By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 5.6
There were some working in the halls of General Motors' rescue partner, the federal government, who felt that a V8-powered sports model like the Chevrolet Camaro was the wrong car at the wrong time; clearly the American consumer felt differently and has proven so by voting with their hard-earned dollars. The Camaro is a hit and whether in V8 trim or powered by the also-available V6, the 2011 Camaro is not just a car to be respected; it's a car to be celebrated. Not only does the newest model evoke all the good emotions of an earlier time, it also provides those same emotions for new generations who may remember the Camaro only as the noisy relic owned by the old guy at the end of the cul-de-sac. The 426-horsepower SS model certainly grabs the headlines, but the 312-horsepower V6-equipped LT offers significantly more performance than you might expect, while turning in laudable fuel efficiency.
If you want a great-looking car that expresses your personality without forcing you to take out a second mortgage on the declining value of your home, you have to like the Camaro. In SS form its performance-per-dollar ratio is outstanding as well.
If you're seeking BMW-like handling or a sophisticated interior brimming with quality plastics and trim, the Camaro may prove disappointing. Those who have kids who are older than toddlers may find the Camaro's minimalistic rear seat area too tight for anything other than short trips.
For 2011, the V6 Camaro gains an additional eight horsepower, bringing its total output to 312. Also new this year is the limited availability of Synergy Green Metallic paint on all trims, while a Head-Up Display is made standard on Camaro 2LT and 2SS trims.
Driving Impressions While we had a chance to sample every level of the Camaro from the V6-powered LS to the 426-horsepower LS3 V8-equipped SS with its six-speed manual transmission, we have to...admit that we spent most of our time in the SS. Power and torque are effortless and ever-present, making it an easy car to drive fast, and its 0-60-mph acceleration, aided by electronic launch control, is a more-than-respectable 4.4 seconds. But while you might expect excellent straight-line acceleration, you might not expect the sophisticated handling offered by its multi-link rear suspension, rack-and-pinion steering and substantial tires. Further, the handling is enhanced by the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system that incorporates anti-lock braking, traction control and an active braking system to control wheel slip. Old-school drivers might object, but electronic launch control reduces the level of skill required to get off the line quickly, while "Competitive/Sport" modes for the stability system allow turning off many of the electronic aids, for doing your own thing. And, you would not be wrong to opt for either the less-expensive 304-horsepower V6 version or the 400-horsepower L99 V8 with active fuel management and its six-speed automatic with paddle-activated shifting.
Great Exterior Styling
Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we are of the opinion that the new Camaro looks like a car that could command a much higher price tag. The details like the grille, rear roof pillars and taillights are simply gorgeous.
Camaros of old were great in a straight line, but a lot less great around corners, especially if the road surface was uneven. With its multi-link rear suspension instead of a live axle, the new Camaro is much more at home in those challenging situations.
Frankly, the interior of the Camaro doesn't win as much applause as the truly striking exterior. Several of our colleagues complained about the large expanses of hard plastic, and we have to agree that we wish the dash were a bit more inviting. On the positive side, the key gauges are very readable; the steering wheel, although placed a bit high for many drivers, has a nice heft and feel and the action of the manual shifter is excellent. We're not fans of the placement of the optional gauges for oil pressure, oil temperature, volts and transmission fluid temperature low in the center console, because it is difficult to scan them quickly, but we do like that old-school touch. We also like the supportive and adjustable front seats, but feel adjustable lumbar support would make them even better. As for the Camaro's backseat, let's just say it is as small and confining as you would expect.Exterior
From where we sit the 2011 Camaro is a design tour de force. It is great looking from every angle, and it is definitely identifiable as a Camaro without drawing too heavily on designs from previous generations. While the front end with its bold grille immediately grabs your attention, our favorite portion of the design is the interface between the roof and the ultra-wide rear fenders. GM designers told us it was hard to accomplish this using factory stamping techniques, but in the end GM production engineers were able to make it happen. We also like the tail with its hooded classic Camaro taillamps.
Perhaps the most notable standard item is the Camaro's good looks, and they are accompanied by a supple and responsive suspension that makes this the best handling, most comfortable Camaro of all time. Cloth-upholstered, four-way manually-adjusted driver seat and two-way-adjusted front passenger seat are standard. The 11.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity can be increased with the standard fold-down rear seat. All models include a three-spoke steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope adjustment, plus cruise control and rear defogger. The Camaro's standard entertainment system is a single-CD radio with six speakers, and it offers XM Satellite Radio. All models also include power door locks and express up-and-down windows. Standard safety technologies include front dual-stage airbags, front seat-mounted thorax side-impact airbags, head-curtain side-impact airbags for front- and rear-seat occupants, front-seat safety-belt load limiters and pretensioners and a front-passenger detection system that senses children and small-stature adults and suppresses airbag deployment when appropriate.
