• Apr 22, 2009
2010 Chevy Camaro V6 RS – Click above for high-res image gallery

The V6 Chevrolet Camaro. This is supposed to be a joke, right? The bent-six Camaro was Detroit's version of the triple-white Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet – only girly-girls needed apply. In the case of the Camaro, said chicks generally had big hair, cranked Slaughter on the ACDelco cassette player and actually used the ashtrays in the manner for which they were designed. If you were a guy driving a V6 (or, God forbid, an Iron Duke four) Chevy Camaro during the time Def Leppard boasted its original lineup, well, that was terribly unfortunate. The dudes with Z28s and IROCs doubtless sniggered as you rolled by with that exquisite rental-car exhaust note. This "Six Stigma" applied right through to the F-Body's demise in 2002. So let's be honest with one another: the six-cylinder car was for hairdressers. Which brings us to today, and the arrival of the new, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro V6. After driving the SS during the week of the New York Auto Show, we were prepared to be bitterly disappointed with the pre-production six-cylinder Camaro RS that The General sent us a few days later. So much for that. Preconceptions? Obliterated.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.

To recap: the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is a glorious case study in politically-incorrect motoring, dripping with attitude and a ferocious 426-horsepower V8 punch that feels like it's delivered with brass knuckles. Some folks will hate what it represents. Its drivers will just smile as billows of tire smoke pour out of the wheel wells and into the ozone layer. Conversely, the V6 offerings have always seemed like lame afterthoughts, but with the 2010 Camaro, GM has flipped the script. You see, you can make a pretty strong case that the V6 is really the better car.



In fact, if you're going to drive the Camaro every day, the six-cylinder car is almost certainly the better pick. It looks fundamentally the same as its hairy-chested big brother, save for some subtle visual differences. There's no false hood scoop and the V6 lacks the SS's more pronounced chin. Out back, there's a different diffuser insert in the rear bumper. Otherwise, the six-cylinder Camaro is every bit the head-turner as the SS. The casual, untrained eye won't even tell the difference, especially if you doll up the V6 car with the RS package, as our tester came equipped. That adds red grille and trunked badges, 20-inch SS-lookalike wheels, HID lamps with halo-effect lights, and a rear decklid spoiler.



Turning the ignition switch (the Camaro uses a flip-out, Volkswagen-style switchblade key fob), the car comes to life with all the aural mayhem of a Buick Enclave. There's no telltale "you really don't want to step to this" exhaust burble as with the SS. Instead, the 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 idles quietly like an altar boy on his best behavior. Pull the six-speed automatic down into "drive" and get into the throttle, however, and you find that the six-equipped Camaro has a growl all its own. But it's fleeting; that's because in regular drive mode, the HydraMatic upshifts early and often as it attempts to maximize fuel efficiency. This is much appreciated on the highway, where we averaged a little over 26 mpg on a one-way, 60-mile commute into Manhattan. But when you're cruising locally, not so much. Obviously, if you don't check the slushbox option in the first place, this isn't a concern. If you do pony up for the auto, however, fret not: the solution is just one notch away on that console-mounted gear selector.



Below "D" (which may as well stand for "dull"), you'll find "M" (which probably stands for something like "manual" but could just as easily be shorthand for "much more fun"), and that's the place to be. In one of life's great mysteries, choosing "M" displays an "S" on the multifunction display in WALL-E-esque* primary gauge cluster (*hat tip to SS post commenter Ed for that Pixar-perfect description). This begs the question as to why GM doesn't put "S" on the shifter, too. I'm sure there were several rounds of meetings during which people wearing ties argued this very point, and that somewhere in the bowels of the Renaissance Center there exists a Powerpoint slide that makes sense of it all. To someone. But we digress.



