This week we are reviewing the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro with the 1LE package as 63% of you requested it on our Facebook page versus 37% for the Ford Mustang GT. Our vehicle was assembled at the Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan and had an MSRP of $37,385 CAD.
Fun Factor: 9
Can it Family: 2
Karaoke Friendly: 5
Baby friendly: 2
City Cruising: 7
Chevrolet is giving back to car enthusiasts what they've been waiting for for a long time: a Camaro you may drive daily, and that can also be your weekend car on the track, all that at a very reasonable price and nicely packaged. We enjoyed this 3 pedal version of the Camaro, as it is simple to shift gears and would definitely be on top of our list to recommend if you want to learn how to drive manual. The throws are short and precise, the shift knob is ergonomically placed, giving you an optimized pleasure to shift through gears, and we personally think the suede gear knob feels pleasant to hold. Two items we do wish to bring forward; one is that the clutch is quite heavy compared to other manuals we've driven lately and second is that the reverse gear is not the easiest to engage. The leaver needs to be pushed hard to the left from neutral until you feel a small click and then needs to push a little further before pushing up into reverse gear. In case you're not 100% sure you did shift into reverse, the cluster will show that you're in reverse and the reverse camera will automatically engage. Now that the simple commands have been covered, how does the Camaro actually handle on the road? Starting with the engine the turbo 4 banger with a displacement of 2.0L, produces 275hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and, in our opinion, feels as quick as the V6 we tested in the US. The way Chevrolet tweaked the engine it almost removes that classical turbo sound, however, the power band is so progressive it almost feels naturally aspirated. Never did we feel more power was needed thanks to the 1LE package that adds quite a lot features, these upgrades are not only appearance modifications they actually make the car feel like a beast when breaking with the 4-piston Brembo breaks in front. It also gives additional cooling to the rear differential when wanting to track the vehicle, the performance suspension improves the handling of the car, especially around corners. We are used to seeing muscle cars being champions at ¼ miles tracks; nevertheless when it actually comes to take turns the Camaro 2.0 1LE doesn't disappoint at all, each corner feels better than the one before. In our real-life test to 100km/h, we were able to achieve this speed in 5.72 seconds. Chevrolet announces a result to 96km/h in 5.5 seconds. Those results are in line with reality, and our tests are not done on a track to mimic as much as possible real-life capability.
Now without any surprise, most 2 door sports cars aren't oriented for the family, it doesn't mean you can't bring them with you. The 2 rear seats are a little tighter than what we would like. The places are basically + 2 seats that can be used for small children, anyone above 5ft1 might feel claustrophobic there. The trunk will have space for one large suitcase or golf clubs, you'll still have space to add some groceries. We did not attempt to place a stroller as the opening lip of the trunk is high above the ground and is quite narrow, and we did not want to risk damaging the paint of the car. On the brighter side, the driver and the co-pilot are well cocooned into their bucket seats, where the cloth seats are nice and comfortable and hug you well into position. Your left elbow can rest while driving on a nicely patted armrest, we are mentioning it since it was clearly integrated into the design to be comfortable while cruising around. The seats are easily adjustable, and a good seating position can be found without too much finicking around to have balanced seating to be able to shift gears with a smile on your face.
The upside of not having a big V8 or even a V6 is that the fuel consumption is liveable on a daily basis, Chevy announces an average gas consumption in the city of 11.9 L/100 km and on the HWY 7.9 L/100 km. In our real-life test, we were able to achieve 12.1L in the city including bumper to bumper traffic and on the HWY we were even able to achieve 6.8L/ 100km these results are better than those announced. Our combined fuel economy was 9.2 L/100 km. We tested the car using 91 octane fuel, Chevrolet suggests using premium fuels with this engine. Our test vehicle was equipped with Goodyear Eagle that are also run flats with the following size 245/40ZR20 in front and 275/35ZR20 in the back.
One thing we really loved about the Camaro is that it hasn't lost its muscle car heritage in any way, this is reinforced with the driving characteristic on the HWY. Cruising on the HWY the Camaro feels ever so fantastic to drive, a long drive doesn't fell tiring, we drove the Camaro in a scenic environment in between mountain and trees where it felt at home drive up a mountain one after another. Being in the cabin of this sports coup doesn't compromise in any way how much fun you can have while taking tight turns at higher speeds and feels a lot more agile without the heavy V8 engine. Yes, purists will say that the V8 sounds better and drives faster; we think not everything is base on a ¼ mile results, in this case, we prefer to calculate how many smiles per minutes this vehicle has given us, how satisfied we were shifting gears ourselves when it was really needed.
Our car was equipped with entry-level sound system, the system would need more refinement when it comes to reproducing sounds, such as low-frequency sounds and bass. If sound quality is essential to you, checking that box for the upgraded Bose sound system would be a good idea. As for the infotainment it is simple to use, our vehicle was equipped with the base Chevrolet infotainment 3 with the 7inch screen that supports Android Auto and Apple Car Play. It is simple to use and is not overly complicated, especially when using a smartphone. It also offers Chevrolet 4G LTE hotspot service that works quickly and can be set up in a breeze.
Again when it comes time to put a car seat into the Camaro, it will be more challenging than in other cars. First getting the car seat in the back will need some flexing around and getting around the front passenger seat belt. Once you've placed the car seat in, the ISOFIX ports are slightly hidden under a cloth curtain that needs to be pushed on the side to gain access, once you've overcome these obstacles, the installation is possible. The rear anchor port for the car seat is a lot easier to install. Now when the time comes actually to have a child sitting in a child seat, it will be a squeeze for them to get in. We would suggest only to have children in the back seat that do not need a booster seat or a car seat and that are smaller than 5ft1. For children to access the rear seats by themselves once the seat is pushed forward, they can quickly enter the rear by themselves.
One would expect that a sports car would be more challenging to drive in the city. Yet, even with the stiffer performance suspension, we did not feel that any imperfection would upset the car in any way that the vehicle would lose balance. Gears are nicely spaced out, hence even at low speeds when having to shift between first, second and third gear and that back down it is still enjoyable when stuck in traffic and you never feel being in the wrong gear. Visibility might be limited in the rear; in spite of this, Chevrolet somehow made it work so that it isn't too much of a nuisance, especially with the raw power the Camaro has to offer. We would still like to see blind spot monitoring to make city driving more pleasant. Parallel parking isn't too hard either with the aid of the rear-view camera.
Why would we buy the Chevrolet Camaro and what we like: Simple to use manual transmission, a track-ready vehicle for under $40k, dynamic visual, good fuel economy on the HWY, comfortable bucket seats in the base version.
Why would we not buy the Chevrolet Camaro and what we didn't we like: it's more a 2 + 2 seater than a real 4 seater, the clutch needs to be pressed hard to change gears, center climate vents are placed too low.