Pre-Owned Profile: 1993-1999 Chevrolet Camaro

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author photo by John Rettie January 2000

Chevrolet's Camaro is a good choice as a poor man's Corvette, especially if it is a Z28 version as shown here with a powerful V-8 engine.

The Chevrolet Camaro and its twin the Pontiac Firebird along with their archrival the Ford Mustang are known as pony cars. They compete in the market with smaller sporty cars such as the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Ford Probe, but are really in a class by themselves as they are designed around rear-drive platforms that have been on the market for over two decades.

Because of this the Camaro is not as refined as its front-drive competitors. But for those who like a traditional front-engined, rear-drive two-door coupe there is little to compete with the Camaro and Mustang, especially in the price range.

Although the Chevrolet Camaro is a small sporty car in an altogether different league from the Corvette it's amazing how similar the two cars are in many ways. It's not surprising that it is often referred to as a poor man's Corvette.

What You Need To Know:

1. Review of a 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

2. Summary of Good and Bad Points by Owners

3. History of Camaro

4. Review of Current Model

5. Basic Facts

6. Changes Year-to-Year

7. Safety Information

8. Value Guide

9. Option Installment Rate

10. Sales History

11. Awards and Commendations Earned

12. Other Reviews

13. Recall Information

14. Price of Spare Parts

1. Pre-Owned Vehicle Evaluation - 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

Likes: sporty looks, powerful V-8 engine option

Dislikes: cramped interior, stiff ride in Z28

Competitors: (on same platform: Pontiac Firebird), Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang

Miles: 48,500

Condition: B

Price when new: $24,250 (est.)

Estimated Value: $15,030 (March 1999)

Appropriately the Camaro Z28 I tested belonged to the brother of a Mustang GT owner so I was able to try these two archrivals side by side. What I immediately noticed about the Camaro as I stepped down into the bucket seat is how much more like a sports car it is than the Mustang. Once in place you are sitting lower with your hand falling naturally onto the gearshift lever on the center console which is at elbow level.

Turn the ignition key and the V-8 engine rumbles to live. Blip the throttle and you can pretend you're in a NASCAR racecar ready to race. As is the case with many Camaros the owner had modified this Z28. It has a couple of aftermarket items, such as a freeflow muffler and air filter that give it a little more power and makes more noise. It also sported a few cosmetic items such as gear shift knob and metal pedals to make it look racier.

Shift the gear into first and gently set off. Move the lever into second gear and it falls into fourth gear instead. Don't worry it's not your fault -- the gearbox has a sensor that locks out second gear forcing the car to shift from first to fourth. It has been a feature of the six-speed gearbox in the Corvette as well as Camaro since 1995 and is supposed to improve the car's economy. It may do that but it takes the pleasure out of driving the car at low speeds. A five-speed manual in the V-6 Camaro does not suffer from this idiosyncrasy.

When I was being more aggressive the gearshift slipped from first into second gear without any problem and of course the 275+ horsepower engine rocketed the car forward. Although the gearshift falls to hand much better than in the Mustang it is not as smooth in use. This probably explains why a higher percentage of Camaros have been purchased with automatic transmissions.

The dashboard is laid out in a sporty fashion with plenty of small gauges. It is a fairly stylistic design with big plastic switches and knobs for the controls. The climate controls and radio knobs are conveniently located high up by the driver's right hand. The radio controls are below.

Needless to say the car was fun to drive fast. It cornered well and the steering was nice and tight. The ride was not as smooth as the Mustang's so the car tires the driver more rapidly.

While the driver and passenger have plenty of room there is virtually none in the back. The two heavily contoured rear seats are ideally only for small kids who will of course delight in sitting in these small seats in such a sporty vehicle. The storage area behind the rear seats is not as spacious as in the Mustang and it is much shallower. However, the rear hatch opens up in one piece allowing relatively easy access to the rear.

Overall this car was in quite good condition as it was the pride and joy of the 20something guy. But even he admitted that he'd rather drive his wife's Honda Accord on longer journeys.

If you want a real sporty two-door coupe with a powerful engine consider a Camaro Z28 with the V-8 engine. Even the V-6 powered base version still offers good performance especially with the manual transmission. In many ways it is a poor man's Corvette - which cannot be too bad a description for this venerable Chevrolet.

2. Summing It Up - Owners Views


Power, power, and more power.

The sound, especially since I installed the Flowmaster muffler.

I like the aggressive, sports car styling - especially the wheels.

Bang for the buck (translation: value). For the money, you can't beat it.

The factory option Bose speakers are excellent.


Interior is outdated and not entirely user-friendly - cupholder design and placement in particular.

Rear side visibility.

Overall quality: Squeaks and rattles appear almost overnight. Things that should not have broken yet have already broken - like the transmission.

Handling at the limit is somewhat disappointing - I've spun out several times doing things my '91 Escort can do.

