2018 Chevrolet Camaro

2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Review

Fifty years on, the Chevrolet Camaro is better than it has ever been.
7.9 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

There's a lot to appreciate about the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro. Sure, the Camaro ZL1 gets all the (deserved) views on YouTube for its gonzo 650-hp V8, but it's not the only Camaro you can buy. If you're just interested in stylish motoring, you can go with the base turbocharged four-cylinder engine or the capable V6. Then there's the available 6.2-liter V8, which has more than enough performance for most driving enthusiasts.

We also like the 2018 Camaro's precise handling, smooth ride on the highway and plenty of standard equipment for the money. If you haven't been around a Camaro in a long time, you'll likely be shocked how refined the latest version is. The Camaro still has its drawbacks, and key rivals are happy to pick up where it leaves off. The Ford Mustang, for example, is a bit more livable and practical when driven on a daily basis. And the Dodge Challenger has them both beat when it comes to retro muscle-car looks and usable backseat space. Overall, we're impressed by the Camaro's combination of power, precision and head-turning looks.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the 1LE Extreme Track Performance package is a newly available option for the top Camaro trim level, the supercharged ZL1. Otherwise, the 2018 Camaro is pretty much unchanged, though the base 1LS trim level is a recent addition, arriving late in the 2017 model year.

We recommend

There's no loser in the bunch, but for us the sweet spot in the Camaro range is the 1SS, which gets you the Camaro's 6.2-liter V8 for that authentic muscle-car experience. The 1SS is nicely equipped with in-car tech, too. On top of that, consider the 1LE Track Performance package, which brings the excellent FE4 suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential and Recaro sport front seats.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro is available as a four-seat coupe and convertible, with 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1SS, 2SS and ZL1 trim levels. The LS and LT models come standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder, and a V6 is also available. The SS has a V8 and the ZL1 has a supercharged V8. The 1s and 2s represent levels of equipment, but there are several optional packages and stand-alone items to help you customize your ideal Camaro.

The LS and LT models come standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (275 hp 295 lb-ft), but they can be equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 (335 hp, 284 lb-ft). The 1LS and 2LT come standard with the six-speed manual transmission while the 1LT has an eight-speed automatic. Like all Camaros, the LS and LT models are rear-wheel-drive.

Standard equipment on the base 1LS includes 18-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, a limited-slip differential (with the manual transmission), a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and adjustable driving modes. Technology equipment includes Bluetooth, OnStar emergency communications, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen (Chevy's MyLink interface), Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio.

Additional gear on the 1LT includes remote start, the aforementioned automatic transmission and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The available Technology package adds a nine-speaker Bose audio system and an 8-inch MyLink touchscreen to the 1LS and 1LT.

The 2LT includes the Technology package's contents and adds dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. If you add the Convenience and Lighting package to the 2LT, you'll get heated and auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, driver memory functions, a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, wireless smartphone charging, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The RS package (available on 1LS, 1LT and 2LT) includes 20-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED taillights, a special grille and a rear decklid spoiler. For the 1LS and 2LT, the 1LE Track Performance package (coupe only) adds the V6, the FE3 sport-tuned suspension from the SS, 20-inch forged alloy wheels, four-piston Brembo brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential, a short-throw shifter, a track-cooling package, a dual-mode exhaust, special aerodynamic spoilers and a satin black hood. Recaro sport front seats can also be added to the 1LE package.

The 1SS basically gets the 1LT's equipment plus a 6.2-liter V8 (455 hp, 455 lb-ft), a six-speed manual transmission with rev-match downshift (an eight-speed automatic is optional), 20-inch wheels, the four-piston Brembo brakes, the FE3 sport-tuned suspension, a mechanical limited-slip differential, a Track driving mode, a rear spoiler, xenon headlights and upgraded gauges. The 2SS includes the 6.2-liter V8 and all the features from the 2LT trim, along with unique interior accents and the Convenience and Lighting package.

For the 1SS and 2SS, the SS 1LE Track Performance package adds six-piston Brembo brakes, the FE4 suspension with adaptive dampers, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, different forged alloy wheels, upgraded performance tires, the Recaro sport seats and everything else included with the LT's 1LE package.

Finally, the Camaro ZL1 has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (650 hp, 650 lb-ft), a six-speed manual transmission (a 10-speed automatic is optional) and launch control. All of the 2SS and SS 1LE extras, minus the cosmetic differences, are also included. The ZL1 1LE Extreme Track Performance package adds 19-inch forged aluminum wheels with wider tires, special race-oriented suspension dampers, a carbon-fiber hood and rear spoiler, and tinted taillights. With the ZL1 1LE package, a fixed rear seat is also available.

Other available extras include a sunroof, a performance exhaust (all V6- and V8-powered models), a navigation system (2LT, 2SS and ZL1 trims), and a Heavy Duty Cooling and Brake package (1LS, 1LT and 2LT).



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Tests of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD) and 2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS (6.2L V8 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Camaro has received only minor revisions. Our findings are applicable to the 2018 model.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.9 / 10

Driving

9.0 / 10

Acceleration9.0 / 10
Braking8.5 / 10
Steering8.5 / 10
Handling9.0 / 10
Drivability8.0 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort8.5 / 10
Noise & vibration6.5 / 10

Interior

5.5 / 10

Ease of use5.5 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.0 / 10
Roominess6.0 / 10
Visibility5.0 / 10
Quality7.5 / 10

Driving9.0

A strong performer that blends speed with precision and enjoyment in a way previous Camaros never did. The SS V8 is stout, but even the LT's V6 is punchy. Handling feels more precise in the V6, but the V8 with its stickier tires exhibits higher limits. Impressive eight-speed automatic transmission.

