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2021 Chevrolet Camaro Review

While much of the automotive landscape shifts from sedans to SUVs, there is still a loyal set of drivers drawn to iconic performance cars like the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro. It’s easy to see why.

The 2021 Camaro brings both a decades-long reputation for performance and everyday drivability with modern features and powertrains, all at a price that won’t break the bank. When it comes to power for the dollar, it’s hard to beat the Camaro. Base models with a 275-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder start at $25,000, while a 455-hp V8 model begins at only $34,000. The Camaro also offers a 335-hp V6 and a 650-hp supercharged V8 in the tire-smoking ZL1 model that costs over $60,000.

The Chevrolet Camaro can be had as a coupe or convertible, similar to its archrival the Ford Mustang. Unlike the Dodge Challenger that is available with all-wheel drive, the Camaro sticks to its sports-car roots with rear-wheel drive. Devotees of manual transmissions will be happy to know one is standard with every engine (an automatic transmission is optional).

Beyond its performance credentials, the 2021 Chevy Camaro is relatively usable as a daily driver, as long as you can live with its blind spots, tiny rear seats and closed-in cabin.

What’s New for 2021?

Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto are now standard. A vibrant Wild Cherry Design package is available. See the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Performance for the dollar
  • Standard tech like wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Four powertrain choices
  • Coupe or convertible body styles

What We Don’t

  • Limited rear visibility
  • Tiny back seats
  • Tall window line makes the interior feel cramped

How Much?

$25,000 to over $70,000 (plus destination)

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Chevy Camaro offers a choice of four engines. Standard on the LS and LT models is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy estimates are 20 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the 6-speed manual, and 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy when equipped with the automatic. Note all these EPA figures are for the 2020 model, the most recent version available. The 2021 Camaro uses the same powertrains.

Drivers looking for more power can upgrade from the 4-cylinder to the Camaro’s trusty 3.6-liter V6, which makes 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is available in 1LT, 2LT and 3LT trims. It returns 16 mpg city/26 mpg hwy with its standard 6-speed manual transmission or 19 mpg city/29 mpg hwy with its optional 10-speed automatic.

Drivers who upgrade to the Camaro LT1 or SS get a 6.2-liter V8 with 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is a respectable 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with its standard manual transmission, or 16 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with the optional 10-speed automatic. Lastly, the fire-breathing Camaro ZL1 offers a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 good for 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy with the 6-speed manual is rated at 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy, while the 10-speed automatic earns 13 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The Camaro is offered in eight trim levels: 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, LT1, 1SS, 2SS and ZL1. Note the convertible starts at the 1LT trim.

The base-level Camaro 1LS ($25,000 coupe, plus destination fee) has standard 18-in alloy wheels, a 6-speed manual transmission, 7-in touchscreen with GM’s MyLink infotainment system, backup camera, keyless access with push-button start, 8-way power driver’s seat, Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity, USB ports for music and automatic headlights. New for 2021, all Camaro models include wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto phone integration.

The 1LT ($25,500 coupe, $31,500 convertible) adds 18-inch silver-painted wheels, 6-way-power passenger seat, satellite radio and more option packages. Among them is the Technology package that includes a larger touchscreen, voice controls for the infotainment system, a 9-speaker Bose sound system. Starting with this trim the 3.6-liter V6 becomes optional.

Next up is the Camaro 2LT ($27,500 coupe, $33,500 convertible), which includes heated and ventilated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control.

The Camaro 3LT ($31,500 coupe, $37,500 convertible) adds the larger 8-inch touchscreen display, digital instrument cluster, Bose audio system, head-up display and heated steering wheel.

A sport-themed RS package is available on LT models and offers appearance upgrades, 20-in alloy wheels and xenon headlights. The 1LE track package offers upgraded suspension components from the SS plus 20-in forged aluminum wheels, Brembo brakes, a track-cooling package, the SS high-performance fuel system and a dual-exhaust system.

The LT1 ($34,000 coupe, $40,000 convertible) is a bargain powerhouse that combines most of the styling and features of the Camaro LT and SS with the 6.2-liter V8 engine, 20-inch wheels, performance suspension and Brembo brakes.

Drivers who choose the 1SS ($37,500 coupe, $43,500 convertible) get the V8 engine, upgraded Brembo brakes and cooling systems, digital instrument cluster, 8-inch infotainment system and LED headlights.

