A New Platform and an Available Eight-Speed Auto
We Like: Lightweight new platform, screaming engines.
We Don’t Like: Missed opportunity to further evolve the Camaro’s design.
The Chevrolet Camaro has only won Car of the Year one time (back in 1982), but the sixth-generation Camaro’s Car of the Year pedigree goes far deeper. Built on General Motors’ lightweight Alpha platform, the new Camaro shares its underpinnings with our 2014 Car of the Year, the Cadillac CTS.
Stay tuned to MotorTrend.com as the 2016 Motor Trend Car of the Year contenders and finalists are revealed in advance of the official winner announcement on the evening of November 16. Learn about other Car of the Year contenders and finalists at the links below. Check out the Car of the Year introduction HERE, read about the evaluation process HERE, and discover how our Of The Year awards have evolved HERE.
The new platform contributed much to what we like about the new Camaro. For starters, there’s the weight savings, with the V-8-powered Camaro SS shedding about 200 pounds versus the out-going fifth-gen Camaro. The weight loss helps the Camaro get the most out of its three engines: a base 2.0-liter, turbocharged I-4 that makes 275 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (we didn’t get one of these), a revised 3.6-liter V-6 producing 335 hp and 284 lb-ft, and the LT1 6.2-liter V-8, courtesy of the Corvette Stingray, which makes 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque in Camaro trim. All three engines come standard with a six-speed manual, with a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic optional.
We were quite satisfied with the V-6 and eight-speed automatic combo. “Bravo!” said guest judge Chris Theodore. Loh had similar sentiments about what used to be considered the rental-grade Camaro, commenting that the eight-speed had “really great calibration.” We liked the Mustang-beating Camaro SS, too. “World-class sports car performance and dynamics,” Angus MacKenzie said of the Camaro SS. Jason Cammisa agreed. “I am absolutely in love with this car’s limit handling!”
Although a home run on the vehicle dynamics and powertrain front, some judges were less thrilled about the new Camaro’s design. More of a design evolution than revolution, a few thought that Chevrolet could have gone further to appeal to buyers outside of the Camaro’s traditional demographics. “An exterior design with more reach might have been able to attract new buyers to the Camaro ranks,” Theodore said. Guest judge Tom Gale agreed, though he noted that even still the new Camaro’s design was a good one. “The surface handling is fresh,” he said, “and the line work is great.” Some also thought that the interior could use some work. It’s a bit more cramped than before, and a few judges didn’t like the location placement of the Camaro’s air-conditioning vents (located down by the front occupants’ knees) or the overly tall “mouse ears” on top of the instrument cluster, which ruins already compromised visibility.
|2016 Chevrolet Camaro||RS (1LT)||SS (1SS)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$32,520||$38,585|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe||Front engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.6L/335-hp/284-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6||6.2L/455-hp/455-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic||6-speed manual|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1||188.3 x 74.7 x 53.1|
|WHEELBASE||110.7 in||110.7 in|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,461 lb (52/48%)||3,672 lb (54/46%)|
|ACCELERATION, 0-60 MPH||5.3 sec||4.0 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.8 sec @ 102.9 mph||12.4 sec @ 114.6 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||118 ft||104 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.92 g (avg)||1.00 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.5 sec @ 0.74 g (avg)||24.1 sec @ 0.85 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||17/26/20 mpg||14/26/18 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||198/130 kW-hrs/100 miles||241/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.96 lb/mile||1.10 lb/mile|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||16.1/25.2/19.2|