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 mikeyg36 (MD) on Friday, December 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, Powerful, Styling"
Cons: "Small trunk, Small backseat, Quiet stock exhaust"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've been following this car since it was announced back in 2006, and finally purchased one in 2012. The LS3 V8 in the Camaro SS is hands down the best part of the car. The power will always put a smile on your face, and the aftermarket is very strong for performance modifications. The styling is a real head turner, and there are plenty of Camaro clubs and meets all across the country. Only cons are the small space in the back and trunk, and a so-so interior. I haven't had any issues with visibility; as long as the mirrors are adjusted correctly it should be fine. All in all, it is everything dreamed the new Camaro would be, and then some."
By Gary (FL) on Wednesday, December 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun car to drive. Plenty of power."
Cons: "Trunk and back seat space."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"One of the best cars I've ever owned, if not the best. It is a fun car to drive. I love taken it on curve roads. As far as power goes, the V-6 in this car has as much power than most of the V-8 I have owned. On long trips it is a pleasure to drive. The only thing I don't like about it is the storage space in the trunk and the room in the back seat area."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By Jim (FL) on Sunday, November 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,700overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Fun to drive, still turns heads and draws compliments 3 years after purchase. Never regretted the decision to buy this car."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By spudhead (ID) on Saturday, November 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great power and ride for the money"
Cons: "visibility backing up, boring console - plastic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"This car has great power and handles well on tight turns. I have the ground package and the orange inferno pacakge that really makses this car unique. The exhaust sound is a little too quite relative to a Mustang so I installed a cold air intake (Air-raid) that added a bit more horespower and also enhaned the sound and overall performance. This car is a riot to drive but forget any remote change of driving in the snow - park it for the winter not worth the hastle and risk since you will get stuck in two inches. I think about selling the car but when i go out to the garage and look at i chnage my mind."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By GS (NY) on Tuesday, November 05, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "OnStar, Bluetooth radio"
Cons: "RELIABILITY, poor paint job, harsh ride, exhausts"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"When I first picked up the car it exhibited a loud creaking noise from bad front end bushings. Driver side weather-stripping kept falling down out of its channel. Shuddering at 1400 rpms up during acceleration. After 4 repair attempts I picked up the car after Chevy replaced a bad transmission. Metallic sound from driver side rear. Lug nuts loose. Tightened myself. Sound gone. Contacted GM to inform of issues. Was told 7 or 8 trips to the dealership on a new car is OK as long as they honor their warranty. GM needs to know when too many problems on one vehicle is not acceptable or they wont have any. Stick with Asian cars, my other 2, 3 year old cars have never seen the dealership."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Donsand (NC) on Monday, November 04, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very quiet and smooth ride."
Cons: "Tourque could be better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"31 MPG Driving from Tampa Florida to Raleigh NC. In town I was getting around 25 mpg. I have a heavy foot. Driving to Raleigh I was staying around 75 to 79 mph and at the first stop I got 30.9 mpg. When I filled up it said I could go 522 miles on that tank of gas. So for 715 miles I only filled up once. Unreal. Every time I stopped to eat or whatever someone would say "Nice Car" I never got tired of hearing it. Not one problem with the car in 22,000 miles. Love the alert for the speed. I have it set at 81 mph so I haven't gotten a ticket yet. The torque on the car cold be a little better. Has a slight delay when doing a quick start."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful