In my world, there are two kinds of people: Mustang people and Camaro people. I tend to avoid Dodge people because they are prone to making poor life choices. The Mustang people have really been getting hammered on the Internet lately because their cars seem to get out of control when leaving car shows. So for the sake of safety, I’m just going to tell you about the freshly redesigned 2016 Camaro that Chevrolet was kind enough to let me drive for a week. I’ll admit, I have never considered owning one of these cars. I’ve driven plenty of 5th generation Camaros that were made from 2010 through 2015 and found them to be a really good-looking vehicles that had plenty of power and a nice interior, but common sense dictated that I ALWAYS buy the extra insurance at the rental car agency because the visibility was only slightly better than that of a periscope in a German submarine. The new look of the Camaro is much more aggressive, dare I say it’s even meaner! The car is slightly smaller and lighter and weighs in at less than 3,400lbs. Less weight means it’s lighter and that means more speed and free horsepower. This car goes from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds, tops out around 150mph and gets 22/31mpg (city/highway) and let me tell you, that is MUCH better gas mileage than the V8 version. This would be a very easy car to live with if you had a long commute.
The first thing everyone asked me when I told them I had a new Camaro was “Is it the SS?” I’ve driven plenty of V8 powered cars and they are all wonderful and of course everyone loves them. Happily, I was given a Bright Yellow turbocharged 4-cylinder Camaro RS with the new 8-speed automatic transmission and a good amount of options. Now THIS will be a challenge and a definite departure from my comfort zone! First thing I noticed is that this new Camaro is easier to see out of and the interior has been given a really nice refresh. I especially liked the huge, new air conditioning vents and all of the tech that comes in the new car. The My Link system is on a very crisp 8″ touch screen that is loaded up with Bose sound, Navigation, Satellite Radio, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth. Of course the car also came with built-in On-Star and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot-spot. In case you’re curious what a 275hp 4-cylinder engine with a turbocharger looks like, I took a picture.
I did have to explain to my daughter that the retro badging on the fenders was inspired by the old Camaro’s from back in my day and has nothing to do with being a backwards French flag. The kids all learned the flags of the world in elementary school and I suppose that kind of thing sticks with you.
Another question I got from many of my car friends was, “Well? How do you like the turbo 4 in this car?” Surprisingly, I liked it! It was great in traffic with plenty of power and grunt. I expected it to be a heavy, underpowered slug that couldn’t get out of its own way and it was quite the opposite. The turbo Camaro handles like a sports car should. I’m sure that the handling has everything to do with the weight the car dropped since last year. The fantastic adjustable suspension and the RS package included some great looking 20″ wheels with run flat tires, and very grippy Brembo brakes. I took it to the DuPont Registry Cars and Coffee show in St. Pete and got a lot of questions about the car and almost no one turned their noses up at the thought of a 4-banger Camaro. The LED headlamp and taillamp light package was also a nice touch on this very good car.
The Bright Yellow paint on the Camaro was gorgeous and looked right with the wheels. I have owned several yellow cars and they all did the something strange: attracted flies. This car was no different and I’m sure there’s a logical explanation. Ferrari has all but proven that this strange phenomena is a real thing by creating a paint-code named Fly Yellow.
After driving a yellow car around, I started to notice them everywhere, so I inconvenienced my passengers many times, took pictures and made this collage. Suitable for framing, if yellow cars are your thing.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro 2LT Coupe with turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has a retail price of $29,800. With the RS option that adds 20″ aluminum wheels, run flat tires, HID lighting, unique front grilles, rear spoiler, 8-speed automatic transmission, remote start, Chevrolet MyLink audio system, heavy-duty cooling and brake package with 4-piston Brembo brakes, optional Bright Yellow paint and a $995 destination charge, the total vehicle price is $35,615.
Erica Habedank | CW44/CBS Tampa Bay