New & Used Chevrolet Camaro: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Camaro is a two-door, 2+2 coupe or convertible that's a piece of American muscle-car history. Like the competing Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang, the Camaro's recognizable even by those who don't follow or have much enthusiasm for cars.
Available in current form in base, RS, SS, 1LE, and ZL1 versions, the Camaro's range of V-6, V-8, and supercharged V-8 engines spans a wide spectrum of performance.
MORE: Read our 2015 Chevy Camaro reviewIntroduced in 1967 as a response to the stunning success of the Ford Mustang, the Camaro has had its ups and downs in more than 40 years on the car scene. Paired until recently with a companion Pontiac Firebird, the Camaro has been offered in five different generations as a two-door sports coupe, with V-6 or V-8 power and rear-wheel drive. Special editions have included the Camaro RS, Camaro SS and Camaro IROC-Z, and convertible and T-top body styles. Until 2002, GM had built the Camaro in each model year for 35 consecutive years, but GM decided to kill the muscle car in 2002, ending production of the composite-bodied Camaro in Canada.
The nameplate stayed dormant until the 2010 model year, when GM introduced the current Chevy Camaro--still true to the two-door muscle-car format, with V-6 and V-8 engines mated to manual or automatic transmissions, and power routed to the rear wheels. The new car is built on what was intended as a global platform that would spawn new Buick and Cadillac rear-drive sedans. To date, it has only shared its running gear with the now-canceled Pontiac G8 sedan. It is assembled at GM's Oshawa, Canada, assembly plant.
The 2010-2012 Camaro's looks are an homage to the Sixties classics. Cues from past models include the vestigial vents ahead of the rear wheels and the hooded headlights, and inside the new Camaro, squared-off gauges and a dished steering wheel are drawn to remind drivers of the 1967 original.
The Camaro owes some of its performance to the Chevy Corvette. Base editions get a 323-hp 3.6-liter V-6 used in other GM cars, coupled to six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. The Camaro SS borrows the 'Vette's V-8 and scales it down to two versions, a 400-hp 6.2-liter V-8 with a six-speed automatic, and a 426-hp version of the engine teamed to a six-speed manual. Convertible versions are available for both the SS and the V-6 models.
New for 2012 was the ZL1, a 580-horsepower supercharged beast that rides on magnetic dampers and bears an even fiercer look than the SS. It's joined in the 2013 model year by a convertible edition.
Older Camaros have been derided for clunky handling from live-axle rear ends; today's Camaro rides on an independent rear suspension and simply drives better, smoother, and with less twitchiness than ever before. That's even more the case with the SS and with its 1LE package, which gets tires sized identically front to back, stiffer anti-roll bars, and other suspension revisions to give it neutral, track-ready handling. There's even a special Hot Wheels edition for the nostalgic collector.
An updated 2014 Camaro brought slightly redefined looks, including a rather significant visual re-working of the front of the Camaro, with a narrower headlight and grille opening adding a dose of aggression. The 2014 Camaro also saw the return of the famous Z/28 model--in a more fiercely track-inspired form than ever.
The 2015 Camaro carries forward 2014's updates essentially unchanged.
A next-generation Camaro is expected sometime after the 2014 calendar year, possibly sharing some architecture with the new 2013 Cadillac ATS. Though it hasn't confirmed that sharing between the cars, GM has said it will move production of the Camaro from Canada to Michigan--to the same plant near Lansing that now builds the ATS.
For more details, including the latest Camaro news, visit Motor Authority's ongoing coverage.