Autoblog - 2010 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT/RS

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 3, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Joy of Six: 2010 Chevy Camaro V6 RS

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    by Alex Nunez on Apr 22nd 2009 at 11:58AM

    The V6 Chevrolet Camaro. This is supposed to be a joke, right? The bent-six Camaro was Detroit's version of the triple-white Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet – only girly-girls needed apply. In the case of the Camaro, said chicks generally had big hair, cranked Slaughter on the ACDelco cassette player and actually used the ashtrays in the manner for which they were designed. If you were a guy driving a V6 (or, God forbid, an Iron Duke four) Chevy Camaro during the time Def Leppard boasted its original lineup, well, that was terribly unfortunate. The dudes with Z28s and IROCs doubtless sniggered as you rolled by with that exquisite rental-car exhaust note. This "Six Stigma" applied right through to the F-Body's demise in 2002. So let's be honest with one another: the six-cylinder car was for hairdressers. Which brings us to today, and the arrival of the new, 2010 Chevrolet Camaro V6. After driving the SS during the week of the New York Auto Show, we were prepared to be bitterly disappointed with the pre-production six-cylinder Camaro RS that The General sent us a few days later. So much for that. Preconceptions? Obliterated.

    To recap: the 2010 Chevy Camaro SS is a glorious case study in politically-incorrect motoring, dripping with attitude and a ferocious 426-horsepower V8 punch that feels like it's delivered with brass knuckles. Some folks will hate what it represents. Its drivers will just smile as billows of tire smoke pour out of the wheel wells and into the ozone layer. Conversely, the V6 offerings have always seemed like lame afterthoughts, but with the 2010 Camaro, GM has flipped the script. You see, you can make a pretty strong case that the V6 is really the better car.

    In fact, if you're going to drive the Camaro every day, the six-cylinder car is almost certainly the better pick. It looks fundamentally the same as its hairy-chested big brother, save for some subtle visual differences. There's no false hood scoop and the V6 lacks the SS's more pronounced chin. Out back, there's a different diffuser insert in the rear bumper. Otherwise, the six-cylinder Camaro is every bit the head-turner as the SS. The casual, untrained eye won't even tell the difference, especially if you doll up the V6 car with the RS package, as our tester came equipped. That adds red grille and trunked badges, 20-inch SS-lookalike wheels, HID lamps with halo-effect lights, and a rear decklid spoiler.

    Turning the ignition switch (the Camaro uses a flip-out, Volkswagen-style switchblade key fob), the car comes to life with all the aural mayhem of a Buick Enclave. There's no telltale "you really don't want to step to this" exhaust burble as with the SS. Instead, the 304-horsepower, 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 idles quietly like an altar boy on his best behavior. Pull the six-speed automatic down into "drive" and get into the throttle, however, and you find that the six-equipped Camaro has a growl all its own. But it's fleeting; that's because in regular drive mode, the HydraMatic upshifts early and often as it attempts to maximize fuel efficiency. This is much appreciated on the highway, where we averaged a little over 26 mpg on a one-way, 60-mile commute into Manhattan. But when you're cruising locally, not so much. Obviously, if you don't check the slushbox option in the first place, this isn't a concern. If you do pony up for the auto, however, fret not: the solution is just one notch away on that console-mounted gear selector.

    Below "D" (which may as well stand for "dull"), you'll find "M" (which probably stands for something like "manual" but could just as easily be shorthand for "much more fun"), and that's the place to be. In one of life's great mysteries, choosing "M" displays an "S" on the multifunction display in WALL-E-esque* primary gauge cluster (*hat tip to SS post commenter Ed for that Pixar-perfect description). This begs the question as to why GM doesn't put "S" on the shifter, too. I'm sure there were several rounds of meetings during which people wearing ties argued this very point, and that somewhere in the bowels of the Renaissance Center there exists a Powerpoint slide that makes sense of it all. To someone. But we digress.

