I’ve had my car for more than a week now and I thought I’d take a moment to write up some of my thoughts. In a way my perspective is slightly skewed, since I’m coming from a Z06 Corvette that many people might consider “better.” However, at this point my Z06 is so modified that it’s almost uncomfortable and the Camaro is a welcome change.
First off I think the 2012 Camaro represents a great value. After looking at some 2010 and 2011 models I got a new SS with the RS package. For what you pay you get a well engineered and executed muscle car that, in my opinion, lives up to the hype. The car is stylish, drives well, has plenty powerful and comes with a lot of features I wouldn’t have expected in this price range.
Styling Exterior: I love the way the new Camaro looks. I think it does a great job of channeling it’s predecessors while evolving into a modern street machine. The angular lines of the car give it a very aggressive look and it seems to turn a lot of heads. I like the wheel design, but I’m not a big fan of the stock silver color or the way Chevy gouges you for OEM alternatives. I got the model with no sunroof (more on that later) and I think the reverse mohawk (not present with a sun roof) is a great look for this car.
Styling Interior: The 2012 interior has been updated a bit. Online it seems like people complained that Camaro interiors seemed cheap, but the 2012 SS interior seems excellent. The leather first rate and everything flows smoothly together in a comfortable way. The sun visors are a little silly, but that’s really the only thing. I like the design elements like the lighted doors and retro gauge cluster. The HUD looks great too- super bright and clear.
The seats are very comfortable. They are power adjustable in pretty much anyway you can think of (the exception being lumbar support) and they hug the contours of the body very well. There is ample room in the front, although the back seats would be cramped for adults (since I plan on carting my kids around back there I’m not too worried about it).
Speaking of space- As I mentioned I opted for a model without a sunroof. While I prefer the look with no sun roof I was interested in getting one. However with a sunroof I didn’t fit ! Even with the seat all the way down my head hit the roof liner (I’m 6′ 4″ and I have a long torso). Without the sun roof I fit comfortably in the car and my head plenty of clearance.
I feel like the controls (temperature & radio) are all well designed and intuitive (the iPod interface, while not perfect, works well and I love seeing the song name in the HUD). The steering wheel controls work well too (I rarely use them in the Vette, but have used them quite a bit in the Camaro).
The updated 2012 steering wheel feels good, but possibly a little on the high side (you can move it down, but then it covers the speedometer & tachometer). I don’t know what the 2010 & 2011 steering wheels were like (seems like people didn’t like how they felt), but I preferred the look of them.
Driveability: The car is very quiet both at a stop and while driving (keep in mind that I’m coming from an 800hp ear splitter). The short shifter is very crisp and the transmission engages nicely. The clutch release is light and tightly sprung (it pops up too quickly for my taste), but the pedals all have a good feel.
The Camaro handles very well. Steering is responsive and it corners with a good amount of control and stability. The 2012 model has the FE4 suspension package (different from previous models) and the ride is smooth and even. You can still get good sense of the road but becoming “one” with this car seems like it may take a bit of work.
Performance: The SS has a 436 HP LS3 V8. Power-wise this is pretty substantial but coming from an 800HP Vette the Camaro almost feels underpowered. Acceleration is quick and consistent (and the engine sounds great) but you can feel the weight of the car (at almost two tons it is a heavy car). Don’t get me wrong- there’s plenty of power but it’s it’s less than I’m used to. Not to worry though- I have plans to make the car much faster :). The LS3 engines lend themselves very well to upgrades (think “forced induction”).
The brakes are very good, but stopping distance is longer than I’m used to and I can feel the weight of the car when braking. The car may benefit from some and upgrade, but the Brembo disc brakes perform admirably and I’m perfectly happy with them for now.
I’m quite impressed with the Boston Acoustics sound system in the SS. It won’t blow your head off and it’s slightly muddy, but it does a good job with sound range and there is very little sibilance at high volumes. Everything seems mixed well and the balance is excellent (sound seems to come from in front of me). Chevy offers the option of an MTX subwoofer system, but I’m working on my own JL audio based sub (more on that soon). The ability to hook up my iPod to the stereo is also very nice (although there seems to be as issue and sometimes the music intermittently crackles).
Features: I have mentioned a few already, but I’ll just recap here. Love the leather power seats- very nice (also seat heaters- not a big fan personally). I think the HUD is a good addition and is well executed. I like the integrated auxiliary inputs for the stereo. The steering wheel controls are great. The backup camera and proximity warning system is really cool (useful? don’t know yet). Really cool gauge cluster beneath the stereo. The short shifter feel really good (the throw is longer than I expected though). And then there’s tons of standard options too – auto dimming mirrors, ABS brakes, high intensity headlights, integrated garage door opener, etc.
Conclusion: Super happy with the car! As I have said I think it’s a superb value and it’s very well executed in almost every regard. I’m really excited to drive it more (just putting some personal touches on it before I “debut” it to family & friends).