After seven years of waiting, Chevrolet dealers again have a weapon in the pony car wars. Today Chevrolet announces that the 2010 Camaro is officially on sale, set to do battle with Ford's refreshed 2010 Mustang and Dodge's Challenger, which is now available with a base V-6 and a six-speed manual for its HEMI V-8s.
Proving that this is the pony car for the times, the Camaro LS and LT feature GM's excellent high-feature 3.6-liter, direct-injected V-6 that manages 29 mpg on the highway. With gasoline cheap at least for the moment, and the V-6 spitting out just one less horsepower (304) than a 2000 model-year 5.7-liter V-8 Camaro Z28, it seems you can now have your performance/efficiency cake and eat it, too. The six even runs on regular unleaded, despite a stratospheric compression ratio of 11.3:1.
But if environmental responsibility really isn't your bag - and smoky burnouts are - you can step up to either one of two 6.2-liter V-8s in the Camaro SS. Even at 426 horses, 420 lb-ft, and a 0-60 sprint of about 4.7 seconds (GM's number), not even the top dog LS3 V-8 manual incurs federal gas guzzler tax. It also blows the similarly-powerful Dodge Challenger SRT8's efficiency away with preliminary mpg estimates of 16/25 for the automatic (13/19 for the Dodge auto), 16/24 for the manual (14/22 for the Dodge manual).
Just a little bit ironic (don't ya think?) that the pony car wars are heating up in the midst of the worst market conditions since the great depression. But whether or not the 2010 Camaro will sell in numbers big enough to help right the sinking ship that is GM, the new model will provide a much-needed morale boost at battered Chevy dealerships. And for those lucky enough to purchase one, the new vehicle promises a truly impressive blend of performance, refinement, good looks, and fuel efficiency.
GM argues that nobody would buy a car from a bankrupt automaker. But after a drive in the new Camaro SS, plus a few sweet incentives, we imagine performance enthusiasts would be more than happy to cough up a down payment with no questions asked.