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Old 04-13-2014, 11:12 PM   #1
Billy10mm
 
Drives: 2014 Camaro 2SS 1LE NPP
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2014 1LE Review

On Friday, April 11th, my eight year old son Tyler and I picked up my 2014 Summit White Camaro 2SS 1LE NPP from Rodgers Chevrolet in Woodhaven Michigan. I had factory ordered the car from Becky Doyle (BeckyD@RodgersChevrolet here on Camaro5) back in mid February. After taking delivery of the vehicle, we cruised the Woodward car scene, slept for the night, then drove approximately 690 miles home to Hartsdale NY the next day. The following is my impressions of the car following the completion of that trip.

The 1LE visual differences really set this car off. The wide stance provided by the black ZL1 wheels accompanied by the standard Camaro rear fender flares, really give this car the look of power and purpose. The slimmer front grill area on the 2014s also make the front end look lower to the ground, the car takes on a generally “raked” appearance that pleases me to no end. This thing is hotness.

The interior is great in some ways and cheap in others. I prefer NOT to have the gauge-pack as I’d find much more use for that space as a tray to hold my wallet or cell phone – especially since all of that data is available on the dashboard. Some of the cheap plastic bits are really really cheap, but generally speaking, I got a better interior than I expected. The elbow-rest on the door in conjunction with the center armrest made the almost 700 mile trip back home quite comfortable. I did not get Recaros at my wife's behest, and in all honesty, the stock seats aren't bad. They don't have anywhere near the bolstering of the Recaros, but they did help make that long ass trip bearable and are perfectly acceptable for non-track spirited driving. The dead-pedal will help for track duty.

The Heads-Up-Display (HUD) was something that my wife wanted and I was somewhat against, I thought it was “gimmicky”. Thank god she got her way, as this thing is F’ing incredible. Getting my turn-by-turn On-Star directions (I opted out of Nav when spec’ing my build) right up in front of me, without having to take my eyes off the road for even a minute, was refreshing. Having a digital tach up on the windshield allowed me to keep my eyes straight on in front of me when pulling to redline in 2nd and 3rd gear. The G-meter is cool as hell. I heard a quote 20 years ago and my wife and I laugh at how true it is, “A luxury, once sampled, becomes a necessity.” I’m going to have to have HUD’s in all my cars from now on.

The view out of the vehicle was something I was worried about; it seems to attract a lot of negative comments in many reviews. I have no idea what everyone is whining about. Yes, the view out the front is slim, but you can see everything you need to. If I had to worry about dodging Kamikaze’s coming at me from above, this would not be the car, but for everything else the view out the front is more than adequate. The lack of B-pillar anywhere in my peripheral vision adds that much more vision to my sides, and these mirrors adjust out farther than any other vehicle I’ve owned. I use my side mirrors solely as blind-spot references, and push them out as far as they go. On most cars, I need them to go farther to get the best possible coverage in conjunction with my rear-view mirror, but on the Camaro, after initially setting them out as far as they would go, I had to reel both sides back in. Once set, the coverage through the blind-spot was perfect in that there is no blind spot, I can see everything in the lane next to me, as well as behind me, without needing to turn my head at all.

The MyLink screen/center is interesting, but confusing even for this professional techie. I know Becky showed me, but I was too distracted by the idling symphony going on behind on us to remember (sorry Becky), so I have no idea how to set any of my radio presets. I’ve cursed at the MyLink once or twice so far. I’m sure once I go through the manual and get it set up the way I like, I will come to love it, but for now, it can occasionally be vexing. Now on to the good stuff.

The chassis is the cat’s meow. The suspension is stiff but well dampened, so not harsh by any means. The body is extremely rigid. This car makes all of its moves in one motion. Turn the steering wheel and the car changes direction as a whole. Hit a bump and there is a single compression/rebound motion – just one. This isn’t your father’s Chevrolet. Today I offered to drive my wife 40 miles to the mall, since that what a good husband who is dying for an excuse to drive his car does. This was Anna’s first ride in the car and about 5 miles in she said, “Wow, this car is very good over the bumps, its not jarring at all.” I am so far continually amazed at how little body roll and brake dive there is in this car given the suppleness of the suspension.

The tires are bat-shit crazy. I have a great friend who is a track instructor with the BMW Car Club of America. He saw the Tweet I sent on Friday that was a picture of the rear Supercar G2 and in a phone conversation about the car the next morning he stated, “Holy shit. Those things are more committed than my dedicated track-tires.” I had fantastic weather this weekend (80 degress today!), and the tires were quite sticky. I’ve had very little experience thus far with the lateral acceleration of the car, but I’ve gotten the G-meter up to a 0.88 on an on-ramp and the tires haven’t shown any sign of complaint or stress. It has been a very long time since I’ve driven a car this capable and its going to take some time to re-wire my brain to the levels of grip this thing has. Hopefully the next couple of auto-cross weekends will take care of that in short order, because I'm dying to scare the shit out of some coworkers who have no idea why I bought one of these "redneck" quarter-mile cars.

