Line up a bunch of shiny cars and people are drawn in, like flies to honey. Make one of those cars a Camaro and almost any other car turns into a wallflower.
The Camaro SS convertible I drove at Walt Disney World didn’t fight fair. It was cherry red, of course, with black racing stripes and a sweet sound system that draws even more attention when the top is down.
The Chevrolet folks had the full size SUVs, Tahoe and Suburban for the women at the TravelingMom retreat to drive, both with their third row of seats, and the redesigned Impala. But since my youngest daughter is 16 and I am exiting my soccer mom years, I think I deserve to tool around in a flashy car. I was always attracted to the slightly bad boys who drove Camaros when I was a teen, but the 2014 has a smooth enough ride that an octogenarian would feel comfortable riding in it.
Before heading out we were warned, though: The Camaro’s 420 horsepower engine could cause some squealing tires on the pavement, wet from recent rains. Careful not to frighten pedestrians, I drove the powerful V-8, with automatic transmission, gently at first, but once out on the highway, the car purred into high speed, smoothly zipping along a few curves.
The Chevy Helping Hand: OnStar and MyLink
Chevy MyLink has a built in navigation system, but this Camaro was also equipped with OnStar, a remarkable safety and concierge service for your car. You press a button, and within seconds are connected to an OnStar agent at a call center. All you have to do is tell the person where you are going, and directions will be either loaded into the nav system for you, or spoken aloud while you drive.
OnStar also offers incredible peace of mind – it provides roadside and emergency assistance, even for weather situations out of the scope of the car. If say, the car in front of you hit black ice and had an accident, you could contact OnStar and get that person emergency help. If that unlucky person caused you to have an accident, OnStar knows immediately—when the airbags deploy, for instance—and will contact both you and a local emergency response center. Help will be on the way before you can think to call for it yourself.
And though it’s not likely—but it’s every teenager’s dream—if you decide to let your teen drive the Camaro, OnStar brings some additional security with geo fencing: you can set boundaries for the car and when it breaks those boundaries, you get a message.
And for those who are just too tempted by this beauty, the ultimate safety feature: OnStar can track and stop a stolen car. The service can track the car and in communication with police, if it’s still moving once it’s found, OnStar can cut the engine so the thief can’t drive it any more. Oh, and this feature will reduce the price of your insurance.
The Chevy Connected Car
As if all that OnStar connectivity isn’t enough, MyLink has an easy to use touchscreen, with Sirius XM radio and bluetooth integration with your phone so you can use your phone and selected apps hands free while driving. Just push a button on the steering wheel or menu on the touch screen and away you go.
Eyes on the Road: Heads Up Display
Everyone else is looking at you, but you want to make sure that you keep your eyes on the road. It’s easy with this car, which has color heads up display. There are also audio controls on the leather steering wheel, so you won’t get distracted playing with the touchscreen.
Midlife Crisis? Nah…We’ve Always Been This Cool
Even if your kids aren’t ready for their own cars yet, it’s easy to tire of the mom ride. Seeing those parents at elementary school drop off in sporty little cars makes you think: can you drive this sports car with little kids? Yes. There are rear child seat latch anchors and two car seats will fit in the back (though being a two-door car, it’s probably easier if the kids can buckle themselves in). And up to their teen years, a couple of kids will fit comfortably in the back seat.
But if you are tall, and/or have large children, the smallish rear seat is probably more comfortable for a single passenger. I like to drive with my seat pretty far forward, but still, my rear seat passengers were happy to get out of the car.
But the Camaro is really designed for the driver: it’s filled with creature comforts like heated front leather seats, remote keyless entry, parking assist and power outlets.
Check Out The Camaro’s Technology
Watch this video to see the Camaro in action:
What We Loved
Convertible. End of Story
OK, a Few Other Things
Shiny aluminum wheels
Chevy MyLink with color touchscreen
Heads Up Display
Rear View Camera
What You Need to Know
Standard vehicle price: $41,885; price for car I drove, with fancy schmancy headlights, racing stripe, automatic transmission, remote start and navigation system: $46,650.
MPG rated at 15 in the city, 24 on the highway.
Six months OnStar included
Scheduled maintenance 2 year / 24,000 miles
5 year / 100,000 mile power train warranty
Note: Chevrolet provided the Camaro for my test drive. Opinions expressed are my own.