Introduced in 1966, the Chevrolet Camaro went on a 35-year production run and four distinct generations of body design before production ceased in 2002. After a 7 year hiatus, the beloved American icon is back in 2010, and it is bolder and meaner than ever, facing its domestic rivals; the 2010 Ford Mustang and 2009 Dodge Challenger.
Its a rarity to find a car that grabs everyone’s attention and commands an unprecedented amount of respect. That is exactly what we experienced on our drive to our nation’s capital this past fourth of July as every man, woman, and child we encountered was awe-struck at the very sight of the car. That being said, the ’10 Camaro has redefined the pony car segment, and as far as muscle cars go it is hands down the best bang for the buck. Transformers fans can also revel at the opportunity to own their very own AutoBot.
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Reviewed: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS:
From every angle the 2010 Camaro looks modern but maintains an overall retro look and feel (some may disagree with us on this point). Staying true to its concept form introduced in 2006, the 2010 Camaro has an outright muscular stance.
A closer look will reveal many Corvette influenced features. On the top, you’ll notice that GM designers threw in a little Corvette design and sculpted twin cockpits across the roof, giving the vehicle a distinctive Chevrolet presence. The B-pillar is designed to provide increased structural rigidity to the Camaro. The rear wheel arches feature a “V” design reminiscent of the Corvette as well. Other design cues include the cosmetic “Gills” located in the front of the rear quarter panel and a cosmetic air intake located on the hood of the SS models.
An RS appearance package is available on the LT and SS models and includes HID headlamps with integrated halo rings, 20-inch wheels with a Midnight Silver finish, and a rear spoiler on the LT, as the SS comes stock with a rear spoiler. Also available to buyers are racing stripes, and the all new Transformers Special Edition Package, priced at $470 and $995 respectively.
Located just below the A/C controls and in front of the shifter are the traction control switch, power outlet, and gauges that report voltage, oil pressure, transmission temperature, and oil temperature. Though this is a rather odd location for gauges, the efficient design prevents the gauges from being hindered by the shift knob and the AC controls. The dramatically designed A/C controls, located just below the radio, sport two large knobs with the climate control switches, on either side of the power door lock and hazard light switches. The retro styled radio with blue-lit display and silver buttons pops dramatically from the dash, contributing to a sharper designed dash.
The gauge cluster is split into three parts; two large silver squares on either side housing the tachometer and speedometer, within which are smaller coolant temperature and fuel gauges, and between the squares is a multifunctional screen that displays statistics such as; odometer reading, trip computer, average MPG, outside temperature, transmission mode/gear, etc. The steering wheel keeps the interior’s retro theme quite nicely with its black leather wrap, silver accents, and red stitching, the wheel mounted cruise control buttons and radio controls are brilliantly designed and much appreciated. The interior door panels are also sleek in their design, with comfortable armrests to match the center console, large red plastic inserts with ambient red lighting that flows onto the dashboard, and hidden-from-view chrome handles.
Although we generally were impressed by the interior, it was not by any means, without flaw, after all, this is a $30,000 muscle car. The excessively long doors hinder entry and exit when parked along side another object, the unusable, small rear seats can not justifiably be for any purpose other than securing a lower insurance rate, and the dashboard and rear side panels sound hollow, an indication of low quality materials. The black cloth covered ceiling is a beautiful touch, but the front dome-light/Homelink unit is poorly set in place, as it seems to be held by poorly designed clips. All things considered however, the interior of the 2010 Camaro blows away that of the competition.
The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is available in three different-trim levels. Entry level models include the LS and LT which are powered by a 3.6 liter direct-injected V6 which gives 300-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. 0 to 60 mph comes in just 6.1 seconds, with top speed electronically limited at 155 mph. Even with those performance figures, the V6 Camaro returns an EPA rated 29 mpg on the highway (we’ll be testing that in the near future).
Our test car, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS, was powered by a 6.2L LS3 V8 mated to a 6-speed automatic which provided a whopping 400-hp and maximum torque of 395 lb-ft. Opting for the manual will increase those figures to 422-hp and 408 lb-ft. 0 to 60 is clocked at 4.6 seconds.
Underpinning the 2010 Camaro is GM’s global rear-wheel-drive platform (from the Pontiac G8) which has been stretched out to a 112.3-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 190.4 inches. The front track is a wide 63.7 inches (1,618 mm) for all models, while the rear track on SS model is 63.7 inches. The new independent rear suspension is a first for the Camaro. It’s a 4.5-link system that includes a unique, L-shaped upper control arm that attaches to the knuckle at one end and incorporates a ride bushing in the rear. Two suspension packages are offered but our 2010 Camaro SS test-car was based on an FE3 performance package, which is a little stiffer than its V6 counterpart. The result is a very sporty yet refined driving experience for the Camaro.
Stopping power for the SS models comes from a Brembo braking system with 355 mm x 32 mm vented rotors and four-piston aluminum calipers. Semi-metallic brake linings are used for superior fade resistance and pedal feel. The four piston caliper rear brakes are vented Brembos measuring 365 mm x 28 mm. In layman’s terms, that means outstanding braking power, which will leave you smiling every time you go from 60 to 0 mph in just 105 feet.
When it comes to getting the most value for your money, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS is the clear winner. With great looks, outstanding performance, and sharp driving dynamics, the 2010 Camaro is priced affordably to compete strong against its other pony car rivals. Prices for the 305-hp 2010 Chevrolet Camaro LS (the base model) start at $22,245. Compare that to a 210-hp 2010 Mustang which starts at $20,995 or a 250-hp Dodge Challenger SE – and you begin to see the picture.
Things become even clearer when you start comparing the 2010 Camaro SS as to the 2010 Mustang GT or the Challenger RT. The 426-hp 2010 Camaro SS starts at $30,245, while the 315-hp 2010 Mustang GT and the 375-hp 2009 Dodge Challenger RT start at $27,995 and $30,945 respectively.
Of course, for those looking to compete in the high-performance muscle car segment, Ford offers the 540-hp 2010 Shelby GT500 while Dodge offers the 425-hp Challenger SRT8. The Camaro Z28 is reported to be launched in 2011. Power is expected to come from the same 556-hp 6.2L LSA V8 supercharged engine from the Cadillac CTS-V. A convertible variant is also due out in 2011.
If anyone were to ask us which muscle car they should purchase in 2009 – our answer would emphatically be; the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Reviewed: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS:
-By Stephen Calogera and Ari Klots
– All Photos Copyright ©2009 Omar Rana – egmCarTech.