What is it?
The latest version of the Chevrolet Camaro. And you don’t have to be an excited eight-year-old to fall for it. Even sensible, middle-aged road testers can be won over by the vivid charms of this in-your-face American muscle coupé. For evidence of that, look no further than the four-star road test verdict we awarded when official imports began in 2012.
We’re revisiting the Camaro now for two reasons: primarily because General Motors has updated it for the 2014 model year, changing its exterior styling and augmenting its specification. But secondly, to find out if the car’s grand touring manners – which were a big part of the appeal of our manual-equipped road test car last year – could be any greater in a six-speed automatic.
What's it like?
New front and rear bumper panels, head- and tail lamp designs, a new bootlid spoiler and a new bonnet with an enlarged cooling louvre comprise the exterior changes to the car. Inside there’s a new multimedia navigation system called Chevrolet MyLink, a new colour screen for the drive computer and a colour head-up display system.
The styling changes seem a bit muddled, but thankfully they don’t undermine the Camaro’s jaw-dropping visual impact. The new bonnet adds even more aggression into the Camaro’s look, which suits it – but the chrome trims on the headlights and radiator are an attempt to add classiness at the same time, which simply doesn’t work.
This is a brash, brawny right hook of a car that needs ornamental brightwork about as much as a power lifter needs an anklet. The new multimedia system and instrumentation changes are more welcome, though – a much-needed injection of up-to-date technology in an interior that still lacks richness and tactile quality.
The mechanicals of the Camaro haven’t changed, and neither has the driving experience. The automatic gearbox functions well enough. It upshifts early in ‘D’, but has a manual mode with wheel-mounted paddle-shifters that deliver gearchanges slightly ponderously, but still quicker than you could change cogs in the manual. It will also hold a gear even at the redline in manual mode, which is the way we prefer it.