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Reviews2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised

08:31  11 march  2019
08:31  11 march  2019 Source:   caranddriver.com

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Chevrolet 's V-8–powered Camaro SS gains an optional 10-speed automatic for 2019 , but its polarizing facelift and poor packaging undermine its While impressive, the new 10-speed automatic gearbox doesn't make it much quicker or alleviate the Camaro 's aesthetic and packaging struggles.

Read expert reviews on the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 6.2 2 SS from the sources you trust. 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised . While impressive, the new 10-speed automatic gearbox doesn't make it much quicker or alleviate the Camaro 's aesthetic and packaging


The genesis for what has evolved into the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro arrived in 1967 as a result of two decades' worth of brisk postwar automotive development. Like Ford's Mustang was related to the Blue Oval's earlier "compact" Falcon, the Camaro's F-body platform was originally a fork of the Chevy II's tree. As Dearborn had done with the Mustang in '64, General Motors wrapped pedestrian underpinnings in a sexier package. Yet, unlike Ford, which tapped Carroll Shelby to bring potency to its new car after its introduction, GM dropped some optional firecrackers under the hood of the Camaro right from the start, the most prominent of which were a range of beefy, small-block V-8 engines. While GM's most storied powerplant continues to find a home in the latest Camaro SS, the pairing's most significant update for 2019 is that the SS's 6.2-liter LT1 V-8 can now be mated to an optional 10-speed automatic transmission.

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2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised © Chris Doane Automotive Chevrolet's V-8–powered Camaro SS gains an optional 10-speed automatic for 2019, but its polarizing facelift and poor packaging undermine its performance excellence.

V-8 Staying Power

In 1955, when Chevrolet introduced its first small-block eight-cylinder engine in the first of the classic "shoe-box" Chevy sedans, the masses found a true successor to Ford's hoary, prewar flathead V-8: an affordable, tweakable powerplant. The small-block turned out to be so versatile that it has since powered everything from stripped-down hot rods to limited-production European exotica. And unlike Fiat Chrysler's modern not-quite-a-Hemi V-8 and Ford's current overhead-cam 5.0-liter V-8-both of which use branding to echo engines they're entirely unrelated to-the 455-hp LT1 in the Camaro SS can trace its pushrod-actuated lineage straight back to its initial 265-cubic-inch configuration.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised © Chris Doane Automotive - Car and Driver 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 10AT

That's not to say that other things haven't changed. The Camaros of the 1960s, with their deep-set gauges, had a real vibe to their cabins, and the modern, sixth-generation car carries that tradition on to perhaps a deleterious extreme. If you're the sort of driver who cares little about seeing what's behind you, Chevy's contemporary pony car is your steed. Mash the throttle and pray that those within spitting distance of your blind spots assume you're as aggro as the Camaro's angry mien suggests you are. Cabin materials also feel a step behind the most recent Dodge Challenger's and at least two behind the latest Ford Mustang's. The Camaro's trunk opening struggles to swallow a large duffel bag. And its revised-for-2019 nose, particularly on the SS model, is quizzically reminiscent of the new Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup's, perhaps crossed with the face of the titular alien creature from the Predator films.

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Shifting Gears

GM's 10-speed gearbox, however, quickly makes you forget the lazy days of the Turbo 350 three-speed slushbox that was often tasked with routing power to the rear tires of Camaros of yore. Co-developed with Ford, the Camaro SS's new $1595 optional transmission is a paradigm of torque-transmitting splendor. It takes the LT1's 455 lb-ft of twist and transmutes it into a solid 3.9-second zero-to-60-mph run and a 12.2-second quarter-mile pass at 118 mph-quicker than examples featuring the standard six-speed manual yet about the same as what the SS could manage with its previous eight-speed automatic. Although a contemporary Mustang GT fitted with essentially the same transmission is a tenth of a second quicker in both measurements, GM's tuning of the 10-speed lends it a smoother, more cohesive action in casual driving around town. And on our 75-mph highway test loop, the SS posted an impressive 30 mpg, 3 mpg better than its EPA estimate and 6 mpg better than the equivalent Mustang GT along the same route.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised © Chris Doane Automotive - Car and Driver 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 10AT

While the Camaro has certainly earned its share of accolades over the years, both on the street and the racetrack, GM has historically either thrown a heap of resources at the Camaro program or left it to wither on the vine. Still, over the course of 52 years, the cumulative effect of all those resources adds up, and GM's Alpha platform is as fine as any that underpins a front-engine sporting coupe. In standard SS guise, the package isn't wrapped up quite so tightly as it would be with the Camaro's optional 1LE track package. In fact, the regular SS almost feels like a boulevardier by comparison, albeit one that will hang on to the skidpad with 0.96 g of lateral grip. Yes, that's well below the 1.05-g figure for the 2017 Camaro SS 1LE-nor is it enough to secure bragging rights over the grip levels we've recorded for the latest Mustang GT and wide-body Dodge Challenger. But it's still a substantial amount of road adhesion, and the Chevy continues to exhibit exemplary composure and responsiveness when driven hard.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Auto Is Quick and Compromised © Chris Doane Automotive - Car and Driver 2019 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS 10AT

A 10-Speed Camaro Is Still a Camaro

Chevrolet has blessed the Camaro SS with a comfortable ride, capable handling, and what is perhaps the best-balanced naturally aspirated V-8 the company has ever produced. But the everyday livability of the chassis remains tinged by unfortunate packaging and ergonomic issues, and the car's updated visage is significantly more visually challenging than the evocative, throwback designs of its two primary competitors. Our example's not-insignificant $49,270 as-tested price-which included the Camaro's 2SS trim level, the automatic, $1695 for adaptive magnetorheological dampers, $1595 for Recaro sport seats, $895 for the must-have active performance exhaust, and $495 for Chevy's Infotainment 3 with navigation-further softens its appeal.

Underneath, the 2019 Camaro SS is without doubt a worthy heir to the halcyon halo of Chevy's first-gen pony cars. But with the excellence of the Mustang's recent refresh (it usurped the Camaro on our 10Best Cars list for 2019) and the surprising marketplace staying power of the ancient-yet-continually-updated Challenger, the suddenly ungainly Camaro SS finds itself a car in search of a very specific customer-a fact that doesn't change whether you opt for the new 10-speed automatic or not.

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