The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS is a fine-driving installment of the iconic pony car that deserves every bit of praise heaped on its driving dynamics and every bit of condemnation raining down upon its awful front end. Seriously, you could tell from the moment the car was revealed that General Motors made a mistake—and now the automaker is atoning with an SS design refresh leading the 2020 Camaro model year updates.
For context, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro was the recipient of a major mid-cycle refresh (the current generation debuted in 2016) that saw a new infotainment system, new lower-priced performance trims, and unique facelift for the Camaro SS that dropped the hollow Chevrolet "Flow-Tie" badge to a crossbar in the absolute middle of the grille. Chevy claimed the move was designed to increase airflow to the engine, but in reality, taking the badge off the same horizontal plane as the headlights gave the car an odd, undeniably droopy look.
Chevrolet stuck to its guns all last year, even trotting out former head Camaro engineer Al Oppenheiser at an SS driving event in November to defend the car's polarizing face. But they also showed up at the SEMA show that very month with a hasty "concept" Camaro SS sporting a new front end that's more in line with the rest of the lineup. Well, what do you know—that concept is now the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
"Customers spoke, and we listened," Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet passenger car and crossover marketing, said in the release. "The overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Shock’s stylized design helped prompt its transition from concept to production."
So the Chevrolet Camaro SS is ugly no more, but there are other reasons to check out the 2020 cars. The most important addition is a new low-price V8 performance model called the LT1. Starting at $35,990, the LT1 packs the 6.2-liter, 455-horsepower V8 and vented hood from the SS and everything else from the 1LT trim. It's a move designed to undercut the cheapest V8 Ford Mustang ($36,450) and chase after Dodge's strategy of offering ten thousand different trims of the Challenger. Finally, the 10-speed automatic transmission continues to trickle down from the ZL1 and is now available on all V6 Camaros.
It's rare for a company to admit the error of its ways. And while you won't see the words "we were wrong" anywhere in this press release, the content makes it clear: GM knows it messed up the Chevrolet Camaro SS redesign.