Photography and video by: ©2016 Toni Avery
Since inception, the Chevrolet Camaro has enjoyed decades of hardcore Bowtie aficionados taking to the streets in perfect factory examples or modified marvels. With the exception of a lapse in production, the Camaro has given Mustang and Challenger owners and fans some tough competition.
The 2016 model year is no exception. With a completely redesigned exterior, interior and all-new lightweight platform, upgraded infotainment and the first-ever implementation of a four-cylinder turbocharged engine, the new Chevrolet Camaro offers so much more to buyers than just brute muscle.
This Camaro is equipped with a 3.6 L V6 producing 335 HP and 284 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with stopping power provided by optional Brembo brakes.
I have to give it to Chevrolet for taking advantage of a small segment where competitors like Ford haven’t bothered to invest. The 3.6 L V6 motor in the Camaro is now an optional step up from the standard turbo-charged four-cylinder and is significantly more powerful than Ford’s rental fleet V6. Just to give you an idea of how much more powerful, Ford’s Ecoboost turbo four pumps out more power (10 more HP) than the six. Here is where Chevy swoops in by seizing an opportunity to offer buyers the option of a much more satisfying V6 than Ford has.
And satisfying it is. While it may not sound or behave like the incredible V8 I had an opportunity to take for a short spin, it does provide just enough ear satisfying, grin inducing fun to make the $1495 option price worth it.
It’s a high-revving engine with redline at 7,000 RPM and power coming in at @6800 RPM with torque kicking in at @5300 RPM. While it goes from 0-60 MPH in 5.1 seconds, it doesn’t feel quick as much as it does fast at higher speeds. I enjoyed winding it up to redline to hear that distinctive exhaust noise.
While the new eight-speed automatic transmission this Camaro was equipped with wasn’t objectionable, I feel as though this engine might be better suited with a manual transmission. The beefier V8 does pair well with the eight-speed auto I took for a short run.
The RS comes equipped with three drive modes to customize your driving experience. Tour Mode is used in normal city and highway driving to provide a smooth ride. Sport Mode is selected for a more responsive experience. The car will shift higher in the rev range (when in full auto), and the steering will provide more precise control. Other changes are also possible if the car is equipped with Magnetic Ride Control or Active Exhaust. Snow/Ice Mode is for use in slippery driving conditions when more traction is needed. Acceleration adjusts to provide a smoother launch and the transmission will shift differently to assist in maintaining traction.
The electric power steering offers much more road feel than its close competitor, the Ford Mustang. While it really depends on your driving preference, the amount of road feel mixed with ease of turning makes for a very engaging driving experience. It’s a nice handling car with just enough finesse and muscle to satisfy most any general enthusiast.
You can definitely feel the weight difference between the 2016 and 2015 model Camaro. The V6 is even lighter than the V8 while you can feel its 3469 lb. curb weight (manual) when powering around town. And coming to a stop is immediate with an aggressive bite thanks to the optional heavy-duty cooling and brake package featuring Brembo brakes.
The exterior of the Camaro features some RS specific upgrades including 20” wheels and run flat tires, HID headlamps with LED signature, LED tail lights, unique front grilles, and rear spoiler, all finished in Bright Yellow paint.
While I was a fan of the previous body style I do have to say that the updated styling is refreshed, modern and very much in line with the Mustang’s major refresh. The front end is by far my favorite angle on this car while looking down the side brings you back to the Camaro’s heritage.
Inside the Camaro is an all black interior with Convenience and Lighting Package specific features including illuminated sill plates, interior lighting spectrum, wireless charging, 8” driver infotainment center, head-up display and Apple Car Play.
The interior of the 2015 Camaro I tested was disappointing at best. I would have rather have been a driver than a passenger in the previous car simply due to the fact that the interior wasn’t much to look at and as a driver you aren’t looking around inside. In the 2016 car, I could happily be a passenger or driver. The upgrades are significant and in the right direction. Fit and finish is excellent, materials are miles better, overall appearance is significantly improved and the infotainment system is the most needed change from 2015.
Apple Car Play is a great system that is operated through your Apple phone. The screen acts as an iPad with touch capabilities, music streaming, navigation through Maps and even text dictation. The standard system without Apple Car Play in use seems to operate substantially better than last years. And the Bose sound system plays crisp, clear quality music.
Even with all the interior improvements, the back seats are near impossible to get to. Yoga might be in order just to successfully get to the back without pulling something. While all four seats are comfortable, the back is quite cramped if you have anyone over 5’ 8” in front and if you are over that height as well in back.
The trunk offers deep storage with plenty of room for a long getaway or just a big Target run.
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is an overall improved car with upgraded materials, updated styling and handling, and a lighter performance oriented platform. I look forward to testing other engine configurations and variants of the Camaro in the near future.
2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS V6:
Base Price: $29,800
convenience & Lighting Package (memory drivers seat & outside mirrors, sill plate
illumination, lighting interior spectrum,power outside mirror & driver side auto dimming,
wireless charging, rear park assist, rear cross traffic alert, driver infotainment center,
side blind zone alert w/ lane change alert, head-up display, heated steering wheel)
RS Package (20″ aluminum wheels w/ run flat tires, HID headlamps w/ LED signature,
LED tail lamps, unique front grilles, rear spoiler)
3.6 L V6 engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, Exhaust dual mode performance,
heady duty cooling & brake package (Brembo), Bright Yellow paint,
front license plate bracket
Price with Options: $39,430
Destination Charge: $995
Total Price: $40,425
Fuel Economy: 19 City, 28 Highway, 23 Combined
GirlsDriveFastToo gives the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS V6 an overall rating of (out of 5 total):