The steering wheel is of a good size and thickness for my XXL-sized hands. I love the alcantara. The steering is strange. At first I found it lighter than I like, but I later realized that the electric assist does some cool things. For instance, when not moving, the steering wheel can be turned by a single finger using unbelievably little pressure. Once under way, the pressure increases. I noted that the steering got noticeably heavier under strong lateral maneuvers, but I don’t remember there being much feedback. It could be that I was concentrating on other aspects since I wasn’t familiar with the car, it could be that the electrically assisted steering lacks feel. The upcoming auto-crosses will hopefully answer that question. On-center feel is somewhere between Good and Excellent. The speed is damn near perfect. All of your serious driving can be done without removing your hands from 9 and 3, but it isn’t so fast as to be “darty” or twitchy. Overall, my first experience with electric steering is a good one.

The transmission is really something special. The shifter has the same positivity to its throws as a Mazda Miata – and that’s saying something. The gates are spaced very well as to not be too far, while not making it too easy to grenade your motor by missing a downshift. The shift knob in alcantara is fantastic. The throw distance is perfect. I really can’t get over that this is a Chevy. I would expect to find a shift mechanism of this quality in a great German car, or a spectacular Japanese car. I would never in a million years believe something this good could come out of GM. The gear spacing is, and I must sound like I work for GM at this point, absolutely spectacular. The car doesn’t have to leave the power band between 1st and 4th and 3rd gear is the sweet spot getting you briskly from 35mph to triple digit speeds. And in 5th and 6th, you have yourself two different overdrive gears for handling the fine balance between lugging the motor and getting the best fuel economy. The overall transmission package is just so damned hard to fault. Golf-clap to GM on this one.

Brakes have plenty of power, but lack initial bite and so far appear to lack feel. I say “so-far” because I have yet to have even a second in the car to myself. All drives thus-far have contained one or more passengers and given the stickiness of the Goodyears, threshold braking tests could well put seat-belt burns into people’s chests. This is another one of those aspects of the car that will be better defined after the first couple of auto-cross days.

The motor is, as most of you already know, oh so delightful. The flexibility of the small-block Chevy is so well show-cased here in the LS3 that I can’t even imagine what the new LT1 in the C7 Vette is like. It pulls like a 737 at take-off. The thrust doesn’t appear to taper off at all, only being interrupted by the need to shift into a higher gear, which comes quite quickly. It will also happily chug along at 1500RPM in 6th gear (NOTE: Do not ask too much of it at this RPM in this gear, you will lug it). I made it exactly 357 miles between fuel stops on the way home and averaged just under 23mpg for that tank. Find me another motor with this level of output that can do that.

The dual-mode exhaust is ****ing intoxicating. Please excuse the language there, but it is warranted as the sound alone is worth the price of the car. While my wife appreciates the radio, you could rip the speakers out for all I care. All the music I need is going on behind me. The pops on decel make me giddy. The burbles at idle, off-idle throttle blip, and startup, are just too sexy to accurately describe. While I love Italian sports cars for their beauty and track-readiness, I much prefer the sound of a properly un-corked SBC and to my ear, this is the best sounding motor/exhaust combo in the world. Following Becky from Rodgers to the not-so-secret warehouse about 45 minutes away, a prelude sporting an NSX body-kit came up and after hearing me blow by on one of my “break-in pulls”, he slotted in just aft of my car for a few miles and listened as I would pull through 3rd, then slow back down to do it all over again. He gave me a wave and a thumbs-up when he broke off for an exit. Getting my post-break-in oil change done this morning, the service guys smiled when they started the car up. I yelled, “Put your foot into it”. The grins didn’t leave either of their faces for a matter of minutes.

As a final note, this is a true sports-car. This is not a “muscle car” as would be classically defined, to call it such would be an insult. This is a tool; a very well engineered one. I got more car than I expected and I cannot wait to drive it again. I hope the 1LE continues to be offered as a package in the coming years. To pull 1LE from the menu would deprive far too many people of the bliss that is to drive it.

This upcoming week is my kid's spring-break and we are to drive to Boston and Rhode Island on a 3-day excursion. I'm pushing for us to take the Camaro.

Last edited by Billy10mm; 04-15-2014 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:00 AM   #2
Oregon1LE
 
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Very good write up Billy,
Thank you.
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:25 AM   #3
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To do radio presets, just go to the station of your choice, and then press and hold on one of the preset slots
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Old 04-14-2014, 06:36 AM   #4
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Awesome review!! Could not agree with you more. Have fun and drive safe.


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Old 04-14-2014, 06:46 AM   #5
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You are one of us now..
One of us, one of us, gooble gobble gooble gobble.
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Old 04-14-2014, 07:10 AM   #6
Kendall421
 
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Sweet! Can't wait to get mine in a few weeks! As for the MyLink...you will love it eventually. I put a Pioneer BX8500 stereo in my Traverse and it does SO much. I was confused at first and I too am a techie. But I have it figured out now. The My Link radio is very similar.


