Journey with My Chevrolet Camaro


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Here's the story of my journey to and with the Camaro . Thought it would be more interesting to put it that way than just doing a review. First a little history about me

I moved to the US back in Feb 2004 and the first thing that I noticed there was a clear pattern among desis and their car choices so here are some stereotypes that I came across.

1. Honda civic --> students or fresh off the boat professionals who are relatively new to the US
2. Toyota Corolla --> students or fresh off the boat professionals who are relatively new to the US
3. Honda Accord --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now
4. Nissan Altima --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now
4. Toyota Camry --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now
5. Hyundai Sonata --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now
6. Toyota Rav4 --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now and need an AWD to beat the winters.
7. Honda CRV --> Been in the US for a couple of years probably got married maybe even a kid now and need an AWD to beat the snow in winters.
8. Honda Odyssey --> Been in the US for 4+ years got married and probably 2 or more kids and need something bigger to fit the family in
9. Toyota Sienna --> Been in the US for 4+ years got married and probably 2 or more kids and need something bigger to fit the family in
10. Kia Sedona --> Been in the US for 4+ years got married and probably 2 or more kids and need something bigger to fit the family in

And this is primarily due to the fact that most of us indians are very practical when it comes to car choices and of course most of the stereotypes described above and are less willing to take risks so they go with the tried and tested stuff. And also for most folks a car is just a means to get from point A to point B.

Thankfully I was neither practical nor wise back then [still ain't] :wink: so I went for the biggest car with the biggest engine I could find for my $6500 back in 2005. Enter the gargantuous 2000 Chrysler concorde lxi with a decent V6 that had 225 horses. I got it for a steal at the time and it has been one of the best choices I have ever made. I've driven it for 75000 miles in the last 7 years and with 120K miles on the odo now it has never given me any problems till date apart from regular maintenance stuff like rotors , tires , pads etc

Anyways this review is not about the concorde it's about the camaro so moving on. In 2006 when Chevy revealed the concept camaro it was love at first sightfor me. There's something about it that just floors you. At that time however I never imagined it would ever come in production given the economic conditions in the US and GM's precarious perch.

GM is also known as Goverment Motors in the auto circles in the US because of all the bailouts it recieved. Also I never thought I would ever be in a position to get one even if it did come out. Plonking down 40K that too for a coupe is probably not the wisest thing to do. Arre bhai Log kya kahenge.. Not that I personally give a ****.

Anyways fast forward to 2009 and GM announces the launch of camaro in 2010 and the orders start to fly in for GM. People are ready to wait 8-10 months for their camaros. Remember the mustang , camaro and challenger are iconic cars that have a very long history that spans decades.
So there were tons of folks who had a lot of history attached to the pony cars and they were all set to lap up the new camaro when it launched. And that was exactly what happened. Not that I had any history with anything to do with pony cars but still it was cool to know that.

I had been drooling over the SS version [SuperSport] and lurking on the camaro5 forums since 2010 and finally when I figured I had enough to put down for it went in for a test drive in May 2010.

Having never driven anything that had more than 300 horses before it was a huge rush.The feeling of being thrown back in the seat with just a slight tap was awesome. [drive] The rumble of the V8 was intoxicating. . Could have been louder though. I just have a thing for V8 rumble. Couldnt drive it for too long since the sales guy was breathing down my neck but I did get to punch it around for a bit and that really did it for me. Decision made.
I did do my research on the competition and at the time it was a very close call on the performance numbers between the closest competitor [i.e. Mustang GT] . I do love the way the Challenger looks [better than the Mustang] but it was a slouch compared to the SS and GT and also it wasn't even cheap. Mustang lost out for me in the looks department and also because the Coyote Engine was newly introduced in the 2011 version of the GT and it wasn't well established like the LS3 and L99 powerplants.

Somewhere along the way there was also the "convincing the wife bit" that I had to do. I explained how vital it was to have all those 400+ horses to get me to the grocery store and back.. Kidding. [lol] . My wife's a real sport and she didn't give me any hell for my choice.

I'm truly blessed. Thank you god again.

So onto the haggling process. I made a build order on the chevy website and passed it on to 10-12 dealers in a 40 mile radius and got my nearest dealer to price match the lowest quote that I had gotten from another dealer. Standard operating procedure. Always get the lowest quote you can find and then try to price match it with the dealer nearest to you. Works most of the time.

I went for the 2011 2SS [Super Sport] trim with the RS [Rally Sport] and stripes package [as close to Bumblebee as I could get without opting for the Transformers edition]. The color I went with was Rally Yellow [Don't ask me why . It's loud I know but I just loved the way it looked. Not to mention yellow and white are the easiest colors to keep clean. Big Adam's product fan here by the way. Victory Red would have been my second choice.

