Rental-car or Camaro?
Perry: I like your Camaro. New rental?
Boss: Yeah, just got it today.
Perry: Let me drive it, you feen.
Boss: Keys are on my desk.
I’ve been eager to drive the camaro since the initial #camarosix campaign dropped in 2015. Fast forward — I’ve graduated college and I’m living in a new city. The Camaro is not only out, the 1LE package is available on the V6, and the ZL1 is on the streets (and a new ZL1 1LE announced). And so, inevitably, here I am with the keys to a stock V6, rental-car Camaro. But does it feel like just another cheap Chevy, destined to be a rental? Lets find out.
I grab my coworker who appreciates cars — to tag a long for the ride. We walk around the exterior for a bit. Take or leave the red paint, this thing looks good.
As I unlock the door I appreciate the accompanying thud that the door locks make. It sounds nice to my ear holes, and I would do it again.
“Camaro” is french for friend or companion — and I keep this in mind as I enter my new friend.
“Camaro” is french for friend or companion — and I keep this in mind as I enter my new friend. It feels good. I’m impressed by the fit and finish of the doors, dash and trim. Things are put together nicely, and the infotainment display juxtaposed against the concave dash is a modern look. Some plastics by my knees are questionable, though. Besides this, the interior is finally up to european standards. As long as you don’t get this bottom barrel trim, you should be fine. The seats feel firm and comfortable.
I’m surprised by the feeling of openness in the cabin, as well as outward visibility, something the previous generation Camaro lacked, the general consensus being that you felt like you were “sitting in a bunker. I still feel as though I am looking through a pill box, but it frames the way you look out of the car, like wearing a pair of slick sunglasses. I appreciate that I can see the top of the hood, something truck owners are accustomed to. This helps me point the Camaro when parking, and I enjoy being able to see the car I’m driving.
Traction control off, I get a thimble full of slip. Traction control really off (hold the button down for about 7 seconds), there is all the sideways goodness your heart disires. As I push the Camaro around right handers’ and punch it, the rear wheels let go predictably and there’s enough feedback through the steering to bring it back ‘round smoothly.
The Camaro feels tight, point-able and composed with pleasant dampening. Steering feel will not give you memories of your favorite hydraulic unit, but it certainly will not spoil the fun. In fact, this was the first electric rack I’ve used that didn’t have me making small adjustments just to feel like I was actually steering a vehicle with wheels and tires. There is moderate feel, but what impressed me was the lack of vageness (Duh?). Steering is dead accurate — and as result I feel confident in hustling the Camaro around corners and keeping a straight line, too.
As I pull away from a 4-way stop to about 3/4 throttle, we marvle at how well the reworked 3.6 liter V-6 sounds, with accompanying burble in almost every gear. The 7-speed unit downshifts almost the moment you ask, but really nails the upshifts.
With 335 hp, I ask myself which Camaro owners actually need the V8. And the answer is, in short, none of them. Now, more than ever — the V8 isn’t an engine you get simply because the V6 is garbage and there is no choice. Rather, one purchases the V8 because the V6 is very good, and wants more of it. Rejoice.
Thinking about the v6 Mustang? After driving this Camaro and a 2016 Mustang convertable (both the turbo 4 and v6) I realize the two no longer compete. The Camaro at all trim levels, has become a sports car, period. The mustang, is just trying to do too much at once to be as dedicated a sports car in stock trim. And the Challenger, well… the Challanger has always done its own thing.
— — — — — — Botttom Line — — — — — —
I like this Camaro. I want to drive this Camaro. I would buy this Camaro. I don’t care that it’s a rental car. It no longer feels like one. 🚗