It’s hardly subtle on the eyeballs, but the 2016 Camaro is as ready to go Mustang hunting as any of its progenitors.
— Ann Arbor, Michigan
For the first time in years, the Camaro may be – probably is, in fact – the best Pony Car on sale in these great United States. I’ve always leaned towards Ford's Mustang, and I still love it, but it’s hard to argue with the 2016 iteration of the Chevy coupe. In proper V8-powered form, the Camaro SS is lighter and more powerful than the Mustang GT. And yes, it looks like a cartoon’s idea of what a fast car should be. But mat the throttle, let the V8 wallop you, and most of that vision goes blurry around the edges.
- I can see! Well, I can see a bit better, at least. Over the years I’ve routinely found that even drivers shorter than my six-feet, five-inch height feel pretty claustrophobic behind the wheel of the Camaro. In the outgoing car, I’d argued many times that it was the lack of forward visibility, more than any gripe with the chassis, tires, or powertrain, that held my speed down on a good road. The revised Camaro is still rather slinky, but my forward view feels much less constrained, and my resultant pace quicker for the confidence. Back roads beware.
- Also good for my pace is the simple fact that this car is relatively light and objectively powerful. Even with that bonkers 6.2-liter V8 under the front hood, engineers have gotten the Camaro curb weight under 3,700 pounds. That means every one of the 455 horsepower (and matching 455 pound-feet of torque) needs only be responsible for moving a little more than eight pounds of car. That, in turn, allows for some exceptionally visceral acceleration, especially in the rolling 30-60-miles-per-hour zone.
- The new Camaro steering wheel has a sort of fat three-spoke center that I find unusual and attractive. It’s multi-function-ness isn’t out of the ordinary for GM products, but I still had a moment of “this feels what I imagined ‘high-tech’ to look like in the 1980s.” Better still, it’s quite communicative about the road surface, and matches well to the coupe’s athletic, grippy handling profile. I fully endorse using it to dial a few degrees of steering while gunning the throttle; traction control optional.
- The SS get’s GM’s Magnetic Ride Control active suspension, which mostly impressed me by way of the ride quality on the Tour setting. The last Camaro always offered terrific mid-corner response, and that doesn’t change here.
- You need beefy transmission internals to reliably handle all that power and torque, I get it. But that knowledge doesn’t comfort me as I throw around this six-speed manual. It felt balky in the cold morning conditions – I was testing the Camaro in the Michigan spring – but didn’t ever get greasy smooth, even when I’d run it hard enough for the temperature to come up.
- I’m honestly torn about whether to put this updated body styling down as a “con” – there were times looking at the car in my driveway that I enjoyed it. But overall this doesn’t seem like a look that’ll age well. There’s a sharp vs. round fight happening; bodyside vs front/rear. I can’t say which faction is winning, but they’re not likely to get along any time soon.
- It’s a cliché, but worth reiterating: These back seats are worthless. I know you can put your kid back there, but you probably shouldn’t. I asked a sub-six-foot friend to ride behind the passenger seat for a few miles, and he told me to go to hell.
|2016 CHEVY CAMARO 2SS COUPE|
|OUTPUT||455 Horsepower / 455 Pound-Feet|
|0-60 MPH||4.3 Seconds|
|EPA FUEL ECONOMY||16 City / 25 Highway / 19 Combined|