2019 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Turbo First Look
- Chevrolet adds track-ready 1LE package with 2.0-liter turbo engine
- 1LE includes updated suspension, wheels and tires, and brakes
- Makes Camaro more competitive with Honda Civic Si, and Ford Focus ST, RS
For 2019, the Chevrolet Camaro receives updates and styling changes, including a new face, different for each trim level; new rear end with LED taillights; and new 20-inch wheels for the RS and SS. In addition, the Camaro LS model has been changed for 2019. The revised LS is said to be more differentiated from the LT, and will have a starting price around $26,000, which is lower than the starting price for the 2018 model. There will also be more safety equipment across the Camaro lineup, and the new cloud-based Chevrolet Infotainment 3 will be offered. In addition, the eight-speed automatic in the V8-powered SS will be replaced by a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters and custom launch control.
But the biggest news about the 2019 Camaro is the availability of the 1LE package with the 275-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbo engine. In the Camaro hierarchy, the optional 1LE package is the most track-ready and is currently offered on 335-horsepower V6 and 455-horsepower V8 models. A nice feature about the 1LE is that it is fully warrantied for use at the track.
If a buyer steps up to the Turbo 1LE package, that Camaro will have the FE3 suspension, with larger stabilizer bars, dampers tuned specifically for the 1LE package, and stiffer bushings. The 1LE also comes with 20-inch wheels, asymmetrical Goodyear F1 summer tires with different sizes in the front and rear, and Brembo brakes. Inside, there’s an Alcantara flat-bottom steering wheel and shifter knob (the Turbo 1LE only comes with a 6-speed manual) and the drive mode selector includes Sport, Track, and a new Competition setting. Recaro seats are optional.
Ready to take on EcoBoost Mustang
While it may seem strange to put the most trackworthy package on the Camaro with the smallest engine, the goal is to make the Camaro competitive with the likes of the Honda Civic Si and Ford Focus ST and RS. It also aligns well with the 4-cylinder EcoBoost-powered Ford Mustang, which is available with a Performance Package that follows a similar philosophy.
We had the opportunity to briefly drive the Turbo 1LE, and found that this combination has a lot of potential. While the 2.0-liter turbo doesn’t have the same oomph as the V6 or V8, with this engine under the hood, the Camaro weighs less, and that helps the 2.0-liter move the Camaro more quickly than expected. The extra control over power delivery granted by the 6-speed manual helps as well. The car felt nicely balanced through corners, and steering responded quickly and predictably to driver input.
This model has the potential to lure in younger, or budget-minded buyers with an eye on performance. We’re curious to see if would-be Civic Si and Ford Focus RS shoppers will consider the Camaro Turbo 1LE, or if it’ll be limited to those who already like the Camaro, or the occasional Mustang defector. Even if they don’t, that Chevrolet is going to offer a more affordable way to have fun at the track could alone be considered a success.
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