What it is: The Camaro is Chevy’s legendary pony car, and the latest sixth-generation version was released as a 2016 model. Three engines are offered: a 2.0-liter four cylinder turbo, 3.6-liter six cylinder, and 6.2-liter V8. The SS moniker denotes the 455-horsepower V8 being under the hood, which provides quite a bit of fun on the road.
Getting an SS model means you are receiving more than a hot engine; you get the whole package: 20-inch wheels, Brembo disc brakes, HID headlights, 8-inch touchscreen display (with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), power seats, ZR-rated summer-only tires, LED DRLs, and more. Upgrading to the 2SS trim for $5,000 adds heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, Bose stereo, head-up display, wireless charging pad, and some nicer interior trim.
My test model had the optional Hyper Blue Metallic that looks absolutely stunning. They have four special paint choices that are each $395 and are highly recommended. A yellow, red, green and aforementioned blue are the ones available.
The Camaro SS is available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an 8-speed automatic ($1,495). The automatic is not your grandmother’s 1980s Cadillac. It’s quick and responsive and makes driving the SS a breeze. There isn’t much rear seat headroom, but the rear seats do fold down, creating quite a large cargo area for weekend chores. Strangely, the trunk opening is rather small, so you may be limited in what you put back there. Golf clubs would be no problem, but anything particularly bulky may be difficult to squeeze in.
Chevrolet should be championed for making significant improvements to the new Camaro. There are plenty of reasons for fifth-generation owners to upgrade. The car lost a bunch of weight and is much more responsive and feels more like a sports car. Handling was improved and I think the exterior appearance was improved dramatically. It’s still going to be hard to live with if you are tall as the roof line is extremely raked. The windows are almost comically small (they are about wrist to elbow length for me) but the visibility wasn’t worse than any other coupe I’ve driven.
The interior has been refined as well. It isn’t as retro as the previous version, but a refined and more upscale version. It’s not luxurious, but it’s a place you would want to spend some time cruising around in.
MPG: 19 Combined/16 City/25 Highway
Price: $37,900 base MSRP for an SS trim.
Upsides: Tons of fun. Easier to live with every day versus the previous model.
Downsides: Tight headroom.
Wrap-up: I love what Chevy has done with the Camaro. They’ve taken the Ford Mustang direction and gotten the weight down for better gas mileage and more performance, which is a big plus. Each of the big three auto manufacturers have muscle cars that each have their positives and negatives, so if you are shopping for one, you should really consider test driving all three. Plus, why wouldn’t you want to spend a Saturday driving different muscle cars? The Camaro definitely gets my seal of approval.