These are trying times for the folks at General Motors.
So it was nice to see some smiles on the faces of Chevrolet executives as they recently introduced the long-awaited 2010 Camaro to assembled members of the media in the outskirts of the Motor City.
Blog sites and forums have been filled with chat about the new Camaro. And before production had even begun, Chevy had pre-sold 14,000 units and had more than 15.5 million Camaro hits on its Web site.
The Camaro is available with both V6 and V8 engines combined with either six-speed automatic or manual transmissions.
And best of all, fuel economy is decent for a performance car, delivering an estimated 6.9L/100 km (41 mpg) highway with the peppy 304 hp 3.6-litre V6 engine.
True to its heritage, the Camaro is also offered in SS trim with a powerful 400 hp (426 hp with the manual transmission) 6.2-litre V8. Prices start at $26,995 for the V6 LS model and $36,995 for the SS.
While the Camaro name dates back more than 40 years to 1967, Chevy executives insist this isn’t a retro car.
In fact, the goal is to attract younger, well-educated buyers to Chevrolet with the Camaro and the marketing types at GM forecast only a third of all buyers will be performance enthusiasts, drawn to the car for nostalgic reasons. These are the buyers who will go for the powerful V8.
Built on GM’s new rear-wheel drive Zeta platform like the Pontiac G8, the Camaro draws its styling lines from the iconic ’69 first-generation model while at the same time offering modern-day features such as independent rear suspension, six standard air bags and even a cylinder de-activation system in the V8 automatic that helps save on fuel.
Does the modern, sharper styling work with the Camaro?
Well the buying public will be the judge and during our half-day ride and drive just outside Detroit, the Camaro sure attracted attention. Heads turned, camera phones were pointed our way and even the local constabulary came out in one small town to take a close-up look along with a number of locals. The car is an attention-getter, no doubt.
Styling wise, I prefer the Dodge Challenger, but the Camaro gets the nod for its better road manners.
The Camaro is particularly striking from a rear view, with a muscular look thanks to the wide haunches. All versions get dual exhausts, adding to the muscle car appeal.
All in all, an exciting new car that is expected to draw increased traffic to GM showrooms.
2010 Chevy Camaro
Type: Sports coupe
Price: $26,995 to $40,995
Engine: 3.6-litre direct injected V6 (304 hp, 273 lb/ft) with manual or automatic transmissions; 6.2-litre 16 valve OHV V8 (426 hp, 420 lb/ft manual or 400 hp, 410 lb/ft automatic)
• Great muscle car appeal, especially from the rear
• Decent fuel economy