Vehicle Overview The Camaro has been around for a long time. By Chevy's math, it's been 50 years. And any car with a history that long is bound to have some successes and some failures. From the muscle-car legends of the 1960s to Chevrolet declaring the Camaro nameplate dead in the early 2000s and then its resurrection and iconic movie stardom just a few years later, this Camaro has been through a lot. Over that time, though, what was once an effective -- but arguably crude -- instrument of American muscle has transformed into a more mature, sophisticated and comfortable sport coupe and convertible.
Chevrolet fully redesigned the Camaro just last year, and during that process, the Camaro got faster, more fuel-efficient and better equipped. All these changes certainly help place the Camaro at the front of the pack when it comes to American muscle cars, and even puts it right in step with supposedly more refined European sports-car competitors.
What makes this Camaro so good? For starters, the available powertrains offer a wide range of power and fuel economy. The standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway, but it still puts down 275 hp, certainly enough to take it out of fuel-sipper territory. The available V6 is much more than a stopgap on the way to the V8. It, too, offers impressive power and all kinds of fun exhaust sounds. But as with any muscle car, most purists will stick to the V8, and with the Camaro that won't be a mistake. The boffo 6.2-liter engine that powers the Camaro SS is the same one that propels the Corvette. And in the Camaro, that means a 0-60-mph time of just 4.2 seconds, beating both the Mustang and the Challenger, its chief rivals.
On top of its well-sorted power plants, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro is significantly lighter than the previous-generation car, with very capable standard and optional suspensions and lots of available tech. Previously available only on the high-performance ZL1, you can now get the magnetic suspension dampers on the SS, which makes it a truly confident car in corners and an even more comfortable car on the highway. And for the tech-savvy, features like blind-spot monitoring and Chevy's MyLink system help the interior feel a bit more grown up while bringing it firmly into modernity. The system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which alleviates some of the stress previously associated with finicky performance.
Despite all the Camaro's improvements, there are still rivals that keep pace with it. The usual suspects are the Dodge Challengerand the 2017 Ford Mustang. Both are a bit slower than the Camaro in a straight line, but both have more cargo space and several livable amenities. The Mustang has a larger (yet still tiny) rear seat and the Challenger is by far the best highway cruiser of the bunch. If you're going for a track-dedicated machine, definitely consider the hyped-up 2017 Ford Shelby GT350 as well, but know that Chevy has announced a 640-hp Camaro ZL1 that's bound to make your eyes water. There are a few luxury rivals to consider as well, like the Audi TT and the BMW 2 Series, but neither possesses the Camaro's bravado and heritage.
Whatever brand you go with, choosing a muscle car no longer means that you have to give up comfort and state-of-the-art technology. And thankfully, with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, you don't have to give up thrilling performance or personality either.
Performance and MPG A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 275 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque is standard on 1LT and 2LT Camaros. A 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 335 hp and 284 lb-ft is optional on these trims. The 1SS and 2SS models come with a 6.2-liter V8 that produces 455 hp and 455 lb-ft. All Camaros come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and an eight-speed automatic with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is optional. On the SS manual, automatic rev-matching on downshifts is included.
EPA estimated fuel economy for 2017 was not available as of this writing, so the following figures are all from the 2016 Camaro. The turbocharged four-cylinder with the automatic is rated at 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway), and 24 mpg combined (21 city/30 highway) with the manual. The V6 paired with the automatic transmission is rated at 23 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway), while the V6 with the manual is rated at 21 mpg combined (18 city/27 highway). Automatic-equipped V8s are estimated to achieve 20 mpg combined (17/28), while the manual transmission V8 comes in at 19 mpg combined (16/25).
In our testing, a Camaro with the V6 and an automatic transmission accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, which is quicker than the V6-equipped Mustang and Challenger. We've also tested an automatic-equipped V8 Camaro SS. Here, it rocketed to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. A Mustang GT automatic with the optional Performance pack did it in 4.7 seconds and a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T manual did it in 5.8.
Safety Standard safety features on the 2017 Chevy Camaro include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat knee and 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.
A rearview camera is standard on all Camaros. The Convenience and Lighting package (optional on 2LT, standard on 2SS) adds several safety features, including a blind spot monitor, lane departure warning and rear cross-traffic alert. 1SS and 2SS models as well as Camaros equipped with the 50th Anniversary package get larger, Brembo disc brakes.
During Edmunds brake testing, a V6 Camaro with all-season tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet, which is a good performance for the segment. The V8 SS however, stopped from 60 mph in a staggeringly short 102 feet. The SS, naturally, was equipped with summer performance tires, so those with all-seasons may require some extra distance.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the Camaro for crashworthiness and gave it the top rating of "Good" in the small-overlap frontal offset, moderate-overlap frontal offset and side impact tests. The Camaro's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts, and it received the second highest score of "Acceptable" in the IIHS' roof strength test.
Additional Information Fresh off a redesign for the 2016 model year, the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro is a significantly lighter, more sophisticated Camaro than the prior generation car it replaced.
The Camaro is offered with four very different engines.The base LT model comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and there's an available 3.6-liter V6. The SS Camaro shares the potent 6.2-liter, 455-horsepower V8 with the base Corvette, and the ultra-high-performance ZL1 has an even more muscular supercharged version of the 6.2 with a monstrous 650 hp. The LT offers a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. The SS has a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic, while the ZL1 comes with a six-speed manual or a busy 10-speed automatic.
As you'd imagine, highest-to-lowest fuel economy ratings vary considerably, from a best of 25 mpg combined (22 mpg city/31 mpg highway) from the four-cylinder engine with the automatic transmission, to a low of 16 mpg combined (14 mpg city/20 mpg highway) for the ZL1 with the manual transmission. But with a claimed zero-to-60 mph time of an incredible 3.5 seconds, ZL1 customers likely aren't picky about fuel mileage.
Handling on all Camaro models is competent and the steering feel is light and precise. The SS model is now available with magnetic ride suspension, a worthy option.
Inside, the front seats are comfortable, but the same can't be said for the rear. The Camaro has a high waistline, resulting in relatively small side and rear windows, and subpar outward visibility. Chevrolet's improved MyLink infotainment system is worthwhile, as the system is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. More electronic safety features, such as blind-spot monitoring, are offered. Trunk space, at barely nine cubic feet, is just adequate. On convertible Camaros, the top stows under a hard tonneau, and can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 30 mph.
The Camaro is stylish and performance-oriented, but it isn't the most practical car available, especially if you plan to make regular use of the Munchkin-sized rear seat. As far as sophistication goes, though, the Camaro is more sophisticated than most of its rivals, even at the base level.
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Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.