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Old 03-20-2009, 05:54 PM   #1
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Car and Driver Review: SS V8 Short Take Road Test

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS V8 - Short Take Road Test

The arrival of the Chevy Camaro finally completes Detroit’s pony-car trifecta. But did Motown save the best for last?
BY STEVE SILER
March 2009

Since the last pill-shaped F-body Camaro rolled off the line in 2002, the long-fought, often contentious pony-car game has been one of solitaire, played solely by the Ford Mustang. The Mustang went all retro in 2005, and the ensuing craze prompted Dodge and Chevy to rouse their own dormant nameplates (and fans) to take on the foe-less leader. Dodge was first in 2008 with its resurrected Challenger, and now—just as Ford is launching its significantly updated 2010 Mustang—Chevrolet has finally commenced production of its reborn Camaro, completing the new-age pony-car trifecta.
While we will save the official comparison test for later, we can aver that the neo Camaro offers the freshest and most modern package of the three. Built as it is on GM’s superb Zeta full-size platform, it sports a fully independent suspension, along with evocative, contemporary styling that thankfully misses being totally retro. We entered into this first test of the long-awaited 2010 Camaro with high expectations. Indeed, with a 304-hp, 3.6-liter V-6, the base Camaro is nearly as powerful as the Mustang GT, and so we were champing at the bit to see what the Camaro could do in SS form, with a 6.2-liter V-8 stuffed under its hood.

How Quick Is It?

With the six-speed automatic, the Camaro SS can hit 60 mph in a scant 4.6 seconds, with the quarter-mile arriving in 13.1 at 109 mph. At 4.8 seconds, the Camaro with the six-speed manual takes 0.2 second longer to hit 60, but overtakes the automatic by the quarter-mile mark, clocking 13 seconds flat at 111 mph. (The L99 V-8 hooked to the automatic is rated for 400 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, while the LS3/manual combo is good for 426 hp and 420 lb-ft.) For comparison, both the 315-hp 2010 Ford Mustang GT and the 376-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi-powered Dodge Challenger R/T do the trick in 5.1 seconds. The better-matched but pricier Challenger SRT8—with a 425-horse, 6.1-liter Hemi—hits 60 in 4.8 seconds. So until Ford gets the Mustang GT into the gym and stuffs more power under its hood, Chevy has earned bragging rights in the segment where burliness arguably counts the most.

On a drive that took us along the scenic roads east of San Diego, California, we also found the Camaro’s roadholding to be quite stellar—it grips with 0.92 g on a skidpad—thanks in part to the independent multilink suspension out back and the stickiness of the fat, Z-rated 245/45 front and 275/40 rear tires mounted on 20-inch wheels. The variable-ratio steering rack delivers great on-center feel, similar to that which we’ve praised on the Camaro’s platform-mate, the Pontiac G8.

Quiet + Calm Ride = Surprising Comfort

The Camaro SS packs a few surprises, however. The engine is remarkably—and to some, disappointingly—quiet, at least from inside the cabin (based on the shell-shocked looks on the faces of people we blew by, it appears that it’s plenty loud on the outside). For high-speed cruising, this is a good thing, as there is no shred of that exhausting boominess that can add misery to long-haul muscle-car motoring. But at the same time, we found ourselves wanting a bit more of an audible reminder that we were driving something with 426 freakin’ horses under the hood. Even at full tilt, the engine didn’t seem to have the trumpet-like blat of the Challenger R/T’s 5.7-liter, let alone the NASCAR-worthy howl of the 6.1-liter in the SRT8.

Another surprise is the eerily serene ride, which makes the quietness seem even quieter. Particularly at freeway speeds, the Camaro’s Zeta roots pay dividends, striking a brilliant balance between lively, grippy roadholding and wonderfully compliant damping. Meanwhile, the SS offers decent feedback through the steering wheel. A guy could cruise all day in this thing and never feel beat up.

