next to me. I took my time leaving the Camaro to make sure they didn't hit it while they tried to park.

Once I saw everything was OK, I started to walk away when their driver-side and backseat windows came down and all eager faces were looking at me. "Nice car!" said the driver. "How do you like it?" asked one of three backseat passengers. The usual questions followed. Finally I let it be known that this wasn't actually my car but rather a company car. Thinking that would be the end of the conversation, I started to back away again, but turns out that saying a Camaro is a company car opened up a whole new can of worms. "What?!" "What company?!" "Sweet!" "Wow!" "That's your company car?!"

"I work for Edmunds.com." "What's that?" And so on. Anyway, a bunch of cute 20-something dudes gushing over the car I was driving was a fun way to be reminded that I do have a pretty sweet gig. Last time that happened it was with the R8.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 11,084 miles

The Racer's Test

February 03, 2010

My friend Bill Cooper came into town from Montana this past weekend, so he took a look at our Camaro SS. As the former chief instructor at the Bondurant racing school, he knows a little bit about racing cars, and he raced a Camaro in the Trans-Am during the 1980s.

Cooper even went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1981 to drive the wild, winged Camaro entered by Billy Hagan, only to have NASCAR champ Cale Yarborough stick the 210-mph car under a guardrail just 52 minutes into the race, an event described in a very funny story in Sports Illustrated.

So we happened to be driving our Camaro the same day as the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Stevenson MotorSports was running its two, new Pratt & Miller-built Camaro GT.Rs (actually the former Pontiac GTO/Pontiac GXP.R chassis retrofitted with Camaro bodywork) in the Rolex race. And the day before, Stevenson MotorSports had put two Riley Technology-built Camaro GS.Rs (one a lookalike of the famous 1969 Camaro fielded by Penske Racing in the Trans-Am racing series of the time) in the Continental Tire preliminary event.

Cooper liked the Camaro SS pretty well, especially the engine and transmission (he has a 600-hp Corvette that he runs in a hillclimb series in the Northwest). But right away he noticed the terrible visibility. "It's perfect for kid drivers," he said. "When you look out the windshield, you feel like you're squinting. And you can't see anything behind you at all, so it's like driving while you're wearing a hoodie."

Later during the Daytona broadcast, we saw a clip of the Stevenson MotorSports Camaro going out for practice with a new driver, who promptly complained that he couldn't see out the back of the car at all. The crew chief advised him to look around for the rear-view parking camera or something.

Turns out the Stevenson Camaros finished the weekend pretty strong. The Camaro GT.Rs finished 11th and 17th overall (4th and 10th in class) in the Rolex 24, while the Camaro GS.Rs finished 5th and 8th in the Continental Tire preliminary event. We'll be seeing more of them this season.

Unfortunately it doesn't look like we'll see a Camaro in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as Chevrolet has declined to prepare a Camaro body to fit the template for the new Car of Tomorrow, supposedly because of concerns about degrading the Camaro's styling impact, though perhaps aerodynamics might have something to do with it.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 11,352 miles

How Many Have The V8?

February 09, 2010

Ever wonder what the mix is for new Camaros moving off dealer lots? Well, I noticed a post on a Camaro forum that gave a link to a database site that tracks Camaros being sold and gives you the ability to filter for a variety of parameters. There seems to be some disagreement among forum posters about how truly accurate the information is, but it's certainly better than nothing.

I was interested to learn how many 2010 Camaros are like our long-term car, which is to say Camaros with the V8 and the manual transmission. The results:

Percentage of 2010 Camaros sold with the SS trim (V8): 61 percent
Percentage of those Camaro SS models with the manual transmission: 46 percent

I was a little surprised; I would have guessed lower percentages for both. Another way to look at it would be: a little more than one out of four Camaros sold is the V8/manual combination.

Camaro5 forum
camaro.spasticsquirrel.com

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 11,716 miles

Profiles in Pace Cars

February 09, 2010

Well, the racing season has begun, so I have racing cars on the brain. And when the Camaro comes up, naturally I think about the unveiling of the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS that will pace the 2010 Indianapolis 500 in May. The official unveiling took place in December.

It turns out that the Camaro has paced the Indy 500 a bunch of times: 1967, 1969, 1982 and 1993. What interests me is the comparison with the 1969 Camaro SS, since the look of the '69 model inspired the 2010 model. (Actually GM designer Bob Boniface originally conceived a car based on the 1970 Camaro, but the GM execs decided that the '69 model was the proper starting point, since they were old and the '69 Camaro is the one that all the old guys collect.)

So maybe a simple comparison between the 1969 Camaro SS and the 2010 Camaro SS can give us an idea of what might have been lost (or gained) in translation.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS
OHV V8 5733cc/350 cu-in
300 hp @ 4,800 rpm; 380 lb-ft @ 3,200 rpm
Length 186.6 inches
Width 72.3 inches
Height 50.9 inches
Weight 3,174 pounds
Top speed 121 mph

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
OHV V8 6162cc/376 cu-in
400 hp @ 5,900 rpm; 420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Length 190.4 inches
Width 75.5 inches
Height 54.2 inches
Weight 3,857 pounds
Top speed 155 mph

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 11,455 miles

Kids Love 'Em

February 11, 2010

It was a career day at my kid's school, so I volunteered to bore 36 six-year-olds for 20 minutes with my day-to-day antics delivering this inane drivel to you, the oh so valuable Inside Line reader. Then I let them have some fun.

I brought our long-term Chevy Camaro SS and our electric Mini E for them to fingerprint and step on, and the teacher allowed them out into the sunlight to take a look. It was like a prison riot, only without the tattoos and eventual gunfire. For 20 minutes the kids climbed all over the cars, asking questions and fighting for time behind the steering wheels.

I thought the girls would gravitate toward the Mini and the boys would dig the Camaro, but, sexist jerk that I am, I was wrong. They all loved them both, but it was the boys that wanted to know which car was faster and if the Mini E really can go 160 mph like it huge speedometer says it will.

When I told them it might touch 100 mph they were actually bummed out. "That's all?"

Besides the fact that I had to clean footprints from both car's seats and headliners, it was a fun day. And maybe, just maybe, because of that experience, one of those kids will grow up to be the next Editor in Chief of the next great automotive Web site or magazine or whatever we'll be reading in the year 2030.

At the very least, maybe they won't grow up wanting beige Toyota Camrys. And I can say it was all because of me and my dedication to America's youth. Because when you get right down to it, it's all about the kids.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Best Not To Look Back

February 13, 2010

We've noted a few times that the new Camaro doesn't seem Camaro enough. Kurt wrote that it's less than the sum of its parts. Magrath met a service advisor who said it wasn't a real Camaro. Heck, I even wrote that the Camaro was missing personality back in October.

But I parked next to red Camaro a couple days ago and devoted a few moments brain power to some retro thinking. Maybe time has warmed our collective memory of the F-Body, but if you accurately think back to the late 1990s or early 2000s, you will likely remember that, oh hey, these things were pretty terrible.

Live rear axle. Big and bulky on the outside but cramped on the inside. Poor outward visibility. Cheap interior materials. Shoddy build quality. Uncomfortable front seats. Unusable rear seats. OK, sure, with the V8, they were fun to drive in short doses. But would I actually want to own one? Heck no. There's a reason GM stopped making these things after 2002.

The new Camaro is a huge improvement. Of course, with eight more years of automotive advancement, it should be. And yes, one can make a strong case for buying a Mustang or Challenger instead of a Camaro. But rose-tinted Camaro glasses only disguise many of the new car's merits. It still has issues, but this time around I think the Camaro is actually a competitive vehicle for somebody wanting to spend $20,000 to $30,000 on a performance car.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Family Road Trip

February 16, 2010

Normally vehicles like our Ford Flex or the XC60 are the vehicles of choice for family road trips. But over the weekend I decided to try out our Chevrolet Camaro by doing a 600-mile trip with my wife and two-year-old daughter. I knew the Camaro would automatically be more interesting to drive than about 90 percent of every other new car out there, but would its inherently small backseat and trunk make it a poor road-trip companion?

Results from the Camaro drive follow after the jump.

First, some specific observations:

Highway passing power: Heh, with the 426-horsepower V8, there's not much to worry about here. But sixth gear is pretty tall. At speeds less than 70 mph, I typically kept it in fifth gear. For a respectable highway pass, you'll want fourth.

Ride quality and road noise: For a sport coupe, the Camaro was fine. Its ride is not as comfortable as our long-term Challenger's, but it doesn't beat you up, either. Wind and road noise are again acceptable.

Seat

Fuel economy: For the trip, I averaged 21 mpg.

Comfort: I happen to find the Camaro's driver seat pretty comfortable. The oddly-shaped steering wheel, which we've covered plenty before, is an annoyance if you like your hands to be at the 9 and 3 positions. Then again, if you like keeping your left hand underhand at the 8 o'clock position and your right hand on the gear shift, you'll be perfectly happy during highway cruising.

Interior room: I had my wife and two-year-old daughter with me. A forward-facing child safety seat installs pretty easily in the back seat, but I quickly realized that there wasn't going to be enough legroom for my daughter if we kept the front seats positioned normally. The Camaro's backseat does not have a middle position with a seatbelt, though I found I could get our safety seat cinched down tight on that middle hump by connecting to one LATCH anchor from each side.

Trunk: The trunk opening is rather narrow, but I was still able to shove a large suitcase down its throat. Trunk capacity is listed at 11.3 cubic feet, and from that I fit the suitcase, a Pack 'N Play (a kid's playpen), a laptop bag, a diaper bag, a backpack and a few other items not in the photo.

