Cars often miss the mark. Sometimes that means it was a critical failure. Sometimes that means it was a significant darling that didn’t translate into a sale. Sometimes, at worst, critics denounce it And People avoided it. You know, the Aztecs of the world. In this series, we will attempt to “fix” such cars by offering (mostly) constructive suggestions to fix the issues that annoyed car reviewers themselves and/or the people who bought them. Meh” cause to go.
To start, we can’t think of a better candidate than today’s sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.
Why does the Camaro need fixing?
Since the beginning of 2019, Chevrolet has sold around 87,000 Camaros, according to sales data collected by Good Car Bad Car. In contrast, the Dodge Challenger, whose platform is eight years old and not available as a convertible, moved around 1,44,000 units. Ford Mustang? About 169,000 of them were sold.
Unsurprisingly, for those who run an automotive enthusiast website, it certainly doesn’t seem like the Camaro enjoys the same widespread enthusiasm as the Challenger, Mustang or any other fun cars. It just isn’t exposed much, and to be a touch more scientific, people don’t research it online to the same degree.
This, despite the Camaro being widely considered the best pony car to drive, especially with handling that puts Ford and Dodge to shame. In fact, we once smoked a suitably equipped V8-powered Mustang GT around a track V6-Powered Camaro 1LE. The V8-powered SS 1LE bus was in its own country. In other words, the driving experience doesn’t seem like it’s part of the problem.
how do we fix the camaro
Road Test Editor Zack Palmer: I have never been able to overcome the complete lack of visibility in the Camaro. Sitting in the driver’s seat is like sitting in a mail deposit box with small entrances on each side.
In an effort to create an interesting Hot Wheels-like design, GM’s designers and engineers (for two generations) have forgotten that someone still has to sit in the driver’s seat and drive this thing on public roads. It’s just a nightmare, the choice of which is solved by simply opting for the convertible and driving with the top down 100% of the time. In fact, the total lack of visibility is enough for me to completely write off the Camaro as a car I personally want to own. He’s useless.
It sucks, because almost everything about the Camaro is fantastic. But I find little joy in it when the road is so hard to see. I could partially forgive the Camaro for this brutal design choice if it were a supercar or a hypercar, but it isn’t. A Camaro may be your daily driver, so it needs to be at least semi-habitable – Ford shows it makes sense with the Mustang.
Fixing this fatal flaw is impossible with the Camaro as it is today. Increasing visibility is not the same as adding a few extra ponies or reducing a car’s tendency to sag. No, my problem with the Camaro requires a brand new Camaro with a new greenhouse, and that’s fine. It’s nearing the end of its lifetime, so GM can keep this constructive criticism in mind for the next one.
Senior Editor James Riswick: The Camaro takes itself very seriously. So much attention was given to all of its performance capabilities, especially with regards to handling, considering it went on to crush its rivals and prove that GM is the coolest kid on the block. This attention is fully reflected in the way the car is driven, as well as in the praise it receives. Chevy’s marketing efforts also hinge on the Camaro’s overall performance potential: it’s a serious, hardcore machine for serious, hardcore drivers.
Trouble is, there aren’t many people who fall into that serious, fancier niche, or who really care about the Camaro’s segment-best handling capabilities. Worse yet, there are too many people who will be stopped by the car about which monster energy drink will sound so loud. I know I do. In contrast, the Mustang’s appeal is much broader. Part of this comes down to its history of having wide appeal, but today’s Mustang (to Zack’s point) is actually a much easier car to live with. Meanwhile, the Dodge Challenger doesn’t take itself too seriously at all. It has cartoons on the fenders, comes in colors called Hellracin and Gold Rush (see above right), and is too big to consider handling. Plus, it’s shockingly practical.
