About a month ago I got to drive a 2018 Mustang GT and both Scat Packs back to back. A lot of you seemed to like my mini review of them so here’s my thoughts on the Camaro.
I’ve driven the 6th gen SS before but never on an extended drive up to highway speeds. This car is very different from it’s Ford and Dodge competitors in both good and bad ways. The car was a 2017 2SS automatic with every available option. Even the sunroof!
The Camaro has the smallest interior of the three. I’m 6’5 215 pounds and I fit fine. I don’t think I’d enjoy an eight hour road trip but it wasn’t unbearable. Just snug. Even with the sun roof I had enough head room. The seat was all the way down and back though. The windows are small and it was a little intimidating just sitting in the car. Once on the road it wasn’t a big deal. I could see fine. For changing lanes I had to fully turn my head around. Where as with the other two cars I didn’t have to.
Interior quality wasn’t bad. The 2018 Mustang seemed nicer to me. The Dodges about the same. This is just a personal opinion but I find the current buttons, gauges, and font used in all newer GM vehicles to just look and feel cheap. The door felt a little flimsy compared to the other two cars. The ventilated seats were awesome. The best I’ve ever felt in a car. They actually got cold. My favorite thing about the interior is the steering wheel. It is small and just feels right for this car. The Mustang/Dodge steering wheels seem a little big to me for a sporty car. The seats were comfortable and supportive. Not as comfortable as the Dodge but just as comfortable as the Mustang but with more support.
Now onto the drive. This car feels heavy and solid. The Mustang feels like a luxury coupe in comparison. This thing is a legit sports car. At parking lot speeds the steering is heavy. It continues to be heavy as speed increases. There was even some road feel though the steering. The Camaro has the best steering feel of the three. The car felt so tight and planted the whole drive. I understand why the Alpha chassis is praised so much now. It cornered flat with no body roll. The Brembo breaks were good. I didn’t get to slam them on too hard.
This cars biggest downfall is the transmission. GMs 8 speed is leagues below ZFs 8 speed and the new 10 speed. It is laggy, slow to shift, upshifts too quick and is hesitant to downshift when in drive. When using the paddles it’s not an instant response but it’s not too bad. It honestly feels like any old 6 speed auto with a better gear spread. I would get the manual in this car. I’ve heard 6th gens with the 6 speed are magnificent.
IMO the LT1 does not sound as good as the 5.0 or 392. This car had the active exhaust. When you start it it lets out a nice bark and then turns into this quiet metallic rattle. The 5.0 with active exhaust and the 392 both sound better at startup and idle IMO. When going between quiet, sport and track the noise level just increased. The exhaust note didn’t change like with the Mustang. It honestly sounded like a truck with a really good exhaust to me. Not a bad sound but just not as nice as the other two. If I bought one I would get the regular exhaust and put an aftermarket cat back on it. Where as if I got a Mustang I would get the active exhaust and leave it alone. I’ve never been a fan of how the LS/LT engines sound with factory exhaust though. Just personal preference.
The LT1 really surprised me. It seemed like an exact middle ground between the 5.0 and 392. The 5.0 is weaker (relatively) in the lower revs and then comes on strong in the upper revs. The 392 is a monster at low revs but after 4,500 seems to run out of steam. The LT1 didn’t have the grunt of the 392 or the high end pull of the 5.0 but it was a perfect middle ground. If I had to pick a car to show someone what a dead flat torque curve looked like this would be it. It has the same monstrous pull at all RPMs. In 8th gear at 1,400 rpms on the highway just roll onto the throttle and it shoots up to 70, 80, 90, 100 without downshifting. Punch it at 90 and it rockets forward. Personally I think the 2018 5.0 is a more fun engine because of it’s power band. But this is the best choice for overall street driving.
My opinion of the 6th gen Camaro is it’s the best muscle car offered right now, but it has some serious short comings that put it in 3rd place for me.
What I mean is it’s by far the best handling of them all. It has the best engine for street driving. It has a great feel on the road. It’s a real sports car. I really understand the comparisons to the M4 now. But only if you spend all of your time on a racetrack.
The cramped interior, poor visibility, bland styling (IMO), and lackluster exhaust note (IMO) make it a car I would not consider buying. But I prioritize different things than some people. Mainly comfort. I think the Camaro is an awesome car, and if I was in the market for a C7 I would save $20,000 and buy a Camaro.
So in closing, it’s a badass car. Just not one I’d buy.
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