Honestly, when I booked the Camaro LT1 prior to leaving on my extended stay in Florida, I knew about the trim but had never priced it. When I received my Satin Steel metallic example and the accompanying American spec sheet, I was floored. In the US, a brand new 2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 6-speed manual starts at $34,000. When I got to my desk and wrung up the Canadian price, I fell off my chair.
First, what is the “LT1”? The LT1 trim includes enough go-fast bits to sufficiently support the 455-horsepower 6.2-litre V8. Namely, front Brembo brakes, limited slip differential, 20-inch wheel and Goodyear Eagle tires, SS hood, extra cooling and a little more. At this price point, the LT1 is the fastest car your money can buy.
Second, I was floored for a number of reasons. The least expensive Ford Mustang GT is $2,500 more but with 18-wheels and very standard brakes. At $36,300, you can get a Honda Civic Type R. Yes, the Type R is fast, faster on a track perhaps, but not faster in a straight line.
A banging bargain, in the US…
Finally, I fell off my chair when I priced the LT1 in Canada and found out that it starts at $41,448. Nearly all pricing advantages compared to the Type R, VW Golf R, Subaru WRX STI and a few others fall too bits in our home and native land.
Despite this and I promise you, I enjoyed every second I spent with this car. Before I go on, know that my tester included the incredible 10-speed automatic transmission and dual-mode exhaust for a grand total of $36,590 USD, or, hang on, as priced on Chevrolet.ca, $44,773 CDN.
It’s a Camaro +
There isn’t much to say about the current Camaro’s 7th or 11th styling update in the last few years other than I still think the car looks great. It’s nowhere near as dashing as my 1LT 1LE-packaged 4-cylinder turbo example from last summer I’m still a big fan – at the very least, it’s not a convertible which are EVERYWHERE in SoFlo as rental units.
The cabin too is, well, what it is. It features Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 System with 7-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM, A/C and that’s about it. The seat material looks like left-over base Cruze stuff and the plastics are plastic… The seats are extremely soft but I suppose the material and the side bolstering are grippy enough for track use. Oh, and I still can’t see anything out this car.
Now, about track use; here’s the thing with the LT1 package. As is, it’s one hell of a deal for our friends in the US, that is if you can remain satisfied with the LT1 (in Canada or the US.) You see, there are no performance upgrades that can be added to the LT1. Opting for the 1SS ($44,448 in Canada) opens up the possibility of tacking on the delicious 1LE package, the 1LE suspension package (separate from the other), magnetic ride control and more for the true muscle car experience.
Gotta have a V8, and that 10-speed!
But truly, the LT1 is a blast. GM’s 6.2-litre V8 is not a lumbering engine as it freely and willingly revs to 6,000 rpm for max horsepower, quickly passing the 4,400 rpm mark for all 455 lb.-ft. of torque. With the optional dual-mode exhaust, although some sound must be pumped into the cabin, the sweet V8 melody drags you into the experience. It’ll pop and backfire to when prompted.
Above all, it’s the 10-speed automatic transmission that really blew me away. I was a little down when I learned the tester unit was to be equipped with only two pedals but truthfully, in gawd-awful and constant Florida traffic, it was perfect. Perfect, as it operated in a refined manner, worthy of any Cadillac. And when I wanted to merge on the 95 and benefit from a small window (they are tiny…), I would crush the throttle and literally be catapulted five lanes over in less than what felt like a second. This transmission was just as comfortable cruising along the A1A at 30mph as it was going from an easy 50mph to 8Xmph by dropping at least five cogs, slamming into the required go-gear firing off. The box’s efficacy is overwhelming, and incredibly well suited to the V8. And no, don’t ask about fuel efficiency, ok?
The Pony Car question, again
I once more come away very much liking a Camaro, but not 100% loving it. In this narrow segment that includes the Dodge Challenger, the Camaro and Ford Mustang, I’ve come to realize that I’m attracted to their flaws. This explains why I love the Challenger so much – it is a flaw, a freak of nature. I really like the Camaro because it has issues and, with one or two exceptions, I’d not get a Mustang because it’s too polished, too well sorted.