We really hate to admit it, but our test team felt a bit shortchanged when this new-generation Chevrolet Camaro was introduced - and it's taken about two years for us to come around and see this vehicle for what it really is. When it was unveiled in 1993, we thought some of its individual design licks were outrageous, especially the overstated side-view mirrors, the maximized windshield wipers and the deep well in the trunk. We hated the original multicolored graphics with pale gray on slate gray plastic instrument panels. And we weren't happy about the confusing levels of differentiation between the various models. Two years down the road, though, with the full line of arch-competitor Ford Mustang coupes and convertibles having been introduced, the Camaro looks a great deal better than it did initially. The stubby Mustang, the overwrought Pontiac Firebird and the host of Japanese coupes that use headlamps as a main design theme on otherwise colorless noses have taken a step back to let the Camaro stand out. In terms of competition, the Camaro has a dual personality. Packaged with the V8 engine, the Z28 has two true competitors: the Firebird Trans Am and the Mustang GT. But with the V6 engine, the Camaro falls into a completely different, and much larger, category that includes rivals such as the Ford Probe, Honda Prelude, Mazda MX-6, Nissan 240SX, Toyota Celica and Acura Integra. But even in this crowded field, the Camaro more than holds it own. For our test drive, we sped around in the basic Camaro coupe equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission and the standard 3.4-liter V6 engine. Even with the addition of a number of features - including air conditioning, speed control, foglamps, and power door locks/windows/mirrors - we came in at well under $20,000; $18,314, to be exact.