Miscellaneous: I really like the iPod adapter in this car. The headlights seemed to be pretty effective while driving at night. The small and non-extendable sunvisors are pathetic if you're hoping to block the sun out the side window. People still pay a lot of attention to the car, most typically saying that they the love the way it looks.

In sum, the drive went pretty well. Driving something like our Volvo XC60 would have been more comfortable, but the Camaro managed alright, and it return it made the drive more interesting and fun.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,204 miles

Competitive Driving Mode

February 18, 2010

Maybe you already knew this, but the 2010 Camaro SS comes with a competitive driving mode. When activated, it relaxes the car's stability control system to allow a bit more of a slide than normal before corrective action is taken. It's activated by pushing the traction/stability control button twice. (Launch control is also activated via this way.)

Of course, holding the button down for about five seconds turns it all off. But the competitive driving mode could be useful for someone taking his or her Camaro to an autocross or high performance driving event for the first time as it allows you to learn the car's limits and still have a safety net.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Checking the Oil Level

February 22, 2010

While our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro has an oil-life indicator (it's showing 75 percent of life left, if you're interested), you still have to check the oil level the old-fashioned way via a dipstick. Not that I really mind. I actually feel more comfortable with an eyeball look than a in-car digital readout that just says "Oil Level OK."

But some cars are easier to check than others. The Camaro is one of the less-easy ones. The access point is fine, but the dipstick is long and twisted and has to be shoved down a long and angled tube; it feels like you're using a Roto-Rooter when you're trying to pull and push the thing. And when you're jiggling the dipstick so much to get it in and out, it makes it trickier to get a clean oil level mark.

Incidentally, there's an uncommon roominess in the Camaro's engine bay. You can't really see this in the photos, but it's almost old-school in the way there's space around the exhaust manifolds, spark plugs, drive pulleys and accessories.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,751 miles

The Three Looks

February 25, 2010

The above photo is the normal look for our RS Package-equipped 2010 Camaro SS, with the fog lights being used daytime running lamps.

If you turning the parking lights on, the DRLs turn off and the headlight halo rings illuminate. I've seen a Camaro or two driving around this way, though the halo rings' illumination is subtle.

The final option is with the xenon headlights on. I think our Camaro looks the best here. Would it be even better with some sort of KITT LED scanner fitted to the hood's mail slot? Heh. Michael, I don't think that's a very good idea.

Incidentally, the headlight/foglight setup for the 2010 Camaro varies depending on what model you have. Foglights are standard with the Camaro LT trim level and up, and regular halogen headlights are standard. With the halogens, DRL operation is through the headlights and you can turn the foglights on. But if you order the RS Package that includes the xenon HID headlights (with halo rings), the foglights become the DRLs. This package eliminates foglight functionality; that is, there's no way to turn our car's fog lights on with the headlights.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

Wave Like A Man, Part Two

March 01, 2010

Back in October Oldham was driving our long-term Camaro and wondered why a guy in a '69 Camaro didn't acknowledge his presence via a wave or nod. Well, I've been driving our Camaro for a few weeks now and have encountered the same thing. First it was an older guy driving a blue first-generation Camaro. Since then I've been around a fourth-generation Camaro (admittedtly, a beat-up V6) and two 2010 Camaros (both SS models) and haven't gotten any interaction.

Now, it's not my car, so I don't feel a need to be part of some sort of club or anything. And I will certainly allow that four cars is a small sampling — perhaps it's just coincidence that these other drivers were all business (or just too cool for school). But I feel a little bit like a researcher of the Camaro culture while driving our long-termer, and my initial hypothesis — that Camaro owners would want to acknowledge the car's rebirth — would seem to be wrong.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 12,823 miles

I Like This Character Line

March 10, 2010

A crisp horizontal line sweeps across the dash of our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and flows through to the rearmost end of either doortop panel. When the doors are closed, this one design element has a strong unifying effect, as the whole cabin feels like a single, enclosed space — a genuine cockpit.

The line also has the effect of lowering the very high Camaro dash. The effect is more psychological than actual, but I'm sure the small windshield area would be more bothersome without this character line.

At night, I like this design element even better, because a thin ribbon of turquoise (or aquamarine) light flows all the way through, to the rear edges of the door panels.

This character line also helps distinguish (for better or for worse) the 2010 Camaro from the Pontiac G8. From the cabin, the muscle car feels completely different from the big sedan.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,071 miles

Rides Like a G8

March 11, 2010

Whenever I cruise down the freeway in our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, I think of our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT. The ride quality is remarkably similar.

The Camaro rides firmly, but there's just enough compliance tuned into the chassis that you never feel like you're making sacrifices to own a fast car. It's not harsh over major seams and ruts and it's not busy over the washboard sections. Undoubtedly, our car's Pirelli P Zeros deserve some credit, too.

I'm about to put 800 miles on our Camaro SS this weekend, and if nothing else, it should be a comfortable trip.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 13,100 miles

Spring Training, Part 1

March 18, 2010

Our long-term 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and I have just returned from a 1,000-mile road trip to MLB spring training in Arizona. I still have my doubts about the Dodgers' pitching depth, but as I guessed before the trip, the Camaro has an excellent overall ride quality.

No matter what kind of surface conditions you're dealing with, the suspension copes well and remains composed. And somehow even with 20-inch wheels and fairly massive Pirelli PZeros (245/45ZR20 front, 275/40ZR20 rear), the car doesn't beat you up. The cabin stays quiet, too. We've mentioned before that the Camaro comes up a little short in the fun department on back roads, but for long hauls through the desert, our 2SS-RS Camaro's setup works well.

More speed cameras seem to have sprouted up in greater Phoenix (many of them "strategically" placed just before freeway interchanges where a burst of acceleration might be required to situate oneself in the proper lane). Fortunately, Arizona's department of transportation sees fit to give you a quarter-mile warning, so I just set the Camaro's cruise control every time a warning sign came up. The cruise is on the lower left side of the steering wheel and very simple to use — power button, cancel button and a toggle switch that does set, resume and +/- speed.

And, best of all, the cruise stays on when you shut off the engine. So the next time you start up and see a speed camera warning, you're all ready to set it at 65 mph. Nice.

More on the trip in tomorrow's post.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,134 miles

Spring Training, Part 2

March 19, 2010

There are a lot of things to like about our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS on a long road trip. A couple significant design issues would keep me from going out and buying one of my own, but I can't deny that this car is in its element speeding across the desert.

In addition to ride quality, seat comfort is very good. The front seats are roomy, yet still offer useful lateral support (unlike our Dodge Challenger). Minor symptoms of dead butt crept in on the trip out to Arizona, but I had no such complaints on the drive back to LA — the driver seat is just about the right blend of soft cushioning and firm support. Meanwhile, my passenger snoozed blissfully alongside me, though he later reported that the Camaro's head restraints aren't as comfy as a Holiday Inn Express pillow.

We both enjoyed the sounds of the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 when you lay into it full throttle coming down an entrance ramp, and when you abruptly lift off throttle and hear the exhaust burp. I also find this to be the most user-friendly application of the Tremec six-speed manual I've driven to date. Clutch takeup is easy enough for daily use (far less vague than in the Challenger) and the medium-throw shifter moves through the gates well.

Alas, the terrible steering wheel got on my nerves by the time we reached San Bernardino on the drive out to Arizona. I tried some different grips, and ultimately found that a loose grip at 10-and-2 is the most comfortable way to hold this wheel. (I'd rather hold it at 9-and-3, but that's just not sustainable with this funky-rimmed wheel.)

My bigger complaint, though, is visibility. I don't really expect to be able to see well out the back of a coupe (see 370Z, Challenger, etc.), but not being able to see well out the front, either, is a major bummer. The affable Dan Pund has described the visibility/seating position in this car as being akin to a bunker, and I couldn't agree more. After 1,000+ miles, I still can't place the front corners of our Camaro and this makes parking more of a hassle than it should be.

With those rants out of the way, I can report that our 426-horsepower, rear-drive coupe averaged a solid 19 mpg on the trip. Of course, it helped that I wasn't in a hurry and also didn't seek out any back roads. Worst tank was 18.5 mpg. Best tank was 19.7 mpg.

And, oh by the way, if you're in Tempe to see Angels' spring training games, I recommend the prime rib at Monti's La Casa Vieja — probably the best steak I've ever had at a restaurant.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,134 miles

Flattery By Association

March 20, 2010

One nice thing about being in Arizona is that it's actually cool to drive a Chevrolet here. Further, people still get excited when they see a Camaro here, and several told me what a beautiful car I had.

While we were dining at Haus Murphy's (order the Paprika Schnitzel with potato pancakes as an appetizer) in Glendale, AZ (convenient if you've just come from a Padres' or Mariners' game in Peoria, AZ), we got the sincerest compliment of all. This blue 2010 Camaro 2LT with the optional RS package and six-speed automatic transmission sidled up to our 2SS long-termer.

You'll notice our Camaro friend pulled up farther than we did in his parking spot. Soon enough, he'll (or she'll) learn (as we have) not to do that.

Yes, indeed, this car is lower than you think it is (though aesthetically it would benefit from an even lower stance a la SLP's Camaro), and the black plastic guards will only help you so much.

Also, I don't care for the plain, single-piston, sliding brake calipers on the V6 Camaros. I think I have to have the V8 just so I can have 400-piston Brembo calipers.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,134 miles

Digital Speedometer?

March 29, 2010

Somebody that helped design the interior of the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS has driven a Porsche Boxster, Cayman or recent 911.

How do I know?