Once you have the transmission in Sport mode (that's what we're calling it henceforth), you can begin to appreciate what the V6 Camaro brings to the party. For one, it holds onto gears as long as possible, and as the car builds up a head of steam, you notice that while it's about as noisy as a librarian at idle, under power, the exhaust belts out a nicely-tuned, Nissan VQ-ish honk. A V6 Camaro that actually sounds cool? Knock us down with a feather – GM really did take this seriously.



And it's plenty quick, too. It accelerates nicely right out of the gate and GM says 0-60 takes 6.1 seconds, which seems ballpark-correct based on our seat-of-the-pants impression. Paired with the automatic tranny, the V6 may as well have "Burnouts for Dummies" molded on its plastic engine cover. Disable traction control, apply brake, depress accelerator, and the Camaro lays down a smokescreen that would make the guys at Q Branch jealous. Note, however, that same seat-of-the-pants impression we just mentioned also tells us that aspiring stoplight heroes may still want to think twice before goading Mustang GT drivers in the adjacent lane. The temptation to do so will surely be there, as the 3.6-liter DI V6 is no pretender, but an S197 Mustang still feels a shade quicker than the heavier, autobox-equipped V6 Camaro does. Then again, we're comparing a base-engined, six-cylinder Camaro to the V8 Mustang GT on equal ground. How times have changed – for the better.

With 300+ horses underhood and a net loss of around 130 pounds compared to the manual-equipped SS model, it's no surprise that the Camaro V6 performs so admirably. In many respects, the V6 model feels remarkably similar to its V8 sibling from behind the wheel. Throw out the obvious power differential, which isn't a big deal from a practicality standpoint (not that 'Merican Muscle is practical, mind you), and you're left with most of the thrills for less coin. Road feel is basically the same, thanks to communicative, nicely-weighted steering that's not over-assisted. The suspension's dialed in more for sport than comfort –- again, like the SS –- and in this case, the car wore essentially the same wheel/tire package to boot, thanks to the RS option. On smooth pavement, it's very well-mannered, but when you traverse choppy surfaces, you'll look to see if there's a seismograph among the trip computer's features. The bottom line: whereas the Camaro SS feels like a fullback ready to blow through defensive linemen, the V6 car is more like the little halfback who's happier to turn the corner and let his athleticism win out. Both cars play the same game and share a lot of attitude, but their gameday approaches differ. As a result, the SS is a brute that lives to roar forward as if it's been jabbed with a cattle prod. It's basic, visceral power. The V6 is a little lighter on its feet and more refined in its quickness.



Driving the Camaro in full-auto mode is engaging enough that it's easy to forget Chevy lets you shift the car manually, too. Shift paddles peek over the unique steering wheel's wide spokes: a minus-sign on the left and a plus-sign on the right. Only they're not really paddles, as we discovered on our first pull. Instead of paddles, you get shift buttons mounted behind the wheel. They work as advertised, and on manual downshifts, you even get a little throttle blip, but we still yearned for a "real" set of paddles to complete the package.

Our tester was a 2LT/RS model, so it featured better interior appointments than the 1SS we drove the prior week. What was different? The comfy sport seats we enjoyed in the SS are now leather-covered. Additional controls for the phone and audio features adorned the front of the steering wheel thanks to the car's electronics package. Inside the center console, a USB port joins the standard AUX jack. The HVAC interface adds nicely-integrated seat heater buttons, and the Rally Pack-inspired supplemental gauge cluster was installed ahead of the shifter.



We checked out the back seat of the Camaro this time around, and came to the rapid conclusion that if you're an adult, there may as well be a "KEEP OUT" sign hung back there (at 5' 9", I'll never be described as tall, but my noggin still rubbed up against the headliner in the rear). On the other hand, kids fit fine, even when seated in boosters. That back seat flips down, too, expanding trunk space when you need it. Of course, you need to get your gear into the trunk through its tiny opening first.

Our opinion on the instrument panel layout remains basically unchanged: we like it for its simplicity. The two primary gauges are eminently readable and the radio/HVAC unit is intuitive to use. The supplemental console-mounted gauges, however, aren't really well-located. Sure, they look cool and we understand the heritage motif the General is after, but the need to look down and away from the road to get info is an ergonomic artifact that probably should have been left in the past.



