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Ask the Experts: Should You Buy a Chevrolet Camaro?


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Vehicle Reviewed

2019 Chevrolet Camaro

The Chevrolet Camaro is a great example of a modern muscle car. It has two doors, rear-wheel drive, and plenty of horsepower. It's also loads of fun to drive. But which Camaro should you get? Is it OK to get a Camaro with the four-cylinder engine or do you need to absolutely lock down a V8? Edmunds expert Travis Langness gives you the details on the 2019 Camaro and his take on what to look for when shopping at CarMax.

What do I need to know about the Chevrolet Camaro?

The Camaro debuted in the 1960s as Chevrolet's answer to the hottest new car on the market at the time, the Ford Mustang. Over the years, the Camaro has gotten significantly faster and more high-tech, but it still lives by the same basic principles. It's relatively affordable, fun to drive, and available as either a coupe or convertible. The Camaro is currently in its sixth generation, with its last big redesign happening for the 2016 model year. Chevrolet also made some significant upgrades to this generation in 2019, adding refreshed styling and updated technology features among other changes.

What engines are offered?

Ask the Experts: Chevrolet Camaro: Engine  | CarMax

This review specifically references the 2019 Camaro. While the engines and available equipment across all sixth-generation (2016-2022) Camaros may be similar, there are some small differences. The 2019 Camaro is available with four different engines. The Camaro LS and LT trims come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Chevy also made a V6 optional for the LT, and this 3.6-liter V6 produces 335 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque.

Next up is the Camaro SS. Here you'll find a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 455 hp and 455 lb-ft of torque. Still want more power? Then there's the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 under the hood of Camaro ZL1 that produces 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.

For the 2019 model year, Chevrolet equipped all Camaros with a manual transmission as standard. An automatic transmission was optional, though, so you'll encounter one or the other depending on the specific car.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the 2019 Camaro vary depending on which engine and transmission you choose:

●  Four-cylinder: combined city/highway estimate of 25 mpg with the automatic transmission and 23 mpg with the manual

●  V6: combined city/highway estimate of 22 mpg with the automatic and 20 mpg with the manual

●  V8: combined city/highway estimate of 20 mpg with the automatic and 19 mpg with the manual

●  Supercharged V8: combined city/highway estimate of 16 mpg with both the manual and the automatic 

Travis' take: If you're a horsepower fiend, the choice is obvious: Go with the supercharged ZL1. But the ZL1 can be hard to find. So if you're just looking for a fun driving experience, any of the engines will do. The 2.0-liter engine has a healthy amount of horsepower and torque, and the V6 is no slouch. My personal favorite is the 6.2-liter V8. It sounds great and gives you an authentic muscle car experience.

What's the Camaro like to drive?

Ask the Experts: Chevrolet Camaro: Exterior | CarMax

The Camaro is powerful and capable. Handling is impressively sharp. The four-cylinder engine and the V6 weigh less than the V8s, so these models feel a bit more agile in the corners. But drive a Camaro with the boisterous V8 and you'll have a hard time accepting the lower power of the four-cylinder or V6.

The Camaro's front seats are generally supportive and have forgiving seat padding. On the highway or in the city, the Camaro is comfortable enough to drive on a daily basis, with some impacts making their way into the cabin, but not enough to disturb passengers.

Options for the Camaro include a 1LE Track package, which adds high-performance hardware such as a limited-slip differential, extra engine cooling, a sport-tuned suspension, and upgraded brakes. These features bolster the Camaro's handling and braking. If you plan on doing a bit of spirited driving on the weekends, we think it's worth the upgrade to the 1LE since it truly improves the driving dynamics without making the ride significantly harsher.

Travis' take: The Camaro is an excellent driver's car. If you like finding a remote back road and enjoying the scenery from behind the wheel on a Sunday, this is the car for you. It's comfortable on the way there, sharp and sporty on your drive, and comfortable on the way home. The optional 1LE Track package is a must-have for any track-day enthusiasts, and you can get it with any of the four available engines. Sweet!

What's the Camaro's interior like?

Ask the Experts: Chevrolet Camaro: Interior | CarMax

The Camaro has a sleek design on the outside, with slim windows and a slender profile. On the inside, that results in poor visibility in nearly every direction. Large windshield pillars, tiny rear windows, and big window pillars all combine to make this one of the hardest vehicles to see out of in its class. The interior design isn't exactly user-friendly either. The layout of buttons and controls is hard to learn, and some controls, such as the climate functions, are in awkward locations.

