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Old 07-02-2009, 12:10 PM   #1
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My thoughts on the 5th Gen...from a 9 year 4th Gen owner

Well, the wait is finally over...and after putting 2,100 miles on my new SS over the past week, I can say that I'm thoroughly impressed. Now, where in the world to start....

The looks of this car just blow me away. I've said it from day one. Pictures do not do this car justice. And...I've heard it from so many people as well. Peoples faces just light up when they lay eyes on this car for the first time. They can't stop walking around it, looking inside, standing back, just to take it all in. It REALLY IS that much better in person.

But, we all know this car has the amazing looks already. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty.


I've driving 4th Gens for 9 years now. I know how they handle and I know what I can do when and where to make my 02 SS react in certain ways. So, the best comparison for the new 5th Gen is it's predecessor, the 4th Gen.

For starters, when I first got into the new 5th Gen, it felt a little sluggish in the low end. I was actually kind of worried. There didn't seem to be much torque and I didn't get that neck snapping feeling when I pushed down on that go peddle. That kind of scared me. Here I was in a perfectly good 4th Gen that took me from 0 to WOAH!!! in no time. And now? I've gotten myself into something that didn't give me that same reaction. Well, THAT CHANGED.

I only got on it once out of Toms dealer just to see (since I was concerned about break in period). We drove it out to Carlisle and back...and were VERY easy on it. I'll get to the long trip info in a sec.

After putting about 550 miles on the car, it was time to head home. THIS is where I found out what the LS3 is capable of.

It feels like the car could use some low end gearing, right? Well, in my opinion, it's almost the same. I could toss in different gears. For now, I'm happy. But, compared to the 4th Gen, it's almost the same. I'm thinking the traction control might be messing with me a bit and as I learn it more, won't have the same issues. I do feel that the 4th Gen spun the wheels a bit easier. But, give it time...

The top end on this car is where it's at. From 70 on up in 3rd, this car SCREAMS. You could EASILY get this car from 80 to 130 in no time (not that I'm saying I've done that.....just saying....). It pulls like the 4th Gen in the top end AND THEN SOME. For those of you who like to bracket race and always had the other guy in the opposite lane pull out in front of you only to have you chase him down in the end......yeah....and then he turns around and says, "I had no idea how much pull that LS1 has in the top end! It just doesn't stop!!!" Yeah...the LS3 gives those same results...BUT WITH EVEN MORE PULL. It is INCREDIBLE.

The power is there in the 5th Gen. You just have to break in the motor properly and loosen it up, if you know what I mean. At least, this is my experience. I know for a fact that with a CAI, this car is going to move that much quicker. That will be all the power that I need at this time. After the warranty goes, I think a CAM would be in my future to bring up that low end torque. I also think I might add in some gears.

But for now........GM got this right. The LS3 is AWESOME.


Hands down, the most comfortable Camaro ever built. Yeah, I loved the old "sitting in a cockpit of an aircraft" feeling of the 4th Gen. But, in this car, it's like you are actually sitting a little higher and you can tell this is NO 4th Gen. This is a completely different car. THIS is what it should feel like.

The seats are beyond my expectations. The leather....WOW....the comfort....HOLY CRAP....!!! I sat in those seats for 10 hours each day and I have to say, the only part of me that got sore/tires, was my right knee (from being in the same position). I moved the seat all the way back to stretch out (since I'm 6'2" and I have to move the seat forward to get the right positioning). That stretched out my knee and really helped. But, my back was GREAT. These seats are awesome....and I can't say enough about them. My wife LOVES the fact that there is no longer a hump in the floor board where she sits now... Big improvement there too.

The controls are out of this world. I didn't expect a rubber like feeling to the controls. It is easier to hold, makes it feel more "grippable," and makes the dials feel "real." The controls are not of a 4th Gen. They are of a much higher quality NEW vehicle. I was blown away by the center stack controls as well.

The dash gauges...oh...the colors are BRIGHT. And, you can turn down the brightness if you want....straight to turning of the ambient lighting as well. But, with beautiful blue and orange colors like those, who in the world would want to not show them off??? I had people speeding up to get next to me so they could see the dash colors of my car at night! They loved it!