Simple. They decided to compromise the readability of the Camaro's analog speedometer in the name of style (Packed full of numbers with a thick needle that covers more than 5 mph at any one time.). Then they added a digital speed readout so you can see how fast you're going.

Hey, if it's good enough for the folks in Stuttgart...

Personally, I applaud the GM guys for recognizing the need for the digital speedo and addressing it, but I'd also rather just have an analog speedometer I can read.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 14,697 miles

Racing at California Speedway

March 31, 2010

On Saturday I packed the wife and kids into our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS and drove it out to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana to take in the AMA motorcycle races.

It sucked. Badly.

Not the Camaro. The 150 mile round trip in the Camaro was great. The races sucked. 4,000 mph winds delayed the track activities and made spectating quite uncomfortable. We drove over an hour to get there. Sat in the wind for an hour. Watched 15 minutes of practice. Decided it wasn't worth it and got back in the car.

So instead of a fun day at the track I had a fun day behind the wheel of our SS. Before heading home we continued east on I-10 to Redlands, California to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Oscar's in downtown Redlands. Don't miss it.

Then we hit the inlaws in San Bernardino. We headed for home late when the traffic was light and I can take advantage of the Camaro's motor and stability.

In total it was a 200+ mile day in our silver muscle car and I really enjoyed it. My kids did too. No complaints from the backseat, even when daddy did a big ol' burnout infront of grandma's house.

Did we all wish the Camaro was a little easier to see out of? Yes, but it rides well, cruises like a sedan on the highway and the front seats are very comfortable.

The more I live with it the more I appreciate the way Chevy has packaged and tuned the Camaro. It does many things very well.

I also appreciate Tivo. The next evening I watched the motorcycle races from Fontana. No wind.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Happy 15k

April 02, 2010

Our Camaro SS' odometer just ticked over the 15,000 mile mark (I was about a mile or so from my exit when it hit 15k exactly). Thus far, as shown on our latest Big List of Fuel Economy, the heavy Chevy is averaging an even 17 mpg against EPA estimated numbers of 16 city, 24 highway and 19 combined. Curiously, it's getting about the same mileage as the other retro-themed, V8-powered boulevard bruiser in our LT fleet, the Dodge Challenger R/T.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 15,003 miles

I'd Rather Have a Mustang

April 06, 2010

I just spent a week in a new 2011 Ford Mustang GT with new 5.0-liter V8. Then I switched into our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS for a few days.

I'd rather have the Mustang.

And it's not because of one thing the Mustang does better or because of one thing the Camaro doesn't do. I just like the Mustang better overall, from its packaging to its styling to its details to the driving experience it provides.

Hell, it's even hard for me to explain why, but I prefer the Ford. It's the one I would spend my own money on. If money was no object I'd have a GT500. Black with red stripes, just like the one Ford had at the Chicago Auto Show back in February (I included a picture of it on the next page of this blog post.). Then I would lower it just a bit and bolt on a set of hardcore deep dish wheels.

Which of the three new Detroit-bred muscle cars hits your nitrous button?

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Something is Wrong

April 20, 2010

I drove our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro home last night. The last time I'd driven the Chevy was with a chili cheese dog in one hand and a photographer over my right shoulder. Back then the Camaro wasn't even broken in. But now, I'm afraid it may just be broken.

With the radio up, it's possible I wouldn't have heard the T-ball levels of chatter coming from the driveline. Or the characteristic racket of an aged throw-out bearing. But even with the speakers at full capacity I couldn't miss the massive clunk into 2nd gear. No matter how slow or deliberate the shift. CLUNK. Something is wrong.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,819 miles

Tranny Pushing Daisies

April 22, 2010

Earlier this week we reported there was something wrong with the transmission in our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS. We drove it to Santa Monica Chevrolet immediately.

"I don't care how hard you drive, this tranny should be able to take it. That's what this car is made for. This should not happen," proclaimed our service advisor when we left the Camaro with him. Not 30 minutes passed before he called with an update, "GM doesn't want us touching your tranny. They're sending out a replacement under warranty. I will call you in a few days when parts arrive."

So now we sit and wait. As we know more, you'll know more.

(And a special thanks to Kurt Niebuhr for his photoshop brilliance)

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,819 miles

The best laid plans...

April 26, 2010


Remember a few days ago when they told us that we'd get a new transmission as opposed to ripping ours open and fixing it?

Well, looks like plans changed.

That thing all wrapped up by the coffee cup? That's half of the new 2nd gear synchro.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ *the same mileage it was last blog*

More pics from surgery

April 28, 2010

We still don't have our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS back from its transmission repair, but we're hoping for an update today. They were waiting on parts from corporate. So for now, two new pictures.

That's our exhaust, but not our transmission. I assume it was just a spare one that didn't need to be put back. Check those mufflers, no wonder this thing sounds like a vacuum. We should change that ASAP. Scott, listening? Cat-back! Do it!

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ *still no more miles*

Last Muscle Car Standing

May 10, 2010

While we wait for our Camaro to rejoin our ranks, feel free to head on over to Edmunds CarPool to see how it stacks up against the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang GT in our latest comparison.


It's baaAAAck

May 10, 2010

See all of those bits? Well, after 22 days, they're back together--- along with a new second gear and second gear synchro — and back in our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS.

The primary delay here was waiting on parts availability. Once they arrived, the process of putting it back together was, we hope, simple. Our advisor at Santa Monica Chevrolet Buick was very good. He called with frequent-enough updates and was quick to offer a rental as soon as he saw that parts would not be quick.

Total cost: $0.00

Days out of service: 22

And while we can't be thrilled we lost our car for three weeks, the process was as un-infuriating as is really possible. But it begs the question: if your car was out of service for three weeks, what would you do?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 15,819 miles

Gettin' Mean

May 17, 2010

So the Camaro is on a return tour with us after having its' guts ripped out. Literally.

I drove it just before it went into the doctor and it wasn't pretty. Coughing, grinding and all manner of unnatural sounds that make you wince and suck in your breath through clinched teeth. Kind of like watching a dude get kicked square in the.... (yeah).

I'm happy to report that after driving it all weekend, I never found a hiccup in the transmissions' performance. It felt strong. After a few good pedal stomps and hard shifts I'm reminded of a colleagues comments regarding the Camaro, "Big motor. Big pushrods. Most power." It's a riot to drive when you push it. Listening to her scream off the line, you can't help but smile.

If I was to go our cruising for some back street trouble, this and the Viper would definitely be my top choices in our fleet.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 16,447 miles

Feels Back to Normal

May 19, 2010

After our big tranny service, I was a little concerned that the shifter would never feel right again. It's not the most complicated repair in the world, but once you pull something apart like that it's not always easy to get it all lined up perfectly again.

No problem though, it's fine. Goes through the gears as quick as ever. In fact, it reminded me just how different the shifter in the Camaro is compared to the Challenger. The Chevy has short throws with a notchy engagement while the Challenger's linkage feels much longer between gears and goes in with a softer transition. Which one is better? Not sure, I'll have to rip a few more gears before making a final decision.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line @ 16,812 miles

The Fog's Getting Thicker

May 20, 2010

On my drive home, I noticed an odd patch of fog accumulating just above the defroster vents. No big deal, since we've been getting an unusual amount of gloomy weather for the last couple of days. I cranked up the defroster, but the foggy patch remained. Weird. I reached up to run my finger through it and realized it was on the outside of the car. A quick flip of the wipers got rid of it, but about 10 minutes later, it reappeared. I'm guessing it's just some residual moisture under the hood that's being directed towards the windscreen from the hood cowl.

It's not nearly as bad as my little Elise, though. When it rains, the hood mounted radiator produces enough steam to completely white-out the windshield every time I take off from a stop.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 16,830 miles

Sunglasses Optional

May 24, 2010

If there's an upside to what passes for a "greenhouse" in our long-term 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS it comes in the form of light control.

I was driving it on a cloudless day this weekend and suddenly it ocurred to me: I'm not wearing my sunglasses. I hadn't put them on because I hadn't felt any need to protect my eyes from the sun's glare; the Camaro's lack of cabin glass was doing it for me.

Admittedly, it was about mid-day and the sun was almost directly overhead. Had it been late afternoon, with the car pointed west, I'm sure I'd have reached for the Ray Bans. But between the black interior that sucks up light and the pillbox style of the car's upper body I didn't need to don any protective eyewear.

Does this make up for the car's lack of outward visibility? No. But when faced with a negative circumstance we should always try to look on the bright side...so to speak.

Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 16,581 miles

Wish It Wouldn't Do This

May 27, 2010

It's worse on rain-grooved pavement with lots of expansion joints, but it happens to some extent on all pavement, which I know is to be expected... but it looks so odd with the large baseball shifter cap bobbing around. Shot on a closed course, of course.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,767 miles

Airing it Out

June 01, 2010

I took our Camaro up to Willow Springs Raceway this weekend to get some go-kart seat time. Rather than take the boring highway route, I decided to see if the silver Chevy could change my mind on its handling in the tight twisty backroads. It didn't. But here's what I did discover - the pedals are just about perfect for heel-toe downshifts. It had just enough brake pedal travel to get close to the throttle for a quick blip between gears, and the stout engine is responsive enough to get the revs peaked at the right spot. It was a pleasant surprise, I must say.

Not so pleasant on this drive was a recurring warning that alerted me that the airbag is in need of service. The warning chime was a bit distracting when it would trigger in the middle of a turn. On the way back though, it apparently fixed itself.

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 17,130 miles

Chevy's Gone Green

June 03, 2010

I drove our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS into the office yesterday. And what to my wondering eyes did appear but this guy in his Camaro. Look at that color. Of course I scrambled for the camera. By the time I found it Mister Green was pulling away. I took a second photo for good measure.

