Chevrolet Camaro | Old-school charm from the new GM.
By David Zenlea
Former General Motors president and CEO Fritz Henderson understated matters last fall when he admitted that "2009, in general . . . , has been a year that I'll be very glad to have behind us." In fact, General Motors Company, as it's now called, has never experienced a darker twelve-month period in its 101-year history. Amid all the turmoil, though, there have been glimmers of hope. Look no further than the Chevrolet Camaro - if you can find one on dealer lots, that is - for proof that GM can build great cars. It's a smashing sales success and, now, an Automobile Magazine All-Star.
Although the Camaro may appear to be a blast from the past, it actually embodies many of GM's most promising changes. Australian engineers at Holden have rightly become the company's global go-to team for rear-wheel-drive cars, and the Camaro is more athletic and sophisticated for it. Another sign of smart thinking is the base Camaro's direct-injected V-6. It's nearly as powerful as the last generation's V-8 but gets almost 30 mpg on the highway. Of course, we don't mind the 6.2-liter V-8 in the Camaro SS (and neither do customers, most of whom have opted for its extra grunt). "The SS had perhaps the best engine roar of any car we had at the track," adds Editor-in-Chief Jean Jennings.
On a deeper level, the Camaro proves that a brash, beautiful American car can still hit an emotional chord with the general public. "It still gets plenty of stares," notes road test coordinator Mike Ofiara.
The Camaro isn't perfect. Our wish list includes sharper handling, a smaller-diameter steering wheel, and a better-dressed interior (although we absolutely love the well-bolstered front seats). Given that the Ford Mustang is already striking back with more horsepower for 2011, Chevy can hardly afford to rest on its laurels. Nonetheless, we can gladly affirm that the reborn and, yes, very bitchin' Camaro is one of our favorite rides for 2010.
Base Price Tange: $23,530-$34,595
Engines: 3.6L V-6, 304 hp, 273 lb-ft; 6.2L V-8, 400/426 hp, 410/420 lb-ft