Friday 21 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Review

Test Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Review

This week, I am behind the wheel of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, an iconic car that came out in 1967 to compete with the Ford Mustang. 

This is the 6th generation from the Bow Tie boys at Chevrolet. Some people have forgotten that Camaro was actually axed after the 2002 model year, but made its encore in 2010. 

Not much changed from 2010 through 2015, but the 2016 is a very different sports coupe.

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This 2016 model is about 2 ½ inches shorter and sits about an inch closer to the ground. It is based on the Cadillac ATS chassis, which I absolutely loved when I reviewed it. The interior was redone and it shed almost 400 pounds. 

In spite of the size difference for this new model, it has an even more aggressive and modern look to me, without sacrificing the heritage looks of the car.

You have three choices under the hood. New for this year is a 2-liter 4-cylinder turbo, the first turbocharger ever offered in a Camaro. You can also jump up to a 6.2-liter V8 in the SS, and you’ll get the 455-horse engine that comes in the Corvette.

The third choice is the one I am testing, which is the 3.6-liter six banger, which is probably by far going to be the most popular engine in this car. It puts out a terrific 335 horses, and has 284 pound-feet of torque. 

My test vehicle has a 6-speed manual transmission, but there is an 8-speed automatic available too. 

Checking the 0-to-60 time, 5.1 seconds was the best time I had, but I was pleased considering it is a six cylinder.

As you open the door, you are reminded that all the coupes in this class have a small interior, lack headroom, and the rear seat is suited only for children, and I mean small children.

This is the 2LT package which is next to the bottom of the line 1LT, so I had no expectations for luxury, but was surprised at the lack of stitching, something GM has been really big into as of late. Still, the interior is nice and laid out well. 

The gauges are easy to read and see, and in the middle is a driver information center that is programmable.

In the middle of the dash is the 8” color touchscreen that houses all your apps, Bluetooth, and the stereo controls. The Camaro comes standard with Apple Car Play, a great system to integrate your phone with the car.  You can also use the 4G LTE WiFi hotspot that is built into the system, and, like Onstar, it is available as a subscription for a monthly fee after an initial trial period.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of this new Camaro is the air conditioning controls. There are two large, round vents in front of the shifter, surrounded by big chrome bands. 

You turn those to adjust the temperature on each side of the car, thanks to the dual climate controlled air. I thought this was a unique feature, mainly because I’ve never seen it before.

This 2LT package comes with a lot of standard features.  Most notable are push button start and passive keyless entry, dual power front seats that are both heated and air conditioned, Bose stereo, a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls, and a rearview camera.

This week’s review car has the RS package, which is $1950 and includes 20” wheels, HID headlights and LED front and rear lights, and a rear spoiler. The upgrade to the V6 is $1495, and for $895, you get a dual mode performance exhaust system. That seemed like a lot of money to me for exhaust until I heard it, and for me it would be a must-have option since it makes the car sound like a big V8.

If I have any complaints about the car, it is that it just doesn’t have enough storage. There are no usable cubby holes in the door and no real place to put your cell phone. The cup holders sit too far back in the center console, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll hit your drink with your elbow. And, of course, like all coupes, there are all sorts of blind spots. The trunk opening is small and you’d have trouble getting large luggage into it.

On a side note, I think it should be a law that all 2 door cars have to have blind spot monitoring systems, but I digress.

Camaro handles very well, corners great, and you can configure the suspension to snow and ice, Touring, and sport modes. You can change the exhaust sound too making it louder or quieter.

Camaro drives great, handles and corners very well, and gets pretty good gas mileage. It will do 18 in town, 27 on the highway, and 21 overall.

MSRP with options is just over $35,000 on this Hot Red Camaro. I like this six-cylinder as a great combination of power and fuel economy. 

Chevrolet did a very good job with the changes to the 2016 and will further fuel the debate between Mustang and Camaro owners on who has the hottest car. I can see why this was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2016.

  • What I liked most:  Exterior looks, performance, fuel economy.
  • What I would change:  More storage and cubbyholes, add blind spot monitoring.    
  • MSRP: Base price $29,800, as equipped $35,150.
  • Fuel Economy:  18 City/27 Highway, 21 Combined.
  • Fuel Tank: Approximately 18 gallons.
  • Dimensions:  188.3” long/63.70” wide/53.10” high.
  • Weight:  3339 Pounds.
  • Trailer Towing:  Not rated.
  • Miles When Tested:  320 miles.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Lansing, Michigan
  • 2016 Camaro in a few words:  Much improved Camaro, worthy of consideration.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty  with roadside assistance, two free maintenance visits, and loaner cars.
  • Manufacturers website:  Chevrolet
Photo Credit: Chevrolet