2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro is turning out to be one of the best received Detroit-bred designs in recent memory. As for us, we never miss a chance to drive one, and then drive it again. We spent a delightful couple of weeks with a Camaro V6 during summer vacation. And now, its big V8 brother, the SS, has arrived for a thorough MotorWeek experience. So, let the classic-muscle times roll once more.
Getting right down to it, what makes this 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS oh-so special is the beast that lurks within. Actually, there’s a choice of two animals here – one tied to a robust 6-speed manual, and the other to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic. Both are massive 6.2-liter aluminum block pushrod V8s, derived from the engine that debuted in the 2008 Corvette.
For the manual, it’s the LS3. This one rates a stronger 426 horsepower and heartily out stomps both the Ford Mustang GT’s 315 and the Dodge Challenger R/T’s 376 horses. Torque comes in at 420 pound-feet. You’d have to upgrade to the much pricier Mustang Cobra and Challenger SRT8 to beat the SS stats. The L99 mates to the automatic, rated at a not-too-stingy 400 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. It includes Active Fuel Management, which shuts down 4 of 8 cylinders for more efficient interstate cruising.
Given a choice for a track test, we naturally opted for the LS3, which exploded from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat and shotgunned through the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at 109 miles per hour. These numbers edge out both rivals, if just barely.
Our “Super Sport” proved a performance powerhouse. It roars off the line with the help of a Launch Control sequence, reacting with a super throaty muscle car exhaust roar. From there, it thunders down the line with the help of quick revs, and strong, solid shifts. We couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear.
Like the V6, cornering dynamics come from the same platform used for the Pontiac G8 with a spry all-independent suspension using modern multi-link rear geometry. Sport mode further firms things up, and stabilizer bars on the SS are larger than those on the V6.
The result is sharp turn ins, a very planted feel, and still very pleasant ride. You do feel its size and weight, but composure is retained. We call it “manageable heft.” The variable ratio steering is nicely weighted, but we wish it were a little faster. Overall, the SS is not quite a flick-of-the-wrist Porsche type, but still very impressive and fun for a mass-market coupe.
And to keep things in check, all 2010 Camaros sport standard traction and stability control. Four-wheel disc brakes, too; but the SS upgrades to four-piston fixed Brembo front and rear calipers. Super stable halts from 60 averaged a mere 112 feet with no drama. The racecar-like pedal was rock hard with zero vibration.
We said it before and we’ll say it now…design-wise, this car is an extremely well-executed modern interpretation of the classic ‘69 Camaro. Sharing the same retro muscle car styling as the V6, our SS adds badging as well as a couple of extra performance cues—a slot for the high rise hood, and a lower, larger front air intake. And out back, the SS exhaust tips are wider than the ones on the V6. SS wheel offerings are also larger at 19 and 20 inches. Special 21-inch wheels are available as a dealer accessory.
The inside, too, is almost identical to the V6 Camaro. The retro-theme four seat cabin with right angle gauge housings, separate center floor consoles, and even a floaty needle in the Speedo. One aspect of the 60s we wish wasn’t here are the cheap-to-touch plastics. Also, Camaro’s hunkered-down styling dictated short side glass that makes some feel very claustrophobic. The optional sunroof helps.
But as we scanned the “SS” markings on the sport seat headrests and at the base of the dished-out steering wheel, we were instantly forgiving. The SS also stands out with a standard 9-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system.
Normally, we wouldn’t worry about the fuel efficiency of such a high-performance machine, but in this case, it’s warranted. Government Fuel Economy ratings for our manual SS are 16 city/24 highway on Regular gas. With an automatic, the highway number notches up to 25. We saw 20.7 miles per gallon, fairly impressive for a 400-plus-horsepower machine.
Pricewise, the Camaro SS has a base sticker of $31,595, about an $8000 premium over the V6. And that’s also higher than its Detroit rivals. It may be late in the zero decade, but the Detroit muscle car resurgence is going full bore. Along with Mustang and Challenger, the 2010 Camaro SS relives the glory days like no one imagined. This pony car appeals to all our senses with its nostalgia, performance, and unbelievable looks. So for a real taste of old school American muscle, there’s nothing finer.
- Engine Ls3: 6.2-Liter Aluminum Block Pushrod V8
- Horsepower: 426
- Torque: 420 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 5.0 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 13.3 Seconds @ 109 MPH
- EPA: 16 MPG City/ 24 MPG Highway
- Mixed Loop: 20.7 MPG