By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
Ever since it burst into showrooms four years ago, Chevrolet's latest generation Camaro has helped spark a revival among muscle cars. Like its rivals the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, the Camaro boasts retro-inspired looks, loads of power, and decent everyday livability. And thankfully, today's buyers don't necessarily have to choose performance over fuel economy, with a base V6 Camaro good for 323 horsepower and up to 30 mpg. For drivers who can't envision anything but a V8 under the hood, several iterations are available, from the 580-horsepower supercharged monster in the ZL1 to the Corvette-derived LS7 in the new, track-ready Z/28. With its exterior freshening, the 2014 Camaro coupe and convertible still drip with attitude, but interior visibility and materials leave much to be desired.
Whether you're a 20-something performance enthusiast seeking a car that boasts loads of power and aggressive looks, or a mid-lifer ready to get your crisis on/relive your youth, the 2014 Camaro offers serious thrills for the money.
While the Camaro's outward appeal stuns, its interior is cramped and its materials feel bargain-basement. Rear-seat room is woeful, and rearward visibility is even worse. Regarding those latter aspects, the larger Dodge Challenger is more livable.
KBB Expert Ratings
The Camaro receives an exterior design freshening for 2014 with highlights that include redesigned front fascia and rear diffuser and taillights. The long-awaited Camaro Z/28 is returning with a 7.0-liter LS7 engine, minimal frills and a big sticker price. It claims to be the most track-capable factory-built Camaro ever made.
Driving Impressions No Camaro is slow. With over 320 horsepower, even the basest of Camaro models has enough power to produce grin-inducing straight-line blasts. Then there's the ZL1 with a supercharged V8...... that manifests 580 horsepower and boasts a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. That's supercar-quick, and thanks to its built-in launch control, that model can accelerate thus so even by novices. Our vote for the most well-rounded Camaro is the 426-horsepower SS model with the 6-speed manual (our gearbox of choice, as automatic transmissions feature an Active Fuel Management system that reduces horsepower count by 26). With a girth of power channeled to the rear wheels, it's easy to point and shoot the Camaro. But attempting to toss nearly two tons of American muscle around a track is more about finesse than fun. Severely limited rear visibility remains a big tradeoff for the Camaro's aggressive exterior design.
The latest-gen Camaro has been out a few years now, but its outward looks still turn heads, young and old. Subtle but smart updates for 2014 keep the Camaro looking fresh.
BANG FOR BUCK
Along with that style common to all Camaros, V6 models continue to offer tremendous performance for the price. Base LS models offer a bucket of fun for around $25,000.
Standing in sharp contrast to the Camaro's excellent exterior design is its lackluster interior. Expectations are quickly deflated at the sight and feel of hard plastics on the doors and center console. The available cluster of four gauges for oil pressure, battery voltage, and oil and transmission temperature help to bring retro charm to the cockpit. The Camaro's low-slung roof robs headspace for taller drivers, the small sun visors are nearly useless, and the back seats can feel like purgatory for adults. The Camaro's trunk opening is also rather awkward, but the seats do fold to expand cargo space.Exterior
A portrait of attitude and aggressiveness, one of the biggest draws of the Camaro is its scintillating skin. From its menacing front grille and narrow headlights to its muscular rear haunches and twin tailpipes, this Chevy is an image of machismo. For 2014, the Camaro gets a sleeker yet more aggressive front fascia and an impressively redone tail that offers a sporty diffuser and wide LED taillights. Camaro SS and 1LE models now have a functional hood vent to reduce heat. Z/28 models include a full aerodynamics package that functions to provide extra downforce at high speeds on the track.
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro is available as a coupe and convertible, and in over half a dozen trim levels. Base LS models, available as a coupe only, come with a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/satellite audio system with Bluetooth and an auxiliary jack, cruise control, 18-inch steel wheels and a limited-slip differential. LT models add features like a 7-inch touch screen, power front seats and Chevy's MyLink telematics system with a USB input but no CD player. SS models gain the 6.2-liter V8 engine, Brembo brakes, and 20-inch wheels. Safety features on all models include six airbags, stability and traction control, and GM's OnStar communications system with features like automatic crash response and other emergency and concierge services.
Options for the 2014 Camaro include a 6-speed automatic transmission in place of the 6-speed manual, navigation, a rear-view camera, a power sunroof, and that retro-cool 4-gauge instrumentation cluster. With this car's emphasis on performance, it's no surprise that options abound to make it look and handle better. The RS package, for example, includes 20-inch aluminum wheels and high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. Audio enthusiasts will be interested in the 9-speaker, 245-watt Boston Acoustics premium sound system. A 2-tone interior package gives Camaro cabins a more upscale feel.
The Camaro now offers five engine choices for 2014: LS and LT models use a 323-horsepower 3.6-liter direct-injected LFX V6. SS versions have a 400-horsepower 6.2-liter L99 V8 with Active Fuel Management (for automatic transmission models) or a 426-horsepower 6.2-liter LS3 V8. ZL1 models use a 580-horsepower supercharged LSA V8. New to the lineup for 2014 is a 7.0-liter LS7 naturally aspirated V8 for the Camaro Z/28, which is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission.
323 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
278 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (automatic), 19/30 mpg (automatic 2LS), 17/28 mpg (manual)
400 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
410 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24 mpg
426 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
6.2-liter supercharged V8
580 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
556 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 mpg (manual), 12/18 mpg (automatic)
505 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
481 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg
The 2014 Chevrolet Camaro has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,450 for the base coupe model. Convertible models start just under $32,000. V8-powered SS coupes start a little under $34,000, while the supercharged ZL1 enters Corvette territory with a starting price of nearly $56,000 for a coupe and over $60,000 for the convertible version. The track-oriented Z/28 model, meanwhile, will numb your mind with its $75,000 price. The Camaro's wide range of prices is similar to those of the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, though the Challenger's starting price is higher by over $2,000 and a base Mustang's is roughly $1,450 less. Before buying, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Camaro. Resale value is a bright spot, with the Camaro predicted to retain the highest residual values in the segment.