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2012 Chevrolet Camaro

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.9

Given these tough economic times, the Camaro is a car that shouldn't exist. Economic crises have a way of killing off muscle cars (think of the 1970s oil embargo or the recession of the late 1980s), so maybe the fact that the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro is flourishing is a sign that better times are not far off. Of course, when it comes to things like safety and fuel economy, today's Camaro is light years ahead of it ancestors, yet it is equally as powerful as the most legendary Camaros of yore. Heck, the base Camaro V6 car has more horsepower than some of the late 70s and early 80s V8 Camaros! Yet for all its improvements, the Camaro continues to annoy environmentalists and government regulators alike, which is probably why so many people love this car. Also appealing is the long-held friendly rivalry with fellow domestics the 2012 Ford Mustang and 2012 Dodge Challenger. It's a flashback moment to a time when names like Toyota and Honda were barely known, and cruising the boulevard in a big, loud American muscle car was a Saturday night ritual. Be it the 323-horsepower LS, the 426-horsepower SS or the 550-horsepower ZL1 (reviewed separately), in Coupe or Convertible, there is a Camaro to fit just about every need and budget.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a high-performance machine that offers the best dollar-to-horsepower ratio in the business, check out the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro. In SS form, it outmuscles most exotics costing twice as much.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If there is a sacrifice to be made for the Camaro's modest sticker price, it resides in the car's cockpit. If hard surfaces and cheap plastics are a deal breaker, you might want to check out the Ford Mustang instead. Those hoping to find the light, agile handling of a BMW at a Chevy price will be sorely disappointed.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the V6 Camaro gains an additional 11 horsepower, bringing its total output to 323. Also new this year is a 45th Anniversary package that adds specific hood and deck stripes, 20-inch wheels and special interior trim. Other changes include a new steering wheel design, a power lift feature for the passenger seat, and the addition of a rearview camera to the Rear Vision Package. The high-performance ZL1 is set to debut early in 2012 with a 550-horsepower supercharged V8 engine.

Driving the Camaro

Driving Impressions We were given the opportunity to spend equal time in every Camaro trim, from the V6-powered LS to the 426-horsepower SS with the 6-speed manual transmission (our preferred choice as,...

due to the Active Fuel Management system, the automatic SS has 26 less horsepower). Admittedly, we enjoyed all the cars, but spent the lion's share of our time testing the SS. With its ever-present torque and seemingly endless horsepower reserves it's easy to make the SS go fast. Aided by GM's electronic launch control our Camaro SS was able to tackle the 0-60-mph run in 4.4 seconds, and thanks to the Camaro's multi-link rear suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and substantial tires our Camaro SS was able to perform as well in the curves as at the track. You still have to use plenty of finesse to get this car around turns, but the enhanced traction provided by the StabiliTrak electronic stability control system (incorporates anti-lock braking, traction control and an active braking system to control wheel slip) is a great ally. 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.

Great Exterior Styling
Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we are of the opinion that the 2012 Chevrolet 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.

All-Around Performance
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.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro Details
Interior

Standing in sharp contrast to the brilliant execution of the Camaro's exterior is its rather lackluster interior. Large expanses of hard plastics on the doors and center console look and feel cheap, and will likely scratch easily over time. But, what the Camaro's interior lacks in execution it more than makes up for in design, with two large hooded binnacles housing the speedometer and tachometer, and an available gauge package for oil temp, oil pressure, volts and transmission fluid temp placed at the end of the center console. The thick-grip steering wheel feels welcome, but its position relative to the driver seems a bit high. Thankfully, the positioning and action of the manual transmission shifter is just right, as are the Camaro's supportive front seats. Some drivers did complain, however, about the absence of any form of adjustable lumbar support and everyone agreed the ridiculously tiny sun visors were all but useless when positioned to block the sun at the driver's side window. As for the Camaro's backseat, let's just say it is as small and confining as you would expect.

Exterior

Some cars attempt a retro feel that just looks odd or over the top, but the Camaro's design team nailed the spirit of the original without insulting it. A stunning looker at every angle, the 2012 Camaro's visual appeal is striking. Nowhere is this more evident than the intersection between the massive rear fenders and the crisp-edged roof pillar, a joining that makes a bold statement as well as a massive blind spot for the driver. Of course, the aggressive recessed grille and headlamp treatment add an air of wickedness, as does the SS model's massive five-spoke wheel and tire package. Rounding out the look are classic hooded Camaro taillights and a subtle rear deck spoiler.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Perhaps the most notable standard item is the Camaro's good looks, accompanied by a supple and responsive suspension that makes this the best handling, most comfortable Camaro of all time. Cloth-upholstered, 6-way manually-adjusted driver and 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.

