Road Testing the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro

2012 is the second year for the resurgence of Chevrolet’s popular muscle car, the Camaro. As is expected of one of Chevrolet’s most storied nameplates, there are loads of options from which to choose. The top of the line SS and ZL-1 versions pack between 400 and 580 horsepower, and the kind of styling that just can’t help but get you noticed. That said, there’s a lot to be said for the 323-horsepower V6 Camaro, as well. It’s cheaper, lighter and gets better fuel economy. Rather than make myself sick trying to pry myself away from the high-horsepower Camaros after the road test, I opted to try out a humbler V6 model.

The interior of the Camaro is very well thought-out. I found the seating comfortable in the front, but I might have had a hard time trying to fit in the rear seat. The greatest trouble spot that I found was the rear visibility. The rear window seems to be little more than an afterthought to the styling, as though the designer got finished and said, “Oh, I forgot the rear window!” The tester featured the basic amenities of the 1LT Camaro, including power cloth seats and 18-inch aluminum wheels. There was a rear vision camera option available, but alas, this car was not fitted with one. I liked the retro-styled and yet singularly futuristic dashboard and the trim.

The V6 Camaro, in reality, loses nothing when it comes to performance. The 3.6-liter engine is perhaps more in line with European offerings than anything yet offered by Chevrolet. Sure, it isn’t the bruiser 400-horsepower V8, but I’m reasonably assured that buying the V6 would avoid my paying for my insurance agent’s new Corvette for this year, at least. Power delivery was exactly what I expected, crisp and taught, and with the traction control switched off (the salesman’s idea, not mine,) the rear tires were more than willing to break loose at stoplights. Being slightly lighter than the V8 versions, I also noticed that the car was nicely agile through curves, and the brakes responsive and noticeably free of fade after a particularly fun section of country road.

I hesitated to say no to the salesman when we returned, particularly in light of the spots of molten rubber stuck to the Camaro’s rear bumper, but I couldn’t help thinking to myself that if I just were able to save up a few more thousand dollars, that SS Camaro might not be so out of reach, after all.

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