While the state of the high-performance Z/28 Camaro is still up in the air, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is hitting the streets. The new Camaro is currently available in a number of trim levels: the LS is the base model with a V6 engine; the LT is essentially an LS with a few extra options; and the SS, which has a massive 6.2-liter V8 engine borrowed from the Corvette. The SS model, being the most powerful, is the one that will be focused on here.
First of all, engine stats. The V8 pumps out 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, and can bring the car from 0-to60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Considering that a moderately equipped SS model will cost you about $32,000, that is a lot of power for the money. And that power isn’t out of control. Chevrolet spent a lot of time balancing the suspension and steering to make sure that the Camaro SS provides a thrilling drive that is under control the entire time.
Unfortunately, the Chevy designers didn’t spend the same amount of time working on the interior. The slick body design of the Camaro looks great from the outside, but causes some issues on the inside. If you’re over 5’8″ or so, your head will probably hit the roof in the back seat, but the curving roof does give you a nice muscle car envelopment in the front (as long as you aren’t 6’4″ or taller). The trunk space is also severely cramped, so if you’re planning on taking this Camaro on a long trip, then pack light.
Space issues aside, the Camaro’s interior is unrefined. The Ford Mustang, the only Detroit pony car that has been in production continuously since the 1960s, has set the standardfor what is expected for a modern pony car interior. The seats should be comfortable, there should be modern gadgets found in most of today’s cars, and the instrument panel should evoke the classic style while providing pertinent information. The Camaro falters on most of these fronts. The seats are basic at best. If you’re expecting lateral or lumbar support, then look elsewhere. As far as modern gadgets go, there is an auxiliary input to the stereo for your iPod, but don’t look for a LCD screen navigation or interface system. The Camaro does have GM’s OnStar for an option, and if you are a fan of that service you will be happy. If you prefer a visual nav system, you’re out of luck.
The gauges setup in the 2010 Camaro SS is a bit baffling. The oil pressure, oil temperature, battery voltage, and transmission temperature gauges are mounted in the center console, right in front of the shifter. Why? Who knows. Just hope none of these gauges ever hits the red, because in order to see them you’ll need to bend down unless you have great eyesight. The speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge and engine temperature gauge are thankfully in their traditional positions. The center console gauges seem more like a gimmick and could have easily been removed in place of an electronic LCD display under the regular gauges.
Nitpicks aside, this is a very fun car. The engine is powerful and responsive. You don’t hit the redline until 6600 RPM, and considering that the power band is in the mid-4000s to 5000s, that means you can get a lot of power, and some great V8 rumbles, when you’re starting off the line or pulling through a corner. Is the Camaro SS perfect? No, but considering that the model has been out of production since 1992, this is an incredibly impressive return for the venerable pony car.