The Ride:

One MILLION times better than that of the 4th Gen. THIS is where GM outdid themselves. It's like, you can tell this car was not just built to go was built for the everyday driver as well. The IRS and suspension makes the regular bumps in the roads that I go over every day nearly disappear. The ride can I explain.... My dad owned BMW's and Mercedes cars for a while. He also owned a Cadillac CTS. All of them had WONDERFUL rides. I would put the ride of the Camaro in the same catagory as these cars. I've said it a few times, but it's like driving dads Mercedes. It is SOLID. The window indexing makes the ride QUIET. The cabin noise virtually disappeared compared to the 4th Gen. At 70 mph, it was super quiet in the cabin. I then rolled down the windows and WOOOSH!!!! It was like super noisy, wind blowing, etc. COMPLETELY different and was unexpected. You get used to having the windows up since it is no quiet and nice.

The ride of this car is superior to ANYTHING I have ever owned. All you owners out there know exactly what I'm talking about.

The steering wheels seems larger...a bit different in gripping...and I can't put my hand at the bottom center of the wheel where I usually put i on long trips. It is just comfortable there. But, you have a spoke there making that choice void.

Anyone remember how the front 4th Gens seat belt snap (next to the center console) would rub front to back on the console leaving a white moon like shape from the rubbing? Not on the 5th Gen. The belt snap hook is away from the center console. There will hopefully be no rubbing over time.

I like how the cup holders seem to be lower in the center console than the previous holders. That puts the drink further down in the center console and doesn't mess with your arm when shifting. COOL!

Windshield wipers are freakin cool. They are completely covered by the metal so they don't look like snap on's. Much nicer and much CLEANER.

I LOVE having a trunk. Nuff said, there.


After 2,100 miles, I can say that the comparison between 4th Gen and 5th Gen is an easy one. Ride, handling, comfort, technology (usb, homelink, etc), top end, EASILY go to the 5th gen. Since I had a couple upgrades to my 4th Gen's intake, I have to say the bottom end goes to my 4th Gen. But, with a CAI, I think the 5th Gen is going to take that cake too.

WINNER: 5th Gen!

Thanks, GM ....for putting out such a great sports car. The fit and finish is beyond my expectations. The quality is out of this world...and the PHENOMENAL.


You really out did yourselves!

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Old 07-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #2
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2003 GMC Envoy SLE
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:16 PM   #3
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Great write up TAG, well put.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:17 PM   #4

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Lol how can You not love a 5th gen?
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:18 PM   #5

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Very well written Tag.....Although I've not had that much seat time in a 5th gen I can tell you the change that got my attention was the cockpit. The designers did such an awesome job with this. Funny how you mentioned the knobs and controls. GM spent alot of time on the fit and feel...

Dam I want to go home and get that thing out of the garage now!!!!!!
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:20 PM   #6

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Nice write up Tag! Thanks for the info. Sounds line the ride home went smothly for you. Congrats on finally getting your car home.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION......again......
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:23 PM   #7
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Sounds awesome TAG, it's finally HOME!
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:26 PM   #8
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I'll pass your positive comments to my fellow build team members. Thank You
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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^Thanks! really is that great of a car. I'm still so amazed.

I can't wait to get it to the track for a couple runs to see what it can do. I'm thinking high 12's in this weather.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:43 PM   #10

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Nice report. I can't wait to sit in one myself to check out the seat comfort.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:50 PM   #11
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WOW! Awesome review!! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:06 PM   #12
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I never drove a 4th Gen. Rode in plenty but never drove. I would have been SHOCKED if someone put a 4th, over this car.

Great review. You had ME scared when you started in on the power.
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:08 PM   #13
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con grats on getting her home. my 1982 z28 has a cool feel also but the 5th gen for me has to be 100 times better. i ask my brother to stand 30 feet from garage wile i pulled her out for fist veiw. i said when you fist see her you will feel tingly but dont worry that will be followed by an uncuntroled smile. try this!!! chevys rule!!!!!!
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Old 07-02-2009, 02:14 PM   #14
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Nice you also need i shifter for the car and the CAI from Vararam.
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