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2002 Chevrolet Camaro

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Coupe
4 Seats
21-24 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
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2002 Chevrolet Camaro Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
With a history that dates back to 1967, Chevrolet’s rear-wheel-drive muscle car is finally facing the end of the line. The 2002 model year is the last one for both the Camaro and the related Pontiac Firebird. Camaro sales have been on a downhill slide since 1994; they were up a bit in 2000 but then plummeted by 16 percent to 35,453 units in 2001, according to Automotive News. Rumors of its extinction have been circulating for several years, and they’re finally proving to be true. No replacement is planned. The Ford Mustang, archrival to the Camaro and Firebird, has been outselling the muscular GM duo by far.

Chevrolet has referred to the Camaro’s heritage as “Performance, American style,” blending traditional RWD with a pushrod V-8 engine. The Camaro comes in base V-6 and Z28 (V-8) forms and as a hatchback coupe or convertible. The hot SS editions also remain available.

During the Camaro’s final season, a limited-edition 35th Anniversary Package is available for the SS coupe and convertible, which get final assembly by SLP Engineering. SLP has announced an optional 20-horsepower increase in the SS, to 345 hp.

A four-speed-automatic transmission is now standard on convertibles with the V-6 engine. As before, the V8-powered Z28 can have either a four-speed-automatic or a six-speed-manual gearbox, while V-6 coupe engines team with a five-speed manual or the automatic.

The high-performance Z28 gains a power-steering fluid cooler. A Monsoon premium sound system...

Vehicle Overview
With a history that dates back to 1967, Chevrolet’s rear-wheel-drive muscle car is finally facing the end of the line. The 2002 model year is the last one for both the Camaro and the related Pontiac Firebird. Camaro sales have been on a downhill slide since 1994; they were up a bit in 2000 but then plummeted by 16 percent to 35,453 units in 2001, according to Automotive News. Rumors of its extinction have been circulating for several years, and they’re finally proving to be true. No replacement is planned. The Ford Mustang, archrival to the Camaro and Firebird, has been outselling the muscular GM duo by far.

Chevrolet has referred to the Camaro’s heritage as “Performance, American style,” blending traditional RWD with a pushrod V-8 engine. The Camaro comes in base V-6 and Z28 (V-8) forms and as a hatchback coupe or convertible. The hot SS editions also remain available.

During the Camaro’s final season, a limited-edition 35th Anniversary Package is available for the SS coupe and convertible, which get final assembly by SLP Engineering. SLP has announced an optional 20-horsepower increase in the SS, to 345 hp.

A four-speed-automatic transmission is now standard on convertibles with the V-6 engine. As before, the V8-powered Z28 can have either a four-speed-automatic or a six-speed-manual gearbox, while V-6 coupe engines team with a five-speed manual or the automatic.

The high-performance Z28 gains a power-steering fluid cooler. A Monsoon premium sound system with an in-dash CD player is now standard for V-6 convertibles and all Z28 models. Camaros now ride 16-inch, painted cast-aluminum wheels, and all models come with carpeted floormats.

Exterior
Looking as aggressive and brawny as ever, Camaros and Firebirds — which share mechanical components but have their own look — rank as the last remaining remnants of the muscle-car era. At 193.5 inches long overall, on a 101.1-inch wheelbase, the Camaro coupe is just a few inches longer than the Chevrolet Malibu sedan. But the Camaro is a full 6 inches shorter than the Malibu and stands little more than 51 inches high from ground to rooftop.

Convertibles have a power top with a three-piece hard boot cover, as well as a glass rear window with a defogger. Coupes can be equipped with an optional T-roof. Designed from the outset as a soft-top, convertibles are built at Chevrolet’s Canadian plant in Sainte Therese, Québec.

Painted aluminum wheels hold P235/55R16 tires on base Camaros. In addition to V-8 power, the Z28 has a performance ride and handling suspension and P245/50ZR16 tires. Developed by SLP Engineering, the SS option package for the Z28 brings a higher-powered V-8 engine plus a functional hood scoop, distinctive rear spoiler, tauter suspension and larger Goodyear 17-inch tires on special aluminum wheels. The SS coupe and convertible also have a forced-air composite hood, special SS badging and a low-restriction exhaust system.