3. History of Camaro

Chevrolet introduced the first Camaro in 1967. It was an instant hit and for many years was more popular than the Ford Mustang, which had been on the market since 1964. The Camaro went through changes, especially in bodywork design each year. Unlike the Mustang the Camaro (and its twin the Pontiac Firebird) did not get downsized in the early 1970s. However on several occasions the car has been threatened with extinction, but each time Chevrolet has decided to keep it in production as an image builder for the division.

The current model has the same wheelbase and rear-drive layout as the 1982 model, However it has gone through several body styling updates, the most recent being in 1993. The car got some minor freshening to the front and rear body panels in 1998.

Over the years there have been numerous different combinations of engines, drivetrains and trim levels. More recently the choices have been simplified with just a base model with a 3.8-liter V-6 engine and a Z28 version with a 5.7-liter V-8 engine. Each model is available with a manual transmission (5-speed or 6-speed on the Z28) or automatic.

4. Review of Current Camaro

The driving characteristics of the current model are little changed from the pre-owned 1995 model I tested. In some ways the vehicle is showing signs of its age. It is not as refined as other cars it competes with and design flaws such as the large bump in the floor on the passenger side are annoying. However, when powered by the V-8 engine, it still offers tremendous value as a high performance sports car. The V-6 base model does not quite come up to the same excitement levels.

5. Basic Facts: 1993 - 1999 Camaro

Vehicle Type: Compact Sports Coupe

No. Passengers: up to four

Origin of assembly: Ste. Therese, Canada

Engine: (standard): 3.4-liter 160 hp V-6 ('93-'95); 3.8-liter 200 hp V-6 ('96-'99)

(optional): 5.7-liter 275-320 hp V-8

Transmission: 6-spd manual, 4-spd. automatic, 5-spd automatic; rear-drive

Length: 193 inches

Wheelbase: 101 inches

Width: 74 inches

Height: 52 inches

Curb weight: 3300 lbs. (approx.)

Cargo volume: 34 cu. ft.

Fuel tank capacity: 15 gals.

Fuel Economy (EPA City/Highway): 19/28 (3.4-liter, manual & auto); 16/27 (5.7-liter, manual); 17/25 (5.7-liter, auto)

6. Changes in the Chevrolet Camaro Line 1993 - 1999

1993 Model Year (first year of new model)

All new, fourth-generation Camaro introduced

New 3.4 Liter V6 engine standard on Camaro and 5.7 Liter engine, 275 hp, LT1 V8 standard on Z28

Dual air bags and antilock brakes introduced

1994 Model Year

Convertible model introduced

5.7-liter SFI engine and 4L60E electronically controlled automatic transmission introduced

1995 Model Year

Introduction of Acceleration Slip Regulation traction control

1996 Model Year

Redesigned dashboard and center console

New theft-alarm system

3800 V6 engine made standard

Second-gear start for 3800 V6 with automatic transmission

1997 Model Year

30th Anniversary Package

Redesigned worldwide tri-color tail lamps

Last year for LT1 V8 engine

1998 Model Year

Freshened look with a new front fascia, composite reflector headlamps with Automatic Exterior Lamp Control, new hood, new fenders and body color door handles

Chassis improvements included a new four-wheel disc brake system and a new ABS system

1999 Model Year

Larger plastic fuel tank

Electronic Throttle Control becomes standard on 3800 V6

7. Safety Notes

NHTSA Crash rating (‘96 model year): Driver 5; Passenger NR (5 is best)

Dual airbags and ABS standard on all Camaro models since 1993

8. Value Guide

Prices listed are for base models. Options can add considerably to the lowest price listed as these are usually "stripped" models. In many cases, very few vehicles are ever sold at the lowest price listed! Source: Kelley Blue Book

1993 Model Year (first year of new model)

New: $13,889 to $17,269

1994 Model Year

New: $13,889 to $17,269

1995 Model Year

New: $14,995 to $23,695

1996 Model Year

New: $15,495 to $24,995

1997 Model Year

New: $16,740 to $26,045

1998 Model Year

New: $17,150 to $27,975

9. Option Installment Rate

Generally, when you order a new car you have a choice of factory-installed options. When you buy a pre-owned vehicle the choice is limited to what was actually installed on vehicles sold in that model year. Use this option installment rate as a guide to the chances of finding particular options on a pre-owned vehicle. Source: Ward's Automotive Yearbooks

1993 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.4-liter V-6 54%

5.7-liter V-8 46%


Auto 81%

Manual 9% (5-spd.), 10% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 100%

Convertible 0%

Air Conditioning: 99%

Cruise Control: 98%

Power Windows: 83%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 50%

1994 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.4-liter V-6 65%

5.7-liter V-8 35%


Auto 75%

Manual 18% (5-spd.), 7% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 94%

Convertible 6%

Air Conditioning: 99%

Cruise Control: 94%

Power Windows: 76%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 76%

1995 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.4-liter V-6 67%

5.7-liter V-8 33%


Auto 78%

Manual 14% (5-spd.), 8% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 94%

Convertible 6%

Air Conditioning: 95%

Cruise Control: 98%

Power Windows: 75%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 74%

Leather Seats 0%

1996 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.8-liter V-6 70%

5.7-liter V-8 30%


Auto 72%

Manual 16% (5-spd.), 12% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 89%

