Driving Impressions>>road Tripping With A Camaro Ss

I might be just a little biased in favor of the new Chevrolet Camaro. After all, it's the car that won me a hundred bucks.

No, I didn't win an outlaw street race. In fact I won the money long before my week-long test drive of the  2010 Camaro SS.

I actually won the money from a bet with my dad. After being teased with the concept version of the Camaro for years, my dad doubted the car would ever make it to showrooms, especially given GM's financial troubles over the past year or so.

Fast forward a year. Not only am I hundred dollars richer, but I have an Inferno Orange Camaro SS to drive for a week.

Dino wrote about his experiences with a nearly identical car in Japan, so for this story I'll focus on cruising the Camaro around California.

Jumping into the car, my first impression was the serious lack of visibility. For sure this is the biggest drawback of the new Camaro, along with its size and weight. After a few days behind the wheel I began to get used to it, but it's still a little disconcerting not knowing where the front of the car is.

Once I adjusted myself to the Camaro's proportions though, I could see that the car was a very capable and comfortable performance machine – and not a bad value either. Then there's the styling. Let's just say that a new orange Camaro isn't a car for introverts.

The Camaro has been on the streets of the USA for nearly a year now, and still I couldn't drive more than a hundred yards without out getting a long stare, a thumbs up, or an approving nod from a pedestrian or fellow motorist.

It may not be for everyone, but the 'Maro is no doubt overflowing with personality.

One glance into the side mirrors and you can see the car's sculpted rear quarters dominating the view.

I haven't spent a lot of time in luxury cars, but the quality of Camaro's interior didn't seem that bad to me. You won't mistake it for an Audi or a Benz, but it got the job done.

If I were buying a Camaro though, I'd do without the optional colored interior panels. For me it was just a little too much. I was however, a big fan of the Boston Acoustics audio system with iPod interface. Great for finding that perfect Whitesnake song to blast down the highway to….

And the open highway is one of the areas where the Camaro really shines. Here's the drive through a rather green-looking Sepulveda Pass on the 405 Freeway. Here in California we only have a limited time to enjoy this greenery before the usual brown of summer and winter returns.

As I made my way to Bakersfield for the March Meet, I fell in love with the Camaro's highway manners. The 6.2 liter L99 V8 (my car had the optional six-speed auto) makes a solid 400hp and 410 ftlbs of torque making passing maneuvers instantaneous. You also have to love being able to pull up the steep grapevine hill doing 75mph at a modest 2000rpm.

After descending the grapevine, it's into the flat expanse of California's Central Valley.

It's not the most exciting route…

…but the big leather seats made the time spent in the Camaro painless. The same can't be said for occupants of the back seat. Once again, I had trouble convincing my tall friends to try it out. For all practical purposes, this is a two-seater.

At one point as I made my way through Bakersfield I came upon the Camaro's arch rival, a Dodge Challenger SRT8 wearing the same orange and black color scheme. There was far too much traffic to "see how they run", but it was fun cruising together for several miles.

As I headed back to LA after the March Meet, I spotted this cool hot rod project going the same direction. Couldn't find a buyer I guess? By the way don't worry, I didn't take these pics while driving. My wife took them from the shotgun seat…

As my time with the Camaro drew to a close, I had become quite attached to the big orange machine.

For a little over 30 grand, you get a 426hp V8 (with the standard 6-speed manual), fully independent suspension, Brembo Brakes, and a well-appointed if not luxurious interior.

Even the gas mileage wasn't terrible. The automatic version is rated at 16 mpg in the city 25 mpg on the highway. Not any worse than the Mazda RX8 I drove a few weeks ago!

So, if you can live with Camaro's large size and are a fan of the bold styling, you get tremendous bang for the buck here. That bang for the buck is something that's been a muscle car tradition since the '60s, and something that has me considering going big, loud, and American for my next vehicle purchase…

-Mike Garrett

Speedhunters – Camaro SS in Japan

Chevy USA



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I will never place camaro over mustang,but this one is veeeeery cute:D


Run one of this things in the UK :)


They still look funny to me.


I meant to say (rushed the typing, in last) Run one of these, here in the UK, you guys across the pond, think you got expensive Gas/fuel !.


Is that Gasoline I smell?


in four of these pics it looks like the Camaro is taking a leak! Linhbergh = overexposed + flare....Garrett = puddles? ^__^

I dug the article. Nice writing, enjoyed the pics, and the last photo in particular is very interesting...

ps. update your Flickr! random snaps from Japan or LA or something!


Nope NOT a fuel leak. Hahah. Left over rain water. Yes, it does rain in California sometimes.


I love this car. I would never get it with the auto, though.


You + complaining about weather in California= fail.


What do you mean Mike? The coloured interior panels are great! Well they can be better, but together with the square gauges, they really make the interior retro :)


You think weather here in Cali is nice? We had straight up rain for the last 3 Months. I hope it's not going to rain in 2 weeks at the Redline Time Attack Event at Buttonwillow (Oh I'm so looking forward to this)


I drove my friends Steve's new Camaro the other month and I noticed a few things. first It felt like a big hot wheels car (mostly on the inside with all the plastic) and the only people that liked it were people who knew nothing about cars and 16 year old girls. That night we went to Mckinsey RD which is our local touge spot if I were to call it that and did not enjoy the car at all... actually It scared the crap out of me with the lack of visibility and the awful understeer. And I thought my supra was a beast.

I did enjoy the read though. thanx mike and keep them coming.


okay, After I read my last comment I feel that I came off a little harsh on the car. I know that the car has a huge fallowing and is appreciated by many car enthusiast from around the world. Just not my cup of tea.


Sorry Mike, but they are hideous. And when will the Americans stop being so bloody lazy and actually put ORANGE turn signals at the rear of the car in stead of the red brake light flashing for a turn signal?



Seriously this car SEX! Great power and a bang for the Buck.. I Personally have a AE86, SC300 and a newly used GTO. And I must say that my thought of America cars after my LS2 06 GTO has made me think of American cars in a totally different way. Torque and Power on the new Camaro must be instantiates making freeway driving a breeze!


@ Edward - the Pontiac GTO is an Australian designed and made car, hence the car isn't a "box" like a lot of American cars.


@ Syfon- Where do you think the Camaro comes from?