Chevrolets rear-drive muscle car may be nearing the end of the road. A member of Chevys lineup since 1967, Camaros steady sales decline puts it on the endangered species list, along with the similar Pontiac Firebird. The rival Ford Mustang outsells the Camaro and Firebird two to one.
The Chevy SSR concept vehicle that toured major auto shows in early 2000 may hint at a replacement for the Camaro. A cross between a sports car and a pickup, the SSR plugs V-8 power into a truck-based vehicle a combination that appears to have a brighter future than the current model.
Camaro comes as a hatchback coupe and a convertible, both with aggressive, muscular styling that is a hallmark of the brand. The overall length of 193.5 inches is a few inches longer than the Chevrolet Malibu sedan, but the Camaros height of 51 inches is 6 inches less.
The convertibles power top comes with a glass rear window with a defogger. Removable T-tops are optional on the coupe.
The low-slung Camaro is hard to get in and out of, and the wide, heavy doors require a lot of room to open fully. The front bucket seats have enough space for taller passengers to stretch out, but the two-place rear seat is cramped even for children.
Air conditioning, a tilt wheel, cassette player and folding rear seatback are standard on all models, and all except the base coupe have a window-rattling, 500-watt Monsoon sound system.
Under the Hood
The 200-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 engine in the base coupe and convertible provides brisk acceleration and more reasonable gas mileage than the 5.7-liter V-8 used in the Z28 models. V-8 power, however, is part of the Camaro tradition, and the current engine is similar to the one in the Corvette. The V-8 is rated at 305 hp in the Z28 and at 320 hp with the optional SS package.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the V-6, and a four-speed automatic is optional. With the V-8, the automatic is standard, and a six-speed manual is a no-cost option.
With the potent, gas-guzzling V-8, the Camaro is rude, crude and barely socially acceptable which is why many people choose the Z28 or SS versions. Crazy kids? Hardly. They are just as likely to be 40 or older and trying to relive their youth.If this type of car appeals to you, the best alternative is the archrivalFord Mustang, a more civilized interpretation of the same theme.