The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is fully redesigned, with significant changes in the cabin, to the sheet metal and under the hood. Nimble handling and more powerful V6 and V8 engine choices up the Camaro’s performance quotient, while updated tech features make its cabin fully competitive with anything in the muscle-car class.
The Chevrolet Camaro is fully redesigned for the 2016 model year. Three engine choices are offered, including a V6, a V8 and a new turbocharged four-cylinder base engine. Available as a coupe or a convertible, the 2016 Camaro comes in four trims: 1LT, 2LT, 1SS and 2SS.
The redesigned Camaro offers a new take on the retro-inspired styling that made the outgoing model so unique. The design still pays tribute to the Camaro of the late-1960s, but it’s now smaller and lighter, which pays dividends when it comes to delivering a better driving experience.
Narrow headlamp assemblies and a large lower grille give the new Camaro a menacing face, while its profile is characterized by pronounced rear fenders and a sloping roofline that fades gracefully into the trunk lid.
You’ll find 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual exhaust system and LED daytime running lights on the base Camaro 1LT. Meanwhile, the Camaro SS distinguishes itself with a standard rear spoiler, 20-inch wheels and quad exhaust tips.
While the Camaro’s redesign brings in new interior styling, the driver-focused design isn’t too radical of a change when compared with the 2015 model. One of the biggest differences is in the gauge cluster, where an available driver information display provides access to a wide range of vehicle settings.
The Camaro’s climate control system has been revamped too, with neat touches like temperature controls that are integrated into the two center vents: Simply twist the chrome rings on the outside to adjust the temperature on the driver or passenger side.
The cabin features plenty of hard plastics, but they’re attractive and nicely textured. Our test Camaro SS also included plenty of contrast stitching on the dash, door panels and seats.
While it’s technically a four-seater, the Camaro’s small back seat means that it’s best suited for just the driver and one passenger. Still, small children may be able to squeeze into the back seat in a pinch. The front seats are comfortable, supportive and power adjustable, while comfort features like a heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front seats are available on higher trim levels.
In-cabin storage is sparse, including a small storage bin in the center console, two cup holders and door cutouts that are large enough to hold a pair of sunglasses, but not much more. Trunk space is also fairly compromised at 9.1 cubic feet; the 2016 Ford Mustang offers more than four additional cubic feet of space. Still, the trunk’s square shape should easily accommodate a couple suitcases, and the Camaro coupe’s rear seat does fold when additional room is needed.
Three engine choices are offered with the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes in the base model, delivering 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A 3.6-liter V6 with 335 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque is optional on the Camaro 1LT and 2LT. The Camaro SS features a 6.2-liter V8 engine that generates 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission and an eight-speed automatic are available across the model lineup.
The base Camaro gets an EPA-estimated 21/30 mpg city/highway. Add the eight-speed automatic and the Camaro sees its best fuel economy estimates of 22/31 mpg. V8-powered SS models use significantly more fuel, netting 17/28 mpg with the automatic and 16/25 mpg with the manual transmission.
Lighter and more powerful than the outgoing 2015 model, the redesigned Camaro SS inspires confidence on twisting backroads or the highway. The V8 provides ample power, the steering is quick and accurate, and our test car’s Magnetic Ride Control suspension provides a level of agility that exceeded our expectations.
Three drive modes can tailor the driving experience in the Camaro: Tour, Sport and Snow/Ice. The Camaro SS also adds a Track mode for even greater levels of performance. Each mode adjusts parameters that can include steering and throttle response, as well as the automatic transmission’s shift patterns and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension, if equipped.
Our test Camaro was outfitted with the eight-speed automatic transmission, and while acceleration was pleasing in the default Tour mode, switching to Sport yielded a significantly more responsive driving experience. The transmission became much more alert, as it held onto gears longer and downshifted more quickly when the engine was called upon for more power. Switching to Sport also opened up our test car’s dual-mode exhaust system, which provides a thrilling soundtrack by bypassing the mufflers under hard acceleration.
The redesigned Camaro comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, proximity key with push-button start, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. Notably, the base infotainment system also provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Available upgrades include an upgraded version of MyLink with an 8-inch touch screen, a Bose audio system, navigation and a head-up display.
Our test Camaro SS featured MyLink with the 8-inch display, which provides crisp graphics, quick response times and large tabletlike icons for access to audio, navigation and phone settings. An upgraded driver information center was also included in our test car. It brings in a highly configurable display that resides in the gauge cluster and serves as a second entry point for infotainment and navigation information, as well as vehicle, trip and performance settings.
In general, everything operates in a straightforward manner, though the placement of the steering wheel-mounted audio controls could be better. They reside on the lower portion of the wheel at roughly 4 and 8 o’clock, which makes it necessary to change your grip whenever you want to skip a song or adjust the volume. With that exception, the Camaro’s switchgear is arranged in a logical fashion, with a row of dedicated buttons for climate adjustments and four primary buttons below the touch screen for quick access to infotainment functions.
Like the outgoing model, the 2016 Camaro’s low seating position, high beltline and large rear pillars can limit outward visibility. A standard rearview camera is a welcome addition that improves driver confidence when backing up or parking. A suite of air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, daytime running lights and General Motors’ OnStar telematics system are also included on every model.
Optional driver assistance features include rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Forward collision warning is not offered.
The 2016 Camaro starts at $25,700 (plus a $995 destination charge), which is slightly more than its closest competitor: the 2016 Ford Mustang. The Camaro’s price arguably includes a stronger list of equipment, with features like a more robust infotainment system coming standard on the base model.
Make the jump to a V6-powered Camaro and you can expect to pay at least $27,195, while the V8-powered Camaro SS starts at $36,300. In comparison, a Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter V8 starts at about $4,000 less than the Camaro SS.
Our test Camaro was a fully loaded 2SS Coupe, which included desirable performance options like a great-sounding dual-mode exhaust system ($895) and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension ($1,695). Black 20-inch wheels ($200), navigation ($495) and an automatic transmission ($1,495) helped bring the as-tested price north of $47,500 after destination.
If V8 power is a prerequisite for your Camaro, our recommendation would be a less expensive 1SS model with the six-speed manual and the Magnetic Ride Control suspension. You’ll give up some tech features, such as the upgraded driver information center and head-up display, but you’ll have an extremely capable muscle car for less than $40,000.
Chevrolet has made significant strides with the redesigned 2016 Camaro. Outward visibility is still a sticking point that may dull driver confidence, but the new Camaro is undoubtedly more fun to drive. Refined driving dynamics and improved handling help the Camaro shun the notion that muscle cars are only meant for straight-line acceleration, while a comprehensive set of standard features make the base Camaro an impressive performance value.
Just select your options carefully as you explore the V8-powered Camaro SS to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. A top-tier Camaro 2SS convertible starts at just shy of $50,000 before options. At that price, the 2016 Corvette may be well worth your consideration for just a few thousand dollars more.