Americans still love muscle cars. I’m reminded of that every time I get to test drive a Camaro, Challenger or Mustang. The Camaro is a head turner for sure and wins praise for its thrilling driving dynamics. I got countless thumbs up during my week with this fun pony car.
The Camaro was redesigned for the 2016 model year and gets some updating for 2018 including a Wi-Fi hot spot.
The four-passenger Camaro comes in coupe and convertible body styles and in six trims: 1LS, 1LT, 2LT, 1SS, 2SS, and ZL1. Starting prices have a wide range from $25,905 to $67,500 so you can find a Camaro that fits within your budget.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, paired with the standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission. You can step up to a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 335 horses and 284 pound-feet. The SS models get a 6.2-liter V8 that generates 455 horses and 455 pound-feet. This is the same engine that powers the Corvette. If that’s still not enough, there’s the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 on the ZL1 that generates 650 horses and 650 pound-feet. Can you say zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds?
Yep, the Camaro is fun to drive and will put a big grin on your face when you let it go on country back roads! My 2SS tester with the six-speed manual is athletic and agile. It zooms off when you press the accelerator and stays planted when cornering. Love the throaty exhaust note! The ride is surprisingly smooth and comfortable, which also makes the Camaro pleasant to drive when running mundane errands or when you’re stuck in stop and go traffic. Visibility to the rear is limited due to the small windows.
As you’d expect, fuel efficiency is not great with the V8 engines. EPA ratings for my tester are just 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 19. I got 17 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is attractive but some materials are a notch below what you’ll find in the Challenger and Mustang. The front seats are comfortable and supportive. The back seats are another story. They’re very cramped and are not comfortable for adults as you’d expect in a sports car. At least they provide some additional storage space.
Standard features on the Camaro include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, six-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat, automatic climate control, six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, two USB ports, Teen Driver technology, MyLink infotainment system with a seven-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Available features include leather upholstery, Recaro sport seats, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, customizable eight-inch driver information display in the gauge cluster, upgraded MyLink system with an eight-inch touch screen, nine-speaker Bose audio system, wireless smartphone charging, and several driver assistance technologies including a head-up display, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, and rear cross traffic alert.
The MyLink infotainment system is one of the best that’s currently available. It’s intuitive and user-friendly, and the touch screen responds quickly to inputs. There are also physical controls for audio and climate functions, and they’re sensibly located for easy reach.
Trunk space is limited, as you’d expect in a sports car. The coupes have 9.1 cubic feet of space, and the narrow opening makes it tough to haul large items. A power trunk release is standard, and the rear seats fold.
Wide range of starting prices
Choice of several powerful engines
Pleasing exhaust note
One of the best infotainment systems
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard
Rivals have nicer interiors
Humans can’t really fit in the back seat
My tester starts at $42,000. The SS1LE Track Performance package is $7,000 and adds 20-inch forged Aluminum wheels, magnetic ride control, Recaro performance front bucket seats, Differential, electronic limited slip, dual mode performance exhaust, Brembo performance brakes with red calipers, satin black blade spoiler, satin black hood wrap, satin black front splitter, sueded shift knob and steering wheel, and summer only tires. Performance data and video recorder is $1,300. Chevrolet MyLink audio system with navigation and eight-inch touchscreen is $495. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $51,790.
The 2018 Camaro maintains its muscle car-good looks and drives like an agile sports car that’s also well-mannered in busy city traffic. A wide array of starting prices and engine choices mean you can find the Camaro that’s right for you and your budget.