Tech, Autos, & Gear in Layman's Terms Since 2006

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April 28, 2009 • Autos, Reviews

First drive: 2010 Chevy Camaro SS

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The wait is over.
The trilogy, complete.
Chevy Camaro is back – and back in a big way.
After a seven-year hiatus, the new Chevrolet Camaro has (finally) returned to dealer showrooms, and thanks to the good folks over at Freedom Chevrolet in Southwest Dallas, I was able to spend some quality time with the new musclecar sporting the regal bowtie.

Combining great looks, performance and advanced technology, the 2010 Camaro honors its heritage while delivering on customer expectations of a sports coupe for the 21st century.

“The new Camaro delivers a modern, advanced package of performance, comfort and technology,” Chevrolet general manager and General Motors vice president Ed Peper said. “It’s a personal car for a generation of enthusiasts, both young and old, that honors the Camaro’s heritage with a thoroughly contemporary design.”

Built on the new global rear-wheel-drive passenger car platform, Camaro embodies GM’s global vehicle development and design process. The original design concept was conceived in the United States, with engineering shared by both Australia and U.S. teams with final assembly performed in Ontario, Canada.

Design features
With a design that is very close to the original concept, the 2010 Camaro acknowledges its heritage from the first-generation Camaro, produced from 1967 through 1969. The two-door sports coupe features classic proportions over a 112.3-inch wheelbase. The overall length of the Camaro is 190.4 inches; width and height are 75.5 inches and 54.2 inches, respectively.

The long hood and short deck are pushed to the far corners of the muscular fender forms and a fast, 67-degree rake windshield contributes to aerodynamic performance that includes a 0.37 coefficient of drag (Cd) on V-6 models and a slightly sleeker 0.35 Cd on the V-8-powered SS model.

Wheel arch openings received special attention through the design process. Whether the Camaro is equipped with the standard 18-inch, or optional 19-inch or 20-inch wheels, the relationship of the top of the tire and bottom of the fender is consistent on all models. All models also feature the classic “V” design motif in the nose, along with a 2.5-inch power dome in the aluminum hood, reminiscent of high-performance Camaro models. On SS models, a simulated air intake is located in the upper front fascia and the lower air intake is larger.

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On the top, designers took a cue from Corvette and sculpted twin cockpits across the roof, giving the vehicle a distinctive Chevrolet presence. From the outside, the B-pillar is invisible to the eye, lending the true appearance of a hardtop coupe. The B-pillar is designed to provide increased structural rigidity to the car. And to ensure quality in the manufacturing process, a one-piece body stamping provides a cleaner overall side appearance that is free of seams, gaps or plastic appliqués. “Gills” located in the front of the rear quarter panel also are familiar Camaro styling cues.

Ten exterior colors are available and include Black, Victory Red, Rally Yellow and Silver Ice Metallic. Red Jewel Tintcoat is also available as an option. The color palette also includes Cyber Gray Metallic, Aqua Blue Metallic, Inferno Orange Metallic, White and Imperial Blue Metallic.

An RS appearance package is available on LT and SS. It includes HID headlamps with integrated halo rings, a rear spoiler on LT, specific taillamps and 20-inch wheels with a Midnight Silver finish.

Our tester Camaro was trimmed out in the vibrant Inferno Orange for a special edition 2SS package for Metroplex Chevy dealers, of which only 50 were produced.

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Powertrains
When it comes to performance, the 2010 Camaro delivers in unexpected ways. An advanced 3.6L direct-injected V-6 with variable valve timing is standard on LS and LT models. It offers power and efficiency, with 304 horsepower and EPA-rated 29 mpg in highway driving.

Two 6.2L V-8 engines are offered in the Camaro SS, including the new L99 on automatic-equipped vehicles and the LS3 on manual-equipped models. Both engines are derived from the LS3 that debuted on the 2008 Corvette.

Indeed, the surprising fuel economy of the new Camaro enhances the driving experience. LS and LT (V-6) models are EPA-rated at 18 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway with an automatic transmission; and 17 city and 29 highway with the manual transmission. Camaro SS (V-8) with an automatic is rated at 16 city and 25 highway; and 16 city/24 highway with the manual transmission. Notably, none of Camaro’s models are subject to federal gas guzzler taxes.

