By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.6
The latest iteration of Chevy's classic Camaro sports car has taken the country by storm. Be it die-hard musclecar fanatics or just everyday dreamers yearning for a little piece of automotive magic, the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro coupe and convertible deliver. Reigniting a decades-long rivalry with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, the Camaro runs down the competition by offering impressive power and, in the eyes of many, more presence. Just the fact that the 30-mpg V6 version of the 2015 Camaro dishes up 53 more horsepower than a 1979 Camaro Z28 speaks volumes about this car's attitude and ability. From the entry-level Camaro to the track-inspired Z/28 to the supercar-worthy ZL1, the Camaro has rekindled a spirit long missing from the American automobile industry.
If you're looking for something as thrilling to drive as it is to showoff, the 2015 Chevy Camaro coupe or convertible can get the job done. Even the most basic model looks lean and mean, a testament to the power of the Camaro's design.
Good looks and firm handshake will only take a car so far. If refinement, agile handling and a modern interior filled with quality bits are paramount, something from Porsche, BMW or Audi make a better choice. Musclecar fans needing a usable back seat should look to the Dodge Challenger.
KBB Expert Ratings
Fresh from its makeover last year, the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro sees only minimal upgrades. A color touch radio with MyLink and upgradable navigation is now available on LT, SS and ZL1 trims. One new color, Blue Velvet Metallic, is added to the Camaro's paint choices.
Driving Impressions There is no such thing as a slow Camaro. Even the most basic model delivers up 323 horsepower, more than enough to permanently keep a smile on your face. Move...... up to the 580-horsepower ZL1 and you'll experience a zero to 60 run in a scant 3.9 seconds. Chevy adds a number of electronic assists, such a launch control, to make even the novice driver feel like a pro drag racer. If we had to pick just one Camaro, however, we'd skip over the Z/28 (it's a rough daily driver) and aim straight for the SS. With 426 horsepower and an available 6-speed manual gearbox, this car just feels right. But in the curves, the Camaro reveals both its size and weight, requiring your full attention and skills at all times. We also lament the poor reward visibility in the coupe, a byproduct of the radical exterior design.
Never was there a truer compliment to an original design than the current 2015 Chevrolet Camaro coupe and convertible. The heritage is clearly there without being overtly retro, creating a stunning musclecar that turns heads wherever it goes.
BANG FOR BUCK
If you compare the horsepower ratings offered by the Camaro with cars producing similar figures, you'll likely end up staring at a 6-digit price tag attached to some fancy European name that's hard to pronounce.
Standing in sharp contrast to the 2015 Chevy 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 Chevy 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. Updated last year, the Camaro sports 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 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 base 2015 Camaro LS coupe comes 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 2015 Chevy 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. Track enthusiast will want the Z/28 trim for its improved aerodynamics and cornering ability.
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro sports car offers five engine choices: 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. The Z/28 gets a 505-horespower 7.0-liter LS7 engine teamed solely with a manual transmission, while the ZL1 models use a 580-horsepower supercharged LSA V8.
3.6-liter V6 (LS, LT)
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)
6.2-liter V8 (SS w/automatic transmission)
400 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
410 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24 mpg
6.2-liter V8 (SS w/ manual transmission)
426 horsepower @ 5,900 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 4,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
7.0-liter V8 (Z/28)
505 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
481 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 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)
The 2015 Chevrolet Camaro has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $24,500 for the base coupe with a manual transmission. Convertible models start just under $32,000. V8-powered SS coupes start a little under $34,500, while the supercharged ZL1 enters Corvette territory with a starting price of nearly $56,500 for a coupe and over $61,500 for the convertible version. The track-oriented Z/28 model, meanwhile, will numb your mind with its nearly $75,000 price tag. 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 nearly $3,000 and a base Mustang's is roughly equal. 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.