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Published on Sat, Jul 10, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
2010 Chevrolet Camaro 1LT Coupe TASTES GREAT, LESS FILLING By Reed Berry Camaro. I could just leave it at that and have the shortest auto review ever, not to mention saving myself a lot of writing time. After all, when I say Camaro you don’t think of a small economy car, and it certainly doesn’t conjure up an image of a boxy SUV. Unless you’ve lived a very sheltered life, just hearing ‘Camaro’ makes you think of a bold, sporty and, of course, powerful muscle car. The 2010 model blends classic Camaro lines with cool new styling to create a vehicle that still has the looks and power to impress, while offering the comfort and fuel economy to make this a practical daily driver. And this car certainly isn’t lacking in popularity. Each time I mention to friends and business associates that I will be road testing a new car, I frequently hear the question: ‘But when are you getting a new Camaro?’
Well that question has now been answered as I slip behind the wheel of a shiny new Camaro 1LT Coupe. How can it get any better than that, you ask? Well, actually it can because if you want to spend a little more money, you can get the 2LT with such amenities as larger wheels, a premium audio system, and Bluetooth technology. If you desire more power and don’t mind burning a little extra fuel to get it, the 1SS and 2SS feature a 6.2-liter V8 engine delivering an impressive 426 horsepower (with the manual transmission), plus big 20-inch wheels and four-piston Brembo brakes. I wonder if I would need that much power, however, as the 1LT that I’m driving comes standard with a 304-hp 3.6-liter V6 that really seems to get the job done. Acceleration is quick, confident and hesitation-free. Combine the enthusiastic engine with a six-speed manual transmission and this is a car that really moves. I find myself watching the speedometer in order to maintain a safe speed. As one would imagine, the Camaro has no difficulty reaching - and attempting to exceed - the legal speed limit. With speed ticketing cameras in the not-too-distant future on California highways, you may wish to exercise some self-restraint when driving a car such as this or, alternatively, start budgeting for a traffic ticket…or two…or ten. Needless to say, the power under the hood comes in handy when passing slower moving vehicles and can actually be a lifesaver if it becomes necessary to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
The Camaro’s handling is superb and, well, why wouldn’t it be? This car has the features you would expect on a serious driving machine, such as sport suspension and traction control. Variable ratio power steering adds to the equation to help the Camaro negotiate sharp curves with ease and corner just as impressively. Antilock brakes are a standard feature on Camaro, as well. I can remember a time when muscle cars were designed for power and performance, with less importance placed on interior comfort. That was then, this is now. The interior of the new Camaro is both stylish and comfortable. The sport bucket seats with six-way power adjustment for the driver provide excellent support. I would prefer leather to the cloth seats in my test vehicle, but they are not available on the 1LT or 2LT. Leather-appointed seats are standard on the 1SS and 2SS models. Convenience features in the vehicle include a variety of OnStar services, including automatic crash response and hands-free voice activated phone. Dual power outlets (remember when they were called cigarette lighters?) are handy for charging cell phones and other accessories. The standard six-speaker CD sound system sounds decent, but I would consider the available Boston Acoustics nine-speaker 245-watt premium sound system. After all, your iPod is only going to sound as good as what you connect it to.
Speaking of connectivity, there is an auxiliary input jack but I find it to be a little inconvenient. Instead of being within easy reach as it is in some vehicles, the jack is hidden in the back of the center console storage compartment. This makes connecting devices a little awkward and, unless you have a fairly long audio cable, it prevents you from holding the device at a comfortable viewing distance for song selection. Another feature I find to be a little inconvenient on Camaro is the height of the vehicle. At just over 54 inches, the car has a low profile that gives it sporty look. The low profile also makes getting in the car a little less than comfortable for me. Maybe I’m just being a bit picky, but getting in a car shouldn’t be like playing the game Limbo. I find myself grabbing the steering wheel and positioning myself so as to clear the driver’s door and drop into the bucket seat. Well, I guess it really is a small price to pay to drive a sexy car that turns heads. The test vehicle I’m driving has a price of $26,940, which breaks down to an MSRP of $23,880 plus just over $2,000 in options. Optional equipment includes special metallic paint, matching door panels with an LED accent pipe and – believe it or not – a compact spare tire. My, how times have changed. Airlines now charge for baggage and some car companies have made a spare tire an option. The 1LT comes standard with tire sealant and inflator kit but for an extra $150, you can have an actual compact spare wheel and tire.
The 2010 Camaro 1LT has more horsepower than the 2010 Ford Mustang V6 (the 2011 Mustang V6 catches up to the Camaro) and a better EPA fuel economy rating than the Dodge Challenger, which may make it a wise choice for those seeking a performance car suitable for daily use. For more information about Chevrolet products: chevrolet.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 1LT Coupe MSRP: $23,880 As tested: $26,940 EPA Fuel Economy Estimates (City/Highway): 17 / 29 Engine type: 3.6-liter V6 with direct injection Horsepower: 304 @ 6,400 rpm Torque: 273 @ 5,200 rpm Transmission type: 6-speed manual transmission standard. 6-speed automatic with TAPshift available Steering: Variable ratio power steering Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS Wheels: 18” painted aluminum wheels Wheelbase: 112.3 inches Overall length: 190.4 inches Overall width: 75.5 inches Overall height: 54.2 inches