This ain’t no base car
I clearly recall thinking how pathetic neighbours of mine were when they came home in their brand-spanking new 1984 Chevrolet Camaro. I was all of 8 years old, clutching my 1984 edition of the Guide de l’Auto, and I knew that there was nothing sporty about the car – underneath its long bonnet was GM’s 92-horsepower Iron Duke 2.5-litre 4-cylinder engine. Mated to the 3-speed automatic transmission, I was quicker to any speed on my Big Wheel (damn I miss my red, yellow and blue Big Wheel!!)
I recently returned a base 2017 Camaro 1LT and to get right to it, only the price hinted to the fact that it was but a 4-cylinder car with an automatic transmission. The ‘Maro’s turbocharged wee 4-pot produces 85 more horsepower than the ‘84’s High Output 5,0-litre V8, or to more precise, 275 of them. The 2,0-litre’s torque is an impressive 295 lb.-ft. and is on tap from 3,000 to 4,500 rpm. With its 8-speed autobox, my tested $31,925 1LT reaches 100 km/h in just under 5 seconds, or nearly 3.5 seconds (or the time required for a ZL1 to reach the ton) less than the 5.0-litre…
On the performance front, the latest Camaro is a hero; it handles beautifully, brakes hard and steers as it should. Throttle response is very good, even in Touring drive mode. The transmission is in on the ball however I’m no fan of the wheel-mounted paddles as their travel is far too long once pulled back and they feel very cheap.
While on the inside, I love the bare-bones dash and the seats however visibility is atrocious, period. The trunk is painfully small. Nothing will fit through the opening which I guess is a good thing given its tiny 257-litre volume.
The car’s exterior styling is superb, behind only the Dodge Challenger but well ahead of the Ford Mustang. The optional 20” wheels make a world of a difference.
This 4-cylinder Camaro is a far cry from its predecessors. Even so, the SS 1LE is the only true Chevy pony car in my opinion.