It wasn't until I off-loaded the images from my camera that I noticed the red Camaro beyond the center divider. These things are everywhere. But back to the green - - Is this a color you'd choose? Did you just throw up in your mouth a little? What do you think?

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 17,132 miles

Carry-On Bag in the Trunk

June 09, 2010

Our 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is accumulating miles fast enough that it will easily reach our customary 20,000-mile mileage accumulation target within its year in the long-term fleet. So when a recent 2-day business trip to the east coast popped onto my schedule, the Camaro was drafted into airport duty.

That's my carry-on suitcase right there, the kind that fits snugly in the overhead compartment of your basic Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 jet. It fits only marginally better in our Camaro's trunk, nearly rubbing on top as it goes through the opening. Removal of the stretchy grocery net is an absolute prerequisite.

Once inside, there's halfway decent space if you shuffle things laterally into the corners, but the trunk opening itself is weak sauce unless you're a huge fan of the games Operation and Tetris.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 17,481 miles

Our Favorite Caption

June 11, 2010

Thanks to thegraduate for this week's favorite caption.

Here are the others that had us in stitches:

Mr Goodwrench my XXX (e90_m3)
The Wrench Connection (ergsum)
Ripping through the gears. (ergsum)
Thinking outside the gearbox. (ergsum)
They may be cheap, but Ikea transmissions are a pain. (ergsum)
Some assembly required. (ergsum)
RTFM. (rick8365)
It will be ok, the government is here to help. (fordracefan)
Hey Bubba, get Ed Whitacre on the phone- he'll know what to do! (roadburner)
Corporate is on the phone; they they say this trasmission is designed for a Chevy, and what we need is a tranny that fits a Chevrolet." (roadburner)
We secretly replaced the transmission with Folgers Crystals. Shhh...let's see if they notice. (tnooch1)
You don't think Inside Line will put this on their blog, do you? (rayray633)
Lucy... you have some esplainin' to do! (anonimo)
If he calls, tell him we needed to order a part. (actualsize)

What was your favorite?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

You Write the Caption

June 11, 2010

This unfortunate mess is our Chevy Camaro's transmission. It's back together now but it was out of service for three weeks. It brings to mind this scene:

Lando: Having trouble with your droid?
Han Solo: No, no problem. Why?

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Cue Ball vs. Pistol Grip

June 17, 2010

Now that the Camaro's Tremec TR-6060 transmission has been repaired, I'm once again reminded that this transmission represents a big leap forward over the original T-56 found in the 2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.

More people have noticed the bolt-action style with short throws and relatively high-effort gear engagement that the TR-6060 and T-56 share. Of course the TR-6060 works like something from this century, while the increasingly stubborn linkage of the T56 is starting to bind as if it had come from a rusty hunting rifle of the last century.

But everyone still hates the Camaro's shift knob with its rounded top surface and flat sides.

My guess is that it depends on the way you hold the shift lever.

If you want to hold it with your hand on top as if the knob were a cue ball, the oddly shaped knob feels awkward and the stitching of the leather cuts your hand. If you push the knob forward with the heel of your hand and bring it back with your fingers, letting the spring preload in the linkage find the next gear (which it will do, reminds Danny McKeever, the racing school instructor who gives the Edmunds staff a refresher course every fall at his Fast Lane Racing School), the knob works fine. And if you like to hold the gear lever from behind, reaching around it as if it were the shift lever in an open wheel racing car (which is what I prefer), then the flat sides help it fit your hand perfectly.

My guess is that the Chevy designer tried to combine the traditional cue ball with the Chrysler-style pistol grip. There are plenty of people who like one or the other, but no one seems to like this attempt to combine both. Of course, no one seems to have been able to ask the GM designer what he was after in the first place.

What's interesting here is that the way that you interface with the controls has so much to do with the quality of the driving experience. Sometimes the trouble lies with the car, and sometimes the trouble lies with you. It just depends on how you hold your hand.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 18,443 miles

Separated At Birth

June 18, 2010

Tusken Raider (Sand People)

Center stack of our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Hating on Monday Morning

June 21, 2010

It's annoying. Very annoying. And that's all I have to say.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 18,898 miles

Father's Day and Musclecars

June 23, 2010

This past Saturday my father and I decided to drive down to San Diego and take in RM Auctions Classic Muscle & Modern Performance event. It was father's day weekend after all and we had the keys to a muscle car of our very own. Exactly. I grabbed the keys to our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS for the 300 mile trip down the coast and back.

Our Camaro seemed like the right car to take. The RM event was heavy on classic American muscle. Of the 102 cars up for sale, about 80 were muscle cars from the late 1960s and early 1970s, from L88 Corvettes to GTOs to Boss 429 Mustangs to three beautiful 1969 Camaro Z28s. And everything in between. All selling a no reserve, by the way. Plus, my dad's old pal Jim Wangers was selling a few of his cars so we got to see Jim and catch up.

No, we didn't buy anything, but RM puts on a wonderful event and we had a blast. And the our silver Camaro was the perfect car for the day. It not only fit the theme, but it really showed us how far the Camaro and muscle cars have come since the time of free love and Woodstock.

Our new Camaro SS could not be more comfortable on a long trip. Or entertaining. It satisfied my needs and desires from the driver's seat and my dad's demanding requirements from the shotgun position. Although he did complain that our XM radio subscription had expired and he was unable to jam to '50s on 5.

Doo wop withdrawl aside, our Camaro delivered. Great car. Now, what should we drive to the Barrett-Jackson event in Orange County this weekend? Viper?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

Like You Need To Ask

June 30, 2010

I had the choice between the Miata and the Camaro over the weekend. With a buddy in town, I thought it best to drive the car with four seats.

My lady is kinda of tall at 5'11". Being the nice person she is, she got into the back seat to offer our guest the front seat on our way out to dinner. The back seat is a joke for an adult. Maybe even for kids, too. She was so jammed up back there her leg fell asleep on the way to the restaurant. Hilarity ensued as the valet waited for her to get out of the back seat.

Ok, but seriously, are you buying this car for rear leg room? Does it really matter? You don't buy cars like this for practicality, buddy. You buy them to leave the guy asking what kind of mileage you're getting in a cloud of smoke as you pull a 13.0 @ 110.9.

Look, I felt bad for my lady. That back seat does suck. But that isn't the point of this car. These cars aren't for soccer practice or for camping. It's for prowling the street in search of stop light victims or laying down a patch and listening to the music of a V8 at full throttle. They're purpose built toys so I shouldn't blame the car for it's lack of creature comfort, the fault was with me in choosing it to shuttle a bunch of people around.

For the rest of the weekend with my buddy, I drove my Mazda 3. It can carry three adults comfortably around town. But believe me, the second my friend left, I was back in the Camaro. I chirped the tires and blip shifted my way to the supermarket and back. The power of this machine is intoxicating. I loved running stupid errands just to get a chance at driving it.

To quote my Boston area friend regarding the Camaro: "This thing is wicked sick." Yes, my friend. Yes it is.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 18,911 miles

What If J Mays Is Right?

July 06, 2010

Wherever I go in the Camaro SS, people take notice. They deliver a little critique about the way it looks, ask about its performance, talk a bit about General Motors.

But no one ever mentions that it's a Camaro. No one ever gets what it's about. It's an abstraction, the latest performance thing from Chevrolet. At least when the 2002 Corvette Z06 is right there next to you, people can imagine going places in it (or not, as the case might be).

Ford's J Mays continues to be reviled for popularizing post-modern retro cars at Ford, but you have to say that the Mustang is still getting respect for the way it looks and I'm not sure that the same holds true of the Camaro. Mays believes that every car tells a story, a little cultural nugget about where it's been, where it's going and where you fit in.

I'm not sure the Camaro is telling a story. And once the shock of its newness wears off, I'm a little worried about its future.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 18,775 miles

Gauges Do The Big Sweep

July 07, 2010

I think Chevy invented this. The Corvette has been doing it for years and lately more and more manufacturers have picked up on the gimmick. What am I talking about? Watch the video above and you'll see how the gauges of our long-term Camaro do a full sweep before settling in. There is no denying it's all very dramatic, but in my book it's also a little too contrived.

What do you think? Is this cool or contrived?

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 18,578 miles

I'll Put a Halo Over That

July 09, 2010

If there's any feature on our long-term 2010 Chevrolet Camaro that rights all wrongs — apart from the 426-hp 6.2-liter LS3 V8, of course — it's these HID headlights that we got with the RS package. These neat-o halos illuminate every time I hit the remote to unlock the car and every time I see them, the Camaro becomes cool and new to me once again.

I could take or leave the rest of the Camaro's exterior design — not because the car doesn't look good or interesting, but because the styling forces too many functional compromises (visibility, visibility, visibility). But whoever designed the optional headlights really nailed the assignment.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 18,610 miles

Skip-Shift Work-Around

July 13, 2010

So most people on staff, including myself, just don't like the skip-shift feature on our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. I mean, at least the skip-shift indicator on the Z06's instrument panel is easier to pick up peripherally speaking in that it's a different color from everything else. But in any case I found an easy work-around with our Camaro and it didn't require that I buy a skip-shift eliminator.

Nope, I just either floor it or simply stay in 1st gear up to 20 mph. Of course, I've also learned to look for the skip-shift indicator out of the corner of my eye, but in any case, easy peasy. So as long as I don't drive like an old lady (not that there's anything wrong with that) I'm fine.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 18,692 miles

Best Driving Shoes in the World

July 16, 2010

Don't laugh. But I'm giving you a girly alert before you read on.

