Chevrolet Camaro: The Car Connection's Best Performance Car to Buy 2018

November 16, 2017

In the performance-car world, a big V-8 and rear-wheel drive go a long way toward activating our salivary glands.

Anyone can do that for more than $50,000. There's one car that delivers thundering power and amazing rear-drive handling, and slips it in under the $40,000 wire.

It's a car that MotorAuthority named its Best Car To Buy for 2016.

Our Best Performance Car to Buy 2018, for the second year in a row, is the Chevrolet Camaro.

MORE: Read all about our Best Car To Buy 2018 awards

Worry not about the high-buck ZL1. The SS does all the things we want in a musclecar, down to the soundtrack, while it also delivers peak Camaro handling. It's like nothing ever to wear the badge, frankly.

Let us convince you out of a few options on the table. The base 275-hp turbo-4 is fine for others, and really, you won't go wrong with the 335-hp V-6, either. The 650-hp ZL1? Sure, but we're in Corvette territory there.

Look no further than the lusty GM 6.2-liter V-8, with 455 horsepower and an honest-shifting 6-speed manual. Pair them and you'll see 60 mph rush into the windshield in under five seconds.

The Camaro's V-8 exhaust crackle is something straight from Mount Olympus, and so is its fine handling. It shares pieces with the Cadillac ATS-V, but the Camaro gets the better half of the powertrain equation, no doubt, and it apes the ATS-V's handling excellence with flat cornering and sharp steering. It's the first Camaro musclecar to earn the sports-car sobriquet.

MORE: Read our first drive of the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

Its failings are few but big. Outward vision? There aren't enough cameras to see around the Camaro's squatty, highjacker rear end. This body's not as suggestive at the hips and roofline as the last Camaro either, and while the cabin's more nicely trimmed, it won't earn any good comparisons with the likes of Volvo. (Frameless rearview mirror in common, aside.)

Packaging is better for helmeted warriors in the front, but the Camaro's rear seats are ridiculously small, like a 911's back buckets. The trunk is as shallow as a Twitter political hot take.

The Camaro knows what it does best, and that all bundles together below $42,000 into the SS package with a 1LE track performance package with magnetic dampers. That's cop bait if we've ever seen or heard it. It's the performance car we may not deserve, but we're lucky to have.

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