As many of you know, I’m a Mustang guy at heart. So forgive me when I say this, but I’m just not a huge fan of the 2016 Camaro. My slight bias, however, plays into this only a small percent. I don’t buy into the whole Mustang vs Camaro rivalry most of the time. I’m one of the rare Mustang fans that actually likes Camaros, mostly the older ones. There’s more to talk about here than not liking a car because of a brand name.
When I take a first look at the new Camaro, all I can say is “meh.” It doesn’t hold my attention. It doesn’t shout at me, “You gotta have this car!!!” It just looks like they slapped some new additions onto last year’s model. Boring.
While the Mustang got some sweet and sexy curves, the Camaro is just blocky. GM calls it “shedding 200 pounds.” Okay, from a performance aspect, that’s pretty good. But driving a square of a car isn’t going to turn heads. It was cool when Transformers came out, but unless your Camaro is going to transform into an Autobot anytime soon, I’m not having it.
The front grille has been reduced to a sneer, and I’ll even go as far to say it looks like it stole a bit of inspiration from the 2015 Camry grille. GM’s chiseling on the body has revealed one feature that seems like it’ll annoy some people: There’s an ugly bump-out ledge below the doors. I don’t really see why that’s necessary. And another thing Camaros have been criticized for, the lack of outward visibility, doesn’t seem to be fixed.
As far as the interior goes, it’s actually looking a little better. GM ditched the fantastic-plastic interior on this year’s model and produced something an adult might like to drive. I do, however, have just a few complaints.
First, the air vents look like mini versions of jet turbines. I guess it’s in keeping with the Camaro’s lowered profile that shows off the wheels. Still, they don’t really fit the overall feel of the interior. Just weird.
Second, while the center console’s LCD screen is definitely big and visible, the dash is so customizable that it might become a hassle. Between the speedometer and the tach, you can choose from three different instrument displays on the top portion of the screen, four different screens on the bottom portion. The dash thing is just a little too much.
In the base model, a 4-cylinder, at that, you get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which puts you at about 270 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. The Duratech Turbo retrofit unfortunately subtracts about 40 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque in this lighter car.
Ford appears to be pulling out all the stops as far as performance packages go for the Mustang, including the new GT350 and GT350R variants. Chevy has announced the SS and LT models for the Camaro, but Ford promised us that the GT350 variants would pull over 500 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Step up the game, Chevy. Of course the downside of those GT350 versions is that there will be a very limited amount available. Ford’s not perfect.
It seems like the Camaro’s only selling point for non-Camaro fans would be the improved interior and weight shedding. I know Camaro fans will eat this car up, considering the few improvements that Chevy has brought to the table. As for me, I just see a dressed-up version of the same car as last year.
Change my mind?