Last night I got handed the keys to the Camaro. I haven't driven it in a while actually, so I was excited to get back to it. But it just happens that yesterday I was wearing ridiculously sparkly total girl shoes. Really not good for driving a car with a manual transmission.

But I am always prepared for such a situation. You see, I carry ballet slippers in my laptop bag. And yes, they are girly, but they don't take up much space in my bag because they are so flat. And they make perfect driving shoes. They have grippy soles and they allow your foot a good feel for the pedals. I highly recommend them. I wouldn't wear them in a racecar because they certainly wouldn't offer any protection. But they work for a daily commute.

But now back to the Camaro. What a fun car. Love the throttle music, love the retro good looks, love the power. But you know, you really can't see a darn thing out those windows.

Donna DeRosa. Managing Editor

Lazy Car For a Lazy Day

July 20, 2010

It's not as derogatory as it seems.

The new Camaro is just, well, it's a little lazy. But by lazy, I mean easy going.

This weekend Southern California baked in its first official heat wave. My house, which is within a nuclear blast radius of the beach, saw the temps hit 88 degrees. Couple that with a 'track' temperature which had to be in excess of 130 degrees and you get a recipe of misery when you're stuck in traffic.

The Camaro? Well it couldn't be bothered. The combination of its huge engine (let's not forget that this thing is over 6 liters!), massive A/C compressor, ridiculously tall gearing and massive flywheel made for an effortless afternoon of parts hauling and errand running. Couple all that overbuilt goodness with a low greenhouse and you've got what could be the perfect car for shrugging off a hot summer day.

With a murderous passion, I still hate the steering wheel.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 18,897 miles

No More Hot Wheels

July 28, 2010

That's it, I'm done with big wheels. Every time I roll over the slightest ripple in the pavement, I can feel these monstrous 20-inch wheels with their massive low-profile Pirelli P Zeroes unsettling the chassis. Pretty much what you'd expect, since each wheel and tire weighs, what, 500 pounds? (We'll have to weigh one.)

Designers love the big tire thing. They say a big wheel makes a car look planted on the road. For me, these big wheels make every car a cartoon, a kind of life-size Hot Wheels.

Listen, it's great to put all that tire on the road in the corners, but there's also unsprung weight to consider. It takes quite a lot of damper control to rein in a heavyweight wheel and tire, and too much of the time this Camaro's tires spend so much time bounding over the bumps that cornering grip is pretty much a moot point since you can't corner if your tires are in the air. And let's not even talk about the power absorbed by simply keeping them rolling.

The irony is, the original Hot Wheels got their name in 1968 because they were faster than the British-built Matchbox die-cast cars of the time. Harry Bradley, the designer who styled the first Hot Wheels (a dark-blue Camaro was among the first 16), told me that he and the other Mattel designers spent a lot of time rolling the cars up and down the hallway at their office in El Segundo until they came up with a Delrin plastic bushing to interface between the springy wire axle and the plastic wheels.

The Camaro puts down some impressive numbers on the skidpad and there's sure to be a payoff on the race track, yet every time I register a jounce in the suspension, I get the feeling that the car is slowing down. Car designers might like the Hot Wheels look, but in a full-size scale, you get a car that feels slower, not faster.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 19,075 miles

9,000-Mile Service Interval

July 28, 2010

Our long term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS has this nifty little service minder light that, unlike some from German companies with TLAs I can think of, doesn't shut off until you cycle through it with the menu button. I like that. Even if you get in and set up your iPod, find your phone, get the seat belt on, do whatever, you won't miss the "YOU NEED SERVICE" light.

In related news to the functionality of the light, our Camaro needed service.

At 10,224 miles we had the oil changed and a number of TSBs performed. Mike Schmidt said, "we're back on the road. Here's hoping the Camaro remains bulletproof from this point forward." It cost $37.61.

And today, at 19,312 miles we had our second oil change. An oil change cost $36.09 this time at Chevy of Santa Monica.

9,088 miles between oil changes is pretty darned good if you ask me, but then again, all of these new cars with oil-life minders seem to be going about that far.

As for Schmidt's hope that it would remain bullet-proof, it has, except for one little transmission issue.

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor, Inside Line @ 19,312

No Police Interceptor

August 03, 2010

I asked my colleague Justin, who knows such matters, if the new Camaro — like our long-term 2010 SS — is in police service. I don't think so he replied.

We did some digging on the internets and found a smattering of samples in TX, OK, and Abu Dhabi(?!). But the current Camaro doesn't come close to the Generation 4 (1993~2002) that saw wide Highway Patrol/State Police Interceptor service including California, Nevada, and Florida.

So why no police package on the current car? Is it the poor outward visibility, the small rear seat that's not suitable for perps, or did it lose out to the nearly as fast 4-door Dodge Charger Hemi?

In any event it's a shame, because the new Camaro with its 6.2L V8 would make an awesome Police Interceptor — a present day Mad Max machine.

I recently had a dream where a group of sophisticated rogue agents planted an idea in Ed Whitacre's own dream to produce the Camaro Police Interceptor, and then he decided...

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 19,688 miles (Hit the jump to see the 4th Gen CHP Camaro in action.)

iPod Interface Video

August 05, 2010

I describe how the Camaro's iPod interface works in this (HD!) video. Dan Edmunds also touched on another benefit of this interface almost a year ago (my how time flies).

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 19,794 miles

Fun for Family of One

August 09, 2010

I like our Chevrolet Camaro, really I do, but I only like driving it when I'm alone in the car.

When my daughter's along, I'm constantly worrying about her climbing roughly in and out of the back seat, letting the long doors fly open and smack into other parked cars.

Muscle cars, really coupes of any kind, just aren't as enjoyable when you have a daily back-seat passenger.

Emma's not too keen on the stiffish ride, either. Although there is one Camaro trait of which she's especially fond.

She explains after the jump.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

Graybeard Approved

August 09, 2010

It's been a little while since I've driven our Camaro and I was reminded how much fun this car is within a second of firing up the engine. It's that engine and the resounded roar it makes in a parking garage.

First thing I did for the weekend was to go out and shoot a round. In the parking lot of the club, an older guy drove up in his shiny black ML and asked if I liked the Camaro. From experience, people usually ask about a car because either they own one, or want one. If I don't like the car, I don't slam it and offend the person. There is such a thing as constructive criticism. But I don't have a lot of negatives for this car because I realize what it is: a toy.

"So how do you like the Camaro?" the gent with the receding hairline asked asked. After a moment of thought I replied, "To be honest, this thing is a blast to drive." The guy looked at me with a smile. "Yeah, I've been looking at these pretty hard."

The Camaro made my weekend fun because I was able to blip shift this thing so easily. It had motor to blast down the freeway and pass at will. It has the added bonus that it does it all with an awesome engine note. On top of all that it looks mean. It was turning heads all weekend from all kinds of folks, both young and old. But it was graybeard in the second generation Firebird that came bombing up next to me on the freeway, gave the car a look over, flashed me a smile and a thumbs up before he blasted off again that really made my weekend.

I agree with your, Sir. It is pretty cool.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

A V8? Indeed.

August 10, 2010

Our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro's best feature is certainly its SS 426 hp 6.2L pushrod V8.

I've driven a lot of 4-cylinder test cars lately, both naturally aspirated and forced induction.
They're just OK — most make adequate power and they are more efficient of course.

But they are not exciting. And they don't sound like this.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 20,150 miles

Cute

August 11, 2010

As I was leaving this morning, two neighbors and a dog were standing in my driveway admiring the Camaro.

"Isn't that the cutest little thing? I just think that's the cutest little thing. Imagine driving a cute little thing like that."

I can honestly say I've never thought of the Camaro in those words.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Which Side of the Fence Are You On?

August 12, 2010

So am standing next to the race track the other weekend (something I seem to do a lot) while watching some friends at Robert Davis Racing attempt to turn their carefully prepared automobiles into heaps of randomly disassociated components. And a couple guys sidle up to me and start asking questions, apparently having mistaken me for someone who knows something.

It turns out that these two hipsters had never been to a road racing track before. There is actually so much performance-oriented automotive enthusiasm these days, it's easier than it once was to develop an interest in different kinds of racing. And when it comes to road racing, we're actually in the midst of a golden age, when there are tracks almost everywhere, many of them country-club-style tracks built for the use of private owners. So it's no wonder that you can meet people who wander up next to the spectator fence at a race track and wonder what it takes to get to the other side, where the action is.

Ford seems to have embraced this thing with its Ford Mustang FR500S, which is essentially a $75,000 turn-key racing car that you buy out of the catalog from Ford Racing as if it were a racing part. Of course, no amateur racer I've ever met does very much shopping for parts priced at the $75,000. To Chevy's credit, it does support a Camaro program in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, a series that is one step up from the Mustang spec class.

There's not much to be learned from this, but it did make me realize that people just walk up to race tracks these days and wonder about the way to get themselves on the fun side of the fence. The way to do it is astonishingly easy (the safety measures enforced by NASA at this event at Auto Club Speedway were very easy to meet), so it's not hard to do. Yet the missing element is seeing an example of your street car on the track. Be nice to see a Camaro out there some time.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

Practical Hauler?

August 16, 2010

This weekend was not one for freewheelin' fun with our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Nope, since I'm moving next week I had to do boring stuff like use it to fetch cardboard boxes. Why didn't I just take a more suitable long-term car, you ask? The Camaro and the Miata were my only choices as a car to take this weekend.

