2010 Chevy Camaro First Test Drive - Guess Who's Back
We Drove The 2010 Camaro And Couldn't Wait To Tell The Tale
From the August, 2009 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Henry De Los Santos
Photography by Henry De Los Santos
I can still remember my flight home from the '06 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Back then GM invited several members of the media, including 250 enthusiasts from Camaro clubs and websites across the country, to witness the unveiling of the Camaro Concept. To say the General made an impression would be an understatement. The media went nuts over it, and the Internet was on fire with all the Camaro fanatics asking one thing: How long will we have to wait to get into the new fifth-gen?
More recently we were invited to take part in the '10 Camaro media drive in San Diego, California. This was an excellent opportunity to get into the first production models, not only to look with our eyes but with our hands, logging serious miles through a number of road conditions. While this was technically a one-day affair, we were invited to scope out the Camaros a day early, given the entire afternoon to check out the rides of our choice and drive them at our discretion.
With my bags dropped off and camera in hand, I raced to grab a set of keys. I loved that there were 15 Camaros ready to be driven. However, only five were V-8s. The remaining 10 were V-6 variants. Since all the V-8s were already checked out, with a waiting line, I headed straight for the fully loaded Victory Red V-6 LT with the manual six-speed and the optional RS package. This baby was a looker, and I can unequivocally say that the RS upgrade is a must, with its high-intensity discharge headlamps, a spoiler, and larger, 20-inch wheels.
As awesome as it was to see...
As awesome as it was to see this many Camaros getting ready to be driven, what you don't see is the other half directly behind me, including the SS models that were already checked out and getting ready to hit the road.
Before you take any digs at the V-6, let me tell you I was far from disappointed, especially with its 304hp/370-lb-ft mill. We're talking about 304 horses, more than enough steam to challenge most out-of-the-box stockers, including the 210hp Mustang V-6 and the 300hp V-8--there's something to think about!
Knowing I had two hours to get familiar with the Camaro, I started by heading 10 miles north to my old college, University of California San Diego. If anything was going to be an indicator of how today's youth would take to it, this would be the place to show it off. Whether people were enamored simply of its bright red hue or they knew what was really in front of them is hard to say, but from the second I got in the car, it was hard not to find someone staring at any given moment. On campus it was no different, with heads turning to focus on the Camaro. After making my way through the main entrance, I headed straight over to a few select areas that would lend well to photography. Not more than five minutes into the session, a crowd started to form, and it was only a matter of time before campus security showed up, wondering what was going on. Yep, it was time to move on and head back to the beach area, but not before making a quick stop by the marina for a few more images.
The following morning, everyone met up for the presentation, which featured several key members from the development team. From there, we partnered up with other folks from the media; in my case, I hung out with former Hot Rod Feature Editor Jeff Koch. While Koch was out making sure we got the keys to a V-8, I went into the garage where Sangyup Lee, one of the lead designers, discussed the Camaro's skin.
With the formal introductions handled, we packed up our gear and jumped into the Red Jewel Tintcoat SS that Koch had secured for us. Knowing we had a 140-plus-mile route planned out in three separate legs, I sat shotgun, playing navigator with the supplied maps, and had ample time to check out the interior in greater detail and enjoy the ride. During the second leg, we jumped into a Rally Yellow V-6, but it was the third leg that got me pumped up.
For the initial drive, this...
For the initial drive, this V-6 LT featured the optional RS package, which included the HID lights with surrounding LED halo rings, 20-inch wheels, body-color roof ditch molding, and a rear spoiler. If you're looking to upgrade to the RS option, expect to shell out an additional $1,750.
Captain's Quarters Ergonomically...
Ergonomically speaking, everything is well within reach and quite comfortable. You can clearly see the gauges between the spokes of the steering wheel. I should note that the steering wheel felt a bit bulky at first, but that feeling went away quickly. The dash and the top of the door panels are also a little taller than what you may be used to; but again, I easily acclimated to them by the end of the drive. As for the rear seating, it's similar to its older sibling. If you're a tall passenger, then you better call out shotgun first. Initially, my only concern was the blind spots from the rear quarter-panels. Even so, the side mirrors are great, and if you use them like you're supposed to, you can easily see everything around you. The only thing I'd like to see is the addition of a rear-mounted camera, as my vision felt a bit limited when putting it in reverse.
After leaving the university,...
After leaving the university, I took a quick drive to Mission Bay, anticipating a few shots from the launch ramp. Not more than a couple of minutes into it, I was approached by two guys with name tags. I thought I was going to be told to leave, but instead they were infatuated with the Camaro, asking questions and taking turns sitting in it while the other got a picture.
Another option I liked was...
Another option I liked was the Convenience & Connectivity Package. At $465, this package gives you a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a Bluetooth wireless system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a cargo net in the truck, and a remote vehicle starter (in the 2LT trim).
The wheel options available...
The wheel options available range from the standard 18-inch Bavarian Silver Aluminum on the 1LT to a set of 19s for $720. As noted earlier, the RS package on the non-SS models comes with the standard 20-inch SS wheels, or you can opt for a 21-inch wheel upgrade for a several bucks more.
Late into the night, we were...
Late into the night, we were still walking around, but rather than hitting up the local digs we ended up geeking out with our cameras in the hotel garage. It felt pretty surreal to be surrounded by so many Camaros without anyone else around.