2018 Camaro New Car Test Drive
The 2017 Chevrolet Camaro celebrates its 50th anniversary. Camaro was redesigned for 2016, so the 2017 Camaro lineup brings on the birthday bangles. Symbolic is the big bangle of a massively powerful Camaro ZL1 with a new 10-speed automatic. New for the 2017 Camaro LE is a handling package developed on the Nurburgring. And, naturally, there's a Camaro 50th Anniversary Edition, a trim package for both the coupe and convertible.
The Camaro has evolved beyond being a muscle car, especially in this sixth generation that was downsized a couple inches while sharing structure with the Cadillac CTS, and especially with the optional magnetic damper suspension. It has the power of a muscle car with the moves of a sports car. It skims over pavement and is as responsive as the best versions of the previous generation.
Three engines are available, starting with a turbocharged four-cylinder making 275 horsepower, 295 pound-feet of torque, and zooming to sixty miles per hour in 5.4 seconds. That is quick, no less expected, if the Camaro is going to get a four-cylinder, it better be quick. It also better sound good, which the four-cylinder Camaro does not.
The 3.6-liter V6 makes an earthy 335 horsepower with 284 pound-feet of torque. When you consider the 1967 Camaro SS with its huge 396 cubic-inch V8 made 325 horsepower, a V6 Camaro doesn't sound so wimpy. Especially this one that can blast from zero to sixty in 5.0 seconds.
The LT1 with its 6.2-liter V8 making 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque is in another league. It is one sensational piece of hardware, with a 0-60 time of four seconds flat.
But Camaro isn't done celebrating. New for 2017 is the return of the ZL1, using a supercharged version of that V8 to make, hold your breath, 650 horsepower. Held in check by a new 10-speed automatic transmission. We haven't driven it yet, we're holding our breath till then. The previous-generation ZL1 was an amazing performer while being very livable for everyday driving.
Also new is the 2017 Camaro 1LE handling package. And a badge on the steering wheel of every 2017 Camaro that says “FIFTY.” Best thing for some might be the new Teen Driver feature that enables parents to spy on their kids, follow where they're going and how fast, just like the government might soon be doing with you, in the name of public safety.
That turbo four-cylinder, with its 8-speed automatic, gets good fuel mileage, at an EPA-rated 22/31 mpg City/Highway, or 25 miles per gallon on the EPA's Combined city and highway cycle. The V6 gets 19/28/22 mpg, the V8 drops to 20 mpg Combined. We have a number for the ZL1, but, really. Just make a number up for your neighbors.
To underscore that you're not a lunatic with 650 horsepower in your driveway, be sure to also tell your neighbors that the government gives the Camaro five stars for crash safety. As long you don't roll it over: The IIHS only gave it an Acceptable score for roof strength.
Camaro coupe ($26,305) and convertible ($33,305) models include the 1LT ($26,305), 2LT ($30,305), 1SS ($36,905), 2SS, and ZL1. There's excellent standard equipment in the 1LT and 1SS, including Bluetooth, rearview camera, and a good infotainment system. (Prices are MSRP for coupe and do not include destination charge.)
Available safety equipment includes forward-collision warning and blind-spot monitors.