2015 Chevrolet Camaro Review

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Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
July 6, 2015

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro may be slightly polarizing to the eye, but it's hard to argue with the performance capabilities found in the ZL1 and Z/28 versions of this muscle car.

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro can be had in a lot of ways, ranging from the cost-effective V-6 and potent V-8 SS, to the track-ready Z/28 and lightning-quick ZL1, to the well-rounded 1LE V-8.

Regardless of which way you choose, the Camaro lives on as a bold expression of America's passion for muscle cars, even as the world shifts its attention to other kinds of performance cars.

It's a polarizing vehicle, no doubt, with outrageous lines and an almost cartoonish exterior–so much so, that the Camaro continues to find itself a home in the Michael Bay Transformers series. The Camaro has muscle-car attitude, high shoulders, scorching performance, and it still turns as many heads on the street as it did when it re-debuted a little more than five years ago.

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Last year, the Camaro received a long list of styling tweaks–including a functional hood vent for SS models, new headlamps and tail lights, and an updated grille that somehow makes the car look a little sportier, a little lower to the ground than before. The interior remains mostly unchanged, with exception to last year's addition of a new gauge cluster information center mounted in the dash.

With a lineup that includes the LS, LT, SS (and 1LE), ZL1 and Z/28, equipment also spans a wide range, and the Camaro can be a rather basic coupe, a luxurious touring car, or an all-out performance machine. OnStar comes standard and navigation is available; Bluetooth, USB, and iPod connectivity are offered as options or as standard gear, and a head-up display mimics the one found in the Corvette. Convertibles get power-folding soft tops with glass windows, and standard rearview cameras (omitted from the coupe). The ZL1 bundles it all together in instantly collectible form--but even SS Camaros, especially 1LEs, show the same potential to entertain auctioneers long after they've thrilled their original drivers.

The cabin appointments are where your love affair with the current Camaro's style and performance might come to a screeching halt. Why? Because the low-set roofline means that there's a severe shortage of headroom for taller drivers (not just the really tall ones, but most six-footers will find it tight, too). SS and ZL1 Camaros can be trimmed up with suede and leather and brightly colored trim pieces--some of those combinations are love-or-hate, really--while on all Camaros the back seat is for children only and the trunk is tight.

Powertrains essentially remains the same. There's the stock 2015 Chevy Camaro, with its 323-horsepower V-6 and a choice of six-speed automatic and manual transmissions. It's the foundation for greatness, and in truth, it doesn't fare too badly as a sports car. Overall, if you can forgive the odd driving position, its electric power steering, rear-wheel drive, and independent suspension bring relatively nimble responses and a ride that's comfortable enough for just about any enthusiast type. EPA highway numbers ranging up to 30 mpg are an unexpected bonus.

The V-8s are still what most people have in mind when they think of the Camaro; the 6.2-liter V-8's lyrical engine note is a hypnotic for men of a huge range of ages. We're looped by it too--and by the gripping 60-mph runs of 5 seconds or less. With huge staggered tires and a front-end weight bias, there's still room for improvement in the way the SS handles; get the 1LE package that rights out the tires to equal sizes, tightens up the steering and manual gear ratios, and you can tap into some easy, controllable oversteer.

The sledgehammers in the lineup are the ZL1 coupe and convertible. With their supercharged, 580-hp version of the 6.2-liter (with either transmission) and the magnetic shocks found in the Corvette and some Cadillacs, they not only provides near-supercar numbers (0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, a top speed of 184 mph)--they're also somewhat affordable at about $60k, considering their performance stats.

Less affordable but ever more track-ready is the Camaro Z/28. With a focus on track capability, the Z/28 takes after the original 1960s models, and not the later '70s and '80s ones carrying that nomenclature. In it, a 7.0-liter V-8 makes 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. There's no standard A/C, and all Z/28s have a six-speed manual gearbox, but the design saves 100 pounds overall in weight. Spool-valve dampers, stiffer spring rates, and special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires all boost handling, making the Z/28 the most capable, trackable Camaro ever.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Styling

The Camaro's sheetmetal is a retro blast of American glory; the interior's kind of a shame.

It's a polarizing vehicle, no doubt, with outrageous lines and an almost cartoonish exterior–so much so, that the Camaro continues to find itself a home in the Michael Bay Transformers series. The Camaro has muscle-car attitude, high shoulders, scorching performance, and it still turns as many heads on the street as it did when it re-debuted a little more than five years ago.