Optional Equipment

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 6-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. Specific to 2012 is the 45th Anniversary Package which can be ordered on Camaro 2LT and Camaro SS. The package includes Carbon Flash Metallic black paint with red and silver striping, unique 20-inch wheels, HID headlamps, unique interior trim and 45th Anniversary badges.

Under the Hood

The Camaro offers three engine choices - 323-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injected LFX 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 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. The L99 is accompanied by a 6-speed automatic with paddle-activated driver shift control, while the LS3 has a 6-speed manual.

3.6-liter V6
323 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
278 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/29 (automatic), 19/30 (automatic 2LS), 17/28 (manual)

6.2-liter V8 (L99)
400 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
410 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24

6.2-liter V8 (LS3)
426 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
420 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24

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2012 Chevrolet Camaro Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 545 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Beautiful, superior driver comfort. Love it

By on Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Driver comfort well thought out; exciting to drive"

Cons: "Due to Michigan weather, must be stored."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"First car I've owned that makes me smile each time I get in to drive it; especially after a long days' work and bumper to bumper highway traffic on the commute home. I feel much more calm even though we're barely moving 10 mph! Of course, having the convertible model only adds to my excitement and pleasure owning such a beautiful vehicle."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I waited 8 long years for this car!

By on Monday, September 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "EVERYTHING"

Cons: "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I waited since 2002 for this car. I knew Chevrolet wouldn't just kill the Camaro for ever!! This car is everything and more than I ever expected. The style is badass!! fantastic looking car. Runs VERY strong! This is my 4th Camaro since 1974. I've sill got a 69Z/28 sitting in my garage, all original! Unfortunately on the 8/18/14 I was t-boned by a raised 2005 Chevy pick up going 40+mph and totaled my beauty .Im heart broken. Sure, I'm going to get a new one (2014/15) but im not sure if i like the new back end? I LOVED the 2010. It was bought on 10/10/10!!! Ill miss her greatly!"

Have had my Camaro for 3 years - Love it!

By on Sunday, September 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Plenty of power for a 6 - seats make the car"

Cons: "Visibility to right front for curbs is tuff"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have a 2010 Camaro 2LT/RS - Inferno Orange with Orange Interior - have wanted to buy this car since Transformers came out in 2007. Finally got to buy it 9/2011 - driven well - love it. Pros - V-6 has plenty of power - will throw you back in the seat - have fun with the Tap Shift - almost like having a stick. Seats are really comfortable. Interior is very roomy for driver/passenger. RS package gives you the SS look but with great mileage. Trunk has decent room. Mirrors are very good in conjunction with Park Assist. Halo lights make it look cool! Cons - interior has lots of plastic, limited headroom after 6'2, no back seat room (who really sits there anyway, plenty of blind spots for this car but using mirrors & park assist make it worth it."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Best built American vehicle I have ever owned

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Beautiful appearance, Great touring car, Reliable"

Cons: "Better interior courtesy lighting and in glove box"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought brand new July. 2009. Currently showing 47k miles. Except for oil and gas and filters this vehicle has required no addition costs to own. Only now are there signs that new tires will be needed in the very near future. Engine is a V8 400 horse power and managed 25Mpg on a 13000k mile road trip around the U.S.A. in May and June 2012. It may be luck of the draw on my part but I am drivng/owning the best American built car of my life. If your wondering I'm 66years old and in my time have owned 47 cars and trucks."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fullfills my need for speed!

By on Saturday, September 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "A blast to drive"

Cons: "Cup holder locale"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Other than road noise in 6th gear and the cup holders being right in the way while trying to shift gears, I absolutely LOVE this car! Best purchase ever!"

Great ride.

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "turns heads, warranty, smooth ride"

Cons: "Cheap interior material, visibility, trunk space,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I own a '14 2LS Chevy Camaro. I was actually on my way to get a Mustang GT, but just so happen the Chevy and Ford dealerships were right next to each other and in order to get to the Ford dealership I had to go through Chevy's. This car automatically caught my eyes. Didn't really like the '11-'13 models, just wasn't a fan of the wide grill and split taillights. I like the new body, but inside nothing really changed besides the rearview mirror. The seats are uncomfortable and cant be so much adjusted to a custom setting. The car drives smooth and it hugs the road on every turn. The only two things I can complain about when it comes to this car: The cheap plastic material GM has put in this car. The material easily scratches and whatever rubs against it leaves white chalk lines on it. The second thing is the visibility. I'm 6ft and sometimes Its hard for me to see the curb. The back is wider than the front so I've caught the curb with my tires a few times. The technology they have inside the car is very bland. I understand its a muscle car, but its 2014, its what people are big on nowadays. I love this car, but I just feel like GM could do so much better. Hopefully GM will go all out with the 2016 model since Ford and Dodge have really stepped it up with the new Mustang and Challenger models."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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