LOOKS Space Cruiser
Sticker . Z28 $27,931 . RS $25,483.
Power. 285 / 200 horsepower
0 to 60 . 6 to 7 / 8 to 9 sec.
Test Mileage. 16.3 / 18.4 mpg
Seating . 2 + 2
Trunk. 12.9 cubic feet
PARKING . Very Easy
This one's a keeper! Just when I was starting to think that fun was getting squeezed out of the auto creation equation, Chevy whacks a homer.
The Camaro is not a logical automobile and I just love it. We tried two versions, the awesome Z28 and the surprisingly good performing RS. To create the Z28 they stuffed the 285 horsepower heart of a Corvette into something about $20 grand less; unthinkable, but, lost nothing in the translation. This car rides, handles and disappears with the best of them and beats everything on the bottom line.
The RS version gets a 200hp V-6 that runs smoothly and delivers very strong mid-range and passing punch. It's not a hot V*, but it is no limp sister either. Both versions are not as uncomfortable, impractical or uninsurable as most true sports cars, and still have a one-track mind when it comes to performance. The power top drops with the touch of a button and the deep windscreen and excellent aerodynamics make this one of the most pleasurable convertibles at speed, and you will see some speed.
The shape is right on, just a bit compromised by a few phony scoops and fussy details. The body is a hybrid combination of steel and plastic panels offering good strength with better dent & corrosion resistance. Nice mags and mighty meats mean business where the rubber meets the road. Inside is all right too. Attractive fabric covers nice buckets with good support up front and two contorting but usable rear people pockets. Dash is straightforward, well instrumented and easy to get friendly with. Space is at a premium, but there are dual airbags, many storage cubbies, a glove bin and smallish trunk. Screwed together much more solidly than any vintage Camaro I ever rode in. The RS aero trim package includes a fragile and vulnerable front piece that won't last for long in the real world, so be careful around low curbs.
Solid stereo CD on blast, we twist the key and take off smartly. Nice power on tap in either version. The Z-28 burbles along around town without a fuss and really spins the clock when stepped on. Surge mode begins about 2500 RPM and while wound the acceleration is phenomenal. Grip is mighty too, so long as the road is not too lumpy for the live axle rear end, not quite a Corvette - but close. The RS moves at a less rapid pace, but feels plenty strong too.
It's a winner. Thr RS is a great buy and easy on the insurance bill; the Z28 is the deal of the decade for hot performer. Fast, comfortable, reasonably useful and a great bargain in the sports car class. A real progression.