The Camaro goes unchanged for 2015, following a long list of styling updates for last year's model. Those changes are detailed below.

Inside, changes were very minimal, with a central gauge-cluster information center the most significant difference for this especially low, cockpit-like layout. Certainly, it's less retro-themed than the outside, with nods to the sleds of the Sixties mostly found in the low-mounted console gauge cluster, vintage type face, and nested bezels. Despite that, rival models like the Ford Mustang do have a more usable, better-finished cockpit.

The entire Camaro lineup gained its most significant round of changes yet, but they're mainly cosmetic. With somewhat revised sheetmetal all around, a new functional hood vent for Camaro SS models, and a revamped look front and rear, the Camaro strikes a somewhat different chord on the outside. A thinner upper grille with a larger lower grille help make the front end look a little lower, perhaps, while new rear lights are wide, rectangular, and thin, which helps exaggerate the car's width from some angles. Z/28 Camaros get an aero kit including an adjustable rear spoiler that can boost rear downforce to 150 pounds.

Otherwise the retro-tinged look blasts into the future. It's certainly as full of design hypocrisy as ever, with its bold face, squat haunches, and muscular fenders, all heady and evocative of the best Camaros of the past--let down by the bluff front end and small, cartoonish greenhouse. On the other hand it's all too much to digest in one look--the way really exciting cars should be.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Performance

The Camaro's heady performance gets a track-ready bump this year with the sticky, pricey Z/28.

Shoppers will be faced with a long list of decisions when it comes to choosing the right Camaro–there are several levels of performance available, so there should be a Camaro available for nearly every taste. Whether you're looking for an economical V-6 or a surprisingly well-rounded V-8 SS or 1LE model, or even a supercharged ZL1 or track-ready Z/28, the Camaro comes in flavors that range from affordable and stylish to nimble and wicked-fast.

At its fastest, the Camaro's final act is the most difficult one to reconcile. It's because it's more of a supercar than a Camaro, with a pricetag in the $60,000 range to match. The ZL1 supercharges the SS's 6.2-liter V-8 for a grand total of 580 horsepower, and adopts magnetic dampers and a host of aero body pieces (the hood has a carbon-fiber insert) to cope with the copious upgrade in power. Its 0-60 mph time is pegged at 3.9 seconds, and top speed hits 184 mph--and Chevy's lapped the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes in a coupe, all figures that suggest Corvette until the cover's pulled off the body.

Even less affordable is the Camaro Z/28. With a focus on track capability, the Z/28 takes after the original 1960s models, and not the later '70s and '80s ones carrying that nomenclature. In it, a 7.0-liter V-8 makes 500 horsepower and 470 lb-ft. There's no standard A/C, and all Z/28s have a six-speed manual gearbox, but the design saves 100 pounds overall in weight. Spool-valve dampers, stiffer spring rates, and special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires all add to the track chops. The nominal 0-60 mph time of four seconds sounds like sandbagging.

MORE: Read out Camaro Z/28 first drive

For more track-ready, more neutral handling, but a lower pricetag, the Camaro SS 1LE cures almost all. It's a lively twist that may as well be the stock SS suspension, from our experience on Michigan's Gingerman Raceway. The 1LE gets its own specification, with a closer-ratio manual transmission--no automatic's available--and identically sized 35-series tires front and back, along with monotube rear shocks, a bigger front anti-roll bar, a front strut brace, and some suspension mounts from the ZL1 for better stability. The package is fitted to the less plushly trimmed SS for some weight reduction, and it also gets a blacked-out hood and spoiler, along with transmission cooling. It's a revelation to drive a 1LE and expect tons of push: it doesn't. With stability control set to a sport mode that allows some yaw, the 1LE gently steps out into oversteer, corrected easily with remapped variable-ratio electric power steering that's another one of GM's well-tuned efforts. It's possible to option up an SS to near 1LE-spec--but the steering is one piece that's otherwise unavailable. We haven't driven one on public roads, but a 1LE in the right context--on a road course--acquits itself with disinctly un-muscle-car moves.

