Critics’ Notebook: Chevrolet Camaro RS
It's not a rental car—it just looks like one.
Despite its proletariat reputation as blue-collar donut-maker—and despite its suffocating, sherry-cask sight lines—I was excited to drive the new Camaro. Not just because it's built on the splendid chassis that underpins the Cadillac ATS, or because the last time I drove a contemporary Camaro I was hounded by hot cops and teenage boys like a giant stick of beef jerky. No, it’s hard to hate American pony cars, what with their wonderful combination of toy-car looks and high-output engines.
The Camaro didn’t exactly disappoint. It lacked the rudeness one expects from the category—in fact, it might have been too quiet. These cars should bring the noise, right? It’s Apple Car Play-enabled infotainment system made information and entertainment acquisition far simpler than it is in other, far more expensive vehicles, even if the screen was oddly angled, like a mirror pointing at your neck for a shave. And it handled very well, not at all like the rattletrap Camaros of the seventies and eighties, or even the ones of the recent past. It was almost refined, if such a thing can be said of Chevy's muscle car.
Sadly, I was testing this cadmium canary on a Florida resort island. So instead of feeling fun, it felt, and looked (to me, and to every retired WASP in their walking shorts and LIFE IS GOOD t-shirt) like a budget vehicle picked up at Budget Rent-A-Car. I’ll have to try again when I’m back in New York City, where Camaros—well all cars, really—are shunned alike.
Chevrolet Camaro RS
Powertrain: 3.6 liter V6, 335-hp/284-lb-ft
0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
Rental Car Resemblance: 10/10