For comparison, the more expensive 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 offers comparable horsepower to the Camaro SS with the manual transmission – 425 vs. 426 – and is EPA-rated at 14 city and 22 highway. When automatic-equipped models are compared, the Camaro wins again, with the Challenger SRT8 rated at 13 city and 19 highway.

Transmission choices all come in “sixes.” The V-6 engine is backed by choice of automatic or manual six-speed gearbox while the L99 V-8 is backed only by an automatic and the LS3 rolls out only with a manual.

All of Camaro’s engines channel their power to a responsive chassis that features independent front and rear suspensions, large, four-wheel-disc brake systems with standard ABS and GM’s StabiliTrak electronic stability control system.

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Interior details
Inside the four-passenger cabin, a well-executed balance of heritage, modern design and attention to detail conveys simplicity and refinement with contemporary details in the cluster, switches, dials and lighting. An available ambient light package, for example, offers advanced LED light pipe technology, giving the cabin a distinctive glow.

Deep, recessed gauges, located in square housings outlined in chrome, give a nod to the classic Camaro interior. The instrument panel gauges include both speedometer and engine rpm, with a driver information center located between the large gauges – its readouts and features controlled via a stalk on the steering column. An optional, console-mounted gauge package includes oil pressure, oil temperature, volts and transmission fluid temperature. The gauge package is included on 2LT and 2SS models.

Cloth upholstery is standard and leather-appointed seats are included on 2LT and 2SS models. Four-way manual adjustment including fore/aft and up/down on the driver seat and two-way adjustment on the passenger seat is standard. Heated, leather-trimmed seats with driver six-way power adjustment are optional.

Both LT and SS standard cloth and available leather interior colors are black, gray and beige. The front seat travel is a generous 8.5 inches from front to back. On SS models, the seats feature a distinctive SS logo on the headrest with contrasting stitching. An Inferno Orange interior trim package also will be available with leather interiors.

All models include a three-spoke steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope adjustment. Cruise control and rear defog also are standard, while a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; redundant steering wheel controls; Bluetooth and USB port are part of the available Driver Convenience and Connectivity package. Also included in the package is remote start on automatic transmission-equipped vehicles, as well as a personal device interface module for iPods.

Soon after production begins, customers will be able to order a short-throw Hurst shifter that provides quick, concise shifting.

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Camaro’s entertainment systems include a single-CD radio with six speakers that is standard on LS, LT and SS models. A premium, 245-watt Boston Acoustics nine-speaker audio system can be ordered on 1LT and SS models. XM Satellite Radio is standard on all models.

All models also include power door locks and express up and down driver and passenger window. Cargo capacity can be increased with the standard fold-down rear seat. The capacity of the trunk is 11.3 cubic feet.

Safety
The Camaro offers a comprehensive system of safety features – starting with a robust body structure and integral safety cage around the passenger compartment. High-strength steel and ultra high-strength steels are used in key areas throughout the structure. Safety technologies also include:
• Driver and front passenger dual-stage air bags;
• Driver and front passenger seat-mounted thorax side-impact air bags;
• Head curtain side-impact air bags for front- and rear-seat occupants;
• Front-seat safety belt load limiters and pretensioners, and;
• A front passenger detection system that senses children and small-stature adults, and suppresses air bag deployment when appropriate.

Pricing for the new Camaros begins at $22,245 for a base LS coupe with the V-6 while a V-8 model will set you back somewhere in the low- to mid-30s.

These cars are in high demand and may be difficult to get for some time (and rightly so). The new Camaro is a champ, an instant hit combining modern design that pays homage to its heritage. The car is surprisingly roomy despite the low rooflines.

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Against its competition, I would borrow my analogy from the story about the three bears – one was too this and the other too that, but this one … just right.

5 Responses to " First drive: 2010 Chevy Camaro SS "

  1. Joel McLaughlin says:

    Droool! Paint it pale yellow with some black strips and a black interior and it would look ALMOST like my Dad’s old ’69 he had back in the day….the Camaro was my dad’s FIRST new car back in 1969.

  2. David, you have NO IDEA how jealous I am right now!!! GREAT review, and defintiely a drool worthy vehicle. THANK YOU for posting this! 😀

  3. First drive: 2010 Chevy Camaro SS http://tinyurl.com/d9ooqr RT @GearDiarySite…very good article with lots of details!

  4. Christopher Gavula says:

    You can have the dealer send mine to….

  5. 2010 Chevy Camaro: Tales of a Street Sensation says:

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