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Old 04-14-2014, 08:55 AM   #7
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That was a well written review. Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:15 AM   #8
Buffman
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Ah memories of my first drive home from dealer...
Nice write up!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:47 AM   #9
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Great write up! GM should hire you!
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Old 04-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #10
SSMY1LE
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I concur 100% with you, I too felt all those great impressions within my first week of ownership. I've never owned a Camaro and only been in one briefly last fall. Picked mine up last Monday but have only put on about 200 miles, need to get my act together and get out there more.
Thinking about a drive down to the "Tail of the Dragon" soon.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:37 AM   #11
ProfessorRhone
 
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Great write-up, Can't wait to have these experiences myself when mine finally gets here
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:56 AM   #12
Darwood
 
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It's reviews like this that are going to make the wait that much more difficult.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:01 AM   #13
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"The view out of the vehicle was something I was worried about; it seems to attract a lot of negative comments in many reviews. I have no idea what everyone is whining about. Yes, the view out the front is slim, but you can see everything you need to."

Totally agree, on my 3rd 5th Gen and love the "thin" windshield, it would be a disaster if they changed it, all helps with the overall look of the car. Don't like it? Don't buy it.
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Old 04-14-2014, 11:11 AM   #14
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Fantastic 1st impressions write up!

I have a very hard time convincing people that this is not your garden variety 1/4 mile camaro. A trip down a nice windy back road here in central Texas usually has them pulling their shorts out of their backside and asking what I've done to make this care handle like it does.

I agree w/you on the NPP exhaust. It is, in a word, sublime.

Congrats again on your purchase! I know you'll grow to love it more & more every time you get in the driver's seat.

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Old 04-14-2014, 11:48 AM   #15
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Great review, great purchase. Congrats on your 1le
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Old 04-14-2014, 12:00 PM   #16
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Nice review .
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Old 04-14-2014, 01:08 PM   #17
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Now, that is what I call a review!! Billy, very well written my friend. I am dying to get into our 1LE, which is on a train as we speak and heading south and enjoy all that you have found. The only wrinkle in my plan, being here in N central TX working for god only knows how much longer. Car is due in this week, so my son and wife will tell me how nice it is. Oh well, it makes the OT I'm working all worth it.
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Old 04-14-2014, 03:42 PM   #18
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Very nice review. When in competition Mode the steering tightens up more and delivers better feedback.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:56 PM   #19
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The guy who said he hated the 1LE should read this. :-)

Very nice review and you "must" drive the car without any passengers so that you don't have to "hold back" and to break it in. (Both the car and your grin.)
Get it out in it's native habitat (the track!)
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:04 PM   #20
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i love my 1le.. but its been at the dealer for a month getting the trans rebuilt.. i guess i got one of those friday built trans lol... 5k miles.. so for you guys grinding 2nd at high rpms might want to get it checked out... but i cant wait to get it back!!!!!!
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:18 AM   #21
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I hear you on the initial brake bite thing.

Before going to VIR 2 weeks ago, I swapped the factory pads for EBC yellow stuff ones. The initial bite is a lot better, they do stop harder... But, they are a softer pad and produce a lot more dust. My wheels stay filthy now. Also, after one track weekend, I went from 11mm of pad material to 5mm.

So, I do like the EBC's a little better than the stock pads. But I am going to try out another couple of pad compounds/manufacturers to see if there is something better out there.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:05 PM   #22
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Great review OP! Thanks for taking the time to write that post. I am sure it was a memorable trip for you and your son. I bet he is already looking forward to getting his license and taking over the keys. Make sure he will be ready.

What was his review of the 1LE?

I think to really appreciate just how special the 1LE is you have to have owned/driven a few other high performance cars. The 1LE is solid and feels to me much like a pricey high performance German car. Although it will put most of them on the trailer around a track. Let us know how your AutoXing goes.
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:34 PM   #23
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oh man... very nice read very well written&described.it raises my envy to have mine... --end of may early june--- i'm very happy for you. congrats!
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Old 04-15-2014, 06:41 PM   #24
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Great review I cant wait Im headed to Rodgers this Thursday to get mine )))
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:04 PM   #25
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so far the radio was something i miss in my present dd. the fact that #1 was fm #2 am and 3-5 was xm and 6 was am again.. all the way.. is very nice. my present car i have to change to fm.. then find the preset.. push to am for am... now it is nice that the car has a bluetooth command. go to fm2 or go to bluetooth..

grats on car and nice write up!
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Updated w/ Willow Springs:
1. Nissan GTR Track Pack 1:19.6 2. Ducati 1198 S 1:19.7 3. Nissan GTR 1:20.3 4. Corvette Z06 1:20.4
5. Audi R8 V10 Plus 1:22.0 6. Ferrari 458 Italia 1:22.3
7. CAMARO SS 1LE 1:22.7
8. Shelby GT 500 1:23.5
9. Mustang Gt Track Pack 1:25.8
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