Drives Big

At higher speeds, however, is where one misses things like outward vision. The very low roof, high waistline, and wall-like rear pillars make the car drive big (not good for twisty two-laners), although the Challenger drives bigger yet. Lane-changing is a point-and-squirt affair rather than anything involving an over-the-shoulder check. The exterior mirrors help, with the bonus that they give you a close-up view of the Camaro’s sexy hips. The interior mirror is utterly useless; all one sees when glancing rearward is an ocean of black roof and C-pillars the width of a Sequoia (the tree or the Toyota).

Also disappointing are the hard plastics that we had hoped were banished from GM interiors, but they’ve clearly found their way inside the Camaro. Furthermore, the inset dashboard trim piece that was to be rendered—at least optionally—in a cool illuminated band of light-tube trickery has now become a cloth insert. And finally, as great as the high-mounted squircle-shaped gauges and cool center stack look, the script is tiny and the buttons can be ergonomically challenging in operation.

But the Camaro is beguiling. It has a strong design, a strong heritage, and delivers seriously strong acceleration. It will do well with its established fan base, and should even earn a few more admirers in its new life. And not insignificantly, the EPA just gave it excellent fuel-economy ratings. Could it be better? Absolutely, but at least its deficiencies involve its interior detailing more than its dynamics. Besides, in these tumultuous, unpredictable times, we should celebrate the mere fact that pony cars like this are here at all. Welcome to the herd, little pony.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...take_road_test
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:06 PM   #2
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I was just about to post this, but you beat me to it. At least they got better skidpad #s than MT or Edmunds.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:11 PM   #3
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Furthermore, the inset dashboard trim piece that was to be rendered—at least optionally—in a cool illuminated band of light-tube trickery has now become a cloth insert. And finally, as great as the high-mounted squircle-shaped gauges and cool center stack look, the script is tiny and the buttons can be ergonomically challenging in operation.
I thought it was supposed to be acryllic!!! Did they test a 1SS????

Actually yes they did
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:19 PM   #4
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I thought it was supposed to be acryllic!!! Did they test a 1SS????

Actually yes they did

Then they shouldn't comment on it like they did. Bad reporting.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:22 PM   #5
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but even in the other tests, they were given 2LTs and 2SSs and they had cloth panels, they are getting hit for those,
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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Did C&D just give the car a good review? o_0. Whoa.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:28 PM   #7
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That's a stupid move to give them a car with an incomplete interior and them then commenting stupidly on it.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:41 PM   #8
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but even in the other tests, they were given 2LTs and 2SSs and they had cloth panels, they are getting hit for those,
As long as the customers production cars that are now being built have the appropriate panels, then that was bad reporting. It's irrelevant in a review like this if the panels were cloth in a test, non final production car due to the ABL saga\debacle\panicfest.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:15 PM   #9
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The Camaro SS packs a few surprises, however. The engine is remarkably—and to some, disappointingly—quiet, at least from inside the cabin (based on the shell-shocked looks on the faces of people we blew by, it appears that it’s plenty loud on the outside). For high-speed cruising, this is a good thing, as there is no shred of that exhausting boominess that can add misery to long-haul muscle-car motoring. But at the same time, we found ourselves wanting a bit more of an audible reminder that we were driving something with 426 freakin’ horses under the hood. Even at full tilt, the engine didn’t seem to have the trumpet-like blat of the Challenger R/T’s 5.7-liter, let alone the NASCAR-worthy howl of the 6.1-liter in the SRT8.
Hmmmmm.maybe they should have a tube that pipes noise into the cabin from the engine compartment. What do you think?
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:22 PM   #10
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sounded like a great review for the new camaro SS.

Journalists always need to find some minimal nonsense to complain about ........

