In-depth Reviews

Chevrolet Camaro coupe (2012-2015)

"Like the sixties original, the latest version of the Chevrolet Camaro is fast and loud, with a very big appetite for fuel."

Carbuyer Rating

1.8 out of 5

Pros

  • Muscle-car styling
  • Powerful V8 engine
  • Cheap compared to rivals

Cons

  • High running costs
  • Only available in left-hand drive
  • You can't buy a new one any more

The Chevrolet Camaro coupe briefly delivered a bit of American muscle-car charm to British roads. We say briefly, because Chevrolet made the decision to stop selling cars in the UK just a couple of years after reintroducing the car to the UK market.

Still, the Camaro remains one of the most iconic American muscle cars, alongside the Dodge Challenger and Ford Mustang. Sticking to the simple formula of a big V8 engine, rear-wheel drive and brash, head-turning looks, the Camaro coupe could be bought with either a manual or automatic gearbox.

The European version came with a stiffer suspension setup for improved handling and the flagship SS model included everything from leather upholstery to parking sensors and a top-of-the-range stereo. With 426bhp, the Camaro could accelerate from 0-62mph in only 4.7 seconds, all the way to an electronically limited 155mph top speed.

Although you can no longer buy a Chevy Camaro coupe in the UK, read on to see what we thought of it back in 2012...

MPG, running costs & CO2

Thirsty engine will mean big fuel bills

The automatic version of the Camaro uses a slightly less powerful engine that shuts down half its cylinders to help save fuel when you're cruising, yet even with this setup, average fuel economy is very poor. The manual version returns just 20mpg, while 329g/km CO2 emissions mean a £505 annual road tax bill. Similarly, other costs like brakes, tyres and insurance will also be very steep, offsetting the low initial purchase price.

Engines, drive & performance

Straight-line speed isn't matched in corners

Driving a Camaro is the authentic muscle-car experience – it's very wide, very low and has a big, loud V8 engine driving the rear wheels. With 426bhp from the manual version, performance is rapid, but the heavy clutch, clunky gearchange and vague steering make the car quite difficult to drive with conviction.

The automatic is easier to live with, but the Camaro is better suited to cruising than cornering. Although there's lots of grip, it's a heavy car and that extra weight can make it feel cumbersome on winding roads. The brakes are strong, but visibility is an issue in the coupe, with the thick window pillars making it difficult to see out of the car.

Interior & comfort

More of a comfortable cruiser than a zippy sports car

Although the Camaro makes no secret of its focus on performance, it's actually surprisingly comfortable, despite riding on enormous 20-inch alloy wheels. The car's suspension is fairly firm, but it's not uncomfortable or off-putting. It's also pretty quiet inside: wind and road noise are kept to a minimum on the motorway.

The power-adjustable leather front seats are simple to tweak to find the right driving position and the Camaro also comes with a neat head-up display, which projects key information onto the windscreen so you can keep your eyes on the road.

Practicality & boot space

Bit of a squeeze in the back for such a big car

For a sporty two-door model, the Camaro is reasonably practical, with a 320-litre boot that's capable of carrying a pair of large suitcases. However, the boot opening of the is quite small, making loading oddly shaped items a tricky exercise.

The low roof means there isn't much headroom for rear-seat passengers and fitting anyone over six feet tall in the back will be a struggle. Driving on UK roads in a left-hand-drive car is also quite tricky – the Camaro's wide, long body makes navigating narrower roads a tense affair.

Reliability & safety

All the major mechanical parts have a proven track record

The Camaro's engine is borrowed from the Chevrolet Corvette and has a long history of solid reliability. As the Camaro was on sale in America for over two years before it hit UK roads, any early problems should have been ironed out by now.

The interior feels sturdily built, although the hard and scratchy materials used do betray the car's low-budget philosophy. There's plenty of safety kit as standard, including traction control, six airbags and ISOFIX child-seat mounting points.

Price, value for money & options

Camaro comes with extensive kit and a low price tag, but is outclassed in every respect

The Camaro holds a big advantage over its more cultured European rivals – its price. The range starts at around £35,000 for the manual coupe. It's also only available in the highest specification in the UK, which includes leather seats, cruise control, parking sensors and Bluetooth phone connectivity, so it really is a lot of car for the money and you'll struggle to find something faster for less. However, the Camaro is only available in left-hand drive and its low price has to be balanced against hefty running costs and the fact that it's generally not a very good car.

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