The Camaro was introduced in 1967 to compete with the Ford Mustang, and it ran for 35 years in four generations before being discontinued in 2002. After a 7-year hiatus, Chevrolet reintroduced its iconic coupe. The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is the first with independent rear suspension, stability control, overhead and side airbags and a choice of a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to independent rear suspension, this fifth-generation Camaro doesn't sacrifice ride quality to get good handling. Thick roof pillars and a high belt line hurt outward visibility, but precise steering, a solid structure and well-sorted shock damping help the driver maintain control. The 3.6-liter V6 is surprisingly lively and fuel-efficient, but many buyers will be drawn to the SS model with the storied small-block V8. Be advised that all V8 cars with automatic transmissions have AFM cylinder deactivation that drops four cylinders under light throttle, which takes some getting used to. The Camaro is a good used car choice because parts and service are readily available, and evergreen popularity means good resale value down the road.
What We Like
Updated 1969 Camaro styling; good fuel economy with 3.6-liter V6; independent rear suspension; selection of powerful V8s
What We Don't
Poor outward visibility; rear seat unsuitable for adults; tiny trunk opening; lack of navigation system
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
A large part of the Camaro's personality is derived from its engine performance. The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro has three available engines, all of them more powerful than the legendary 302 cubic inch (5.0-liter) Z28 V8 of the late 1960s. The base engine in LS and LT models is an all-aluminum 3.6-liter DOHC V6 with direct injection. Delivering 304 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, it burns regular unleaded and has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 17 miles per gallon city/29 mpg hwy with the standard 6-speed manual transmission and 18 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic. Standard in the Camaro SS is an aluminum-block 6.2-liter OHV small-block Chevy V8. SS models with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox come with the LS3 version of the 6.2-liter V8, which produces 426 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. The engine is EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. SS Camaros running the optional 6-speed automatic transmission get the L99 6.2-liter V8, producing 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, and EPA-rated 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. The L99 has a cylinder deactivation system, Active Fuel Management, that idles four cylinders under low-load conditions. Both V8s require premium unleaded fuel.
Standard Features & Options
The Camaro is available in base LS, uplevel LT and performance-upgrade SS trims.
Typical LS equipment includes A/C, cruise control, tilt/telescope steering wheel, remote keyless entry, XM satellite radio, OnStar communication system, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo, auto headlamps, 18-in steel wheels, stability and traction control, ABS brakes, V6 engine with 6-speed manual transmission, and power doors, windows and mirrors.
Moving up to LT typically adds front fog lamps, steering wheel audio controls, a power driver's seat, upgrade 245-watt 9-speaker Boston Acoustics stereo, 19-in alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped shifter and steering wheel, and a reverse-sensing system. More important, it can be optioned with heated leather front seats and a power moonroof.
Opting for SS trim upgrades the engine to a 6.2-liter V8 and adds Brembo brakes, FE3 suspension with bigger anti-roll bars, adjustable traction- and stability-control settings and 20-in alloy wheels.
Available RS package adds a rear spoiler, 20-in alloy wheels, unique paint, HID headlamps with halo rings and special tail lamps.
Popular is an optional console-mounted rally pack with gauges for oil temperature and pressure, transmission temperature and battery charge.
Also popular is the optional Driver Convenience and Connectivity package, which adds Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, iPod interface, redundant steering wheel controls and, on automatic transmission cars, remote start.
A Hurst short-throw shifter is available for manual-transmission V8 models.
Camaros are usually front-row items on used-car lots, and expect to pay higher prices when the weather is warm and the urge to cruise is strong. Purists may prefer manual transmissions, but most of the higher-priced cars you'll see are well-optioned automatics. Because Camaros have limited back seat and trunk space, they don't see a lot of long-distance driving, so odometer readings should be low.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following safety recalls for the 2010 Camaro:
- Positive battery cable of V8 models may chafe through insulation at starter and short out, leading to no-start condition and possible engine fire.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
In tests, NHTSA gave the 2010 Camaro four stars for frontal impact crash protection and five stars for driver's side impacts.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) did not evaluate the 2010 Camaro for crash performance.
General Motors covered the 2010 Camaro with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion perforation warranty.
Chevrolet certified pre-owned cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be five years old or less. Every CPO Camaro undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty plus whatever remains on the transferable original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.
Other Cars to Consider
2010 Ford Mustang -- It's smaller, lighter and more nimble than the Camaro of that vintage, and it's available in a convertible model; however, it's also noisier and less stable, and doesn't handle as well.
2010 Dodge Challenger -- The Challenger is more of a coupe version of the Dodge Charger, so it offers a decent-size rear seat and trunk, and it's an exciting muscle car with Hemi V8 power. However, V6 versions lack verve, and handling doesn't come close to matching the precision of the Camaro.
If this Camaro will see everyday use, consider one with the 3.6-liter V6. The V6 gets good gas mileage, has plenty of power, is easier to insure and has better-balanced handling than the V8s. However, if this is a long-term investment, don't consider anything less than an SS with the small-block V8. The V8 cars will always be in demand due to their unique heritage -- especially years from now, when we're all driving around in microcars. Go for a Chevrolet certified pre-owned car, when available -- and if it's a V8 car, make sure the starter-cable recall repair has been done.