Awesome new vehicle especially with a base in the low 30's!
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:23 PM   #11
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Hmmmmm.maybe they should have a tube that pipes noise into the cabin from the engine compartment. What do you think?
hmmm... no

that's one thing they specifically didn't do. they wanted everyone else to be able to hear you, but the people inside be able to talk or listen to the radio without having to crank it way up
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
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C&D is usually pretty much spot on...their only REAL beef was with the interior, which we knew was going to be an issue with the mags. They were ALL even down on the vette interior...so we'll just deal with it...my TBSS interior is no worse than my 335i (exc the seats) as far as i'm concerned.
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Old 03-20-2009, 11:24 PM   #13
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As long as the customers production cars that are now being built have the appropriate panels, then that was bad reporting. It's irrelevant in a review like this if the panels were cloth in a test, non final production car due to the ABL saga\debacle\panicfest.
My guess is that none of the magazines were given cars built since the 16th. Likely they were all cars in the CTF vinatage which all had cloth door and IP trim on the 2LT and 2SS models.

As you say correct now for production. Just might have changed a few impressions of the interior on the uplevel cars.
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Old 03-21-2009, 02:42 AM   #14
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At higher speeds, however, is where one misses things like outward vision. The very low roof, high waistline, and wall-like rear pillars make the car drive big (not good for twisty two-laners), although the Challenger drives bigger yet. Lane-changing is a point-and-squirt affair rather than anything involving an over-the-shoulder check. The exterior mirrors help, with the bonus that they give you a close-up view of the Camaro’s sexy hips. The interior mirror is utterly useless; all one sees when glancing rearward is an ocean of black roof and C-pillars the width of a Sequoia (the tree or the Toyota).

Also disappointing are the hard plastics that we had hoped were banished from GM interiors, but they’ve clearly found their way inside the Camaro.
Furthermore, the inset dashboard trim piece that was to be rendered—at least optionally—in a cool illuminated band of light-tube trickery has now become a cloth insert. And finally, as great as the high-mounted squircle-shaped gauges and cool center stack look, the script is tiny and the buttons can be ergonomically challenging in operation.
Uggghhh. All my fun driving is on twisty, narrow two laners. The G8 is said to feel like it magically shrinks in the turns. Edmunds says the Camaro feels even bigger than it is in the turns. Now this is two reviews saying the same thing. I think I'm out of luck. It also doesn't help that apparently the interior quality won't be an upgrade for me. Not good. Not good at all.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:05 AM   #15
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This was the review that alerted me to the poor visibility. Again, I'll have to see for myself on that front. I mean poor FORWARD visibility? I don't care what anyone says, THAT is not cool. Hopefully raising the seat up a few inches solves that.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:12 AM   #16
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Uggghhh. All my fun driving is on twisty, narrow two laners. The G8 is said to feel like it magically shrinks in the turns. Edmunds says the Camaro feels even bigger than it is in the turns. Now this is two reviews saying the same thing. I think I'm out of luck. It also doesn't help that apparently the interior quality won't be an upgrade for me. Not good. Not good at all.
One of the reviews specifically mentioned the Camaro interior being much better than the Cobalt.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:18 AM   #17
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Uggghhh. All my fun driving is on twisty, narrow two laners. The G8 is said to feel like it magically shrinks in the turns. Edmunds says the Camaro feels even bigger than it is in the turns. Now this is two reviews saying the same thing. I think I'm out of luck. It also doesn't help that apparently the interior quality won't be an upgrade for me. Not good. Not good at all.
Stov, I've seen you pretty concerned about these reviews. Don't let them bring you down, the Camaro is an awesome car! Honestly, just read them, smile about the positive, and wait until you can see one in real life to prove the negative wrong.

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:38 AM   #18
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Not too worried about visibility. I do agree that FORWARD visibility is ..........kinda important. lol

I have grow to be mostly dependant on using my mirrors and I stay aware of my position in traffic. It's mainly the reverse that would be the problem but It'll just take a bit to 'know' the car. I think it will be fine.

