Although the newest incarnation of the Chevrolet Camaro has only been on the streets for a year, the car is generating as much buzz on the used car lot as it did in the new car showroom. Backorders for the new Camaro are partly responsible for such strong demand in the used car market, but in reality, we suspect that the fifth generation Camaro is simply the automotive equivalent of the supermodel that everyone wants to be seen with. The Camaro is not for everyone due to its cramped rear seat, small trunk and, for male drivers under the age of 25, a pretty hefty insurance premium. But?
Why You Want It
This is not a 1960s muscle car; it's better! In the looks department, the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro scores a big win. But, unlike the original, this Camaro can also handle corners like an exotic sports car, gets reasonably good fuel economy and is loaded with enough high-end features to make its cockpit as comfortable and enjoyable as any well-equipped performance sedan. The fact that the Camaro's V6 engine puts out more horsepower than many older V8 Camaros speaks volumes about the advances made in engine technology. Plus knowing you can get into a 300-plus horsepower car with this much visual appeal for well under $25,000 is reason enough to want one. The V8-powered SS trim pushes the horsepower output rating to 426 (400 with the automatic) which is 100 more horsepower than the legendary 1968 Camaro Z28.
Notable Features & Options
The most basic Camaro trim is the LS which includes a 304-horsepower V6 engine, six-speed manual transmission, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, cloth seating, power widows/door locks and mirrors, six-speaker stereo with CD and auxiliary audio input, air conditioning, four-way adjustable driver's seat with power recline and 18-inch steel wheels. The 1LT and 2LT trims add more features such as fog lamps, a six-way power driver's seat and painted aluminum wheels, as well as a wider assortment of option packages that include steering wheel audio controls, a power sunroof, HID headlamps, Bluetooth and a 245-watt Boston Acoustic nine-speaker audio upgrade. The optional RS package includes 20-inch wheels, HID headlamps and RS badges. The SS trim level includes a 426- horsepower 6.2-liter V8 (400 horsepower when equipped with the six-speed shiftable automatic), six-speed manual transmission, 20-inch wheels and a performance-tuned suspension. 2SS and 2LT models can be equipped with heated leather seats, as well as auxiliary console gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature, battery voltage and transmission fluid temperature. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and StabiliTrak electronic traction and stability control.
2010: The iconic Camaro name returns to Chevrolet showrooms bringing with it eye-catching styling inspired by the iconic first-generation Camaro.
Engines & Performance
The Camaro's 3.6-liter engine provides thrilling performance, and given its ability to achieve 29 mpg on the highway, leads us to conclude this 304-horsepower engine is probably all most people will want or need. Even in the base car, acceleration, braking and handling are all beyond expectations. Sure, the 426-horsepower V8 SS can peel the rubber from its tires and rocket you to insane speeds, but the price premium, fuel premium and insurance premium may put a crimp in your pocket change.
And, while it's easy to get seduced by the Camaro's electrifying exterior, there are a few gripes worth pointing out. The interior is bit of a let down, composed of hard, cheap looking plastics. We found the seats lacking in lower back support, a problem exacerbated by the lack of any lumbar adjustment. Visibility, especially rearward, is pretty bad, and the tiny sun visors are all but useless in blocking out the sun. We also found the six-speed manual transmission lacks precision and feels a bit truck-like, leading us to recommend the automatic.
Recalls, Safety Ratings and Warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has issued the following recalls for the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro:
2010: Chevrolet issued a recall for 1,243 Camaro SS models for a possible problem in which the positive battery cable may contact the starter motor housing and cause wear, leading to a potential short in the starter system.
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.
As for safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro good marks, scoring it four out of five stars in its driver and passenger front crash test, and five out of five stars in the side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not tested the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
The Camaro comes with a 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty. Chevrolet also offers extended warranty coverage via its Certified Pre-Owned program.
Word on the Web
As it's only been on the market for one year, there isn't a lot of long-term data floating around. In its first year, the Camaro has garnered numerous awards and accolades, spawned dozens of enthusiast websites and become the pinup star of teenage boys everywhere. While most owners generally love everything about the Camaro, we did find a few complaints worth noting. A number of owners report a strange "clunking" noise from the front suspension when going over bumps. There were also some problems relayed with SS models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission suffering output shaft failure upon hard launch. Still, these few problems aside, Consumer Reports gives the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro excellent ratings in all categories, which is a pretty impressive feat for a first year car.
As it has been since time immemorial, the Camaro's greatest rival remains the Ford Mustang. While both the Mustang V6 and GT can match the Camaro in horsepower and pricing, neither has the same "wow" factor generated by the new Camaro. However, we do think the Mustang has a much nicer interior, not to mention better audio and communication systems. The Dodge Challenger is also a Camaro competitor, but it is considerably larger and taller, and, with the exception of the high-performance SRT8 model, cannot match the Camaro's V6 and V8 horsepower figures. Some might also consider Nissan's 370Z and Hyundai's Genesis Coupe as competitors, but we feel they lack the proper muscle car credentials to play in this group.
If we were advising on a fun, fast and sporty used car for around $25,000, we'd say go shopping for Camaro V6 with the RS package. The V6 has plenty of power and the RS package gives V6 cars the look of the more expensive SS model. If money (and the cost of ownership) is of no matter, then by all means seek out the V8-powered SS. In either case, unless you are a die-hard stick shift fan, we think the Camaro's six-speed automatic transmission is the right choice for this car.