May 23, 2013
Written by Steven Macoy
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 09:47
OK, we know what you’re thinking. You’ve seen the picture and read the headline, and you know this article is about Chevrolet’s new Camaro. You’re wondering if it’s a babe magnet.
Well, it’s hard to say, even after a week with a Rally Yellow 2010 Camaro. Babe magnet? It’s an everybody magnet. The thumbs-up gestures from other drivers and the buttonholing sessions in the parking lot were constant.
Chevrolet and its troubled parent company, General Motors, have a hit on their hands.
The Camaro, an icon of the muscle-car era, is a design triumph. A stunningly beautiful car, it is also very fast, with a choice of 304-horsepower V-6 or 426-horsepower V-8 engine, as well as a choice of six-speed Hydra-Matic or six-speed manual transmission. The rear-wheel-drive coupe handles superbly, rides reasonably comfortably and quietly, and the base model is priced at just $22,680.
Even the fuel economy is pretty good, but with an asterisk or two. Rated at 29 mpg on the highway, our Camaro, with V-6 engine and shiftable automatic transmission, never crept above 24, even with our most light-footed driver at the wheel. And the urge to tromp the accelerator pedal was nearly irresistible. A change of drivers brought the fuel-economy readout from 24 to just above 20 in a matter of minutes.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it does need to be pointed out the Camaro isn’t all that functional. The back seat is of little use because of difficult access and tight fit; the trunk has a relatively small opening, and the high beltline, low roof and broad roof-support pillars at the car’s rear quarters hamper visibility. Also, the climate controls are somewhat confusing. Still, the Camaro does have a back seat, and the luggage capacity of 11.3 cubic feet is adequate for singles and childless couples.
As long as we’re in a criticizing mode, we should point out the exhaust note isn’t all that thrilling. It needs a bit more rumble.
The Camaro competes in the small but growing 21st-Century muscle-car market, which includes the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. All three represent revivals of the 1960s muscle genre. What Camaro aficionados may not realize is this actually is GM’s second recent foray into modern muscle. Remember the Pontiac GTO built by GM’s Holden division in Australia? Not many people do. The GTO was fast and handled crisply, but never caught on because it just didn’t have style. Maybe GM was saving it all for the Camaro.
Safety and reliability data aren’t available yet on this new model. It does have an impressive array of safety features, including traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes and tire-pressure monitoring.
Camaros aren’t for everybody, but consider: GM engineered and designed this thoroughly appealing model when it was down on its luck. Who knows what the motoring public might have to look forward to now that the General is more or less back on its feet?
Engine: 3.6-liter direct injection V6, 304 horsepower, 273 lb.-ft. torque
Transmission: 6-speed Hydra-Matic with TAPshift
Weight: 3,719 lb.
Acceleration: 0-60 in 6.1 seconds
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear
Wheels: 19x8-inch painted alloy
Tires: P245/50R19 tires all season tires
Seating capacity: 4
Luggage capacity: 11.3 cu. ft.
Fuel capacity: 19 gallons
Fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 29 mpg highway
Fuel type: Regular
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