When I first began talking with some of my fellow writers about driving the 2010 Camaro there seemed to be a common thread. This car turns heads. So much so that some folks have recommended allowing extra time to drive anywhere as you would inevitably end up talking with the public on every trip. Most of the journos I heard that from were from south of the border and lived in rather small towns. I figured that this advice was cute, thinking that the press car was the first 2010 Camaro the denizens of rural South Carolina had seen and possibly the last they’d see for a while given the order backlog. Here in Durham Region, where we’ve seen GM’s engineering staff driving pre production units for close to a year, I thought few would notice the car. I expected the 6 cylinder RS model would be virtually ignored. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Everywhere I went with the Camaro, necks craned as people tried to get a better look at it. At the elementary school, the boys’ friends chattered over whether it was a Camaro or a Challenger. While doing the obligatory afternoon high school run, the more aware teenage boys could be heard talking about the differences between an RS and an SS. Our daughter’s friends battled over who got to ride home with us so they could be seen in the cool car. I was stopped in gas stations and at Starbucks by people wanting to know more. Even here in Camaro Country, this car gets noticed.
Before, during and now after the whole meltdown of the North American auto industry, the Camaro has been an incredibly important vehicle for General Motors. Nowhere though has it been more important than here in Durham, where the Camaro is built at the award winning plant in Oshawa. Not only does the 2010 Camaro represent continued prosperity for the community. It is a symbol of the pride our local workers taken in the product they build and the company that many families have worked for over many decades. Call it a halo car for the community as much as one for The General.
The source of that pride is easy to understand in that the 2010 Camaro is a show stopper. Notice I didn’t say how beautiful it was. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I have heard a few beholders who don’t see it. Either way though, there is no denying that this modern interpretation of a classic shape is bold interpretation and is distinctly a Camaro. Rather than going full retro like Ford and Chrysler have done, Chevy definitely took inspiration from the ’68 Camaro but moulded it into an aggressively current look that speaks volumes to the Transformers set. For the record, I think the car is gorgeous. From the outside.
The interior group also took some chances on the interior. I’ve heard lots of quibbles about it from other journalists so I’m not going to beat a dead horse. Again, I like the look but the material quality feels well below what the Mustang & Challenger offer. Being a big kid at heart, I must admit that I like the backlit trim on the door panels. They look cheap during the day, but are super cool at night. The seats are comfy and attractive. Up front. The back seat however is a different story. I’m only 5′ 10″ and with the driver’s seat set for me, even my 9 year old can’t sit in the left rear without taking his shoes off and curling up into a ball. On the right side, space is made better thanks to the long travel of the right front seat. Essentially, the Camaro is a 3 seater.[nggallery id=53]
Depending on your lifestyle, the trunk either works or is a complete failure. Remember for a moment that the Camaro is quite a big car and this size rightly converts into a pretty decent sized trunk. The problem arises when you try to put anything larger than a grocery bag through the opening. We took the car grocery shopping and easily fit enough groceries to feed a family of 5 for a week in there with scads of room to spare. For a long time now, I have measured a car’s practicality through the 3 hockey bag test. Can I take both my boys to hockey practice and get all of our gear in the space provided. My small bag would fit fine, but both boys have big, modern hockey bags and there is no way to jam one of those puppies in, let alone both.
Some may argue that one does not buy a 2 door coupe in order to move people and hockey equipment. I’ll concede on that to a point. Like the Challenger, the Camaro is a big car. The Challenger seats 5 and the trunk can swallow all of our hockey gear. Just sayin’.
Just about everyone, myself included, sighed a little when they found out that our tester was a 6 cylinder, with an automatic transmission. I mean, isn’t a car like the Camaro all about passion? Doesn’t that passion come in large part from the glorious rumble of a V8? The car looks mean, all sharp edged, with those sculpted gills and massive wheels but it lacks that noise that you feel in your gut. Beyond that though, the 3.6L direct injected V6 is a pretty cool engine. It creates 304 horsepower which is more than all V8s offered in the 1968 Camaro with the lone exception of the mighty 396 cubic inch variety. That really is pretty impressive. The Hydra-matic 6 speed automatic is a nice shifting unit that makes the most of the V6′s strength. The automatic car is rated for a combined city/highway fuel economy of 9.4 l/100 km, which is pretty good for a car with 300 plus horsepower.
On the performance side of things, the RS is said to run 0-60 in just 6.1 seconds which is plenty quick. How quick? I came across this compilation of tests from some of the big print mags that makes for interesting reading. On the list are 30 stock Camaro’s, mostly Z-28 or IROC models from 1967 on up to 1998. of those 30, only 8 were quicker off the line than the 2010 RS and those were all V8 powered 90′s era Z-28s. Pretty darned impressive and faster than any of us really needs for our daily drive.
Let’s add all this stuff up. Looks great. Goes like stink. Gets reasonable fuel economy. Kids don’t fit. Trunk perfect for a naughty weekend. Turns heads everywhere. All of this adds up to a ride that is great for singles, empty nesters and parents who want to get away from their kids. All in all, sounds like a recipe for a good relationship.