Used 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Review
After fourth-generation Camaro production stopped back in 2002, many feared this automotive icon was dead for good. Thankfully, Chevy brought it back after a nearly decade-long hiatus. Even better, Chevrolet has been making steady improvements since. For the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, you'll instantly spot the car's sleeker front grille, new headlights and taillights, and minor changes all around. But the return of the Z/28 moniker adds a whole new level to Camaro performance this year.
With the existing 426-horsepower SS and 580-hp ZL1 models, the Chevy Camaro lineup certainly wasn't short on tire-frying power. New for 2014, the racetrack-themed Z/28 buffs out the Camaro's handling capabilities. To start, Chevy implemented a variety of weight-saving measures, including no standard air-conditioning and reduced sound-deadening material. The Z/28's performance is further fortified by a trick race-oriented suspension, standard carbon-ceramic brakes and special aerodynamic body pieces. Under the hood you'll find the 7.0-liter V8 formerly used in the (now-discontinued) Corvette Z06 that cranks out approximately 500 hp.
Essentially, the Z/28 is a stripped-out, beefed-up, maximum-grade version of the Camaro that's happiest on a racetrack. But should all this seem like too much (whether in terms of specs or price), know that any Camaro is still going to be loads of fun. If the three available V8 engines are too much grunt for your needs, a 323-hp V6 is still available, and it gets respectable mileage, too. Meanwhile, with its sleek lines, big wheels, bulging hood and swollen wheel arches, the Camaro continues to be a real looker.
Alas, there are some downsides endemic to the Camaro. Seeing out of the thing, for instance, is one of the car's more distracting elements. The tiny windows look great from the outside, but they result in poor outward visibility. And if you're planning on taking friends anywhere, you'd better hope those friends are very small children, as the backseat is a real squeeze for adults.
Then again, limited practicality is pretty much a given with a muscle car. The Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang are two names that have gone head-to-head with the Camaro for years and they both offer different strengths. The Mustang provides similar performance for less money and is still our favorite pick for base V6 and V8 models, but the ZL1 is better than the GT500, and there's no Mustang equivalent to the new Z/28 this year. The Challenger, meanwhile, is the roomiest and most comfortable in this group, but it does feel significantly larger and less nimble to drive. As an alternative to all of the above, Hyundai's Genesis Coupe might be worth a look.
Whichever performance car you settle on, know that the Camaro will turn heads on a regular basis and will seldom fail to put a smile on your face.
performance & mpg
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro LS and LT are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 323 hp and 278 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/28 mpg highway) with the manual transmission. The automatic transmission equipped on the 1LS, 1LT and 2LT returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg combined (19 mpg city/30 mpg highway), while the automatic transmission on the 2LS has a longer final-drive ratio and gets 21 mpg combined (18 mpg city/27 mpg highway).
The Camaro SS has a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque with the standard six-speed manual and 400 hp and 410 lb-ft with the six-speed automatic. With the manual, the SS hits 60 mph in 4.8 seconds; EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/24 mpg highway). The automatic is only slightly less fuel-efficient at 18 mpg combined (15 mpg city/24 mpg highway).
The Camaro ZL1 boasts a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 580 hp and 556 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional. In Edmunds track testing, the ZL1 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in a very quick 4.4 seconds. Fuel mileage estimates are 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/19 mpg highway) with the manual transmission and 14 mpg combined (12 mpg city/18 mpg highway) with the automatic.
The Camaro Z/28 gets a 7.0-liter V8 with an estimated 500 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. A six speed manual is the only transmission available. EPA-estimate fuel economy is 15 mpg combined (13 mpg city/19 mpg highway).
Every 2014 Chevy Camaro comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Also standard is the OnStar telematics system, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
In government crash tests, the Camaro earned a top five-star rating overall, with five stars for front crash protection and five stars for side-impact protection. In Edmunds brake testing, a Chevy Camaro SS with the 1LE came to a stop from 60 mph in 108 feet, while a ZL1 Convertible did it in 107 feet. Both are excellent distances, but keep in mind that both of these test cars had summer performance tires. Camaros with all-season tires likely won't stop as short.
No matter which engine you choose, no one will ever accuse your 2014 Chevrolet Camaro of being slow. Buying a V6 Camaro isn't the stigma it used to be. The V6 is responsive and revs freely, and the exhaust note is pleasingly sporty. Still, the V8 better fits the Camaro's tough guy persona with its tire-shredding power and thundering sound. All of that goes double for the supercharged ZL1.
Driven around turns, the Camaro grips hard and steers with precision. It's not the easiest car to see out of, and there's a lot of weight to manage, but by and large the Camaro is pretty talented on twisty roads. The world-class ZL1, however, is in another league entirely. Not only does it deliver acceleration on par with exotic supercars costing many thousands more, but its adaptive suspension and upgraded Brembo brakes make it equally well-mannered on the racetrack and your daily commute.
We haven't driven the 2014 Chevy Camaro Z/28 yet, but expectations are high for its dominance on the track.
Old-school pony cars weren't known for their jazzy interiors, but the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro makes a clean break with that tradition. Done up with a number of retro touches like square bezels around the gauges, the overall effect is stylish despite the use of a little too much hard plastic. Outward visibility, though, is hampered by thick roof pillars and a low roof line, and you'll want to make sure you can live with this aspect of Chevy Camaro ownership during your test-drive.
The Camaro's touchscreen display interface features a clean layout and intuitive menu structure, and it allows control of smartphone radio apps, such as Pandora and Stitcher. Unfortunately, the interface can prove frustrating to use at times, as reactions to touch inputs are occasionally slow or missed entirely.
While the front seats are comfortable enough, the Camaro's rear seat is the smallest among its rivals. The trunk is equally tiny at just 11.3 cubic feet, and the smallish trunk opening also makes loading and unloading of larger items a frustrating experience.
The Camaro Convertible has 10.2 cubic feet of trunk capacity with the top up and dips below 8 cubes with the top down. Although the convertible top is power-operated, you have to release a manual latch in the cockpit to open it, and the protective vinyl cover for the top must be secured from outside the car.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.