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New Car Review

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SEE ALSO:Chevrolet Buyer's Guide

Camaro has been Chevrolet's muscle car for close to 30 years now. Since 1966 this feisty model has gone through several revisions and model changes, but it has always retained its stature as a viable street-machine as well as a sporty car. In performance trim it has distinguished itself in both amateur and professional racing. In street trim it has been a part of the heartbeat of America. However, for over a decade something has been missing - a convertible. It disappeared back in the mid-seventies. But the fourth generation Camaro begins its second year of production with some minor changes and one very notable addition. The convertible is back. It is not a limited production aftermarket conversion but a true built-right-on-the-assembly-line factory convertible. Its already extra-stiff lower chassis section is constructed of heavier-gauge metal plus additional reinforcements to provide a solid foundation that minimizes the flexing and rattles so often found in convertibles. The almost fully automatic top is a wonderfully simple device, and is comparable in quality, construction and ease of use to far more expensive European models.

The sleek 1994 Camaro convertible is available in two trim levels; base and Z-28. Having already previewed the Z-28 (V8) coupe in 1993, this time I opted for the base (V6) convertible.

APPEARANCE: The new 1994 Camaro convertible rates a 10 for styling and appearance. When fitted with alloy wheels and Goodyear Eagle GA tires the V6 soft top-shares its aggressive stance and sleek good looks with the more powerful Z28. In fact the convertible version looks every bit as good as the coupe with the top up and absolutely fabulous with it down. The use of dent-resistant plastic compounds for all body panels except the hood and rear fender panels permitted the stylish designs that would not be possible with steel. Its low hood line with recessed headlamps, plus its steeply raked windshield and built-in rear spoiler concisely state potential performance.

COMFORT: The cockpit is ergonomically designed for the business of safe driving. Everything is where it should be and within easy reach. The weather-resistant grippy cloth seats are great and good for all day driving. The drivers' power seat provides good comfort and support, plus excellent vision for drivers of all sizes. However, the rear ones are reminiscent of Boeing 737 seating. All of the power amenities are part of a preferred equipment package, as is the remote keyless entry system. Interior storage is good, but trunk area is restricted due the area used to store the top. A word about the top. It is fully lined and is equipped with a rear defogger for a coupe-like feeling when buttoned up. It retracts quickly into its flush rear pocket after unsnapping two latches and pushing a button. Putting it up is equally quick and easy. Just push a button and it takes less than ten-second to cycle. An easy-on, easy-off three-piece hard plastic cover dresses up the rear deck for top-down travel.

SAFETY: Safety considerations in the 1994 Camaro include driver and passenger air bags, and three- point seat belts. In addition there's the PASS-Key theft deterrent system, standard anti-lock braking and road-gripping Goodyear Eagle GA P235/55R16 Touring tires.

ROADABILITY: The V6 Camaro is a sporty "personal car", not an all-out sports car like the more- powerful V8-equipped Z28. As such it is softer riding and more compliant, but for balance it is equipped with new shocks and stabilizer bars. Its riding characteristics are designed to provide all-day driving comfort combined with fun-in-the-sun travel Whether the top is up or down the new Camaro is relatively quiet on the road. With the top down and the windows up it is quiet enough to hear the AM/FM/cassette sound system and feel the output of the heater or air conditioning. The long steeply raked windshield acts as a buffer and cuts down on the wind turbulence in passenger area. Due to restricted rear-quarter vision I found it safer to quickly put the top down when backing out of congested parking areas.

PERFORMANCE: The base engine for the Camaro is a new 3.4 liter pushrod overhead-valve V6 that develops 160 horsepower. It features direct ignition and sequential port fuel injection, and runs quite well on regular unleaded gasoline. A powertrain control module links it and the 4L60-E electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, and insures smooth shifts and proper power application for all driving conditions. A quiet purr emits from its stainless steel exhaust .

CONCLUSION: The Camaro V6 convertible offers fun and flair at a reasonable price.


	   Base Price              $ 18,475 
	   Price As Tested         $ 22,544 
	   Engine Type             V-6, ohv - pushrod, smpfi
	   Engine Size             3.4 liter/207 cid   
	   Horsepower              160 @ 4600
	   Torque (ft/lbs)         200 @ 3600
	   Wheelbase/Length        101"/193"
	   Transmission            four speed auto w/od
	   Curb Weight             3350
	   Pounds per Horsepower   21
	   Fuel Capacity           15
	   Fuel Requirement        Unleaded regular (87 oct)
	   Tire                    Goodyear Eagle GA 235/55R16 
	   Brake                   anti-lock standard     disc/drum
	   Drive Train             front engine/rear drive
	   EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
	     city/highway/observed      19/28/23.7
	   0 to 60 mph                  9.8 sec           
	   1/4 mi (E.T.)                16.9 sec  
	   Coefficient of drag (cd)     .33 - with top up