    Once you have the transmission in Sport mode (that's what we're calling it henceforth), you can begin to appreciate what the V6 Camaro brings to the party. For one, it holds onto gears as long as possible, and as the car builds up a head of steam, you notice that while it's about as noisy as a librarian at idle, under power, the exhaust belts out a nicely-tuned, Nissan VQ-ish honk. A V6 Camaro that actually sounds cool? Knock us down with a feather – GM really did take this seriously.

    And it's plenty quick, too. It accelerates nicely right out of the gate and GM says 0-60 takes 6.1 seconds, which seems ballpark-correct based on our seat-of-the-pants impression. Paired with the automatic tranny, the V6 may as well have "Burnouts for Dummies" molded on its plastic engine cover. Disable traction control, apply brake, depress accelerator, and the Camaro lays down a smokescreen that would make the guys at Q Branch jealous. Note, however, that same seat-of-the-pants impression we just mentioned also tells us that aspiring stoplight heroes may still want to think twice before goading Mustang GT drivers in the adjacent lane. The temptation to do so will surely be there, as the 3.6-liter DI V6 is no pretender, but a S197 Mustang still feels a shade quicker than the heavier, autobox-equipped V6 Camaro does. Then again, we're comparing a base-engined, six-cylinder Camaro to the V8 Mustang GT on equal ground. How times have changed – for the better.

    With 300+ horses underhood and a net loss of around 130 pounds compared to the manual-equipped SS model, it's no surprise that the Camaro V6 performs so admirably. In many respects, the V6 model feels remarkably similar to its V8 sibling from behind the wheel. Throw out the obvious power differential, which isn't a big deal from a practicality standpoint (not that 'Merican Muscle is practical, mind you), and you're left with most of the thrills for less coin. Road feel is basically the same, thanks to communicative, nicely-weighted steering that's not over-assisted. The suspension's dialed in more for sport than comfort –- again, like the SS –- and in this case, the car wore essentially the same wheel/tire package to boot, thanks to the RS option. On smooth pavement, it's very well-mannered, but when you traverse choppy surfaces, you'll look to see if there's a seismograph among the trip computer's features. The bottom line: whereas the Camaro SS feels like a fullback ready to blow through defensive linemen, the V6 car is more like the little halfback who's happier to turn the corner and let his athleticism win out. Both cars play the same game and share a lot of attitude, but their gameday approaches differ. As a result, the SS is a brute that lives to roar forward as if it's been jabbed with a cattle prod. It's basic, visceral power. The V6 is a little lighter on its feet and more refined in its quickness.

    Driving the Camaro in full-auto mode is engaging enough that it's easy to forget Chevy lets you shift the car manually, too. Shift paddles peek over the unique steering wheel's wide spokes: a minus-sign on the left and a plus-sign on the right. Only they're not really paddles, as we discovered on our first pull. Instead of paddles, you get shift buttons mounted behind the wheel. They work as advertised, and on manual downshifts, you even get a little throttle blip, but we still yearned for a "real" set of paddles to complete the package.

    Our tester was a 2LT/RS model, so it featured better interior appointments than the 1SS we drove the prior week. What was different? The comfy sport seats we enjoyed in the SS are now leather-covered. Additional controls for the phone and audio features adorned the front of the steering wheel thanks to the car's electronics package. Inside the center console, a USB port joins the standard AUX jack. The HVAC interface adds nicely-integrated seat heater buttons, and the Rally Pack-inspired supplemental gauge cluster was installed ahead of the shifter.

    We checked out the back seat of the Camaro this time around, and came to the rapid conclusion that if you're an adult, there may as well be a "KEEP OUT" sign hung back there (at 5' 9", I'll never be described as tall, but my noggin still rubbed up against the headliner in the rear). On the other hand, kids fit fine, even when seated in boosters. That back seat flips down, too, expanding trunk space when you need it. Of course, you need to get your gear into the trunk through its tiny opening first.

    Our opinion on the instrument panel layout remains basically unchanged: we like it for its simplicity. The two primary gauges are eminently readable and the radio/HVAC unit is intuitive to use. The supplemental console-mounted gauges, however, aren't really well-located. Sure, they look cool and we understand the heritage motif the General is after, but the need to look down and away from the road to get info is an ergonomic artifact that probably should have been left in the past.

