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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 607 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

FUN POWERFULL CAR

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
7/10

Pros: "POWERFULL ENGINE, GOOD LOOKS, QUALITY"

Cons: "HEAVY, NO LEG ROOM IN THE BACK"

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

"I OWN A 2010 CAMARO SS. I LOVED THIS CAR SINCE THE FIRST TIME I SAW IT. THE CAR IS VERY APPEALING, NICE FORM AND STANCE (MUCH NICER THAN THE MUSTANG GT) IT HAS A VERY POWERFUL ENGINE THAT WILL HAVE YOU GLUED TO YOUR SEAT, I ADDED SOME PORFORMANCE SLOTTED ROTORS FOR SAFETY AND AN AGRESSIVE SOUNDING BORLA EXHAUST SYSTEM. THIS IS A VERY FUN CAR TO DRIVE AND SHOW OFF, IT IS A 4 SEATER BUT IN REALITY ITS A 2 SEATER, THE BACK SEATS LIKE IN ALL SPORTS CARS ARE USELESS, IF YOU ARE THE DRIVER OR THE CO-PILOT YOU HAVE ALL THE ROOM IN THE WORLS BUT IF YOU ARE IN THE BACK FORGET IT. I RECOMEND THIS CAR FOR THE DRIVING ENTHUSIAST AND ONE THAT LIKES A POWERFUL ENGINE... I ALSO RECOMENT GETTING THE 6 SPEED MANUAL TRANS"

13 people out of 25 found this review helpful

excellent car no hitches runs and drives great

By on Friday, July 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

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: "super gas mileage and super fast with old school"

Cons: "no way none at all"

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

"Recommend every thing, fun factor, safe factor, always turns heads and never breaks down. Gas mileage great its just all good!!!!!!!"

12 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Decent car, would not buy again however.

By on Sunday, July 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great control, fun to drive."

Cons: "Bad visibility, undrivable in snow."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"The car is great in sunny and rainy conditions, however, lacks any and all control in the snow. Visibility is limited even in good conditions, Roof is low, and side rails make it almost impossible to see when making some turns. It's a fun ride, but lacks in many places."

16 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Very Fast, Very Fun

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500

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: "Fast, sporty, fun. Did I say fast?"

Cons: "Optional instrument cluster hard to read"

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

"Having grown up during the sixties and 70's (high school age) I saw the emergence of the muscle cars of yester-year. They were all cool and fast for the time. Jump forward to 2015 and I'm now 60, so I bought a sport car for myself. Best thing I ever did. I have a coupe that is nothing less than a thrill ride with very classic looks. Back seat back folds down leaving plenty of room for long stuff in the trunk. A pick up truck it ain't but it's ample for the car. The 426 HP is wicked fast and sounds wonderful. This car is purely a joy to drive. The interior is plenty roomy and the materials are fine for a car in this price range (just under 40K). It's not my commuter car and it's all I can do not to jump in it and drive to work."

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Solid 5th gen performance car

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Design, drive, power, tribute to the original"

Cons: "Visibility, a few paint chipping issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Purchased this RS to pay homage to my 69 Camaro in high school. I love almost everything Chevy has done with these cars. Phenomenal handling, great acceleration, killer external design, and appealing design queues from the 67 - 69s."

18 people out of 40 found this review helpful

Purchased for FUN and it delivers, in spades!

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, exciting, great features and FAST."

Cons: "Fuel Economy, speed limits are too low :("

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"When forced to buy a new car, I opted for my midlife crisis car to be fun, something that turns heads and get's the blood pumping. The Camaro SS delivers; with paddle shifting and "competitive driving mode," this car turns a lot of heads (even the cops unfortunately). My car is gun-metal gray with dark tinted windows and everyone from high school kids to grandparents remark on how it looks fast, even while parked. The car is easy to drive and though it's 6 years old, it has excellent features like remote starting, USB connection and built in Bluetooth (which works great while keeping you legal). I added on some cool blue interior lights and kick plate "Camaro" sill covers, even my wife has fun driving it. I didn't buy it for the fuel efficiency, from 12 to 18 on average in town, depending on how much A/C is used and the weight of my foot. With over 425 horses, care is needed on corners and wet days as it is easy to spin the rear tires. Love, love, love returning to a rear wheel drive car. Nice return to authentic American muscle without spending too much of the kids' inheritance. Absolutely no qualms with my car, other than you cannot sync your phone as a phone and music device at the same time (you can separately, but either talk on the phone or listen to your playlist). Also, if you listen to music on a USB device, the car will not store you playback preference (when you turn off the car, you have to reselect a folder or playback method or it will default to playing all songs alphabetically). It has been reliable and less expensive than other foreign Swedish or German luxury sports cars."

7 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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