2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS: Overview
2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS – In today’s world, SUV craziness and electric cars make people feel that they are missing the good old days. Unless you spend $100k for a dedicated sports car, it is getting harder to find an affordable one. Though this was not today’s problem. Since the 1960s, there is a demand for affordable sports cars that can take you to work or track. This is why Pony cars are still here. They are affordable (relatively), they are fast, they look good.
However, what was missing in the previous years was, they were not as precise, or handle as good as a dedicated sports car. Muscle cars were historically only good at a straight line, sucks when going around the corners. Well, this is not the case anymore. In our review, we will explain why Camaro SS is a great option for people who are looking for an affordable sports car that can do-it-all.
Exterior and Interior
Sixth-generation Camaro still has design elements that date back to the original Chevrolet Camaro but in a much modern way. Front and rear design look very sporty, even in base trim. The front design looks sharp and menacing, and the hood has an additional grille for a sportier look. When we get back to the rear, the spoiler, wider rear fenders and dual exhaust tips on both sides show the potential of the Camaro SS. However, if you are a retro fan, this is probably the least retro looking one in the Pony car segment.
When we get inside the Camaro SS, it feels like a sports car, more than a muscle car. SS trim has the optional Recaro seats that come with ventilating and heating features. The seat comfort is surprisingly good, even with aggressive side bolstering. Where it falls behind, which is not uncommon in this segment, is the overall visibility as it is formed over function. Side windows are very narrow and you heavily rely on Blind Spot Monitoring when you change lanes.
Rear seats – they are physically there, but not very usable. There is almost no legroom or headroom if you are a tall person. The Camaro is good for two people and you can put some stuff in the back, that’s all. Things are not very different when it comes to trunk space. Due to its sporty design and safety regulations, they couldn’t put the taillights on the trunk, so that’s why it covers a lot of space, which is visible when you open the trunk. However, it is very deep and it can take lots of small stuff. If it had a wide opening, this would have been a great trunk space for a sports car.
Engine and Drivetrain
This is where things get exciting. Camaro SS comes with a 6.2 litre naturally aspirated V8 engine that produces 455 horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. Though it has slightly less horsepower than the rivals, it has significantly more torque which makes it feel faster. As it has bigger displacement, it revs less than Mustang GT, but the torque compensates for everything. The car wants to move in every rpm range. This engine feels the most American in the Pony car segment, not revving too high but sounds great.
Speaking of engine sound, this is also one of the best standard exhausts on the market, in terms of sound. I could not believe how good it sounds right out of the factory. If it sounds too loud, you can switch the modes and keep it silent, but for us, it had to stay in the loudest mode throughout our test. However, if you keep the revs high, you need to pay: As the V8 is thirsty, your average consumption would be around 14.5L/100 km. If you drive it as if you stole (!) it, you can easily pass the 20.0L mark. Chevrolet tried to keep the fuel consumption low by adding a cylinder deactivation feature, and it switches to 4 cylinder mode at low rpm/throttle application.
2020 Camaro SS comes with two different transmission options. The first one is, of course, manual transmission. If you pay extra, you can get 10-Speed Automatic transmission which comes with paddle shifters. When you use paddle shifters, it is not very fast, but if you keep it in D mode, it is extremely responsive to your throttle response. It is one of the best 10-speeds we have ever tried. I was not very convinced before driving one, but it is an excellent transmission. We were not sure about how good this 10-speed is until we test drove the Ford Mustang 2.3L Ecoboost with 10-Speed automatic transmission, and there is a night and day difference when it comes to responsiveness and precision.
Why am I comparing 6.2L Camaro transmission with 2.3L Mustang transmission? Because both transmissions are very similar, which is a joint venture between Chevrolet and Ford Motor Company. Yes, can you believe that? Rivals can also collaborate. What’s more interesting is that I can’t believe how this transmission behaves totally different in a Mustang and Camaro, and I believe it is more likely due to transmission tuning rather than technical differences. After driving both cars back to back, I can easily say Chevrolet did a better job tuning the transmission.