Acceleration9.0

Both engines pull strong from low revs and feel stout throughout the rev range. With zero-to-60-mph times of 5.1 and 3.9 seconds (335-hp V6 and 455-hp V8, respectively), each one is quicker than the corresponding Mustang it competes with.

Braking8.5

Strong and consistent brakes have a firm pedal and smooth initial response, and they are easy to modulate. The 2LT V6 stopped from 60 mph in 111 feet on its all-season tires, and the SS V8 stopped in 102 feet on its stickier summer tires.

Steering8.5

Very sharp, precise steering with good buildup of effort. It doesn't give a whole lot of feedback or sense of road grip, but the V6 has less weight over the nose, so it generally feels more accurate and agile. The small-diameter steering wheel feels great in your hands.

Handling9.0

A standout in its class. More precise than you'd expect a big, heavy coupe to be. The V6 model turns in brightly and feels light on its feet. The heavier V8 seems more inert yet also feels very capable and planted with high limits.

Drivability8.0

Eight-speed automatic works smartly during commuting and shifts quickly at full speed, but it isn't as adept between those two extremes. It's sluggish in manual mode. Both the V6 and V8 switch imperceptibly to four cylinders to save fuel. Manual transmission in SS includes automatic rev-matching.

Comfort7.5

The Camaro's ride quality is pretty comfy considering the Camaro's mission, and it gets better with the optional adaptive dampers. Most drivers will find comfort in the front seats, but some may find the the lower cushion odd. Don't bother with the back seat.

Seat comfort7.5

The well-shaped front seatback offers good lateral support without being confining, but the bottom cushion feels tight to some. The effectively padded door and center armrests are a nice touch. But the back seat is so cramped that comfort seems impossible.

Ride comfort8.5

The base suspension delivers a supple ride with good damping. The optional adaptive suspension is even more capable over a wider range of surfaces, particularly when dealing with larger impacts. Astonishing given its commensurate handling benefits.

Noise & vibration6.5

Both engines are quiet cruisers, but the V6's sound is generally unpleasant in other circumstances. The fatter SS tires make more road noise, but either version is acceptably quiet. The optional active exhaust is intentionally vocal at full throttle.

Interior5.5

It's improved over the outgoing car in layout and materials quality. But it still suffers from poor outward visibility and trades function and space for style. There are also some ergonomic foibles.

Ease of use5.5

Most primary controls are within easy reach. But the buttons in a row across the dash are hard to differentiate. The unusual infotainment screen angle is odd to use and picks up shiny center console reflections. The window controls are awkward.

Getting in/getting out6.0

The front-seat access is straightforward, and 6-footers need not duck much. The small, flat-bottom steering wheel gives you a bit more clearance, too. But the back seat is difficult to enter and exit, and the power front seats move slowly.

Driving position

The driver seat can be adjusted pretty low, which can be good for tall-person comfort, but it does make it even harder to see out of the car. The steering wheel telescopes sufficiently, and the shifter is well placed for shifting in hard-driving scenarios.

Roominess6.0

The interior's forward half is spacious enough, but it feels confining relative to rivals. It gets worse if the Camaro has the optional sunroof. The back seat offers little space even for those of average height, but especially if the driver is tall. It's a kids-only back seat.

Visibility5.0

The rear view is poor, but that's actually typical and rectified by blind-spot monitoring and the rearview camera. It's the view forward and to the side that's the problem. It's very hard to place the Camaro on tight roads (watch that rock wall!) or in tight spots (watch that shopping cart!).

Quality7.5

A big improvement in materials quality is readily apparent, but some buttons and toggles feel cheap, including the shift paddles. The shifter and steering wheel are nicely leather-wrapped, but stitches on the the steering wheel are coarse.

Utility5.0

The Camaro has a compromised trunk and minimal interior storage, and that limits its desirability as a daily driver. The Ford Mustang and especially Dodge Challenger are much easier to live with and use by comparison.

Small-item storage

Interior storage is minimal. The door pockets and under-armrest bin are tiny. At least the cupholders are of a fair size and mostly out of the way during shifting. And although the back seat may be useless for people, it does allow for extra interior storage.

Cargo space

At 9.1 cubic feet, the Camaro's trunk has not only the smallest volume in the segment, but it also has a tiny opening and high liftover height, too. If you ever wondered why tourists who rent Camaro convertibles put their suitcases in the back seat, this is why.

Technology

The Camaro comes standard with a considerable amount of infotainment tech and can be outfitted with a variety of optional accident avoidance and visibility-aiding devices. Easy-to-use touchscreen interfaces as well. All told, best in segment.

Audio & navigation

The Chevy MyLink touchscreen system is much quicker than earlier iterations, and we appreciate its large virtual buttons and general system layout. We think most users will find it easy to use. There are 7- and 8-inch MyLink screens available, but both are oddly tilted downward.

Smartphone integration

Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and two USB ports are standard on every Camaro. They all work as expected.

Driver aids

A rearview camera is standard, which is good given the Camaro's limited visibility. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane departure warning are part of the Convenience and Lighting package and come standard on the 2SS and ZL1. Forward collision warning/mitigation is not available.

Voice control

Standard voice controls are a bit stilted and require the use of specific phrases, but if you are using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, you can push and hold the same button to get to Siri or Google Voice, both of which are much better at responding to natural-language requests.

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.