2010 Camaro DriveFinally, the wait is over. After teasing the faithful with the Camaro Concept at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chevrolet is cranking out new F-bodies from its plant in Canada. As you read this, 2010 Camaros are awaiting customers at dealerships across the country.
First the bad news: For all of you who asked, T-tops will not be an option. The convertible has supposedly been put off until 2011, as has the supercharged, 550hp Z28. It's also about 300 pounds too heavy.
The good news? Just about everything else. Camaro for '10 comes in three flavors: Hot (the base model with a 304 hp, direct injection 3.6-liter V-6), Hotter (the SS with the 6.2-liter L99 V-8, producing 400 ponies with the six-speed automatic) and Hottest (the SS with the 6.2-liter LS3 V-8 delivering 426 hp teamed to the Tremec six-speed manual gearbox). With 426 hp, the shift-it-yourself SS is the most powerful Camaro ever.
You can tell GM was serious about the new F-car because it is world-class in almost every sense of the word. On the road, the body feels like it was carved from billet. It rides like you'd expect from a vehicle costing two or three times more, but not at the expense of razor-sharp handling. The interior materials are many cuts above those ever used in a Camaro before (and they get even better if you order the RS package). Four-wheel-disc brakes with ABS are standard on all models, with the SS getting giant 14-inch, four-piston Brembos at each corner. Twenty-inch wheels are standard on the SS, measuring eight inches wide on the front and nine on the rear. Meaty Pirelli PZeros (P245/45ZR20 front, P275/40ZR20) keep the alloy five-spokes from scraping the ground.
Inside the cockpit, you're greeted with superior ergonomics and an open, airy cabin reminiscent of first-gen Camaros. The openness of the interior is especially surprising given the high beltline and seemingly low roofline. Some we spoke to were put off by the large expanses of plastic on the passenger's side of the dash (a Camaro emblem or script would have broken it up nicely), but at least the area fits in thematically with the rest of the interior.
The stylists have given the car the appearance of a show car, but with the practicality you need in a daily driver. We watched someone 6-foot-7 try out the car and he fit nicely. (Tall people beware: you do lose about 1.5-inches in headroom if you order the sunroof--bear that in mind if your nickname is "Stretch."
The sightlines out of the car are, again, surprisingly good. The side-view mirrors are large enough to limit blind spots (though not eliminate them). As a plus, they also give you lovely views of the bulging rear fenders. The view in the rearview mirror is fair, and will be familiar to anyone who has owned a first-gen.
Length-wise, the latest sampling fits between the first-gen and fourth gen. At 190.4 inches, it's a little over three inches shorter than the last Camaro, but 4.4 inches longer than the '69, the model that inspired its design. The '10 is 1.5 inches wider than the '69 and three inches taller. This latter dimension gives the new car the appearance of being substantially larger than it actually is. The 112-inch wheelbase helps push the wheels out to the ends of the body, giving it a taut appearance. What surprised us is just how tough it looks on the street. It is a supremely modern design that pays homage to the past, but is not a slave to it. More impressive was how it looks going down the road. We were stopped at a light and saw two '10s coming up behind us in the rearview mirror. They were unbelievably aggressive appearing. Like any good design, it makes a bold statement and commands the attention of others.