At first I was skeptical our two-door sports car could handle such a job. I even told the guy who was giving me his cardboard boxes that I probably wouldn't be able to take his whole stack. But then I remembered that the rear seats can fold down so I shoved about 40 broken-down cardboard boxes back there. Sweet! Below is a picture of all the boxes out of the car so you can get an idea of how much the Camaro held.

This weekend, I also had to pick up a dog I'm fostering for the week. I didn't know how I'd be able to fit the dog and her crate in the Camaro but then managed to just stick the crate in the front passenger seat and the dog in the back. After these chores were done, I took the car for a nice drive. It's great to be able to have my cake and eat it, too, for a change.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 20,326 miles

20,000 Miles

August 18, 2010

Evidently I'm not the only one who manages to miss a milestone or two when driving long-term cars. But I am the one who gets this easy blog post marking the 20,000-click milestone of our Camaro SS.

Get ready, the end is near.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor

Now That's What I Call a Green Car

August 24, 2010

I spotted this green beauty over the weekend

What's your favorite Camaro color?

I've never seen a white one, have you?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Sounds Good, Real Good!

August 26, 2010

I was driving our 2010 Long-Term Chevrolet Camaro SS yesterday and noticed something that hadn't previously occurred to me. The car's audio system sounds quite good!

I was probably about one-third of the way into my 50-mile commute, summer beach traffic had finally broken up north of Malibu, and a good song was playing (Cheap Trick's "Reach Out" from the Heavy Metal soundtrack). There's a fair amount of dynamic range going on in the song, and it's got solid production quality that you can appreciate if you listen on a high-quality system. Which means a system lacking in both power and accuracy will falter when dealing with it.

The Camaro's 245-watt, nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system has both. Once I focused on the sound I realized someone had gone a little nuts with the mid-range and bass settings (maybe Magrath was trying to get his gangsta goin' on), but with some tweaking the song's overall dynamic sound reproduction was nearly faultless.

Low's could be a tad tighter, though power certainly isn't an issue (my left pant leg was literally being blow around by the door speaker before I settled the bass down). This is in addition to the Camaro's (and most modern GM's) brainless iPod integration that literally requires plugging in a USB cable and...nothing else! It just works, everytime. I wish all "iPod capable" audio systems were this easy to use (because trust me, they aren't).

Karl Brauer, Edmunds.com Editor at Large at 20,984 miles

iPod Integration Mix Up

August 27, 2010

While I don't disagree with Karl Brauer's assessment of the Boston Acoustics audio system in the Camaro SS (and probably wouldn't argue anyway with an audiophile rockin' classic DMC TimeWindow speakers in his home stereo setup), I can't abide by his statement that the car's iPod integration "just works, everytime."

As evidence I present the picture above, which I snapped while my iPhone 3GS was attached to the USB port in the center console. Ever hear of an album titled Al Green, Alejandro Escovedo or Alice Cooper? Me neither.

For some reason the Camaro's system showed Artists as Albums, and Albums as Artists, as in the pic below.

And it also showed Songs as Genres and Albums as Song Titles, as pictured below. Well, it got that part half right, since there are songs and albums called All Shook Down and After the Goldrush.

Maybe the problem is with the iPhone 3GS, are more specifically, the new iOS4 software, which is also causing iPod-integration issues in our 2010 GMC Terrain.

But Steve Jobs would probably say that the Camaro is holding the iPhone wrong.

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

Booster Seats for Short Passengers?

August 30, 2010

What are short passengers supposed to do when the top of the dash comes up to their eyes? My friend Bernadette is tiny at 5'1" and when I took her out to breakfast yesterday in our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro she made it be known, "I can't see where we're going."

I told her not to slouch and not to recline her seat so much but even though she angled the seatback forward a bit she still couldn't see. Her fix? Sitting on her sweater allowed her to see over the dash at least.

My only worry is where the airbag would deploy. Are there booster seats for adults?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 21,133 miles

Rearward Visibility

September 02, 2010

As I was coming into work this morning, I saw that guy, just ahead of me.

I think I've spotted the one car with worse rearward visibility than the Camaro's.

I'm pretty sure our Chevy's more fun to drive, though.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 21, 218 miles

Best Sports-Car Interior?

September 07, 2010

I was reading an article recently that mentioned the Camaro was voted a winner in Ward's Interior of the Year awards earlier this year. It competed in the sports-car category, up against the Hyundai Genesis coupe, the Mazdaspeed 3 and the Nissan Z roadster.

Which sports car gets your pick for best interior?

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

Rattling Door

September 07, 2010

Something is rattling in the vicinity of the big shield of shiny plastic on the driver's door. It happens with every booming bass note from the stereo and since the stereo is naturally quite bass-heavy, it rattles quite a lot. When I pressed against the shiny grey plastic, the rattling stopped. Hopefully it can be fixed, because it's kind of annoying.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,270 miles

Small Mirrors, But At Least They Don't Fold

September 09, 2010

For a car with poor visibility, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS has some unusually small side mirrors. Still, I figured they'd fold/swivel inwards (and outwards). They don't, and it's possible that their small size is part of the reason — they're not as exposed as normal-sized mirrors.

I left the Camaro parked on this busy street yesterday during commute hours and half-expected a nice surprise when I returned. The combination of non-folding mirrors and wide stance (e aho laula?) had me wondering.

Fortunately the Camaro's mirror didn't suffer the same fate as the one of this longterm car, or this one. Unless there's clever shear-off hardware fastening it down, a drive-by clipping of the Camaro's mirror would likely jack up the sheetmetal of its door as well.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor.

Gas Mileage Reality Check

September 10, 2010

Last night I drove our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS home (nine miles on surface streets) and noticed it needed gas, so this morning I filled it up. It took 13.389 gallons after having been driven only 179 miles. That averages to just 13.4 mpg.

Those 179 miles must have all been covered in the city, but still.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 21,350 miles

Checkered Flag Equals Street Cred?

September 13, 2010

The Chevrolet Camaros of Stevenson Motorsports finished first and second in the GT class this past weekend at the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, the final round of the 2010 Rolex Grand-Am Championship.

This is the first GT-class win for the Camaro in Grand-Am road racing and the first victory in professional road racing for the Camaro.

Maybe this is the kind of thing that will give the Camaro lasting credibility on the street. That is, if you believe there's any connection between motorsports and the real world.

I like to think so. Then again, maybe there's not, because the Mazda RX-8 prevailed again in the 2010 Rolex Grand-Am GT championship, and no sports car is more invisible on the street than the RX-8.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com

Still Love the Seats

September 13, 2010

If there's one thing Chevrolet (or Holden, I suppose) really nailed with the Camaro, it's the driver seat. The seat is pretty wide with a long seat-bottom cushion to accommodate drivers of various sizes, yet it's still very supportive. The cushioning is firm. The lateral bolstering is functional. And I can sit in the seat for hours without getting uncomfortable. Tell me again why I can't have a slightly more compact version of this seat in the Corvette.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 21,376 miles

Battery Power Drain?

September 14, 2010

I pulled over briefly on a side street while dropping off a friend last night, shut off the engine in our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS and flipped on the hazards. The dome light immediately began to flicker.

Moments later, I reenacted the incident for your edification, but please be warned that the video is not HD and was shot at night, hence, it's not sharp.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 21,379 miles

Camaros of Many Many Colors

September 15, 2010

Our Camaro is boring. Silver on black. Blah. That's almost as bad as a base black on black Mini Cooper. Just look at all the fun stuff you can do to a Camaro. Some of its classy, like the classic orange stripes on white to the horribly naff yellow with black hockey stripes and ground effects kit. Does anyone else kind of dig the base, black steel wheels on the blue one?

Then there's the interior. You can get two-tone beige-black or grey-black, as well as the eye-searing black-orange with the 2SS.

Either way, it's more interesting than silver on black. You're already driving an outrageous car, why be conservative with your color choice?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Form Over Function

September 16, 2010

Other folks have complained about the Camaro's center stack being too busy and an unfortunate example of form over function. I am not one of those people.

Oh sure, the climate controls have tiny buttons that are difficult to operate at a glance. You need to have dainty little fingers to operate them, so forget about using them with gloves (for those in California, imagine the latex gloves your Botox injectionist uses but filled with toasty padding and covered in either leather or a water-proof tech fabric. It's quite the invention).

Where the hell was I? Ah yes, the Camaro center stack. The stereo isn't the simplest thing on Earth either, but in general I'm OK with a little form over function once in a while. Just compare the Camaro's dash design to those in the Mustang and Challenger. Those cars utilize cookie-cutter parts bin controls, which are easier to use than the Camaro's (OK, so the Challenger's Chrysler/Ferrari California navi unit stinks. Yes, a Ferrari uses that turkey and before the Fiat purchase), but they look really dull. GM actually took the time to create bespoke controls, which is a rarity for it to be sure, and I think it deserves credit for doing so. Just as I tolerate a Jag XF or XJ's ergonomic foibles because the interior looks so damn cool, I can do the same for the Camaro.

I can't do that for the ridiculous steering wheel since I hold that all the time and it helps me do important things like steer the car. Turning on the heated seat and going to preset 3 is less important.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 21,422 miles

Ripe for Stripes

September 17, 2010

Muscle cars look great with stripes. When it comes to our 2010 Camaro SS, I was wondering what color and what kind? The animated GIF above runs through a few colors using double-thick stripes. I think I like the dark red and gray ghost stripes best. Click through to see some thick 'n' thin stripes and my absolute road-inspired version.

I'm not sure why, but I think purple works on these stripes.

And my favorite. Passing is not allowed against this Camaro.

What do you think?

