MPG-o-Matic Chevrolet Camaro V6 Review Summary:
With an efficient 3.6-liter V6 engine, the 2010 Chevy Camaro 2LT is a rock star with a conscience, easily capable of scoring 30 MPG highway when driven with a light foot. The Camaro turned more heads and elicited more positive responses on the street then any vehicle we’ve tested in the last year, with the possible exception of the Dodge Challenger.
The 2010 Chevy Camaro LS and LT are fitted with a direct-injected 3.6-liter V6 engine that can be mated to either a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. The V6 engine produces 304 horsepower (HP) and 273 foot pounds of torque. While some might scoff at the though of anything less than a V8 under the hood of a Camaro, it’s worth noting that the base 1968 Camaro’s inline six produced roughly half the amount of horsepower and the highest output small block V8s of the period were rated at slightly less than today’s V6.
The EPA’s fuel economy estimates for the 2010 Chevy Camaro V6 are 17 city / 29 highway miles per gallon (MPG) with the manual transmission and 18 city / 29 highway with the automatic.
The V6 Camaro lives up to its fuel economy ratings. We put nearly nine hundred miles on the odometer of our automatic-equipped 2LT Red Jewel Tintcoat review unit and hit the official mileage estimates with an average of 30.2 MPG on the Interstate highway and 23.8 MPG combined. All while resisting the urge to drive the Camaro like we did, back in the day.
Overall test period temperatures ranged from the seventies to eighties, with Interstate highway testing temperatures in the mid-seventy degree range.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up (1-inch gap): 29.4 MPG
Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up (1-inch gap): 31.1 MPG
With just over 3700 pounds to move (3719 for the automatic and 3722 for the manual, before options) the 3.6-liter engine has its work cut out for it. Although the V6 does an admirable job with regard to fuel economy and provides plenty of punch on the roll, our automatic-equipped car was a bit soft off the line.
It should be noted that while the Camaro LT is fitted with 18-inch wheels as standard equipment, our test vehicle was equipped with the optional (and quite expensive) #2 21-inch tire and wheel package. It’s unclear how the significantly larger (and heavier) wheels might effect mileage and straight-line performance. While our test car had a bit of heavy feel, it rode and handled well.
The six-speed automatic transmission’s manual mode allows the driver to manually shift gears via the steering wheel mounted TapShift buttons. We appreciate the feature, and hope that future Camaro models will offer steering column-mounted paddle-shifters akin to those found in the Mitsubishi Evo.
The 2010 Camaro’s Driver’s Information Center provides an Average Fuel Economy display, tire pressure data, oil life, coolant temperature, two trip meters, fuel range, and a compass, as well as turn-by-turn OnStar directions. Unfortunately, it lacks an Instantaneous Fuel Economy feature. Although Chevy chose to include a real-time mileage function in the 2010 Equinox, this feature was left out of the Camaro.
The conscientious use of a real-time fuel economy display can significantly improve average gas mileage. Mileage-minded 2010 Camaro owners would do well to add an aftermarket unit, such as the ScanGaugeII or AutoMeter EcoMeter.
The Camaro is road-trip ready, with a 19.0 gallon gas tank that allows for a generous highway range. The V6 engine is designed to run on regular unleaded fuel.
Our review unit was also equipped with both the ground effects and RS packages. The RS package includes high-intesity headlamps (complete with halo ring), a tasteful rear spoiler, and unique RS tail lights.
Although rearward and side visibility are limited with the new Camaro, GM could alleviate some of the issues by dipping into the parts bin for future model years. A backup camera option using the rear view mirror from the 2010 Equinox would be the first step. Borrowing the right side mirror backup/tilt feature from the Traverse might be slick and the Side Blind Zone Alert system from the Buick Lucerne could be welcome, as well.
Although the Camaro LT’s leather appointed and heated front bucket seats lack lumbar support, they have power recline. Rear seating is snug; anyone larger than five foot, nine inches (or so) will be cramped. Rear leg room is nearly non-existant with the front seats pushed back.
The Camaro’s design may be retro, but there’s plenty of tech on board. The four-gauge Rally Pack strikes a chord with old schoolers. Hands-free Bluetooth phone support and OnStar are standard in the 2LT, as is a center console USB port for the 9-speaker, 245-watt Boston Acoustics audio system. iPod support is up to snuff, providing access to playlists from the dash and steering wheel controls. There are two power outlets, one at the base of the dash and one inside the center console.
The Camaro’s trunk opening is high and tight. The official cargo area is rated at 11.3 cubic feet. Thankfully, the rear seat folds down, allowing for more flexible cargo arrangement. We had no problem loading a couple of boogie boards and beach chairs. (It helps to fold the rear seat down to ease loading chores.)
Where ever we drove, the Camaro drew a crowd. No question about it, this car’s a rock star.
All-in-all, the 2010 Chevy Camaro V6 reignites an American icon, with unmistakable style, solid fuel economy and respectable performance. While there are nits to be picked and flaws to be fixed with future models, seeing the Camaro back on the street is like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in years.
- by Daniel Gray
August 2nd, 2009
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