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2010 Chevy Camaro: Surprisingly Refined, Predictably Bitchin'

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2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT -- Run to the Sun

2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT -- Run to the Sun

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2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT -- Run to the Sun

2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT -- Run to the Sun

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Enlarge Photo

Through this year's upheaval at General Motors, the buzz around the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro has stayed strong. Many months now since Camaros first started arriving, they're still driving traffic around Chevy dealerships. And on the road, as we recently experienced, it still makes people turn and look—with a grin.

It's easy to see why. From the outside, the Camaro isn't just another pretty retro pony car; it has a certain urgency and aggressiveness about it, with the assertive stance and proportions that just 'pop.'

In recent weeks, this editor has driven V-6 versions of the 2010 Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Chevrolet Camaro—along with a host of V-8 and V-6 versions TheCarConnection.com had driven previously—and reports that although the Camaro is the clear performance winner and reigning crowd-drawing champ, it's perhaps the toughest to live with of the three when you take a closer look inside.

First off, visibility out of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is about the worst we've seen in any production vehicle as of late. Rearward vision is slim, with the steep rear window only offering a short view outward over the tall deck, while the rising beltline and thick rear pillars create a huge convertible-like blind spot. You'll soon learn the drill, of leaning forward and craning one's neck around to help improve the field of vision. But every time I leaned forward, the little magnetic snap that holds the seatbelt loop in place would come undone, leaving me to fidget with it and snap it back into position.

Many drivers will find headroom tight in the Camaro, though there's plenty of legroom. Even in a slightly reclined driving position, I was brushing the sunroof surround. If you're tall, you probably shouldn't go for the sunroof, a $900 option.

Overall, the feeling is that you're driving a relatively large car with a relatively small cabin. Don't think you're going to bring along back-seat passengers in the 2010 Camaro. This tall editor found extreme contortion necessary to get in back, and once in place there was a severe lack of headroom for all but smaller kids. What's also concerning is that there are no headrests for the two rear positions. Riding back there is not for the claustrophobic or those who tend toward motion sickness. With the shoulder-high beltline and small recessed windows it's cave-like.

How do the other pony cars compare? The Mustang doesn't have as much legroom but is clearly better for headroom; as for the 2010 Dodge Challenger, it's the biggest overall and that translates to the roomiest cabin. Although the Challenger's back seat is also tough to get into, it's almost adult-sized.

The Camaro's instrument panel looks intriguing from outside the car, but up close it's a mixed bag. The chunky climate controls are straightforward as well as stylish. But it took us a lot of time to get used to the idiosyncrasies of the sound system controls, which include a row of almost identical, smooth-surfaced buttons. For instance, to seek between stations on FM requires pressing the bottom portion of the third or fourth preset; it seems a step backwards from the more intuitive audio controls GM has used for many years. On the upside, the display was very clear.


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