2021 Chevrolet Camaro

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2021
The Car Connection
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2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
November 21, 2020

Buying tip

If you’re going to go for a Camaro, get a V-8. The SS offers the best balance of price and performance.

features & specs

2-Door Conv 1LT
2-Door Conv 1SS
2-Door Conv 2LT
MPG
20 city / 30 hwy
MPG
16 city / 24 hwy
MPG
20 city / 30 hwy
MSRP
$31,500
MSRP
$43,500
MSRP
$33,500

Wrapped in a cool pony car body, the 2021 Chevy Camaro has sports car moves.

What kind of car is the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is a performance coupe and convertible that has moved beyond its pony-car roots to compete with European sports cars. Rivals include the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, BMW 4-Series, and Nissan 370Z.

Is the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro a good car?

Review continues below

The Camaro is an excellent performance car. It has retro good looks, power in every form, natural agility, and available track capability. However, it’s cramped inside, its big engines drink fuel, and it lacks key safety features. We rate it a 5.8 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro?

Chevrolet makes few changes for 2021, but it does add wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

The Camaro is available in coupe and convertible body styles and with a choice of four engines: a 275-horsepower turbo-4, a 335-hp V-6, a 455-hp V-8, and a supercharged 650-hp V-8. The 1LS gets the turbo-4 1LS; the 1LT, 2LT, and 3LT can have the turbo-4 or V-6; the LT1, 1SS, and 2SS feature the 6.2-liter V-8; and ZL1 has a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8.

How much does the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro cost?

The 1LS model starts at $25,995. It comes with cloth upholstery, an 8-way power driver seat, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, satellite radio, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

All models appeal with their retro-inspired styling that aims at sinister more than elegant. The Camaro is wide and low-slung, with a long nose, short deck, and roof that looks chopped. Inside, the look is spartan.

Chevrolet imbues the Camaro with performance to back up its looks. All Camaros are quick, and the base engines are fairly efficient, but fuel economy suffers as power increases.

Handling is capable in any form with agile handling, and direct, communicative steering. The performance parts are also available to deliver the braking and cooling needed for track sessions.

The downside is the cramped cabin with its poor block outward visibility. While the infotainment is easy to use, the interior materials are largely uninspired.

Safety is the other problem. The Camaro lacks automatic emergency braking, a feature we think is vital. At least the crash test results are decent. 

Where is the Chevrolet Camaro made?

In Lansing, Michigan.

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2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Styling

A full-size Hot Wheels car for the street, the Camaro embraces sleek, retro-inspired looks.

Is the Chevrolet Camaro a good-looking car?

Yes it is, though Chevrolet sacrifices some function for its form. The Camaro’s high beltline and low roof contribute to a sleek profile. Wide rear haunches and a retro-inspired nose come together to create the look of a life-size Hot Wheels car. We rate the Camaro a 7 out of 10 for styling, adding two points for its bold exterior. 

The Camaro’s retro styling starts with the nose, with its wide, high-set grille. The profile is a throwback to the late 1960s, and so is the Coke-bottle shape created by the wide fenders and tucked-in center section. 

The cabin isn’t nearly as exciting. Slick gimballed air vents controlled by outer rings, available contrast stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and available two-tone upholstery all improve the look. However, the interior is otherwise all black and the infotainment screen looks like it’s tacked onto the middle of a plain dash.

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9

2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Performance

The Camaro is a sports car, at long last.

The Camaro is an American muscle car with European sports car moves. All of the elements of feel—acceleration, braking, cornering, steering—communicate with the driver and deliver robust, high-alert responses. We rate the Camaro a 9 out of 10 for performance.

Is the Chevrolet Camaro AWD?

No. It’s rear-wheel drive like nature intended sports cars to be.

How fast is the Chevrolet Camaro?

The Camaro is as fast as your wallet will allow. Chevrolet’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 base engine makes 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It provides ready power and a 5.4-second 0-60 mph time, though with a soundtrack more appropriate for a Malibu than a Camaro. 

The 3.6-liter V-6 costs only $100 more, and it plays a muscle-car tune. Its 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque cut the 0-60 mph time slightly to 5.0 seconds. 

LT1 and SS buyers get a 6.2-liter V-8 that spins up 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque, rumbles and roars like an American muscle car, and makes the 0-60 mph run in a scant 4.0 seconds. The V-6 and all V-8s work with the manual or a slick-shifting 10-speed automatic that always seems to be in the right gear. 

In the ZL1 models, the 6.2 is supercharged to crank out 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. It rumbles, growls, and whines while delivering supercar-like performance numbers: 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds, an 11.4-second quarter-mile, and a Nurburgring lap in 7:16 (with the 1LE package).

The Camaro has the chassis to handle all that power. It makes the Camaro corner as well as it accelerates. The front suspension’s double-pivot, control-arm and strut design creates more tire contact patch to create sharper steering response, and provides fantastic feel through the hefty electric-assist power steering. The available magnetic dampers balance ride quality with agility. Still, the Camaro can be stiff and the ride can jiggle on bumpy roads. 

