Chevrolet redesigned its iconic arch-rival to the Ford Mustang, the Camaro, a year ago. And for 2017, the Camaro's 50th birthday, Chevy is reviving the high-performance ZL1 – and dosing it with 650 horsepower – so it can sit atop the lineup of sporty, stylish coupes and convertibles, which continue to follow the “classic” muscle-car recipe.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $26,900 (destination charge included) for an LS coupe, the price zooms to $37,900 and beyond for an SS coupe, and a whopping $62,135 for the ultra-hot ZL1. LS and LT convertibles cost $6,000 more than coupes.

In the LS and LT, a standard turbocharged four develops 275 horsepower. The optional 3.6-liter V6 makes 335 horsepower.

With its Corvette-sourced 6.2-liter V8 generating 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque, the SS hits 60 mph in a mere four seconds. Standard 1SS equipment includes:

  • Six-speed manual transmission (eight-speed automatic optional)
  • Heated/ventilated leather-appointed power seats
  • Four-position Drive Mode Selector
  • 20-inch aluminum wheels with summer-only performance tires
  • Brembo brakes
  • HID headlights with LED accents

For an additional $5,000, the 2SS version adds such extras as:

  • Head-up display
  • Bose premium audio
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control

A 50th Anniversary Edition package is also available.

Performance Pros

Chevrolet Camaro
  • Expect startling performance from the SS coupe, in particular. Even the turbo-four model is impressively quick with either the manual or automatic transmission, though lacking in viscerally energizing sounds to complement its driving force.
  • Precise steering talents help make the fifth-generation Camaro more than a mere muscle-car. A sophisticated suspension ensures exceptional handling, providing new levels of performance. Adding the new 1LE handling package can make a superior road machine even better.
  • The eight-speed automatic transmission responds smartly and yields smooth shifts. In addition to its lusty 650-horsepower supercharged V8, the new ZL1 gets a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Performance Cons

  • As with many performance cars, ride comfort can be an issue, especially if the Camaro wears bigger tires.
  • Except for the turbo four in LS models, EPA-estimated at 25 miles per gallon combined, fuel economy is not a plus. Thirstiest of the lot is the ZL1, at 16 mpg combined.

Interior Pros

  • Adult-size cockpit up front – but definitely not in the back.
  • Supportive, well-shaped front seats with ample head room in each trim level, amenable to taller drivers.

Interior Cons

  • In addition to minimal rear-seat room, the shrunken trunk is narrow and shallow.
  • Current Camaro has a bit less total interior space than its predecessor.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Available magnetic dampers induce a sense of calm, letting that Camaro dash across pavement trouble spots with surprisingly little harshness.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Seriously scant back-seat space isn’t even for children. It’s a prime example of placing style ahead of function. Convertibles are even tighter back there.

The Bottom Line

To plenty of enthusiasts, the Camaro’s body conveys a look of menacing intimidation – though we’d rather focus on its retro-derived beauty. All versions are well equipped, but considering what you get for $40,000 or so, an SS qualifies as exceptional in value. Just don’t expect space for four in any Camaro.