Mark Takahashi, Associate Editor @ 21,430 miles

Audio Review

September 21, 2010

Maybe it's the retro styling of the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS, but each time I drive it and crank up the stereo, I flash back to a certain Friday night after a high school football game in the '70s (think Dazed and Confused comes alive). A bunch of teen-age longhairs — myself include, when I still had lots left — are hanging out in a burger joint parking lot around an older kid named Kenny Guillotte's '68 Camaro. (Like D&C's David Wooderson, he had already graduated and also had long blonde hair). The Camaro's doors and trunk are open and Kenny's blasting Aerosmith's Rocks. I remember it clearly 'cause it was my 8-track tape playing, which I thought for sure earned me some cool points with the posse.

I also distinctly recall the Craig PowerPlay "surface-mount" speakers kicking out the jams from the back deck of Kenny's Camaro (or maybe he even moved them to the roof ... that part is lost in the haze), and how that was about as bitchin' as it got for car audio back in those days. I wish I could go back and compare it to the sound of the Boston Acoustics system in our long-term 2010 Camaro SS. Almost as much as I wish I had even half as much hair on my head as I had then.

The Setup
The Boston Acoustics sound system that comes standard in the 2010 Camaro 2SS Coupe consists of nine speakers powered by 245 watts. The speakers include a 6.5-inch midrange low in each door, a 1-inch tweeter in the "sail panel" in the lower-forward corner of each front window, a 3.5-inch midrange/tweeter in the center of the dash and a pair of 6x9 two-way coaxials in the rear deck. The packaging is low-key, with only a small logo on each door speaker to announce the presence of the system.

The Sound
Per usual, I subjected the Camaro's Boston Acoustics system to our standard audio evaluation process. This entails sound-checking it with jazz, rock, folk, pop and rap music tracks I've listened to in hundreds of cars to gauge clarity/lack of distortion, tonal balance, timbre, tonal accuracy, soundstaging, imaging and dynamics. And I test for staging/imaging, linearity and absence of noise using non-musical test tracks. (For details on our testing procedure, check out the Edmunds.com article Sound Advice.)

Besides bringing back memories of my misspent youth, the sound of the system in the Camaro also reminded me of similar Boston Acoustics setups in other modern-day muscle cars, specifically the Dodge Charger. While it can't compete with premium systems in even some lower-priced cars, like the Bose setup in our long-term Mazdaspeed 3, it's hard to complain about the Camaro's system performance relative to its price.

Without a dedicated subwoofer, the Camaro system suffered from not being able to provide solid low end, although the 6x9s in the rear deck and 6.5s in the front doors did a valiant job of pumping out decent if not very detailed bass. For example, on the Outkast track "Ain't No Thing," the system produced impressive low-frequency energy — and also an annoying amount of interior-panel rattles. But on other tracks the low bass and midbass were mostly boomy and distorted.

The system has a center speaker in the dash, although it didn't help much with soundstaging and particularly imaging. The soundstage was narrow and imaging severely side-biased, with vocals and other elements that should be front and center pulled down toward the door speakers. Unsurprisingly, the system failed our non-audio staging and imaging tests.

But sometimes a system like the one in the Camaro can be pleasing even if it doesn't pass technical tests with flying colors. Even given the deficiencies described above, the Boston system was capable of bringing out nuances in the music and had above average tonality, good stereo separation and decent dynamics. One musical test track, Red House Painters' "San Geronimo," is a rock song with a dense, midbass-heavy mix that many systems render as a mass of indistinct sounds rather than individual instruments. But with the Camaro system, the music held together fairly well. And with the jazzy instrumental "The Blues Walk" that kicks off the Lyle Lovett and His Large Band LP, I found I'd stopped listening for testing purposes but instead just for pleasure.

The Sources
Our 2010 Camaro SS comes with a single CD head unit that also offers AM, FM and Sirius radio. It features an aux-in jack and USB port in the center console storage bin, and the USB cable that comes with an iPod can be used to connect the device. The head unit's iPod interface is pretty straightforward and painless. As our Director of Testing Dan Edmunds pointed out, it includes audiobooks and podcasts as separate menu categories and has an "Alpha Accelerator" quick-scroll mode that makes finding music in a large music library much easier. The same menu structure is also used for tunes loaded on a USB drive and plugged into the USB port. I found that the system in the Camaro got mixed up and listed artists on my iPod/iPhone as albums, and albums as artists. But this could have more to do with a recent update of the software on my iPhone to iOS 4 before I tested the car, and which also caused problems in our long-term GMC Terrain. (I've heard reports that an iOS 4.1 upgrade solves the problem.)

What We Say
The Boston Acoustics system in the 2010 Camaro SS may not be the ultimate in auto sound from an audiophile perspective. In fact, it's far from it and I found plenty of nits to pick. But considering it's standard on this trim level — and that at full throttle the guttural growl of the car's 426-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 tends to make it a mute point — the system is a great road trip companion in the Camaro, especially when cranking rock 'n' roll. I'm sure Kenny Guillotte would agree.

The Scores
Sound: B-
Source Selection: B+
iPod Integration: B+
Cost: A+

Doug Newcomb, Senior Editor, Technology

New Sales Tactic

September 22, 2010

Sadly, our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, with 22,000 miles, must be nudged out of the long-term fleet so we can add some new vehicles for testing. As a first step, I looked at the Edmunds True Market Value price for the Chevy, which turned out to be $32,442. This seemed like a very high price considering the sticker price was just over $35,425. Still, a quick search through Autotrader showed that there were plenty of Camaros out there at sky-high prices (although with fewer miles).

I decided to test the market by listing the Camaro on Craigslist and in the free classifieds on eBaymotors for $31,900. Four hours later I got a call from a young-sounding guy named Louis who kept demanding, "What's your lowest price?" I told him the ad just went up so I wasn't going to negotiate over the phone. He replied, "That's cool — but what's your lowest price?"

While I was shooting pictures of the Camaro it occurred to me that I could do a short walk around of the car and post it on Youtube. I showed the video to a colleague and he commented, "That's worth a thousand pictures." Of course, it is a thousand pictures — but I know what he means. The video now has a number of views so I'm hoping that other potential buyers have watched it. I'll keep you posted on the sales process and the final price we get for the Camaro.


Precision Cruise

September 27, 2010

While I was using the Camaro's cruise control I saw a feature I hadn't noticed in other cars. When you set the speed you get this message in the center display screen. It hangs there unobtrusively for a few seconds and then goes back to displaying whatever other information you need.

What I like about this is it lets me dial in the speed just under what I think will be the speeding ticket threshold. If the speed limit is 70 mph, I usually set it for 78 since 80 is probably the threshold. If you go above 80 you might see lights in your rearview mirror. If it's 65 mph, I go for about 72 mph. You have to think of these things when you're driving a car that looks like the Camaro.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 21,923 miles

Opening Soon

September 30, 2010

What's that? You have yet to liquidate your retirement account to buy that brand new Camaro? (If there's anything left after the market loss of the past few years.)

Well hold up.

GM announced today that the 2011 Camaro Convertible will premiere at the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17.

The Convertible will arrive in showrooms in February 2011 with a starting price of $30,000 including $850 freight.

The Convertible will be available with the same powertrains as the Camaro Coupe. The standard model features a 312-hp Direct Injection V6, and the SS model has the 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 426 hp as on our long-term 2010 SS Coupe. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard, with an optional six-speed automatic.

Although convertibles aren't for me (I just got my hair did), it looks very nice, don't you think?

And you? Are you a convertible guy/gal?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer, Edmunds, Inc

Sales Update

October 04, 2010

Every long term car I sell brings it's own type of buyers. After I listed the Camaro for sale I started getting a lot of text messages (the new thing in car buying). I'm listing it for $31,500 and people will write and ask, "Would you take $25K?" This weekend I had someone text and ask what the invoice price was? I had to explain, via text, that it was a used car and didn't have an invoice. His reponse: "Haaa haaaa."

In the past, I've listed cars and haven't heard a peep for weeks. This time, I'm getting a lot of inquiries but nothing solid yet.

So what's all this mean? If I was a shrink I would say that this car attracts a lot of dreamers. The hot design catches their attention and they fantacize about owning one. So the next best thing is to text message people like me who are selling one.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 22,320 miles

Stunning Details

October 06, 2010

I had just washed the Camaro and was wiping it down when a SUV drove by with three young women in it. One yelled out, "Hey! I want my car back!" The other yelled, "That car looks like a shark driving down the road!" The Camaro's design is so extreme it inspires this kind of frenzied response.

I was photographing the Camaro to list it for sale and when I went back over the pictures I was stunned by the beauty of some of the details I captured. But when I look at the big picture — the car as a whole — I have mixed feelings. From some angles it's amazing. From other angles, well, the pieces just don't come together.

And that's just the design. Don't get me started about the rest of the car.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 22,333 miles

New Transformers Show!

October 08, 2010

As a certified nerd who bought his car almost exclusively for the reason that it was in a James Bond film, I certainly can't fault people wanting a Camaro because it was Bumblebee in Transformers. Having said that, for all you Transformers nerds out there, there's a new cartoon developed by the same writer/producers who did the movie (as well as Alias, Hawaii Five-O, and the JJ Abrams Star Trek). Named Transformers Prime, it's going to be on the new Hub network and will debut mid November.

As the photo after the jump shows, Bumblebee isn't exactly a Camaro (visibility seems to be even worse), but he's definitely more Camaro-like than the original, which was a VW Beetle. I'm not a Transformers nerd, so I'll just leave this as some side information and let you talk amongst yourselves now.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

Christmas is Coming

October 12, 2010

Oh, you love the new Camaro but don't want to see yourself drive by on every boulevard? Chevrolet and Neiman Marcus have answered your Christmas wishes. We've already reported that Chevy will build only 100 of these special edition SS Convertibles at a price of $75,000. (Yeah, I know, but have you been to Neiman Marcus?)