Despite its quirks, we're thoroughly impressed with the new Camaro. Even in non-SS trim, it's a muscular-looking stunner, especially in the Aqua Blue Metallic finish this tester sported. It's every bit the attention magnet the SS is, pulling mechanics out of their shops for a closer look, and causing other motorists to crane their necks in full-on tributes to Linda Blair.

The best news of all is that the V6 Chevy Camaro is a good car with a terrific engine. Yes, it's less powerful than the SS, but for the first time in forever, that doesn't mean that it's the lesser car. With the 2010 Camaro, "I have the V6" is something you can say with your head held high.



Photos Copyright ©2009 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 105 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I had a straight 6 '76 Camaro. Dog slow and got about the same mileage as the V8. Had about 250 HP less than this one.
      • 5 Years Ago
      screw you. will anyone EVER write a story about an undesirable and underpowered car like the last generation Camaro V6 without having to resort to antigay stereotypes? is this really the best you can do? the last time i looked hairdresser's money was the same green as hairy chested manly men with penis issues.
        • 5 Years Ago
        how about we talk about cars, not penises? last time i checked it was autoblog.com, not penisblog.com
        • 5 Years Ago
        "will anyone EVER write a story about an undesirable and underpowered car like the last generation Camaro V6 without having to resort to antigay stereotypes?"

        I think the answer to that is YES, because you just read the article. I think you're digging a little too hard for your "antigay stereotypes." What he said is:

        "The bent-six Camaro was Detroit's version of the triple-white Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet – only girly-girls needed apply."

        As in, you know, FEMALE hairdressers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        what?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ BLS:

        Apparently I'm just as lost as you. I too thought the term hairdresser's car meant girl's car. Sounds like someone is squealing (like a girl, perhaps?) without anyone even really stepping on their toes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Nothing gay about it... The Hairdresser comment is the old line of hairdresser and secretaries, meaning chick car, not gay car... Its more sexist than anything else...

        The truth is a Man's Car version of the previous Camaros required a V8, but now the V6 actually has the power to get the job done. Its thrown the Pony car market on its ear...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am very pro-gay and the thought literally did not even cross my mind when I read about hairdressers. I thought about the cute cheerleaders in high school who want tacky style.

        Say, did we have this EXACT SAME CONVERSATION the last time hairdressers came up? Chip on the shoulder?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I guess we can tell who here is a hair dresser...
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is a funny interpretation. I have always thought, and maybe wrongly, that a hairdresser's car referred to women.

        Hairdressers being concerned with image but not with performance. Not really a sexist slur but more of a style over substance issue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No, 2.5L of IRON DUKE POWER. I've only two Iron Duke powered F-bodies in real life, one of them being a Firebird. Its amazing any of them are still left.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Son of a gun, that was supposed to be aimed at havoc a few pages back....oh well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If I could afford the insurance, I might consider one. Being a younger male driver, I would think the main target market for this car, insurance costs would be horrendous, even for the V6. Driving something sporty, fun and modern is a serious challenge for younger folks that don't want to pay more on insurance than rent.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Chevy really hit the mark with this car. I can't seem to find any serious fault with it... except for those ridiculous console gauges and they're optional... so yeah, no fault worth mentioning. Good job.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A 328? No way, those things are slow. Probably slower than the 318i of old.

        I would like to see Ford putting the eco-boost six into the mustang.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So in reality Ligor, you just prefer Fords over Chevys. Doesn't sound like a real discussion of faults.

        I'm with Franz on this one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "to bad the V6 is still too slow (to heavy) - I mean 0-60 in 6.1sec - you better not think you can take on a G35/G37, an Acura TL, BMW 335i (shoot even 328i), Lexus IS350 at the stop light."

