2016 Chevrolet Camaro First Video Drive

Our first experience of Chevrolet’s all-new blue collar hero
Imthishan Giado

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

The world is cursed with an abundance of idiots. Unfortunately, some of them happen to be motoring journalists.

That, dear internet automotive enthusiast, is why I have to begin this quick first drive experience of the hotly-anticipated 2016 Chevrolet Camaro with a grave apology. Thanks to the highly-publicized crash of a new Camaro on an earlier launch by another – shall I say, ‘colleague’ – we were all limited to just 25mph on our laps of Detroit’s placid Belle Isle park. In the name of safety, but also to prevent losing any more of these precious pre-production cars.

25mph. That’s a mere 40kph. Most UAE residents aren’t even awake at that speed. Still, even if you can’t drive fast, you can still tell an awful lot about whether you liked a car. And I like the new Camaro a bunch.

Watch my video review here! 

Does it still look good?

People have criticized the new Camaro for playing it safe with the design, but in person, it’s a great looking car. Where the old car was slab sided and fat like a football linebacker staring you down over the last burger at the diner, this is a lean, sinewy piece of work, considerably more compact than the old Zeta-platformed car. Being based on the much-smaller Cadillac ATS provides your explanation and besides, when you’re building a sportscar, small is good.

Does the interior still suck?

Watch the video and you’ll see interior designer Tristan Murphy go on at length about how hard they’ve worked to finally give the Camaro a decent interior; I can report that in person, it’s a nice place to be, even in this rough unfinished form. Plastics feel higher quality, visibility is better with the lower dashboard (that’s why the HVAC vents sit low now rather than on top) and the 8″ Mylink screen is a welcome addition. Goodbye fiddly status gauges, hello digital ones. Goodbye hard-to-read retro cluster, hello smart, crisp, orange-on-black needles.

About the only real knock I have is that they’re lost a smidge of cabin space and the rear seats are definitely, definitively useless now, sacrificed to achieve the shorter wheelbase.

Enough Interior! How does it drive?

On my brief laps of Belle Isle, the new Camaro seems every bit the post-modern muscle car. Gone is the doughy response and fat-man-sitting-on-your-lap feel and in their place, genuine reflexes. Electric steering is all-new but like the C7 Corvette, they’ve nailed how these systems should feel. The whole car feels considerably more planted, poised and precise, less like a collection of go-faster parts and more like a car that was designed to go fast in the first place.

Sadly we weren’t allowed to drive the 455bhp V8 SS or the intriguing 275bhp 2.0-litre turbo but the 335bhp V6 is no penalty box. Matched to the fast shifting eight-speed auto, it revs quickly and has a pleasingly vicious growl at low speeds. V6 cars used to be cheap, dull dogs for the rental fleets; not so this RS Camaro. Priced right, it could do a lot of damage to the likes of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ, being both considerably faster and more characterful.

What if you don’t want the eight speed and its paddles? Running through the gears of the six-speed manual revealed no obvious bad habits. The clutch is light and easy to master; the shifter feels Toyota-like in its efficiency and will prove ideal on those long Dubai commutes. It’s no perfectly-weighted rifle bolt like the new ‘Vette but it would make a perfect first manual for sportscar novices.


I began by making an apology, but no such admission needs to made for the new Camaro. Even at 25mph, it’s clear how much work the Chevy boys have done and how quickly it makes the outgoing Camaro obsolete. You’re looking at one of 2016’s hottest cars.

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