2010 Chevrolet Camaro V-6

Sam Smith

Equipment: Speak softly and don't carry a big stick (axle)

The Camaro is both smaller and lighter than the G8, and while it was developed by the same team as the G8 (GM's Global Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicle group, based in Australia), it benefits from a more sporting, less compromised focus where chassis tuning is concerned. Front struts are paired with a multilink independent rear suspension, and though most suspension components are shared between V-6 and V-8 Camaros, a few differences do exist. Marginally stiffer bushing rates are found on eight-cylinder cars, as well as unique rear toe links and slightly shorter front springs. (The front ride height of V-8 Camaros is ten millimeters lower than that of the V-6-powered examples.)

Braking is accomplished by discs all around; the V-6 sports 12.6-inch cast-iron rotors in front, with 12.4-inch aluminum units in the rear. Single-piston calipers live at all four corners, and both ABS and electronic stability control are standard. (V-8s get four-piston Brembo brakes equipped with 14.4-inch aluminum rotors.)

On the rolling stock front, 18-inch steel wheels are standard on the V-6-powered LS, with 18-inch aluminum wheels available on the V-6-powered LT. (19-inch alloys are also available on the LT, and V-8-powered SS models receive 20-inch alloys as standard.)

On the road, the V-6 Camaro is surprisingly nimble and light on its feet, especially given its rather hefty curb weight. And though you'll never mistake it for a stripped-down sports car, the '10 Camaro's handling limits are more approachable and, ultimately, more entertaining than those of a Mustang or a Challenger. The back end takes a set almost immediately upon turn-in, and you can feel the rear suspension working over every bump and lump and crest in the road. Road impacts are sopped up like they barely exist, and even the harshest of potholes or mid-corner crags require only minor steering correction. Through it all, you're able to keep your foot planted, flying over harsh pavement in a way that never would have been possible in a 1967-2002 F-body.

Steering feel is still under development - at the time of our drive, the 18-inch wheel and tire package offered much better feedback and feel than the 19-inch setup - but we can say this: At its best, the Camaro's rack-and-pinion setup offers little to no kickback, decent (if not spectacular) feel, and a respectable amount of self-centering effort. It reminds you of a more lively, less assisted version of the Pontiac G8's rack.

All in all, it's more than a little impressive.

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