Chevrolet

Just Right: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS

Coinciding with 50 years of Camaro, the sixth generation of this Chevy icon debuted in Detroit for the 2016 model year. Sharing a platform with the Cadillac ATS, the newest Camaro takes a major step forward in balance and interior quality. As old as the Camaro itself, the RS appearance package has been around since the beginning. We spent a week with the new Camaro to see how Chevrolet’s new muscle car stacks up.

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Just as it was in 1967, the 2017 RS Package visually upgrades the Camaro. 20” wheels, HID headlights, a unique front grille, and a rear spoiler are among the most noticeable enhancements. There’s also LED running lights and tail lights to further distinguish this Camaro from the rest. The standard Camaro is now fitted with a 2.0L four-cylinder engine. However, our 2LT tester arrived with the upgraded 3.6L V6, a no-cost 6-speed manual transmission, and Chevy’s dual mode exhaust. As far as the enthusiast budget build goes, this particular Camaro’s $35,000 seems exceptionally reasonable.

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Even before talking about the performance of the new Camaro, we have to mention the interior improvements.  The previous Camaro fell well short here with cheap plastics and disappointing trim. Now, soft touch materials and quality finishes elevate the entire experience. A new flat bottom wheel sits in front of a new cluster. The Camaro’s traditional squared-off binnacle remains somewhat intact. A bright 8” touchscreen with Chevy MyLink now sits above the cabin vents. The awkward placement replaces the traditional auxiliary gauge cluster, but makes for a clean upper dash. It’s a modern twist on a classic layout.

GM’s Alpha platform underpins the Cadillac ATS, CTS, and the Chevrolet Camaro. As such, the shared 3.6L V6 fits neatly under hood. With 335 hp and 284 lb-ft torque, it’s enough to propel the Camaro RS to 60mph in just over 5 seconds. With the dual mode performance exhaust, the V6 howls and barks like no other 6-cylinder we’ve encountered. It might be the best sounding V6 on the market today. The 6-speed manual gearbox has crisp, direct throws but is let down by a spongey clutch. The Camaro is still a big car, but this latest iteration seems to feel smaller than the last. It could be the slightly improved visibility and superior weight distribution of the V6 model, but this Camaro doesn’t have any typical muscle car tendencies. GM’s chassis engineers deserve much of the credit for developing such a capable platform. With a rev-happy engine and superbly tuned suspension, you’ll be chasing down sport sedans in the corners.

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The Camaro RS V6 represents the ideal balance of performance, appearance, and value. The RS appearance package adds some extra aggression to the Camaro’s sharp style. The direct-injection V6 backs up the looks with both bark and bite. With an as-tested price just over $35,000 and returning an average of 21mpg combined, this Camaro won’t break the bank either. For a model range that spans from a turbocharged four cylinder to a supercharged V8, the Camaro RS is just right.

-Christopher Little

2016 Camaro 2LT Coupe
$29,800
RS Package $1,950
3.6L V6 Engine $1,495
Dual Mode Performance Exhaust $895
Performance Front License Plate Bracket $15
Destination Charges $995
As Tested MSRP $35,150


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