Almost half a century after the first Camaro appeared, Chevrolet gave its long-running muscle car and Mustang competitor a total redesign. Launched as a 2016 model, the latest iteration of the stylishly sporty four-seat coupe and convertible demonstrates that traditional macho body lines, coupled with the potential for raw power, haven’t gone out of fashion. When it comes to delivering sheer driving excitement for the money, the contemporary Camaro exudes just as much appeal as the 1967 original.
What's New for 2017
Fully redesigned—indeed transformed—as a 2016 model, the Camaro adds a trio of new choices for 2017: a 50th Anniversary Edition, a higher-performance 1LE option, and a return of the ZL1 coupe—now hotter than ever. All 2017 Camaros get a “FIFTY” badge on the steering wheel.
Choosing Your Chevrolet Camaro
In its current form, the Camaro is a bit smaller and some 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor, wearing a more exotic-looking body. Base LT engine is a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which whips up a robust 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That’s sufficient to make the entry-level Camaro appropriately quick, while delivering at least an estimated 30 mpg on the highway.
Optional is a 3.6-liter V6 that cranks out 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet. Tucked into SS models is Chevrolet’s mighty 6.2-liter V8, which raises the ante to 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters may be substituted. Both the V6 and V8 feature cylinder-deactivation technology for enhanced fuel-efficiency.
This year’s 50th Anniversary Package will be offered on 2LT and 2SS models. Painted Nightfall Gray metallic, they get a distinct satin chrome-accented grille and unique 20-inch wheels. Also included are unique black leather upholstery with suede inserts and orange contrast stitching, plus distinctive touches in the steering wheel and instrument panel. Front brake calipers are orange, and an RS Appearance Package is included.
The new 1LE Performance Package is offered on LT and 1SS models with the V6 or V8 and manual shift. On the LT, the package includes “track-tested” SS components, an FE3 suspension, Brembo brakes, and heavy-duty cooling. The SS version includes an electronic limited-slip differential, specific chassis tuning that permits cornering past 1g, and Magnetic Ride Control.
All-out Camaro enthusiasts are sure to yearn for the revived ZL1 coupe, which gets a new supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that generates a whopping 640 horsepower (estimated) and 640 pound-feet of torque. Either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission may be installed. Visually, the ZL1 might best be described as meaner than ever, starting with a new hood that contains a heat extractor and carbon-fiber insert. Despite its phenomenal track-based prowess in acceleration, handling and braking, the ZL1 is suitable for everyday driving
All models are well-equipped, and an LT will fully satisfy most drivers’ needs—unless V8 power is non-negotiable. If the potential for tire-smoking behavior is on your personal agenda, there's no substitute for the SS. Naturally, the reborn ZL1 isn’t a Camaro for everyone, even if you’re a long-time fan of Chevrolet’s ornery four-seater.