2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Review


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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS

SEE ALSO: CHEVROLET BUYERS GUIDE

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Engine: 6.2-liter V8 Horsepower/Torque: 426 hp @ 5,900 rpm/400 lb.-ft. @ 5,900 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Wheelbase: 112.3 in.
Length/Width/Height: 190.4 x 75.5 x 54.2 in.
Tires: P245/45ZR20 (F)/P275/40ZR20 (R)
Cargo volume: 11.3 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway/17.3 mpg test
Fuel capacity: NA
Curb weight: 3,849 lbs.
Sticker: $30,995 base

The Bottom Line: The ultimate Camaro is the SS, which should compete well with the Mustang GT and dodge Challenger. It has all the ingredients - power, looks, performance - in a retro design package. It all comes down to Chevy or Ford? Ford or Chevy? or Dodge?

When you first look at the Chevrolet Camaro SS, especially if the paint color is pumpkin orange (not its real name) with black racing stripes, you're somewhat awed. The car is gorgeous, with enough retro from the 1969 Camaro to evoke serious memories (if you're old enough to remember). The only (slight) flaw is that the top looks like it has been chopped (lowered) and the windows are too narrow.

Get in it and fire up the engine and a whole new set of senses come into play. First, there's the sound. The 6.2-liter V8 emits a powerful roar through what must be well-tuned exhaust pipes. then there's the smell. Fool around with the gas pedal too much and there's a scent of exhaust gas that permeates the cabin. It also happens if you blip the throttle when you're driving. It isn't enough carbon monoxide to kill you, but it is enough to set your heart pumping a bit faster.

Shift the gearbox into first and pull out of the driveway and you get another sensation. This car isn't all about looks. It handles like a race car, which has its good and bad points. The good is that it will handle any corner easily and with the huge tires underneath you feel you can hit exit ramps at speed and not worry about going off the road. The bad is that you feel every bump and ripple in the road and your kidneys take a beating.

On Interstates, however, where there aren't as many bumps and ripples, ride quality is more acceptable, but let's face it folks, you don't buy a Camaro SS for Turnpike cruising.

Yes, Virginia, we took the SS on an Interstate cruise to Virginia and it was one of the most frustrating rides I've taken. Think about it: it's a Camaro SS, in orange, with racing stripes. We traveled through three states and my daughter figured I'd have my first ticket before I left the first one. Thanks to cruise control and a judiciously light foot at the right times, her prediction didn't come true. But it was frustrating. There were times with an open road in front of me when I wanted to let the SS have some fun and take me along for the ride.

This leads to my big complaint about cars like this. They're so bad for normal driving. I felt the same way with the Mustang GT I drove a few months back. That's also why I don't drive Ferraris or Lamborghinis.

Even with the disappointment of not trying out the top speed, I did check the 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds (and the quick (60-0 in 123 feet) braking to keep it at 60). The huge 4-piston Brembo disc brakes work as well as the engine.

We checked the SS on my favorite hill climb and it became a mole-hill climb. Whoopie.

The front seats are very comfortable with good side support and high head rests. The rear seats are there. The best we can say about the rears is that the backs fold to create an increase over the 11.3 cubic inch cargo area. In fact, there was enough cargo to silence my wife's fears over not having enough to carry stuff southward.

With a 6-speed manual transmission, there's no fear you'll not find a proper one. However, Chevrolet's 6-speed still has the "automatic" 1-4 shift if you don't move briskly enough away from stop. At first it's annoying, but there are ways to defeat it if you don't want to race away from every stop sign.

There's a nice instrument panel with a large tachometer and speedometer plus water and fuel level gauges inset. There's also a digital speedometer between the two larger gauges. In addition, there are four accessory gauges - oil pressure, volts, oil temperature and transmission temperature - at the base of the center stack.

I found the HVAC controls to be somewhat confusing and feel they could have been designed better.

Overall, the Camaro SS is a fun "super sports" car that is a worthy upgrade from the more mundane LS and LT versions. It has knockout styling, wonderful power and handling, yet it's very tractable when you have to keep it near the posted speed limits and on cruise control for too many miles.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

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