As I was looking for hotels recently, I was inundated with choices. Which hotel? Oh, that’s 0.5 miles closer to my destination the next day. No, the other one is 0.8 miles closer. Ooh, look at this one, this is a lot closer to the bus stop. Wait, wait, now this one; this one is much closer…
Thoughts like these continued to occupy my mind. As I was writing this article and the previous article on the Ford Mustang, I realized how sometimes in life, easy things become difficult. It seems more is better until you realize how many options and choices you have to decide on. Then, you have to go through the contradicting thoughts in your brain. You have to deal with them. In a gearhead’s mind, that thought would be something along the lines of “Should I buy the V6 or the V8?” And believe it or not, it takes a while to rationalize your choice. This is all, of course, after you've fought the battle of Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro or Dodge Challenger. So, it seems like when you don’t have choices, only then do you have a choice. Confused? Simply put, the fewer decisions you have to make, the happier you are—that’s what the entire book The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less tries to tell.
Anyways, here are some pictures and bits about the new Camaro SS and all that it encompasses.
Let me get the ugly out of the way so we have smooth sailing afterward. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The Camaro is a sports car. Gone is the era of it being considered a muscle car. Now it’s a pure sports car that looks sporty, drives sporty, and sports a sporty look in the cabin and at the back—which brings me back to the spacing in the rear seats. Before you start bashing me, I’ll go ahead and say it outright: the rear seats are useless. The only thing you could find the back useful for is a minion of yours. Or two Chihuahuas of yours, but they can’t be overfed. Be wary of that, though—once their cells undergo enough cycles of mitosis, even they won’t be able to fit in the back.
If you compare the amount of information on appearance in popular culture for the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro, you’ll soon see the Mustang has a lot more going for it than the Camaro, but nonetheless, Camaro gets the spotlight regularly also. Colored as a Bumblebee, the car has been featured in a couple of films and shows.
In fact, it made its first appearance in 2007 in the film Transformers, where it appeared as a 1976 Camaro. It was liveried in yellow with black stripes, emulating the Bumblebee.
(There are actually 250 species of the bumblebee that scientists know, with many more undiscovered.) The Camaro appeared in sequels also, including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In addition, it also appeared in the show Hawaii Five-0.
The Alpha platform is—and I’m quoting a fan of the Camaro—“engineering magic, and it has finally let the Camaro out of its cage.” Agreed. The Alpha platform is not at the Chevrolet level but at parent company’s level. The Alpha platform consists of the MacPherson struts in the front, a five-link independent rear suspension, and a high-strength steel and aluminum construct.
Unlike some of the other manufacturers and platforms, the goal of GM and the Alpha platform was to reduce weight.
The Alpha platform entered the market wearing the livery of the 2013 Cadillac ATS. The platform is generally used in GM’s compact to mid-size vehicles. It was through this platform that GM learned people weren’t big fans of a heavier vehicle built in the compact category. By 2016, Camaro was being built on the Alpha platform.
Prior to the development of the first-generation Camaro, Chevy had a car in its lineup called the "Corvair," but that car had a rear-engine design, declining sales, and shaming from Ralph Nader’s book Unsafe at Any Speed. So, Chevy knew it had to let go of the Corvair and invest in the Camaro to meet the hungry market. Out came the first-generation Camaro. It offered only two body styles: a two-door hardtop and a two-door convertible. The list of engine options, on the other hand, was quite detailed and long. Over the two years that the first generation was in production, about 10 engine and four transmission options were made available. Notable is the fact that the first generation had inspired the fifth-generation Camaro; the design of the fifth-generation Camaro is still seen in today’s Camaro.
After the year 2002, GM decided to let go of Camaros. Why? Let’s dive into a little more than the obvious reason of dwindling sales. Of course, that was a reason. But there's more to that. The oil industry was booming in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, which meant people were chanting the mantra “The bigger the better.” They were looking for SUVs, as they had become the public’s to-go choice on the car menu. The small-body Camaros weren't in high demand.
GM had to make the decision of either investing and radically upgrading the Camaro or actually investing in the latter from scratch.
GM had the foresight of the market, though, as it intentionally chose to close a plant in 2001, incurring a loss of $300 M. GM knew it would lose much—much more had it continued with the Camaro instead of satisfying the public’s demand for SUVs.