Interior
Front bucket seats hold two occupants, with enough legroom to stretch out a bit. By occupying a fold-down seat, two small people can fit in back, but even children are likely to feel cramped in the rear. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, cloth upholstery, intermittent wipers, a cassette stereo, tilt steering wheel, tachometer, map lights, visor mirrors, automatic headlights and a theft-deterrent system.

Base convertibles have standard power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry and cruise control. All models except the base coupe have a 500-watt Monsoon sound system. Cargo volume in the coupe is 32.8 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down, but the convertible has only 7.6 cubic feet of storage space.

Under the Hood
Three engines and three transmissions are available in the Camaro. Base coupes have a 200-hp, 3.8-liter V-6 engine and either a standard five-speed-manual or optional four-speed-automatic transmission. Base convertibles are equipped with the automatic only. In the Z28 coupe and convertible, a Corvette-inspired 5.7-liter V-8 develops 310 hp and teams with either a six-speed manual or an identically priced four-speed-automatic transmission. The SS package boasts the strongest powertrain: a 345-hp version of the V-8 that drives either a six-speed manual or an automatic transmission.

Safety
Daytime running lights and all-disc antilock brakes are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available. Traction control is an option on all models.

Driving Impressions
Still popular among middle-aged buyers who might lean toward reliving their youth, Camaros aren’t quite what they used to be. Even in base form with a V-6 engine, Camaros of the past came across as raucous, noisy, hard-driving machines that were capable of brisk acceleration with better gas mileage than those with a V-8. Those V-8 models were particularly crude machines, which were barely tolerable in polite society.

Today, even the high-performance SS can sound and feel relatively tame — until you tromp on the gas pedal and feel the surge of shoved-back-in-the-seat power that emerges from the potent V-8. Tap the throttle a little too hard while rounding a curve, and the SS’s back end is likely to skitter to the side — then demanding swift correction at the steering wheel, which takes some effort to turn. On straighter pavement, the thick tires cling as if they have claws. Acceleration appears more vigorous from a standstill than at highway speeds, and automatic-transmission shifts are crisp and positive.

A stiff ride is still part of the penalty paid for performance in the hottest Camaros, but it definitely could be worse. Engine noise is undeniably noticeable, but it never begins to blare annoyingly. Occupants remain prone to shakes and rattles, but the vibration is a lot less bothersome than in past models. Otherwise, Chevy’s long-lived pony car turns out to be almost civilized in its final form.

Getting inside is the first hurdle because Camaros sit low to the ground. Luckily, the task isn’t really as difficult as it looks. Wide, heavy doors need plenty of room to the side before they can be fully opened. Exiting may actually be more of a challenge for the non-agile. Secured neatly in position for hard driving, the driver faces a strictly business dashboard. Over-the-shoulder visibility is a serious problem with either body style due to big blind spots on each side.

The Ford Mustang is generally more civilized for day-to-day driving — even when equipped with a muscular V-8 — but the Camaro can still be appealing. But in their potent form, each of these RWD models can become mighty nasty and unable to gain much traction if the pavement gets slippery.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide;
Posted on 4/15/02

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.6
48 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Very reliable, responsive and a great value

by Randy from Beaufort, SC on January 21, 2020

I’m 6’5” and had no problem feeling good behind the wheel. I’ve owned 3 LS1 vehicles now without a single issue. These engines are bulletproof and the 6 speed manual a breeze to drive as well as lots ... Read full review

(4.0)

Awesome Camaro- 2002 SS

by devinbarr1965 from SILVER POINT, TN on December 11, 2019

This car is exactly what I had been searching for- a low mileage 4th gen 2002 SS Camaro. It is very fast yet gets 25 mpg on the highway.It is a beautiful car. It is a load of fun to drive. I love gen ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2002 Chevrolet Camaro currently has 5 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2002 Chevrolet Camaro has not been tested.

Latest 2002 Camaro Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Camaro received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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