While the base Camaro with V6 engine is reasonably well-equipped, some judicious checking of option boxes can add up to a more comfortable while still reasonably priced car. We liked the optional heated, leather-trimmed seats with driver six-way power adjustment. On SS models, the seats feature a distinctive SS logo on the headrests with contrasting stitching, and an "Inferno Orange" interior trim package is also available with leather interiors. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; redundant steering-wheel controls; Bluetooth and USB port are part of the available "Driver Convenience and Connectivity" package, which also includes remote start on automatic transmission-equipped vehicles, as well as an interface module for iPods and the like. The available premium audio system is by Boston Acoustics, with nine speakers and 245 booming watts. An optional short-throw Hurst shifter provides quick, concise shifting, and there are a variety of available wheel-tire packages, including 21-inch machined aluminum wheels.
The Camaro offers three engine choices – 312-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injected V6, 400-horsepower 6.2-liter L99 V8 with active fuel management or 426-horsepower 6.2-liter LS3 V8. The V6 can be backed by either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The L99 is accompanied by a six-speed automatic with paddle-activated driver shift control, while the LS3 has a six-speed manual.
312 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29 (automatic) 17/28 (manual)
6.2-liter V8 (L99)
400 horsepower @ 5900 rpm
410 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25
6.2-liter V8 (LS3)
426 horsepower @ 5900 rpm
420 horsepower @ 4600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24
By camaro on Saturday, August 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "handles like a dream with many extras"
Cons: "can get you a speeding ticket if not careful"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car in 2/14. it has many extra options like tires for life on 20" nitro air tires. Paint job for life incase of any dents scratches etc. It also has state inspection for life in VA. Also has oil change for Life. Fully covered warranty bumper to bumper up to 70,000 miles. The warranty can be extended but have been advised to wait closer to 70,000. Its black and corners like its on rails. It is my primary car so I have put some miles on it. This is the best vehicle I have owned and is very theraputic. I am going thru a divorce and lawyers are draining me. looking for someone to love this car as much as I do"
13 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Gearz00 on Friday, August 08, 2014
I owned and sold this car
Reason: Manual Transmission Grinding 2nd
Pros: "Power & Handling"
Cons: "Transmission problems, burning oil smell,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"The transmission was rebuilt twice and 3rd gear was still not right. The car developed a burning oil smell like oil hitting an exhaust manifold but there were not visible leaks so I researched it and there was a bulletin for this condition to replace the rear main seal. After numerous visits to the dealer I gave up and traded the car in. The power and handling of the car were great but the rear tires needed to be replaced with only 11K. I hated that the fog lights were the DRL lights so they couldn't be used at night. The car was a poor choice and a waist of money."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Bob on Thursday, July 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "A ball to drive and attracks a pile of attention."
Cons: "Summer only vehicle, but that's why I bought it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I'm a bit disappointed with the the construction of this vehicle. A $40,000.00+ vehicle and it has more plastic than metal. The plastic inner rear fenders hold the rear fenders together. That's GM. My other car is a 2013 Ford Taurus SHO. Much better quality contruction."
3 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Sunbrat on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good Gas Mileage, Great Sound package, reliable"
Cons: "The passenger seat sits too low."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this car right from the dealership. I have driven it 20,000 yrly. All I have done is standard maintenance. The radio knobs are in perfect position, the ventilation is in perfect position. The get up and go is real good for a 6. If I had one thing to rag on it would be as the passenger you can't see nothing if you're short. The drivers side allows you to manually lift the seat. But when my husband drives I can barely see the hood of the car let alone the road. That makes no sense at all. The passenger seat sits too low for anyone under 5'10". It's also a little difficult to put a car seat for a child in the back. The trunk is nice and large and with the rear seat dropped down you can haul a lot of unexpected purchases."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Jack on Saturday, July 26, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"NITRO FILLED 245/40ZR21 FRONT, 275/35ZR21 REAR TIRES. GROUND EFFECTS, 6 SPEED TRANSMISSION, REMOTE VEHICLE START, SUNROOF, HIGH INTENSITY DISGHARGE W/HALO LAMPS, SILVER STRIPE PACKAGE, CAR IS BLACK, BLACK LEATHER THRUOUT THE INTERIOR, BLACK WHEELS,BLACK WHEELS, HEADS UP DISPLAY,RS UNIQUE TAIL LAPS, COLD AIR INJECTOR, NEW MUFFLER SYSTEM, MORE HORSPOWER. ULTRASONIC REAR PARK ALARMS. I'm a Disabled Veteran, Vietnam. After I bought the Camaro I needed another back surgery and when I recovered I could never fit in the car without pain. Garage kept and some lucky soul is going to get the deal of their lifetime..."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Double B on Sunday, July 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, Power, fun to drive."
Cons: "Mushy V6 brakes, blindspots, small backseat."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I own the red jewel tintcoat V6 camaro with R/S pkg. This car is not only a head turner but has great power and style for a V6. I couldn't imagine how much power the SS would have after owning this car. There are a few blindspots but you get used to them after you drive it a while."
15 people out of 26 found this review helpful