    Despite its quirks, we're thoroughly impressed with the new Camaro. Even in non-SS trim, it's a muscular-looking stunner, especially in the Aqua Blue Metallic finish this tester sported. It's every bit the attention magnet the SS is, pulling mechanics out of their shops for a closer look, and causing other motorists to crane their necks drive in a full-on tribute to Linda Blair.

    The best news of all is that the V6 Chevy Camaro is a good car with a terrific engine. Yes, it's less powerful than the SS, but for the first time in forever, that doesn't mean that it's the lesser car. With the 2010 Camaro, "I have the V6" is something you can say with your head held high.

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  2. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    The mustang called, it wants it's gauge cluster back, heh
     
  3. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    looks good

    sounds meh
     
  4. topcat

    topcat OT Supporter

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    camaro ftw
     
  5. Gai

    Gai New Member

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    I love the four pack gauges.
     
  6. SilverTurtle

    SilverTurtle New Member

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    ummmm, wat?
     
  7. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    they kinda stole the gauge cluster, just in terms of font :dunno:
     
  8. matrix243

    matrix243 My body, is ready.

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    lol ratt on hair nation. 1 song playlist.
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I don't know why, but that back-end demands a driver wearing a cowboy hat and listening to ZZ Top, pre-Eliminator era.

    Also...

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

    Well, they had to fuck up something, didn't they? I bet that's what the slide says, too: "In order to maintain predictable levels of imperfection..."
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2009
  10. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    You do realize that 'font' was widely used in the 60s, right?

    If anything I think they were trying to somewhat copy the old Stewart Warner "greenline" gauges that were so popular in both the Mustang AND the Camaro back in the early days of both models.
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I actually really like the new Mustang. I was happy when they redesigned it back in...when was it, '05?...but the addition of a motor that's good for more than burnouts and an interior that can satisfy a Japmobile fan means it's actually a car I would consider buying if I were in the market for a car at all right now. I never thought I would have any interest in a car that used a live axle, but I guess if it has one for a specific reason as opposed to trying to save money on R&Ding something better, then at least I know it's supposed to be the way it is.
     
  12. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    i know.
     
  13. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    The '10 has the same engine they've had since '05 :hsugh:
     
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Whatever, nitpick about a single detail and ignore the rest.
     
  15. cheesesauce

    cheesesauce RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE RAPE

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    :rofl:
     
  16. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Just buy an 05 and throw some Konis on it. (THROW SOME D'S ON IT)

    No denying that the '10+ model has a MUCH better interior, though.
     
  17. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    The Camaro's V6 sounds very BMW-like in Motor Trend's HQ youtube vids :cool:
     
  18. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    And I am beginning to agree w/ TriShield...the V6 fascia is more attractive :o
     
  19. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    damnit i hate when the seat belt buckle turn the opposite way like that, even though that one did,t, even tho it looks retarded the way it does
     
  20. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    For once just admit you only know enough about cars to shoot your mouth off and FAIL constantly.
     
  21. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    teh v6 is all in all a better compromise. hell, 300 ponies? 10 years ago the Z28 made less
     
  22. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Nobody wants it, it's the only thing dealers have on the lots right now. SS is gone as soon as it gets off the truck.
     
  23. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    Too bad the government doesn't seem to recognize this.... then maybe Obama would stop shoving shitty econoboxes down our throats as the "future of the industry" :ugh:
     
  24. art_VW_shark

    art_VW_shark OT Supporter

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    Really? I feel like for the last generation, I saw as many, if not more, v6s than Z28s. Then again, this generation really is the rebirth of a legend, so that's gonna attract a different clientelle. the 4th gen attracted the 'go fast cheap' crowd.
     
  25. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Camaro buyers aren't representative of the entire market. The SS flies off the lot while the V6 sits and rusts because people who want to buy Camaros apparently think that a Camaro isn't any good without a V8. That doesn't apply to the hordes of people who are satisfied with I4 econoboxes and V6 sport sedans.
     

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