Convertible 11%

Air Conditioning: 99%

Cruise Control: 96%

Power Windows: 71%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 71%

Leather Seats 27%

1997 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.8-liter V-6 66%

5.7-liter V-8 34%


Auto 71%

Manual 15% (5-spd.), 14% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 87%

Convertible 13%

Air Conditioning: 100%

Cruise Control: 93%

Power Windows: 79%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 77%

Leather Seats 22%

1998 Model Year

Installment Rate


3.8-liter V-6 NA%

5.7-liter V-8 NA%


Auto 73%

Manual 14% (5-spd.), 13% (6-spd.)

Body Style:

Coupe 92%

Convertible 8%

Air Conditioning: 100%

Cruise Control: 89%

Power Windows: 86%

Remote/Keyless Entry: 78%

Leather Seats 21%

10. Production/Sales Volume History

Normally a model year runs from October to September. Often though, when a new version is introduced it hits the market before October. Legally, a model year can start as early as January of the preceding year. Accurate model year sales counts are almost impossible to collect as different model year vehicles are regularly sold side-by-side for several months. Production figures, when listed, often include vehicles made for export to Canada, Mexico and overseas. Source: manufacturers/Ward's Automotive Yearbooks

1992 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1991 through Sept. 1992

Total number produced: 70,008

Total no. sold in U.S.: 64,444

1993 Model Year (first year of new model)

Production run: Oct.1992 through Sept. 1993

Total number produced: 39,103

Total no. sold in U.S.: 45,293 (includes some '92 models)

1994 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1993 through Sept. 1994

Total number produced: 119,799

Total no. sold in U.S.: 124,121

1995 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1994 through Sept. 1995

Total number produced: 122,725

Total no. sold in U.S.: 98,806

1996 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1995 through Sept. 1996

Total number produced: 61,362

Total no. sold in U.S.: 75,336

1997 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1996 through Sept. 1997

Total number produced: 54,972

Total no. sold in U.S.: 58,152

1998 Model Year

Production run: Oct. 1997 through Sept. 1998

Total number produced: NA

Total no. sold in U.S.: 48,806

11. Awards and Commendations


"Best Buy - Sport Coupes/Sedans" - Consumers Digest


"Best Buy - Sport Coupes/Sedans" - Consumers Digest


"Best Buy - Sport Coupes/Sedans" - Consumers Digest

"No. 2 in Segment - APEAL Survey" - J. D. Power and Associates


"Best Buy - Sport Coupes/Sedans" - Consumers Digest


"Best Overall Value of the Year - Base Sport Coupe " - IntelliChoice

"First for Safety - Cars $13,000 - $18,000" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance


"Zoomy styling and zippy handling are heady stuff, but Camaros have always been best when endowed with a little more power than pure logic dictated. The Camaro is an emotional car. And more important, it's right with a V-8." - Road & Track, July 1993.

"The Camaro seems better suited to a sporty role than does the Mustang. It has a more buttoned-down feel to it, with responses to the wheel and to the throttle that are more immediate. On the other hand, the isolation from noise and vibration is not as good as it is in the Mustang." - Car and Driver, May 1994

"In many ways the Camaro Z28 should be compared to the Corvette. It offers very similar performance at about half the price, and it can seat four people. If you're in the market for a stylish car with exhilarating performance you'll undoubtedly enjoy the Camaro Z28." - New York Times Regional Newspaper Group, John Rettie Test Drive, June 1993

13. Recalls (Only major recalls listed)

ID Number: 93V199000

Component: fuel: fuel lines: hoses: non-metallic

Potential Number of Units Affected: 6,807

Year: 1994

Manufactured From: Aug. 1993 To: Aug. 1993

Year of Recall:'93

Summary: The fuel lines on these vehicles may have been misrouted and may contact the "air" check valve. The high temperatures from the "air" check valve could allow it to melt through and damage a fuel line. A fuel line, which has been damaged by the heat of the "air" check valve, may leak fuel into the engine compartment where it could result in a fire if exposed to a source of ignition.

14. Cost of Parts (relative to other vehicles)

Headlight unit: $256 (above average)

Side marker lamp: $32 (below average)

Door (left front): $609 (above average)

Fender (left front): $212 (average)

Note: these are estimated retail prices for commonly replaced body parts on a 1995 model. Prices are current as of early 1999 but will vary from region to region and are subject to change at any time. Source: ADP Collision Repair Services

The Rettie Report and Pre-owned Profiles contain objective information from a variety of sources. The subjective comments are those of John Rettie.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Pre-Owned Profile: 1993-1999 Chevrolet Camaro - Autotrader