I could have picked up a camaro from the dealer lot but the fact that you have less wiggle room in negotiating and also the fact that you won't get exactly what you want in terms of color choices and package options was not appealing to me. So I went the ordering route. Put in the order in July 2010 . The wait was agonizing . I used to monitor the build process like a hawk every evening after coming from work and even while at work actually. Also made some friends along the way who were in my same TPW batch in the build process thanks to the camaro forums. TPW = Target Production Week. We used to all give each other dilasa that your camaro would be home soon. And these are folks I've never met or seen before in completely different states. Funny how an automobile can bring people from different continents together. This went on for about 10 weeks and finally in September 2010 I check the status and voila its been delivered to the dealer. Took the day off and rushed to the dealer and lo and behold there she was all shiny and new. My first ever first hand car purchase [Another milestone checked].

dayshecame.jpg

Finished the last bit of paperwork at the dealership in a hurry and I was out of there in a flash. The drive back home was the awesomest time of my life. The amount of rubbernecking I got from people on my way back just made the stupid grin on my face from wide to mega wide [In the camaro world its better known as the permagrin].

Anwyay reached home and I was in the garage for at least an hour or 2 . And throughout the day in fact throughout the next couple of weeks I used kept visiting the garage to check on my baby with that permagrin patched on my face. She was cleaned after almost every time she came back from a drive. Although that ritual lasted only for the first couple of months after which I used to clean her once a week. She's garage kept for the most part so doesn't see a whole lot of dust other than the daily commute. She has been hand washed by me ever since I got her . Don't want no swirl marks from the local car washes.

I went with the automatic which has the L99 powerplant [rated at 400HP which is 26 less than the LS3 manual variant]. It was going to be my daily driver plus I had heard about issues with the manual transmission on the SS so went with the more reliable version even though it had wee bit lesser juice.

The camaro now comes in 2 specs [US and European] . The European spec has uglier larger mirrors and also slightly different looking tail lights and extra crash sensors.

Ho -hum feeling sleepy now so off to catch some winks

To be continued
 
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Re: Journey with my Camaro

That's an awesome machine buddy. full of power, performance and gorgeous looks. Do post more pictures buddy
 

350Z

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Fantastic. I was looking forward to this review. You have one heck of a machine and I cannot think of a better colour on Camaro than Yellow. The first time I saw this car in person was at supercar show in Delhi. It is hard to describe her awesomeness but it was truly a love in first sight. Manual transmission would have been a little more fun though. Keep the review coming along with lots of pictures. [thumbswink]

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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congo for camaro buddy! amazing review and amazing ride also! well i agree accord, corolla and civic are very common choice in usa. plz post more pics and info [clap]
 
Thread Starter #13
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Thanks for all your comments guys

Hi, welcome to TAI. very good review and car. how much camaro cost in usa ?
congrats dude its gem of a car!!
@ what price you got it and how much she eating up for maintenance??
The trim I went for was the 2SS [base price - 32K] and with the packages that I opted for [i.e. automatic + RS + stripes etc] it came to 36K + approx 1K [Dealership fees] and after sales tax which was another 3K it set me back by 40K

As for maintenance , I have approx 15K miles on the odo right now and all I've done so far is 2 oil changes [approx $100 each]

Gas is more expensive though. She gives me a combined average of 17 miles to the gallon primarily because I'm a little lead footed. If I drive conservatively I can get a combined average of 20. My personal best is an average of 26 mpg over a 65 mile trip.
Premium gas is around the $4 mark at the moment so you do the math.

More updates and pics later. I have a bad couple of weeks at work so updates will be a bit slow. Sorry [sad]
 
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SSdude please treat us with more pics of Stunning beauty.

What kms/miles has it covered?

Keep us updated on the service cost and maintainance.
 
Thread Starter #15
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Continuing where I left

Some trivia and specs first specific to my trim [i.e. 2SS A6 L99]

Powerplant

L99 engine which is a 6.2L V8 and here are its salient features
- First Small Block Car engine with Variable Valve Timing
- Active Fuel Management -- Not a fan of this although its touted by GM
- SAE Certified Power & Torque
- 400HP with 410 foot pound of torque
- 6200 RPM redline
- Economy 15 city and 25 highway(which I never get . You have to be a granny to get that mileage)
- Rather monstrous engine oil capacity of 8.5L
- many more features that are beyond my powers of comprehension

Steering

Hydraulic Power steering -feels heavy especially if you're coming from an electric power steering.
Turning radius - curb-to-curb - 37.7 feet
Steering ratio - 16.1 : 1

Wheels - I'm still on stock wheels
Front - 20X8s weighing 30 pounds each
Rear - 20X9s weighing 32 pounds each

Tires
Front - Pirellis P245/45ZR20 weighing 32 pounds each
Rear - Pirellis P275/40ZR20 weighing 36 pounds each


Overall weight - 3913 pounds Yeah it's pretty heavy
Overall width - 75.5 inches
Overall height - 54.2 inches
Fuel Tank - 19 gal
Weight balance - front 52% /Rear 48%

Brakes
- 4 piston Brembo brakes with ventilated front and rear rotors
- front 14.4 inch rotors and rear 14 inch rotors


Driving Experience :

