Quite a few shiny new cars have rolled through the Top Speed garage over the last 365 days, we have logged countless miles and spent enough time in drive thrus to thoroughly evaluate the ins and outs of everything from a stripped down fuel efficient Chevy Cobalt XFE that we thought would make a great racecar all the way up to a fully loaded ginormous GL 550 from Mercedes, everything from the gas/electric hybrid king of the road Toyota Prius to just about every iteration of Subaru’s all new Legacy. But it wasn’t until recently when Santa brought us the best early Christmas gift of all time, a Victory Red Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Ever since spending an afternoon with the man who drew the car, Luciano Nakamura, we have grown fond of the 2010 Camaro’s sinister grin, broad shoulders and classic Coke bottle shape. However when we received the keys to the more economical V6 equipped RS model earlier this year and we found it to be lacking in a few areas, mainly performance. At the heart of the the 21st century Super Sport pony car is a 426 HP LS3 V8 that breathes new life into the Camaro. The rumble of fuel injected Detroit iron miraculously made the interior much larger and while most journalists have complained about the extra cylinders adding too much weight over the front axle, but we felt the Camaro SS was more then well equipped to hang the tail out or handle a hard turn in.
It didn’t matter if we were banging gears or just cruising, we loved the way the retro steering wheel made you drive the Camaro with your fingertips, not to mention staring at those broad shoulders every time you look back at someone who isn’t having as fun as you are in the side mirror. Combine that kind of performance with a mid $35,000 price tag and you have just opened up an entire new audience to a beautifully styled high performance muscle car, and for that we must name the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS as the 2009 Top Speed Car of the Year.
Continued after the jump.
Coming in as an honorable mention, the 2010 Mazda3 was sensational, the Japanese designers in Hiroshima have proved that economy cars don’t have to be boring with the little entry level Mazda. The car has phenomenal styling, a wonderful interior and outstanding performance for its class. We would recommend spending the extra cash and going with the larger engine, but that’s just the way we are here at Top Speed. Getting behind the wheel even for only a short period of time made us fall in love with the one time scoffed at fish faced Mazda3.
The one car we would have liked to steal the keys to and run away to Mexico with was the 2010 Jaguar XFR. The top of the line four door fast feline combined the performance of a super car with the fit and finish of a luxury sedan with an interior that rivaled automobiles worth more than four times as much. Despite the value offered by the 500+ HP XFR , it still falls in the category of dream cars that we aspire to own. Perhaps that is one of the contributing factors to our more attainable 2009 Car of the Year.