Born for SoCal: Chevrolet Camaro V6 Convertible

Some cars are designed to fit certain conditions, and after spending 1 week with Chervrolet Camaro V6 Convertible in sunny Southern California, I am certain that designers had nothing but this part of the world in mind.   
The striking lines and boxy shape make it one of the most recognizable cars on the road. Huge 20 inch wheels, low profile tires and low stance give it a very aggressive and sporty look.

On the inside things follow the same pattern, lots of aluminium accents, sporty high contrast dials, and additional instruments on the bottom.  The Camaro also received a MYLINK 7 inch high definition touch screen during 2012 refresh.  Unfortunately this model did not have navigation system installed, so I had to rely on google maps. 

3 spoke sport steering wheel was one of the finest I have ever held on an American car, wrapped in soft leather, with trendy aluminum accented spokes at the bottom. All switches for audio and cruise control are very conveniently located.

Paddle shifters are a welcome and proper addition to the Automatic model, which features 6 speed transmission with rev matching down shifts.  Rev matching is done very agressively with beatiful sound track from the exhaust.  If only it had a bit of a burble like lots of European cars these days.

The V6 is not top of the line engine, but it is by no means under powered. It produces healthy 323 horsepower and mighty 377 N·m of torque.

Even though 0 to 60 acceleration of 6.6 seconds is not record braking, it is more than enough to enjoy spirited driving and make overtaking on freeway feel very effortless

What really separates the Camaro from the competition is its handling. While steering is very heavy and predictable, there is very little body roll. Low center of gravity and high performance tires make it very easy to point into right direction and accelerate out of corners. 

While very heavy, it has 52/48 Weight distribution, which keeps the car well balanced during cornering, acceleration and braking. The car was very easy to drive on somewhat hectic LA freeways.  Even with stiff suspension it managed to absorb the bumps quite well.


Frankly it's best handling American car I've driven since the C6 Corvette. I am not going to go into any more numbers but I will just point out that for scenic drives along California coast line, there is no better vehicle than this.

But the car is more than just a rental material.  I actually think its price tag of 35000 dollars is worth every penny and it should be great to own. Even though back seats are cramped and luggage space is limited it is a great touring car that can take you for hundreds of miles without causing any fatigue or stress. While not very luxurious, the comfortable leather seats will hold you in perfect position, and while interior does have cheap plastics appear here and there it's very ergonomic and well thought through.

This car is a true American icon and I am very grateful that struggling General Motors brought it back in 2010.  While America has its freeways and Interstates there should always be a Camaro to roam them.

Cost of ownership:
3/5
The 3.6L V6 has decent fuel economy on highway, but gets very thirsty in a city stop and go traffic.  The car is relatively high performance so proper maintenance is necessary.  Pirelli P Zero tires that came on this model are huge and will cost a lot to replace.


Practicality:
2/5
Car is very comfortable and roomy for 2 front occupants.  Rear seat and trunk are somewhat a disaster.  This is not an ideal family car.  Ford Mustang Convertible does a lot better in this department.


Appeal:
5/5
It's the Bumblebee, it's an icon, it's one the best looking American cars ever made.  

Fun factor:
4/5
Stiff suspension, heavy and responsive steering set it apart from all other American cars and make it so much more fun to drive.  The V6 engine has plenty of torque and makes great noise especially on down shifts.  But it's not a V8, hence 4 out of 5, The SS version definitely gets the full score.

Thanks for tuning in and reading again, everyone.  There is more to come from the SoCal edition of Tokyo Car Parade, so stay tuned.
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