There was a slight mix up the day the 2016 Camaro arrived in that we were expecting a V8 SS and a V6 RS arrived. My fault as I hadn’t specified the V8 and the V6 happened to be available. So no howling V8 and I had to reset my expectations. Based on the 1st gen Camaro V6, which had vague steering and so so performance…a perfect design of style over substance …..it makes perfect sense that GM evolved the design and concentrated most of the effort on the engineering. After all they proved they could do it with the Camaro 1LE we tested last year.
We’ve driven V6 Camaros before and come away fairly unimpressed but after a week with the V6 Camaro, I have to say, I am impressed.

Engine And Powertrain

This V6 engine is from General Motors’ newest family of dual-overhead cam power plants as seen in the Cadillac CTS and ATS. It is no bigger than the old V6 but it caries a bigger stick. It now produces 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. The V6 is surprisingly good, not only due to it’s increased power but the weight shedding that has been achieved. This new Chevy is lighter, faster, and more modern looking inside and out. Utilizing the rear-wheel-drive chassis from the Cadillac ATS the 2016 model is two inches shorter in length (shorter wheelbase) and about an inch has been removed from height and width compared to the 2015 model. One of our staffers commented that it looked much lower than the old one. The weight loss plan has shed 294 lbs from the V6 auto that we tested now weighing in at a sprightly 3,435 lbs

So How Does It Drive?

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS has been positively invigorated by these enhancements, it feels more agile and begs to be driven on twisty roads. Hold on to your hats folks, now it feels like a proper sports car. Out tester was fitted with the optional, but worth it, dual mode exhaust which starts out at a low burble and ends in a high pitched howl once you mash your foot into the carpet. One small gripe, we wish the go pedal had a less strong spring.

We spent all week in Sport mode, configurable from the very easy to use touch screen, or steering wheel. This didn’t help our overall fuel economy (we averaged 16 mpg) but it made us smile. On full throttle straights the car pulls strongly and the engine never feels strained as it changes gear at just short of 7,000 rpm. The 8 speed auto does a good job in most cases and always selects the right gear and holds on as long as it can before changing up. It seemed to know when we wanted to drive like complete hooligans but on occasion seemed to stick and not want to change up.

This car is more at home on the twisty bits and the quick ratio electric power steering system is way more connected than before. Turn in is crisp and the car rotates through the bends effortlessly. We attempted to check its limits through some tight turns and ultimately it will under steer but I suspect most people won’t get there, at least not without some serious butt clenching.

So huge props to GM for making this car great fun in a place where it wasn’t expected. If you can’t afford the V8 then this is certainly no compromise.

Interior

This is the second area where Chevy put in a lot of effort based on the old models shortcomings, the new interior’s materials look and feel better. There’s also cool new technology, high-definition color displays and a multi colored ambient lighting system. It retains the same layout as before, more modern while retainiing muscle car theme.

Front seats are supportive and comfortable but we had some difficulty getting he seat to recline as much as we would like and no lumbar is a miss. The new vents are cool and functional and the steeringwheel is flat bottomed ad we have come to expect. glove box.

We did hear a strange squeaking coming the driver side rear suspension under hard cornering but other than that build quality is vastly improved.

Verdict

I love to have my expectations exceeded and having got over not getting the V8 I can honestly say I am impressed with this car. Our tester was loaded so I probably wouldn’t have optioned the ambient lighting/comfort package but everything else was just right. Prices start at $29,800 and given the choice I would take this over the Mustang Ecoboost. There I said it…….oh and its not hard to see out of.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS Specifications

BASE PRICE $29,800 PRICE AS TESTED $39,940 VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe ENGINE 3.6L DOHC 24-valve V-6 POWER 335 hp @ 6,800 rpm TORQUE 284 lb-ft @ 5,300 rpm TRANSMISSION 8 speed paddle shift automatic CURB WEIGHT 3,435 lbs 0-60 MPH 5.1 Secs 50-70 MPH N/A 30-50 MPH N/A QUARTER MILE 13.5 sec BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 ft EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/23/28 mpg OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY 16 mpg

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