New & Used Chevrolet Camaro: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Camaro is a two-door muscle coupe whose beginnings date back to the 60s. It’s a quintessential enthusiast’s car, competing with other American muscle cars like the Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang.
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.
For more information including options, prices, gas-mileage ratings, and specifications, see our 2014 Chevy Camaro review.Introduced 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. It's pitched as a competitor to the Boss 302 Mustang--and it's priced from just above $37,000 for the 2013 model year, almost $10,000 less than the Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition. There's even a special Hot Wheels edition for the nostalgic collector.
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.
Before then, Chevy could send off the current Camaro with a bang, introducing a new twin-turbo V-6 to the lineup. That new powertrain has been rumored before, but recently unearthed documents suggest it's on a fast track for production--and could be fitted to the Camaro soon after it makes its way into a Cadillac ATS-V.
For more information on today's car, including more photos, specifications, and pricing with options, see our full review of the 2013 Chevy Camaro.
An updated 2014 Camaro brings slightly redefined looks and the return of the famous Z/28 model--in a more fiercely track-inspired form than ever. For the full details so far, visit Motor Authority's ongoing coverage.