Opt for a 1LE package or a ZL1 model, and the Camaro becomes a bona fide track star.

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2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Comfort & Quality

The comfortable, supportive driver’s seat is the best position in the Camaro.

The place to be in the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is up front, preferably in the driver’s seat and on a racetrack or twisty road. Using it to haul people and cargo is not a good idea, as the rear seat is child-sized and the trunk is tiny. That adds up to a score of 3 out of 10 here. 

While the driver peers through a short greenhouse, the low seating position gives the Camaro enough front head room for all but the tallest drivers and those wearing a helmet. 

The seats start out budget-grade, but move up to heated and cooled Recaro buckets that are supportive without being too restrictive. 

Nobody will want to get stuck in the back seat where leg room is at a premium at best and nonexistent at the worst. It’s better as a package shelf. 

The trunk is very small at just 9.3 cubic feet and 7.3 cubes in the convertible. It also has a small aperture and a high lift-over height. Practicality is not on the Camaro’s menu.

Chevrolet outfits the convertible with a multi-layer cloth top that shuts out noise well and offers remote operation. Interior materials in all body styles are price-appropriate but nothing more, with good fit and finish but many hard plastics.

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4

2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Safety

Poor outward vision and a lack of active safety features put the Camaro behind the times for safety.

How safe is the Chevrolet Camaro?

Though it has decent crash-test scores, the Camaro lacks automatic emergency braking and its gunslit greenhouse creates horrible outward vision. We rate it a 4 out of 10 for safety, with decent crash tests preventing a lower score.

The 2021 Camaro comes standard with none of the active safety features we recommend. Buyers have to pay up to the 3LT, 2SS, or ZL1 to get blind-spot monitors and rear parking sensors. These features are newly standard on the 3LT.

The Camaro coupe has received the top 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA, with four stars for frontal crashes. The convertible gets only five stars for rollover and has not been subjected to the other tests. In IIHS testing, the 2020 coupe earned top “Good” scores in all crash tests except for roof strength, which was deemed as “Acceptable.”

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2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Features

A variety of models, engines, options, and body styles means there’s a Camaro for every performance buyer.

An expansive lineup makes the Camaro accessible to several types of buyers. We award it for its strong lists of standard and optional equipment and its intuitive infotainment system, but knock it for its lack of automatic emergency braking. That equates to a score of 7 out of 10.

The lineup starts with the $25,995 1LS model, and moves up through 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, LT1, 1SS, 2SS, and ZL1. All models are available as a coupe or convertible, and Chevrolet offers the performance-oriented 1LE package for every engine, with escalating levels of go-fast equipment as power increases.

Which Chevrolet Camaro should I buy?

We’d go with the $43,495 2SS model with the $7,000 1LE package for a track-ready car with plenty of amenities. The 2SS comes with heated and cooled front seats, Bose 9-speaker audio, satellite radio, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, a head-up display, a rear camera mirror, 20-inch summer tires, and Brembo brakes. The 1LE package adds magnetic dampers, stiffer suspension tuning, 6-piston front and 4-piston rear Brembo brakes, an electronic limited-slip differential, a dual-mode exhaust system, Recaro bucket seats, and a flat-bottom steering wheel.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Chevrolet Camaro?

The ZL1 model starts at $63,995 and requires a $2,100 gas-guzzler tax. Add the $7,500 ZL1 1LE Extreme Track Performance package and the total comes to $75,190. The ZL1 comes with magnetic dampers, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar summer tires on forged-aluminum wheels, Recaro seats, and Chevy’s Performance Data Recorder that can time and record track laps. The 1LE package goes even further with spool-valve dampers, Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R summer tires, a front splitter, front dive planes, and a carbon-fiber rear wing. Its camber settings, front ride height, and rear stabilizer bars are also adjustable. 

The Camaro’s infotainment system comes with 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreens located within easy reach. Simple, logical control tiles make it easy to use without undue distraction.

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5

2021 Chevrolet Camaro

Fuel Economy

The Camaro’s turbo-4 is its fuel economy leader, and V-8’s thirst isn’t too awful, unless you supercharge it.

Is the Chevrolet Camaro good on gas?

Given its power, the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro doesn’t drink too much fuel. However, our rating of 5 out of 10 only applies to the turbo-4, which is rated at 22 mpg city, 30 highway, 25 combined with the automatic transmission. 

With its 6-speed manual, the turbo-4’s ratings drop to 19/29/22 mpg. 

The V-6 gets ratings of 18/29/22 mpg with its automatic or 16/26/20 mpg with the manual 

A good chunk of Camaro buyers will prefer the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8, which is rated at 16/26/20 mpg with the automatic and 16/24/19 mpg with the manual. 

Speed freaks will want the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 and they’ll pay at the pump. Its ratings are 13/21/16 mpg with the automatic and 14/20/16 mpg with the manual.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$25,000
MSRP based on 2-Door Coupe 1LS
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5.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 9
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety 4
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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