BTW, did I mention that I haven't even seen this car in person. lol
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:54 AM   #19
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Not too worried about visibility. I do agree that FORWARD visibility is ..........kinda important. lol

I have grow to be mostly dependant on using my mirrors and I stay aware of my position in traffic. It's mainly the reverse that would be the problem but It'll just take a bit to 'know' the car. I think it will be fine.

BTW, did I mention that I haven't even seen this car in person. lol
Yeah, getting in the car, adjusting the seat/mirrors and getting used to the feel (especially acceleration) should soon alleviate my fears.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:15 PM   #20
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Uggghhh. All my fun driving is on twisty, narrow two laners. The G8 is said to feel like it magically shrinks in the turns. Edmunds says the Camaro feels even bigger than it is in the turns. Now this is two reviews saying the same thing. I think I'm out of luck. It also doesn't help that apparently the interior quality won't be an upgrade for me. Not good. Not good at all.

I notice in your profile that you drive a 70 cutlass and a cobalt. ( I myself drive a G5 which is the same thing)

I think you have nothing to worry about driving on a twisty road, as neither of those machines are cornering maniacs, either.

I don't mean that in an offensive way, if it comes out sounding like that. Just saying no way it will handle worse than something from the 70s or a FWD economy sport coupe.
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Old 03-21-2009, 07:25 PM   #21
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No worries. The Cutlass is certainly a pure boulevard cruiser. The Cobalt is small and nimble, but it has no performance qualifications to speak of. The Camaro has the performance numbers, no doubt about it, and the steering sounds fine. The only question is the perceived size. GMR is pretty narrow and it seems going around every blind turn I have to avoid sport bikers practically laying down in my lane. Smaller size would have helped with that.

Reading this again, I realized this was the same review that included the comically mal-adjusted mirrors. Their comments about poor visibility carry less weight now that I realize they come from the same people who think mirrors should be adjusted to show the quarter panels.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:19 PM   #22
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mirrors

yes, if you see too much of the "sexy hips" then you will have a bigger blind spot, which sounds like it's a major problem. The mustang is hard to drive for the same reason, the little rear-quarter windows will only give you a little flash of color if something bright and shiny is there. If they could have made the camaro like the concept without the b-pillars then just turning you head would be easy.

The rear visibility is getting worse on all cars these days with higher decks and especially spoilers on top of those even on cars like Cobalt. You can't see much out of the back of that car with the spoiler. You can't see anything at all out of the back of the subaru STI with its enormous rice wing.

Or how bout this? Buy one with a sunroof, keep it open, and mount a huge rice wing on the roof, with a polished chrome bottom, and use that as your rear-view mirror! Style and substance. haha.


But I can say, that if you see ceiling fabric, then you either have your rear-view mirror poorly adjusted, or you are sitting too low, which would give you an angle looking up to the ceiling, just scooting your chair up will give you a more rearward view, and increase forward visibility too (over the hood cowl).

Sitting in my friends mustang, on the passenger side, there is very little visibility, but when I drove it I noticed the driver seat is much higher and its a good bit better visibility that way, maybe just cause passenger side doesn't adjust, but the ride will seem lower to the passenger. This is why they have the 6-way power DRIVER Seat.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:25 PM   #23
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side mirrors

Can you replace the mirrors on the sides with a convex-shaped mirror (curved bowing outward) that will give you a wider angle view, like a wide angle lens? It would take some getting used to the distortion, but it might help. I've seen the little ones you can glue on big truck mirrors to make them like bi-focals, but this would be an obstruction on small car mirrors.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:57 PM   #24
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camaro with polished rice wing rear view mirror

here's what that may look like

Remember to keep the sunroof open or else it won't work! Almost looks good enough to be Front Wheel Drive and have slightly-modified single exhaust! mm-mmmmm.
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:42 AM   #25
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here's what that may look like

Remember to keep the sunroof open or else it won't work! Almost looks good enough to be Front Wheel Drive and have slightly-modified single exhaust! mm-mmmmm.
haha, damn ricers
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