        Seeing as I'm not 16 anymore, I have grown out of trying to take on other cars at a stop light. You remind me of the guys who fly around subdivisions as fast as they can in their rice cars with the cherry bomb muffler hoping someone will think they look cool. Get real man.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Ligor
        Actually... the TL does 0-60 in 6.1s and the 328i does 0-60 in 7.1 seconds. Sure the G37 and 335i are faster, but they're also much much smaller... try fitting four adults over 5'10" into any of those and you'll see what I mean. Another important factor to consider is that those two cars are $10,000 to $20,000 more expensive than a V6 Camaro.
        Now try comparing the Camaro SS against the G37 or 335i in terms of price / performance / MPG... you'll be surprised how nice of a sports car it really is :)
        As for the 2010 Mustang... I like it a lot! But IMHO it looks pedestrian inside and out when compared to the Camaro. And until new engines arrive in 2011, it doesn't stand a chance in terms of performance.
        • 5 Years Ago
        let me point it out to you since you missed it.

        the dash and center console are uglier than that on the 2010 Prius. other than that I think it's a good car.

        to bad the V6 is still too slow (to heavy) - I mean 0-60 in 6.1sec - you better not think you can take on a G35/G37, an Acura TL, BMW 335i (shoot even 328i), Lexus IS350 at the stop light. But I guess that's why the SS is the better choice.

        still think the Mustang looks better and the interior is definitely better. now if only Ford could drop in the 3.5L V6 with 300HP (hey Nissan got 306HP out of the 3.5L, Ford can too)
      • 5 Years Ago
      very encouraging that the V6 is a good car. honestly, i have been more interested in hearing how good the v6 version of this car was than the v8 model. i already knew the v8 would be a good car (426 hp, RWD, how can you go wrong?). the v6 does seem like a great daily driver. hopefully GM sells a lot of them
      • 5 Years Ago
      LMFAO @ the pic of the centre stack showing Ratt playing on the stereo.......so funny
        • 5 Years Ago
        There's another one (unused, unfortunately) with Aldo Nova. It was a pretty great moment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've read other places that this car runs the quarter mile in 14.5@97.
      Maybe hyundai would be best off testing their top of the line POS genesis coupe vs the v6 camaro, instead of taking on v8's.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mike, i'm not sure the point of you posting that link.
        Everyone already knows the v8 mustang and v8 camaro spank the hyundai.
        That's the reason i suggested that hyundai take on the v6 camaro instead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This appears to be a better buy than the Genesis Coupe.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Everybody knows nowadays in this leftist atmosphere, it is politicaly correct to talk up the smaller engine offering, verses the optional bigger one, it is not "green" to want more, and buy it. I will take the v8 anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good for you, you're such a rebel. Fight the cause, down with earth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mustang...eat your ancient, anemic, ugly heart out.

      This is how you do it properly.

      GO GM!
        • 5 Years Ago
        i guess you would be settling if you were a Chevy guy who bought a Mustang but most people buy Mustangs because they want a "Mustang" And thats why it sells and appeals to a wider audience because it's the original pony car. And when i think Mustang i think of its legacy and shebys, the boss 429 and 302, the mach 1 etc... When i think Camaro i think of the 80's and iroc-z....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford probably will...which means more people will have "settled".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Glad to see a positive write-up on the V6, which I have always thought would be my only choice in the Camaro. I don't understand why Autoblog went with the automatic, however. This is a sporty car, not a minivan. Heck, I own a minivan and wish it were a manual.

      And "gear selection" on an automatic is not anything close to-- nor should it be compared to-- a true manual.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tomac: We didn't get to choose the tranny.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm with Tomac on this one. More importantly, is there any amount of money or any power in Heaven or on Earth which would somehow coerce my friendly neighborhood Chevy dealer to permit me to order a six-and-manual Camaro?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bummer. Oh well, good writeup on the slushbox at least. I'm just anxious to hear how the V6 and manual work together.
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