Let me get the negatives out of the way first and note these are from my perspective and not necessarily a general opinion although most are.
Negatives.
- Some/Most of you may have already read in some reviews that the first thing that hits you when you sit in a 5th gen camaro is the visibility . Feels like you're in a tank with a small pothole out front. Some even say that it feels like you're the captain of an aircraft carrier with the huge runway in front of you.
In reality though its not that bad. It obviously ain't great but its something you can get used to pretty quickly. It does take some time initially to get the hang of the judgement of the corners of the car but drive it for an hour or so and you'll be all set. Not to mention rear park assist is standard in the 2SS so that's a plus.
- Blind spots are another big negative. Style and aesthetics come with a price and that price is function in this case. Not that I'm complaining. Like the visibility you also get used to the blind spots by adjusting you're mirrors in a certain way to avoid blind spots. Again takes a bit of getting used to.
- Windows are a little high for you to be the cool dude who hangs his hand out of the window. Takes something away from the ssup? moment at the signal when you're waiting alongside another car. However with the right amount of height adjustment of the seat this issue too can be fixed
- Power - Yes Be warned that with great power comes great responsibility especially if you're not used to high hp rides. If you don't respect it , then its gonna bite you in the ass . Literally the ass can go sideways if you go WOT like an idiot in a turn. Thanks to traction control though you have to be a megaidiot for that to happen. But if you turn off traction control all bets are off. Can be fun if you have a lot of room to play though.
- Steering - IF you are coming from an electric power steering you will definitely feel a differnce which is good and bad. Good because you get a more connected overall driving experience when turning. Bad because it takes more muscle to turn compared to an electric power steering.
- Tap shift lag - This is a minor negative and not that big a deal considering most tap shifts can't match the feel of a manual anyway (except for the godly ZL1 which has a blazing fast tap shift) . In the SS you can definitely feel that lag between shifts when you tap to go higher or lower. Definitely less than a seconds lag but long enough for you to feel it.
- Non Functional Visors - The visors on this thing are a joke. When I get time I will post pics to show you what I mean. Again not a deal breaker for me cos I don't really care much for it
- No Oh-**** bars. Given the power this thing has I would have prefered having them but again no biggie.


Positives
- Did I mention power -----> Easily the best part of this car even before looks and styling is the power. The low end torque is to die for. It's got the get up and go of a cheetah (well almost. Did you know that a Ferrari Enzo is no match for a cheetah in a 0-60mph sprint). 0-60mph in the camaro comes in a flash of 4.7 seconds and 0-100mph in under 11 secs Pretty close to super car territory given its only a measly 40K compared to most performance car that can do those kind of numbers
A completely stock L99 can do high 12s at the drag strip in the quarter mile pass given good conditions and there are some who have managed 12.86 secs with a trap of 108 mph. And with some simple boltons like CAI,tune,exhaust and skinnies there are some L99s that have pushed high 11s at the dragstrip. Best one I know is 11.789 @ 117mph with simple boltons
- Second up has got to be the looks. When I initially got the car in 2010 there were not too many of these around and was a real head turner and conversation starter. Many thumbsups and cool car comments later the excitement of the cars looks is now slowly fading away as is the case with any good design over a period of time. Everything gets old eventually. But I still love it just as much as the day I got it.
- Cornering - This thing is an absolute joy to corner and its got minimal roll and feels well planted. Is it the best car for cornering . Course not but given its massive weight I think it does a standup job of holding on. Stock it can do upto 0.95 lateral gs. PLus with a couple of aftermarket suspension boltons you can reach over 1G lateral acceleration . And also note this is my first real performance car so my exposure is also a bit limited.
- Brakes - The SS has got real good braking power and it needs it to tame that power. In its class it has always been the best performer at least till 2011 when it comes to stopping. Those brembos really work. It does generate a lot of brake dust with the stock pads and cleaning it initially used to be a pain but I fixed that by blacking out the wheels. Looks meaner now as well
The brake dust issue can be easily sorted with ceramic pads which is my next mod when the original ones wear out.
- After market parts --> There is a mini industry that the camaro has created. There are soooooooo many vendors for each niche whether it be exhausts or forced inductions or suspensions or cosmetic addons or electronic goodies or superchargers. The list goes on. Each niche has many vendors vying for customers which only makes things great for us since we now have more options.
- Stability at high speeds - Now this can quickly become a negative especially for new drivers because you just don't expect the kind of stability it has when you're talking about speeds in excess of 100mph. Mash the pedals and you're on your way to a speeding ticket in 6 seconds on most US roads and you won't even realize it because sitting inside its very easy to lose sight of the fact of how fast you are going. I guess the heaviness coupled with the almost 50-50 weight balance makes it an excellent stable cruiser.
- Heads up display -- This is my first car that has a heads up display and it has been on since the day I got it. You absolutely need it to keep that right foot under control. I have it constantly remind me how fast I'm going. It also helps to know your rpms right in your face without looking down when you're in the save-gas mode.
- Cool gauges -- The temp , battery , oil pressure , transmission temp gauges are definitely helpful to keep track of things especially when you're pushing it.
- Comfortable and roomy in the front. The seats are really nice and I have done 500 mile trips straight up with just 1 break in the middle and minimum exhaustion. Rear legroom is nothing to write home about . You definitely can't fit 4 full size adults and be comfortable at the same time. Can get a little cramped with 4 large adults. But then again its a coupe so its not like that was my primary requirement.

Can't think of much more for now so will stop here
 
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