When the SUV craze subsided after the recession of 2008—in fact, even before that, near 2005—people started approaching life from a different angle in 2009 and 2010. They looked at life and wondered if they were really in possession of their jobs, if they really had their houses properly financed, if they needed that gas-guzzling behemoth, and so on. And that’s when Chevy decided to make a comeback with the Camaro after a seven-year break.
When Chevy came up with the design of the new Camaros, Americans were sold.
It looked radical. It retained the structure of the first-generation Camaro from years ago but incorporated the trends of the late-2000s. It won several awards, and Jay Leno had his own specially made by Chevy.
The car became an instant hit with the public as soon as it appeared in the market. It’s unimaginable to think that the very first year saw a total of 220K units being sold. Then, the second year saw an increase of about 15K units. Very few cars have done that. Of course, if you’re a Ford Mustang fan, you probably would counter my claim by saying, “Mustang has done more than that. It sold more than 600K cars in its second year.” And that’s true, but I think that’s the result of the Mustang being the first American sports car, rather than being a Ford Mustang. In other words, had a car named "Renault Panther" that was similar looking to the Mustang made an appearance first as the American sports car, it would've reached similar heights. I personally think Mustang itself had very little to do with its own success.
You ever wonder where that name "Camaro" comes from? The naming process of the Camaro was obscure. No one knew what Chevy had in mind. The “Sales” entry from above hinted at one of the names Chevy was considering for the Camaro (just the Panther part, not Renault). Here's what Chevy wrote to automotive journalists: "Please save noon of June 28 for [an] important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow...(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet public relations – SEPAW secretary." The cat was referring to Panther, which was the internal code-name of the Camaro. After 2,000 names, Chevy settled on “Camaro.” When asked what “Camaro” meant, Chevy replied, “[It’s] a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”
The interior of the car is well done. One of the reviewers on YouTube said, “Even the plastic feels very expensive.” That comment is hard to come by unless you’re getting paid to say that (I don’t think he had any financial incentives to make that comment). But yes, there you go... even the plastic material that inevitably occupies a large part of the interior looks fabulous and cushiony. Of course, the rest of the interior is non-plastic and far superior. The AC/heat vents are designed in a manner that makes you think the primary aim of Chevy was to make it a luxury car rather than a sports car. And then, you have the seats themselves, which are all cushiony, cozy, and comfortable. The shifter is very responsive and pleasant to touch.
If you see some of the comments about the cargo room, you get a decent number of varying opinions. You could definitely say, “Let me take out this heavy material from the trunk,” and then take forever as if you're removing a hidden treasure box, only to lift up a pack of paper towels. That’s funny but not necessarily accurate, and even the person who did this understands that. I don’t think the trunk room is that terrible in the Camaro SS. Sure, the Corvette from the same year might have a little more space, but at the end of the day, the SS doesn’t do too badly in its class of sports cars. The Dodge Challenger and the Audi TT, for example, have the same amount of space, roughly speaking.
The new one is equipped with some great tech-savvy items. There’s a rev-match button on the underside of the steering wheel, so you have access to it at all times. The rev match is also featured on the Corvette Stingray. Available also are some technologies—techs that are considered pretty standard by now—such as the heated steering wheel, the touch-screen radio, the backup camera, etc. More interestingly, there’s a heads-up display system. With this, you can decide which item you want to be displayed in your vision, which makes your driving safer, as you don’t have to look down gauges that you normally would. I think making a lot of things available in the heads-up display and a general movement toward being able to interact with that information is needed in all cars.
If you own a sports car, you probably know some of the difficulties associated with them. Visibility, to name one, is a major issue in any sports car. You ever see the most striking car, with the most sizzling, sloping, and exotic rear windshields and wonder how do you see anything in your rear-view mirror? Valid question. I don’t know how it’s managed in Lambos or Ferraris, but I know that in addition to poor visibility in the rear, there was a hullabaloo over the blind spot in the sides. Those blind spots are huge, and drivers have to turn their heads to not become a safety hazard for themselves and others on the road. Thankfully, the 2018 Camaro SS is outfitted with a backup camera and an optional blind-spot monitoring system.
There’s a misconception about the handling of the car, especially as rumored by those who don’t even own a Camaro.
There used to be a time when the first few generations didn’t have good handling because of the sheer weight and lack of technology.
But the recent generations—and even the middle generations—have turned the corner. Gone is the time for “Oh my God... American cars can’t handle at all.” These statements were usually made by exotic car owners, and while they had good handling themselves, that didn’t make the handling of the Camaro terrible. It had okay handling back then, but now, it's become a full sports car, meaning, the handling is top-notch. The 2018 also lost a few pounds, so handling is even better.
