We here at Top Speed recently had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an Imperial Blue Metallic 2010 Chevrolet Camaro RS for an extended period of time and we have to say that we enjoyed every minute of the modern day muscle car experience. The Camaro RS combines the fuel efficient 300 HP direct injected V6 that gets as much as 29 MPG with the aggressive styling as the powerful Chevrolet Camaro SS with its 20 inch wheels wrapped in high performance rubber, high intensity discharge headlamps, rear spoiler and polished taillight bezels as well as unique RS badges all for only $31,530.
Back when we spoke with the car’s lead Exterior Designer Luciano Nakamura, he assured us that the 2010 model is not a retro Camaro, but instead a 21st century muscle car inspired by the classic bow tie wearing pony car with its strong shoulders and classic Coke bottle shaped waistline while the interior is quite a different story, including touches like a flat rimmed steering wheel and a four pack of accessory gauges to give the new Camaro a 1960s Americana feel.
The 2010 Camaro comes complete with all the amenities we have come to expect from a modern car like dual stage frontal and side curtain airbags as well as Stabilitrak traction control, four wheel disc brakes with ABS, tire pressure monitoring system and of course, General Motor’s fabulous OnStar system complete with convenience features like turn by turn navigation and a very peace of mind granting automatic crash response.
Continued after the jump.
Ever since we got to spend an afternoon with Chevrolet’s lead exterior designer for the 21s century pony car, Lucaino Nakamura we gained an entirely new insight into the fifth generation Camaro and how it is not a recreation of the classic 1967 model, but instead draws inspiration from the original with the intent on becoming the best modern day sports car that it can. So it was hours of wind tunnel research and strict design criteria that shaped the Camaro’s profile. Like most cars, the front end was designed to resemble a face, but the opening in the Camaro’s front bumper gives it a much more sinister grin. As you follow the body back beyond the sleek side mirrors the body tapers just before theh gills in the rear quarter panel and the roofline drops to create a classic Coke bottle shape and a broad set of shoulders that give the Camaro an impression of strength and solidity while out back the familiar four taillights tie the rear end together.
Our Imperial Blue Metallic car was RS equipped with a set of staggered 20 inch rims wrapped in very sticky Pirelli P-Zero tires as well as a set of high intensity discharge headlamps complete with halo surround and a rear spoiler, not to mention the RS badges. This effectively brings the 300 HP V6 Camaro up to spec with the 426 HP SS version, aesthetically at least. The only giveaway is the more powerful pony car’s Brembo brakes, but aside from the steel clampers you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
When you look at the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro you can’t help but stare. It has been a very long time since an automaker has brought out such a fresh and innovative style for mass consumption. Everything from the car’s angular egg crate grill to the wide rear fenders that accommodate a pair of bold thick five spokers adds to the 21st century Camaro’s blend of classic style and modern muscle.
The interior of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is simple and straightforward, there aren’t a lot of superfluous gauges and the overall theme from the driver’s seat is clean, with only a painted piece of trim to break up the smooth dash surface. Speaking of the bucket seat, it uses the same two-tone treatment as the Traverse we had earlier, and because they went a long way to add a sense of sport to the midsize crossover, they are a perfect fit inside the pony car. The windshield forms a narrow panoramic opening that keeps the driver’s eyes pointed forwards. The only distractions come in the form of an all new flat rimed steering wheel that harks back to the muscle car days almost as much as the retro rally style gauges behind it.
One of the more interesting features of the new Camaro are the four pack of auxiliary gauges located at the base of the center stack and right in front of the leather wrapped shifter. The combination of oil pressure, oil temperature transmission temperature and voltmeter are the single most significant throw back to the pony cars from the 1960s, and even though they are not the most important instruments inside of the Camaro, they add a cool character to the interior of the new car. Another neat feature of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro are the large painted door panels. They work well to add a bit of color to the large dark plastic space that is only accented by a polished door handle and a leather wrapped armrest complete with detailed stitching. However it is only when the lights go out that the panels show off their best feature, a strip of hidden lights that illuminate the interior space.
The new Camaro comes complete with an impressive list of in car entertainment by offering an AM/FM/XM satellite radio complete with in dash CD player and auxiliary jack with USB port to connect any MP3 ready digital music storage device. The tunes are sent from the head unit out to a Premium 9 speaker sound system from Boston Acoustic. The new Camaro is also filled with convenience features like a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power driver’s seat, power windows with one touch up and down feature for both passengers as well as Bluetooth connectivity for hands free mobile phone use.
Although our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro RS had all the flair of the 426 HP SS version, the 3.6 Liter V6 under the hood left a little more to be desired from the modern day pony car. That is not to say that the modern power plant was not impressive. After all, the six cylinder engine does make 304 HP and 273 lb-ft of torque while getting as much as 29 MPG on the highway and 18 MPG when cruising around town thanks to the direct gasoline injection and variable valve timing systems.
Our Camaro did tip the scales at almost 3800 pounds and this by no means makes the Chevy a lightweight, and where we used to think of 300 HP as a lot, our RS came up a little short with its blistered arches and bold 20 inch rims. Don’t get it twisted, our V6 powered Camaro was able to get up and go reaching 60 MPH from a standstill in just 6.1 seconds, but you would have to mash the accelerator to the floor and then wait for the RPMs to climb before you would feel any sort of acceleration, perhaps a manual transmission would have helped. However, what the RS lacked in straight line speed it made up for in cornering ability, largely in part to the wide sticky Pirelli P Zero rubber.
Why to Buy
If you are looking for an affordable budget friendly sports car that offers great fuel economy and a tremendous amount of style, then the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is for you. If you let the new car’s sales figures speak for themselves you will know that the Camaro has been a hit since it went on sale only a few short moths ago. Starting at $22,995 the Chevrolet Camaro is a steal, however it is not hard for the options to add up quickly like on our RS equipped $31,530 pony car.
Why not to Buy
For about the same amount of money you can pick up an SS powered Camaro, and if you are on the hunt for pure performance this is an option you should not pass up. If you just have something against Chevrolet, but are looking for a piece of modern American muscle then have a look at other pieces of Detroit steel like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. If it is a V6 powered sports car that you are after then test drive the Nissan 370Z from Japan and the new Korean kid on the block the Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
Top Speed Final Verdict
Slipping behind the wheel of the 2010 Camaro makes you feel as if you are in another world, and not necessarily one filled with Hemi Challengers and Pontiac GTOs from the 1960s, instead it is a 21st century world filled with reliable modern day muscle and high tech creature comforts. The 2010 Camaro offers cotemporary qualities like variable vale timing and direct injection that make the new car as efficient as possible while maintaining the classic character that made it so popular back in 1967. The Chevrolet Carao RS is a great car being offered at a good price, however next time we are going to opt for the V8.