Driving Impressions and Features
The Camaro SS has a muscle car powertrain, but as soon as you start driving it, it feels more like a sports car. In the past, muscle cars are known as straight-line cars, as they usually suck around the corners. With the Camaro, even without the 1LE Track package, it is still very capable and it handles extremely well. Even without the track package, this feels like it is ready to track right out of the factory. The front end feels great, the chassis feels very responsive. However, if you turn off the stability control, you may get snap oversteer. So you better know what you are doing if you are brave enough to turn it off.
Brembo brakes give you confidence, the pedal feels great, everything about stopping, handling and acceleration is great, but it requires having a great set of tires so you can use the full potential. The Goodyear Eagle F1 tires come with the Camaro SS are good on dry, but can be unpredictable when it is rainy. It is great to see a muscle/pony car that is not sloppy around corners and when braking, unlike 10-15 years ago.
Of course, the optional magnetic suspension helps Camaro SS’s handling abilities. Magnetic Ride Control is almost $2000 extra, but it electronically adjusts the compression and rebound settings which provides you more comfort for your daily driving, and less body roll when you are pushing it to the limits. The delta between comfort and track mode isn’t that high, but definitely noticeable as you get significantly stiffer rebound settings. Even in comfort mode, there is little to no body roll, and it does not feel overly stiff over big bumps. Optional strut bar in the front also helps to stiffen front end chassis. So it is a stiff car overall, even in the softest setting.
As mentioned previously, the Recaro seats feel great, and it is very surprising that it comes not only with heating, but with the ventilating feature. Regardless of your body type, you don’t feel like you are getting stabbed from both sides due to aggressive side bolsters, but at the same time, it keeps you in place really well. Though it falls behind when it comes to adjustability, especially with the front passenger seat – it would not allow you to lean back after a certain angle. I also couldn’t fit in the rear seat, and would not recommend letting anyone sit unless it is an emergency situation. At the end of the day, this is a pure driver-oriented vehicle, so definitely not a deal-breaker.
Our tester unit has 2SS features, but still, it has no fully digital gauge cluster. To be honest, a fully customizable cluster would be great, but the one that comes with the Camaro has no lag, and very functional. You can see lots of performance data, such as engine oil pressure, oil temperature, transmission oil temperature, voltage, G-force meter and so on. Unlike muscle cars in the 90s and 2000s, now they have all fancy features like all modern vehicles and we really have to nitpick at this point.
Conclusion & Pricing & Spec Sheet
2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS is an excellent sports car with a relatively affordable price tag, by supercar standards. However, you need to ask yourself: Do you need a great sports car or a great muscle car? If the answer is a sports car, then this is probably the best bang for the buck. Yes, you cannot get better performance for this price tag. You need to pay over $80.000 CAD if you want any German competitor to get this level of performance.
Is it a great muscle car? The answer is no. First of all, the legendary LS engine still has muscle car feeling, and it really is a great engine. However, the design got so much modern that you need to try hard to see retro design elements. Yes, it still looks like a Camaro from the 1970s, but other Pony cars look more retro. This does not make the Camaro SS a bad car though, which is why we would highly recommend this if you want to get the most out of it, performance-wise.
Compared to the other pony cars, this is probably the worst daily driver, due to tight interior space, small steering wheel, and bad side-rear visibility. If it is going to be your weekend warrior, then who cares? It is a great driving machine, and it would make you happy as long as you are in the driver’s seat. It still feels very American, it handles great, stops great, and it is fast. Yes, this would be my first choice if I already have a daily driver, and need a second car to drive it as I stole it.
Of course, you must pay the premium to get your Pony car with a V8, Camaro is no exception. The base Camaro comes with either a V6 or 2.0L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine. Somehow if you don’t want the V8, the price starts just under $30.000 CAD. If you choose the V8 with the base trim or called 1SS, it is just under $40,000 CAD. Our tester had several more optional features, which is priced $66,000 CAD. For the price, if you can already afford $66,000, you could push a little bit more, and get the ZL1 with a supercharged LS4 engine, so you get 200 more horsepower and much better overall performance, probably overkill for any kind of public road. As long as you opt-out some features, and keep it under $60,000, Camaro SS is a great deal and it is a lot of “Pony” car for the money.
Please see the window sticker sheet and pricing details below:
For more detailed and most up-to-date information, please visit. http://www.chevrolet.ca
Article by Dan Gunay, photos by Dan Gunay and Burak McKars, Dylan Louise Leslie