The V-8s are still what most people have in mind when they think of the Camaro; the 6.2-liter V-8's lyrical engine note is a hypnotic for men of a huge range of ages. The powertrain is V-8 and six-speed--a 426-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 on manual-transmission cars, and a 400-hp version of the same engine with six-speed automatic-equipped cars, a power loss that's attributed to its fuel delivery system. With either combination, 0-60 mph is only about 5.0 seconds away, accompanied by one of those irreplaceable musclecar roars that belongs in the Smithsonian's audio library. While the six-cylinder cars can get away with automatic transmissions, the SS' manual shifter's not only a collector prerequisite--it's a well ironed out piece with quick shifts and short motions. Plus, there's a dual-mode exhaust system that mutes the V-8 at low speeds and amps it up at full prod--and it's only available with the manual gearbox.

The base 2015 Chevy Camaro has a 323-horsepower V-6 and a choice of six-speed automatic and manual transmissions. It's the foundation for greatness, and in truth, it doesn't fare too badly as a sports car. Overall, if you can forgive the odd driving position, its electric power steering, rear-wheel drive, and independent suspension bring relatively nimble responses and a ride that's comfortable enough for just about any enthusiast type. EPA highway numbers ranging up to 30 mpg are an unexpected bonus.

Across the lineup, handling isn't anything at which to scoff. The six-cylinder cars have electric power steering that's not too artificial in feel, and with 18-inch wheels standard on its control-arm and coil-over-shock independent rear suspension, the base Camaro with the available sport suspension package can feel almost nimble--as nimble as anything weighing in at about 3,800 pounds can feel.

Convertibles lose some of that precise feel that's been dialed in, as a function of their (lesser) body structure. Still, this base Camaro is light-years ahead of the highest-performance Camaros of just the last generation, so make sure your expectation buttons have been reset.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Comfort & Quality

The front seats can be comfortable, but there's not enough headroom for tall drivers; the back seat and trunk are undersized, too.

The Camaro's interior looks about as retro-contemporary as they come, but the cabin may leave you craving something else. Why? Those handsome rear haunches create a severe lack of headroom, especially for rear passengers, and rear visibility is compromised, too.

SS and ZL1 Camaros can be trimmed up with suede and leather and brightly colored trim pieces--some of those combinations are love-or-hate, really--while on all Camaros the back seat is for children only and the trunk is tight.

Although you sacrifice a lot for the design of the Camaro, kudos to GM for making them so tight and rattle-free; and we've noticed in repeated drives that road and wind noise are truly kept to a minimum.

The Chevy Camaro pays an obvious price for its meta-Sixties sheetmetal--and that's inside. The cabin is small even by musclecar standards, and storage and trunk space are minimal.

Tall drivers get the worst of it in the Camaro, and those who race will feel it every time they strap on a helmet. The front seats--from base models to the sporty seats on ZL1s--are comfortable even for long trips. There's simply not enough headroom for six-footers, especially when a sunroof is part of the equation. Skip it, because the low roof then loses all its clearance, and the Camaro comes up short. Even getting in and out of the car can be difficult, with the roofline and long, heavy doors stretching the boundaries of convenience.

The rear seats are 911-like, which is to say, almost unusable for anyone beyond their single-digit years. There's simply not enough leg room here even for tweenagers--just under 30 inches of leg room by the spec sheet. The interior also narrows dramatically as the Camaro swells around its wheels at its hips. The trunk struggles to swallow tennis bags, and you won't find much added storage around the cabin.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Safety

A rearview camera would be nice, to help with the Camaro's pathetic visibility.

The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro comes with a long list of safety features and five-star rating from NHTSA, making it one of safer choices you could make in terms of muscle cars.

However, outward visibility is a liability in the Camaro, with the high beltline hindering visibility for drivers of more normal height, all the more so for shorter drivers. Rearward visibility is compromised for all drivers with thick rear roof supports and a small rear window. And with no standard rearview camera (convertibles do include one) and parking sensors--items it sorely needs, given the horrible rearward visibility induced by its coupe body style--you may have to step out of the car, or have a passenger help navigate out of tight spots, embarrassingly often.

Safety equipment in the Camaro includes six airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control, as well as the OnStar telematics system with six months of emergency service. Bluetooth is an option on some models as well. We think, given the prevalence of mobile phones, it's a necessity.

The Camaro Coupe earns National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ratings of five stars overall. However, it hasn't yet tested a convertible--and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) hasn't tested any Camaro.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Features

The nicer Camaro editions pay more attention to the details--but the features you really want here are under the hood.