If that's too much for you, have a look at our 2010 long-term SS that's for sale.

Anyway, the video gives a nice all-around look at the Convertible and even schools you on color Flop. Who knew?

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ ~22,500 miles

Proud New Owner

October 18, 2010

After about four weeks of fielding emails, texts and calls, I sold the Camaro to a young guy from the San Diego area for $28,000. Bryan Mathy asked all the right questions including whether there were any major repairs. I told him about the transmission and he began reading the long term blog. I thought I'd lose him at this point but apparently he felt he was getting a good deal and there aren't many one-and-a-half-year-old Camaros on the market. He said he had been looking for over a month and only found one other serious candidate.

Mathy said he located our Camaro by searching Autotrader, which is nice to know because I spent $49 on the ad. I also advertised on Craigslist and this brought the typical rash of scam-sounding emails. One thing that I tried this time which seemed to be successful was to do a video walk-around of the car and post the link on Youtube. The video got 589 views including Mathy who said it helped him make his decision.

Sunday morning Mathy drove up from San Diego with his girlfriend, Jennifer Bateman, and we met in a shopping center parking lot. He looked over the Camaro and seemed to feel it had been accurately represented in the ad and photos. He didn't even drive it. We chatted for a few minutes and I learned that he had read all the reviews and was aware of the blind spots and the sarcophagus-like back seat. What turned him on, he said, was the car's styling and that, to some degree was what limited its practicality. He said he had never even owned a Chevy before. In fact, this was on the second car that he owned.

We bought the Camaro for $37,425 ($2,000 over the sticker price of $35,425) so it cost us $9,425 for 18 months of fun. Over that period of time, the car depreciated 25 percent.

It's a funny feeling to see the car you've been living in for the past month drive away with someone else at the wheel. I phoned home and waited for my ride. It felt strange — and oddly convenient — to climb into the backseat of a four-door car.

Philip Reed, Edmunds senior consumer advice editor @ 22,808 miles

The T-Tops We Always Wanted

October 21, 2010

If our long-term 2010 Chevy Camaro SS had these, I would've taken them off, stowed them in my garage and told anyone who wanted a roof to drive something less awesome. The first car I ever drove — not owned, drove — had T-Tops, I can't help it.

Alas, not only did we not opt for this $6,500 T-Top conversion from Drop Top Customs, but our Camaro's sold.

$6,500 is a little steep for me on a new, $34,000 Camaro SS, but the guy we sold it to paid $28k. Add the roof and we're only up to $34,500.

I'd have a used Camaro with this modification over a brand new one with a solid roof any day.

Drop Top Customs Creates T-Top Kit for New Camaro

Mike Magrath, Associate Editor Inside Line

Wrap-Up

September 30, 2010

We limped our 15,000-mile Camaro to Santa Monica Chevrolet early that April morning.

"I don't care how hard you drive; this tranny should be able to take it. That's what the Camaro SS is made for. This just should not happen," proclaimed our Chevrolet service advisor, having witnessed the defeated condition of our new Camaro's transmission. We left our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS with him. Not 30 minutes passed before he called with an update. "GM doesn't want us touching your tranny. They're sending out a replacement under warranty. I will call you in a few days when parts arrive."

Our test of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS was not without hiccups.

Why We Bought It
The Mustang was back. The Challenger was back. When Chevy announced that the Camaro was also back, we had to have one. Just in case the all-new 2010 Chevy Camaro nameplate wasn't motivation enough, Chevy threw in two letters of encouragement: SS.

Chevrolet bolted the 6.2-liter LS3 engine from the Corvette into the Camaro SS. The result was 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque for 35 grand. Pass the tissues. This was enough to bring a tear to a grown man's eye. A Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox would manage the torque and 20-inch Pirelli P Zero summer tires would put it to the ground. The table was set. We needed just to sit down and dig in.

So we bought a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and promised to wring it within an inch of its life for the next 12 months and 20,000 miles. All the while, we'd track our progress on the long-term blog pages.

Durability
We found the Camaro's driving manners polarizing. Some found the burnout capability of its V8, the comfortable driver seat and reasonable highway ride were enough to forgive the size and heft of the SS. Others felt this Camaro missed the mark. Executive Editor Michael Jordan voiced this opinion: "The American GT car is my favorite ride, a perfect mix of power, weight and handling. But the guys who put the new Camaro together seem never to have driven any kind of car at all, much less any Camaro or Firebird. This car is a kind of stunt, a strange kind of genetic experiment gone horribly wrong. The right guys had this project to start with, but it seems to have fallen into the wrong hands somewhere along the line."

Once we focused on the cabin, we could finally agree. Both the steering wheel and the shift knob were so ergonomically challenged that they compromised our driving experience. (Several of us noted that they were made for people with "Lego hands.") Although everyone acclaimed the retro authenticity of the instruments, we found them flawed functionally. These issues and others explained the Camaro's quick decline in popularity among the staff.

And we agreed on at least one redeeming quality, a kickass stereo. Associate Editor Mark Takahashi echoed our sentiment: "This is a good stereo. The nine-speaker Boston Acoustics system is quite impressive. Hefty, clear bass and clean tones in the upper registers had me looking forward to 'Goin' Back to Cali.'" The Camaro's iPod interface was another positive and thankfully left us with more options than Cool James.

Our trip down Camaro Lane wasn't without speed bumps. The warranty covered items like tightening the loose rear spoiler, addressing an intermittent airbag warning light and soldering the loose wires that rendered its center gauge cluster inoperable.

But there was one more item. Vehicle Testing Manager Mike Schmidt recounted, "With the radio up, it's possible I wouldn't have heard the chatter coming from the driveline. It may have even masked the characteristic racket of an aged throw-out bearing. But even with the speakers at full capacity I couldn't miss the massive clunk into 2nd gear. No matter how slow or deliberate the shift. CLUNK. Something was wrong." That's when we first feared the transmission in our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro was toast. After 22 days on the operating table and a new 2nd gear, the Chevy was back on the road. We experienced no further transmission problems following the rebuild. It was as strong as ever.

Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $73.70
Additional Maintenance Costs: $49 to install the front license plate and bracket
Warranty Repairs: Transmission rebuild, remedy intermittent airbag warning light, tighten loose rear spoiler, remedy inoperable center gauge cluster lights
Non-Warranty Repairs: None
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 1, for a transmission rebuild
Days Out of Service: 22, all for transmission repair
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None

Performance and Fuel Economy
When we first track tested the Camaro at 1,000 miles it left a positive impression. When we retested at 20,000 miles its mold was permanently cast in our minds. Performance had improved across the board by the conclusion of our test.

Skeptics within our ranks vocalized their doubts that the transmission rebuild would survive another round of instrumented testing. But they soon recanted such Camaro blasphemy. Its 20,000-mile test showed the 6.2-liter LS3 was faster than ever. Acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill was almost a half-second quicker, at 4.7 seconds (with 1 foot of rollout). Trap speed was up and quarter-mile time down, to the tune of 13.1 seconds at 110.8 mph. Even the stopping distance from 60 mph shortened to 109 feet. Slalom speed matched its 66 mph baseline, while lateral-g production around the skid pad grew ever so slightly, to 0.86g.

In addition to stout performance on the track, the LS3 delivered decent fuel economy. Our best single tank was over 23 mpg, though our average dipped to 16 mpg over the lifetime of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. What did you expect? With 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque at our disposal we didn't spend much time in the EPA-friendly ranges of the tach. Our worst tank dipped into the single-digit range, securing the Camaro's muscle car respectability. Don't forget. All of these figures came on the cheap sauce, 87-octane.

Best Fuel Economy: 23.1 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 9.4 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 16.5 mpg

Retained Value
We expected a slam dunk when it came time to sell the Camaro. Our closest point of reference was our long-term Challenger which sold at an incredible 79 percent of its original value. MSRP on the Camaro was $35,425 when we bought it a year ago. And according to Edmunds TMV® Calculator it was still worth $32,442, or 92 percent of MSRP when the time came to sell. But we didn't buy at MSRP. After paying homage to the dealer, government and capitalism, we had spent $42,192 for our SS. We also didn't sell for TMV.

When the dust settled our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS sold for $28,000. This price reflected depreciation of 34 percent over 18 months of ownership. Our SS retained just 66 percent of its original purchase value. Advantage goes to the Mopar in this category.

True Market Value at service end: $32,442
What it sold for: $28,000
Depreciation: $14,192 or 34% of original paid price
Final Odometer Reading: 22,746

Summing Up
From full test to comparison test to burnout contest, the Camaro reigned supreme. Even on the dyno it ranked as a top performer in its class.

But performance figures don't offer the complete story. In an effort to maximize retro styling this Camaro lost some of the fun-to-drive character of generations past. The design also challenged the balance between form and function. It was an aesthetic success but as such suffered certain ergonomic lapses in the cabin. Still, we learned a lot from 18 months of Camaro ownership.

If you want to be the first kid on your block with the new Camaro SS, it won't be cheap. We were the first. We paid a premium for the designation knowing full well that it promised substantial depreciation by test-end. When you're the first with a new Camaro you're also first to experience the recalls and repairs. We did those, too. And though it took some time to replace, once the tranny was back together the Camaro went right back to punishing pavement.

There is something to be said for the resilience of this Camaro. It was not without its problems. But once repaired the Camaro was back to its original form. We hope the next owner experiences the same level of durability, and fun, as we did.

Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

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