There are some hard plastics inside the Camaro, and that's to be expected. When you get such high performance at a relatively reasonable price, there will be sacrifices made. However, even on the upper trim levels, some of the materials used on the interior feel subpar.

Getting in and out of the Camaro is pretty easy for front passengers, with wide door openings, but getting into the rear seat is very difficult. The rear seating area is tiny. Adults or even some kids will find it a challenge to comfortably fit because of the lack of legroom and headroom. Even loading a child seat in the back will take some work since the front seats are bulky, they don't fold forward very far, and you'll have to duck low to access the rear seats.

Travis' take: If you're looking for the best interior in the class, look somewhere else. (See first: Mustang and Challenger.) Yes, the Camaro's interior is livable, but it's not my favorite. The awkward control layout, hard-to-reach back seat, and abysmal outward visibility all combine to make the interior a big drawback for the Camaro.

How is the Camaro's tech?

Ask the Experts: Chevrolet Camaro: Tech | CarMax

For 2019, the Camaro got a tech update in the form of Chevrolet's newest infotainment system. The system, called Chevrolet Infotainment System 3, brought with it updated functionality, some improved graphics, and upgraded smartphone connectivity. Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ are standard on all 2019 Camaros, which means you can integrate many of your smartphone functions and apps right on the touchscreen.

Unfortunately, the Camaro didn't get much else in the way of modern tech that year. Advanced driver aids are limited compared to rivals, and the Camaro is missing stuff like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. The systems the Camaro does get, including rear parking sensors and a blind-spot monitor, work relatively well, but they're optional.

Travis' take: This is another place where the Camaro falls behind the competition. Standard smartphone connectivity is nice, but pretty much every other vehicle in the class has that too. I'm also disappointed by the lack of advanced driver aids. If you're looking for the purity of the driving experience without the distraction of driver aids, maybe you'll appreciate the Camaro's behind-the-times tech. But at least consider getting a Camaro with the blind-spot monitor because it helps you notice vehicles that might otherwise be hidden in the Camaro's significant blind spots.

How is the Camaro's storage?

Ask the Experts: Chevrolet Camaro: Storage | CarMax

From a numbers perspective, the Camaro's trunk is one of the smallest in its class. The coupe offers just 9.1 cubic feet of cargo space and the convertible drops to an abysmal 7.3 cubes. The Camaro's closest rival, the Mustang, offers about 50% more cargo space on both its coupe and convertible models.

There's more to it than just a small trunk volume. It also has a tiny slot of an opening, and that makes it a challenge to load hard-sided luggage or other bulky items. Interior storage is also lacking for small items like smartphones, wallets, or water bottles. If you think of the tiny, hard-to-reach back seat as an extra bit of cargo space, the Camaro can feel a bit more practical—that is if you don't have any rear passengers.

Travis' take: Whoops, we've stumbled into another one of the Camaro's worst traits: storage. Want a muscle car and a spacious trunk? Go with the Dodge Challenger or even the Mustang. The Camaro's performance is fantastic, but it comes at a price.

What other cars should I consider?

The Camaro's two clearest rivals are the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger. Both offer similar nostalgic value to the Camaro, with nameplates dating back to the 1960s and '70s, but they are dynamically a bit different. The Mustang is more comfortable and spacious than the Camaro, but it's a bit less enjoyable to drive on lower trim levels. For the Mustang to really shine, we recommend the GT trim and the optional 5.0-liter V8.

Not a Ford fan? Thankfully, Dodge offers both the Challenger and the Charger, which are the comfort kings in this group. The Challenger is a two-door coupe with several available engines, just like the Camaro, but the Challenger is much more practical. By comparison, it has a plusher interior, more cargo space, and a more comfortable ride on the highway. Need two extra doors? Thankfully, Dodge also offers the Charger, a four-door sedan with nearly identical interior appointments to the Challenger, as well as the same engines and driving characteristics.

Travis' take: If you're attacking autocross courses on a regular basis, go with the Camaro. If you want a balance between performance and practicality, go with the Mustang. If you want the most comfortable American muscle car that money can buy, go with one of the Dodges.

If I decide on a Camaro, which one should I buy?

The most desirable Camaro is the 650-horsepower ZL1, but it's likely going to be hard to find and priced much higher than the V8-powered SS models. The SS is less hardcore too, with a more forgiving suspension and a quieter interior, and it won't drain your fuel tank quite as fast.

Travis Langness is an automotive reviews editor for As a lifelong car-and-truck enthusiast, Travis has a deep passion for cars. Through instrumented testing, off-roading, epic road trips, and local commuting, the Edmunds team tests and writes about new and used vehicles to help car shoppers make informed decisions.
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