Basically, the Camaro needs to broaden its appeal to sell better. This definitely means a redesign, both aesthetically and repackaging as opposed to just a style refresh. That means diversifying the lineup with subtrims and special editions that can attract a wider range of buyers. Marketing efforts will come into play there as well. Dialing back the matchbox would definitely help for all of the above. Finally, adding a new, completely different version to the expanded Camaro sub-brand may help the cause. Maybe it’s the four-door version? Maybe it’s electricity?
Associate Editor Byron Hurd: This shouldn’t be a difficult question for me. I’ve owned both direct competitors of the current Camaro (a ’15 Mustang GT, which I bought new, and a ’13 Challenger 392, CPO), so pony cars are definitely in my wheelhouse. Having driven the Camaro only a few times, I honestly never felt very strongly about it, but I’m a huge fan of its chassis (obviously) and basically every reasonably decent V8, so the Camaro Should have been a home run for me.
So why wasn’t it? Honestly, that’s a bit too much of a compromise. I spend most of the miles on my cars doing long highway cruising, whether it’s to visit friends and family or just to do some driving. If I can’t kick back with cruise control on and sit comfortably for hours, I won’t be happy. The Camaro’s tight, awkwardly shaped driver footwell makes it an unnecessary challenge. Throw in the fact that its trunk opening is smaller than that of my 30-year-old Miata, albeit with a footprint that’s quite large, and it quickly becomes apparent that the Camaro is bigger in ways that are dynamic or practically worth its while. Take no sides, and in many ways small is what matters to quality of life.
How do I fix it? OK, I’ll move the firewall, add two doors, raise the greenhouse, and put a Cadillac badge on it. Yes, just like that. It may sound flippant, and of course, the Camaro SS should run circles around a standard CT5-V and the ZL1 will likewise fit a Blackwing, but to Riswick’s point above, being the best on the track means in terms. Squat is not your day-to-day. There’s a reason why stripped-down, track-focused models top the performance hierarchy of most sports cars, despite offering less equipment. Volumes are too low to justify an affordable price tag as the overwhelming majority of real-world buyers aren’t even remotely interested.
Sex appeal and everyday vibrancy matter a lot with the masses, and to put it simply, the Camaro lacks both. It doesn’t have to be a challenger, but it desperately needs a healthy dose of charisma. As It Sits, So Is The Camaro He boy’s car. Do you know He The man – the one who always reminds you how many comparison tests “his” car has won, or how much faster your car was than around the VIR six years ago. oh, didn’t you ask? Nah, man. We never do. Sit down with the Volkswagen GTI guy. You’ll have a lot to talk about.
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: I don’t think GM can “fix” the Camaro in its current form. This is partly not because it is broken, but also because of the issue that James raised: the Camaro puts racetrack performance above all other considerations. I don’t think most buyers want this in their muscle or pony cars, which is reflected in its low sales figures. The Challenger is a better muscle car and daily driver, and the Mustang is better able to bridge the gap between performance and practicality. But on one track, the Camaro reigns supreme.
For what it’s worth (which is clearly not much), I think it’s plausible that General Motors decided to make an all-out track-day weapon. Like I said before, it’s not broken. But it is because of the narrow focus of the car that it is not as popular among the shopping masses as its peers.
News Editor Joel Stocksdale: I’m a little different here because I really like the Camaro. That doesn’t mean I don’t see room for improvement.
Number one on my list is just to improve visibility. It’s really hard trying to watch it. And it would go along with my other suggestion to redesign it. I think Chevy should really give it a forward-looking sports car design, as it did with the wedge-shaped fourth generation model. The current conservative update to retro-design doesn’t stand out anymore.
In the end, I wish Chevy had provided a little more support to prop up the entry-level four-cylinder. Yes, they have a 1LE, but when you add to that package, the car breaks down to $30,000. I think it would be better to offer parts la carte as dealer accessories. Offer 1LE suspension parts, an engine tune, and things that can be added later. Not everyone wants to wrap everything in a hefty monthly payment.
Other than that, though, I currently like the Camaro. This is a great driving car in any form.