The 2SS ($42,500 coupe, $48,500 convertible) combines the 2LT’s equipment with the 1SS’s V8 engine and performance upgrades. It also includes the 2LT’s Convenience and Lighting package as standard equipment. The coupe features standard forward-collision warning.

The ZL1 ($63,000 coupe, $69,000 convertible) adds a supercharged version of the 6.2-liter V8, a unique shaker-style hood, 20-in forged aluminum wheels, an upgraded suspension and steering, Brembo brakes and Recaro front seats. Options include the available 1LE Extreme Track package, a power sunroof, a navigation system and a sport exhaust system.

In lieu of the standard 6-speed manual transmission, an automatic is optional on all models. Four-cylinder models use an 8-speed automatic, while the V6 and V8 models have a 10-speed.

Safety

All 2021 Chevrolet Camaro models come with basics like side-curtain airbags, a backup camera, anti-lock brakes, front-knee airbags, front-side airbags, plus GM’s OnStar telematics system. Options include forward-collision warning and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. Unlike most new cars, including the Ford Mustang, the Camaro does not have more advanced safety and driver-assistance features such as automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist or adaptive cruise control.

In crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave last year’s Camaro a 5-star overall rating, with 4 stars in the frontal crash test and 5 stars in the side-impact and rollover tests. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested the 2020 Camaro coupe and gave it a Good rating in all crash tests except the roof-strength test, where it earned a score of Acceptable.

Behind the Wheel

We tested the V8-powered Camaro SS. Acceleration is blistering, just as you’d expect from an engine that would normally be at home in the Chevrolet Corvette sports car. The 10-speed automatic transmission seamlessly seeks the next gear with smooth, almost imperceptible shifts, but paddle-shift levers are at the ready in case the driver has other ideas. The roar of the engine is one of this car’s great selling points and does its part to make the drive more exciting. However, don’t tell anyone that some of the aural treats are accomplished by sound resonators that pipe the effects into the cabin.

Touring mode offers a surprisingly relaxed ride, and Active Fuel Management shuts down up to four cylinders for increased fuel economy. We observed an average of 20.8 mpg in combined driving. Switching over to Sport mode firms the steering and suspension and allows the transmission to hold gears longer. Despite the quiet cabin, moderate road noise is able to get inside, probably due to the car’s run-flat tires.

We also spent some time in the base 1LT with the turbocharged 4-cylinder and 1LE Track package and came away quite impressed. When equipped with the 6-speed manual, we were able to turn a 0-to-60 run in just under 6 seconds — pretty impressive, considering the engine’s size and 275 hp output.

Other Cars to Consider

2021 Dodge Challenger — The big and brutish Dodge Challenger is starting to show its age compared to the Camaro, but it still boasts a handsome look and surprisingly good driving dynamics for its size. The GT trim features all-wheel drive, while the 797-hp Hellcat Redeye handily outmuscles the ZL1.

2021 Ford Mustang — The Camaro’s longtime rival offers a little more technology and better active safety features than the Chevy in a smaller, more manageable package. It also boasts a high-performance variants.

2021 Toyota 86 – It only offers one engine – a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 205 hp – but what the 86 lacks in power and size compared to American muscle cars it makes up for in nimbleness and high-revving fun.

Used Chevrolet Corvette — If you like the Camaro’s General Motors roots and its no-nonsense powertrain, consider going to the next level. Prices are high, though, so you may have to check out a used model.

Questions You May Ask

How many horsepower does a 2021 Camaro have?

The Camaro’s horsepower ranges from 275 for the base turbocharged 4-cylinder to 650 for the supercharged V8. Splitting the difference of those are V6 and V8 engines offering 335 horsepower and 455 horsepower, respectively.

What is the best 2021 Chevy Camaro?

As with any car, the best Camaro is the one that best fits your needs and budget. We think you can get a very nicely equipped model in the $30,000 to mid-$40,000 range.

Where is the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro made?

The 2021 Camaro is made in America, specifically at General Motors’ factory in Lansing, Michigan.

 

Autotrader’s Advice

The latest Chevrolet Camaro is an excellent performance car at all levels, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. That said, we’d bypass the base turbocharged models and place our bet on the obvious: a 2SS model with the muscular V8 and all the trimmings. And yes, we know the ZL1 is bigger, but its price and limited availability will put it out of reach for most. Find a Chevrolet Camaro for sale

 

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