I remember way back in the early 2000s when my cousin would identify his father’s motorcycle from a distance just by the sound of it—like, he would hear it from afar and know that was his father coming back from work. Of course, the regular timing probably cued him in, but that’s still a feat to admire. I’m not sure if you, the car enthusiast, can do the same for cars, but it might be an endeavor to train your ears to, as the sound of the engine of the Camaro SS is just thrilling. While I salute the true gearhead who thinks a Hummer makes the best noise on this planet, I think the exhaust and engine sound coming out of this car is rather a melody. You just have to know how to interpret the music.
The engine is a blast, really. Even the base engine of the 1LS has plenty of power. The turbocharged, 2-liter I4 churns out 275 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque, which is respectable. But since you weren’t satisfied, you got the SS, and that, my friend, has the Corvette Z06 engine. Take a moment to breathe.
Go ride that 6.2-liter V8 that generates 450 HP and 455 lb-ft of torque.
No disrespect, but some of you wouldn’t even know how to handle that much of power. Ladies and gentlemen, this might've been a dream come true for some of you. You’re rolling that power of the Z06, all the while paying the price of just a Camaro SS. This is simply a steal. Some might even consider the Camaro to be better looking than the Corvette.
Sometimes, you wish the engine of your car was ready to go as soon as you got into it.
Well, you can be sure the 2018 Camaro SS has a remote-start key. You can be making coffee and just press the start button, and voila! The engine is started and running.
You'd have plenty of time for your daily morning routine, and once you get to your car, the engine would've been warmed up thoroughly in the below-freezing temperatures. That’s the beauty of the remote start. These are becoming more and more common now. There used to be a time when these things were considered fancy, but now, things are changing for the better. If you were curious, the remote-start concept originated in Canada in 1985—that’s how old the technology is.
The Dubai police force knows how to entertain the public. They have a whole army of cars that can keep prompting the tourists to take selfies with the cops and their cars alike. You might wonder why they do it, and the answer is simple: to increase the feeling of friendliness in tourists as they visit Dubai. Let’s face it—the Middle East isn't exactly known for democracy. There are still Sultans in various countries, and women aren't treated impartially. I suppose it would be a good guess to say they’re trying to manage their “impression” with these police car shows. They don’t want you thinking the police is trying to suppress the masses. Amongst the likes of Bugatti, Aston Martin, and Audi, they have the Camaro also. While this picture isn’t of the new Camaro, it still is from a recent year.
It would be unreasonable to expect only the SS to be in Camaro’s trim level. There are bound to be more options, some less powerful and some more so.
There are several trim options—1LS, 1LT, and ZL1, for instance—in addition to the SS, which itself comes as 1SS or 2SS.
There are some special-edition options also, including the good-looking Redline Edition. The ZL trim is immensely powerful. It’s equipped with a 6.2-liter V8 that produces a whopping 650 HP and 650 lb-ft of torque. And you can get even more power than that through the supercharged version of the ZL trim. No matter how you slice it, you’re being inundated with an astronomical amount of power. I sure hope you know how to wield that.
On a similar note, the US police force has this beautiful car, too. Not every department of every state has the car, though; only a select few officers have it. The Camaro SS is beautifully daunting. I don’t mean to contradict myself by saying that, but you can clearly see that it's a beautiful Camaro in black. But as soon as the police lights come on, it becomes daunting. The cyan lights and the black exterior of the car look novel—and while you might've experienced something similar color-wise in a Ford—the beautiful, widebody of the Camaro is probably a new sight. The one pictured here is a 2017 model. While the department probably won’t use it for traffic stops or pursuit duties, the lights flashing from afar are bound to activate the neurons of your amygdala (read: frighten you).
All said and done, I think the Camaro is just one eye-catching car. I mean, the full width and the full length give it a shape that's one of a kind
If I were to compare it to its rivals— or more like rival Ford Mustang—I’d have to give the Camaro a 5+ (out of 5) on looks and even overall.
It’s not easy to say that, but it’s easy to say the newly designed Camaro—the low-slung, low-riding Camaro—has won the hearts of millions of people. Ford Mustang doesn’t have that kind of appeal emanating from its exterior. The grille, which seems like it’s partitioned by the metal body, in the new one gives a look that screams, “I will pound that car in front of me!” Personifications aside, the car simply looks fabulous.