Thanks to its six different trim packages, the Camaro runs the gamut from simple and affordable, to very well equipped in both features and racing gear. You can choose how you'd like your Camaro, though the Mustang still offers a slightly longer list of options.

OnStar comes standard and navigation is available; Bluetooth, USB, and iPod connectivity are offered as options or as standard gear, and a head-up display mimics the one found in the Corvette. Convertibles get power-folding soft tops with glass windows, and standard rearview cameras. The ZL1 bundles it all together in instantly collectible form--but even SS Camaros, especially 1LEs, show the same potential to entertain auctioneers long after they've thrilled their original drivers.

Options on some models include remote start; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; ambient lighting; a USB port; and on coupes, a sunroof.

Color Touch provides a graphic interface on an LCD touchscreen for direct control of audio and phone features, and also runs the Camaro's navigation system. It also connects the car's audio system to smartphones and enables some mobile apps for in-car use, apps like Pandora, and also accepts voice commands for audio, phone and navigation--though it's not quite as flexible or as vocabulary-rich as Ford's system, for example.

The Camaro lineup begins with the LT; from some LT trims and up, it adds more luxury features, like power-recline front seats; heated and leather-trimmed seats; a head-up display; premium audio; and a three-spoke steering wheel. An RS package gets its own body kit and 20-inch wheels. The Camaro SS 1LE is treated as an option package, but gets its own suspension design and 20-inch wheels and tires front and back, along with a manual transmission, a matte-black hood and spoiler, a front air splitter, and a flat-bottom steering wheel. See our performance section for a more thorough discussion on it and for the ZL1 and its mechanical differences.

The ZL1 makes almost all available features standard, and gets its own wheel and color choices, along with its own aero-add ons; suede interior trim; alloy pedals; rear parking sensors; a set of four ancillary gauges; and standard remote start on automatic-equipped models. A suede package for the interior and a sunroof are among the few options.

At $75,000, the Z/28 actually removes features in its quest to be the most track-capable Camaro ever. Bodywise, it's stripped down and winged up, with an aero kit including an adjustable rear spoiler that can boost rear downforce to 150 pounds. From the Camaro SS stock trim, engineers have carved off about 100 pounds alone by chopping things like standard air conditioning, the rear seat pass-through, some sound deadening, fog lights, and five of the six speakers that come standard with the basic audio system. The Z/28 also loses its tire-inflator kit in most states, and gets thinner windows and a smaller battery.

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2015 Chevrolet Camaro

Fuel Economy

V-6-powered Camaros get very good fuel economy for their kind, and in truth, even the V-8s aren't so bad.

So long as you opt for the base six-cylinder engine, the Chevy Camaro can be a reasonably fuel-efficient vehicle.

The V-6's performance doesn't fall flat, and its EPA ratings are fairly high. It earns 19 mpg city, and 30 mpg highway when it's coupled to the six-speed automatic. With the optional manual gearbox, the ratings dip slightly, to 17/28 mpg.

The V-8 SS is where the gas mileage starts to head south. The SS' V-8 gets an EPA rating of 15 or 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, depending on body style. As for the awe-inducing Camaro ZL1, it's rated at 14/19 mpg with a manual, or 12/18 mpg for the automatic.

For the 7.0-liter Z/28, gas mileage figures fall a bit to 13 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined.

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June 9, 2015
2015 Chevrolet Camaro 2-Door Coupe SS w/2SS

great car, the Gen 5 camaro is the best of the Camaro brand

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The 2015 is my second Gen5 Camaro . I also own a 2010 RS . Both cars have been trouble free , fun to drive and turns heads every where you drive them. I bought the SS in December of 2014 during GMs 20% off... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Chevrolet Camaro 2-Door Coupe Z/28

Most Beautiful car on the road today!!!

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Camaros are the most beautiful cars I've ever seen!! All years and styles too! Every generation of the Camaro are BEAUTIFUL, GREAT PERFORMANCE AND PERFECT SPEED AND PICK UP!! Its the best sports car ive ever... + More »
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April 27, 2015
2015 Chevrolet Camaro 2-Door Convertible LT w/2LT

I want to love my car but it won't let me!

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I have had nothing but problems with mine. 7 months old and it has had a new fuel sensor, new wiring harness, and a new shade put on the back in the trunk....and they STILL can't find the intermittent burning... + More »
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