2011 Chevrolet Camaro Review and Prices
Past and Future Reviews
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro is the best car you if you envision your rear-wheel-drive coupe as a velociraptor, not a pony.
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro adds a convertible body style to its carry-over coupe, gives its V-6 engine a few more horses, and enhances some features. Today’s Camaro design bowed for model-year 2010 as a modern interpretation of the classic 1969 Camaro. It’s a low-slung, aggressively styled two-door that comes off as the hard case in the “pony car” category – less collegiate than the 2011 Ford Mustang, more likely to be seen burning rubber than the 2011 Dodge Challenger.
Should you buy a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro or wait for the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro? Wait for the 2012 Camaro if you crave a Camaro ZL1, a super-performance coupe with an estimated 550 horsepower. The ZL1 is shaping up as the big addition for the 2012 model year, but Chevy promises a steady flow of new Camaro variations, perhaps as frequently as every six months. So if the 2011 selection isn’t wide enough for you, perhaps you’ll want to see what the future holds. The core values of big horsepower and brash style that characterize the 2011 Camaro won’t change, however. So if those attributes light your fire, buy a 2011 model, begin enjoying it now, and avoid the inevitable year-over-year price increases.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Changes back to top
Styling: The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro carries on styling that’s faithful to the spirit but not the letter of its 1960s ancestors. This is distinct from its two natural rivals, the Challenger and the Mustang, whose look is a literal translation of past designs. Indeed, the original 1965 Mustang gave the pony-car category its name, and Ford used the 1969 and 1970 models as inspiration for the redesigned 2005 Mustang and its 2010 revamp. Dodge basically dusted off blueprints of the 1970-1974 Challenger for the model-year 2008 return of its pony car.
Chevy showed less allegiance to the past when it rebooted the Camaro for 2010 after a seven-year hiatus. Echoes of the 1969 model appear in the rear-fender flanks and in their shark-gill embossing. The broad, horizontal grille, the dashboard’s dual-pod main instrumentation, and a rectangular cluster of auxiliary gauges recall the past, as well. But Camaro successfully marries those heritage cues with an unapologetically antagonistic 21st century stance, a modern roofline low enough to lend the cockpit an air of mystery, and heavily lidded headlamps more menacing than the eyes of a carnivorous lizard.
The 2011 Camaro coupe and convertible share wheelbase and exterior dimensions. Both slot between the longer, wider Challenger and the shorter, narrower Mustang. But coupe or convertible, Camaro’s roofline is notably lower than that of either rival, and if the penaltiy is a slightly claustrophobic cabin, that’s the price you pay for those hoodlum looks.
The 2011 Camaro convertible gets additional body bracing to make up for the structural rigidity lost along with the coupe’s roof. Its canvass soft top has an acoustical liner and a glass rear window with a defogger; it comes in tan or black. Power operation is standard and involves the release of an overhead lever and the press of a single button, which also lowers the side windows.
Like the 2011 Camaro coupe, the 2011 Camaro convertible seats four, though it has a smaller trunk. Neither trunk is voluminous, with the coupe’s at 11.3 cubic feet and the convertible’s at 10.2 cubic feet with the top. That shrinks to just 7.9 cubic feet with the top lowered because it folds into the forward portion of the cargo hold. A flexible tonneau cover is standard or optional, depending on the convertible trim line. And an accessory windscreen is available from Chevy dealers. Designed to stop backdrafts with the top town, the windscreen occupies space over the rear seat, rendering it inaccessible to passengers and turning the Camaro convertible into a two-seater.
The 2011 Camaro comes in three main trim lines. The coupe is available in base LS, better-equipped LT, and high-performance SS models. The 2011 Camaro convertible comes in LS and SS form only. Chevy additionally subdivides these into 1LT and 2LT and 1SS and 2SS levels, each brining an escalating set of standard features.
An RS appearance package is available on LT and SS coupes and convertibles. It adds an SS-style rear spoiler to the LT model and includes xenon headlamps with integrated LED halo rings, specific taillamps, and 20-inch wheels with a Midnight Silver painted finish. Chevy will also offer 500 replicas of the 2011 Camaro SS convertible Indianapolis 500 pace car.
All 2011 Camaros have alloy wheels, with 18s standard on the LS and LT lines, 19s available for LTs, and 20s standard on SS models; 21-inch wheels, along with aero-inspired body addenda, are available through Chevy dealers.
Mechanical: The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro is built around V-6 and V-8 engines, and both boast bags of power and some advanced features. The 2011 Camaro LS and LT models continue with the V-6 and SS models have the V-8. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The automatic transmission includes steering-wheel-mounted paddles for manual-type gear changes while manual-transmission Camaros are available with a short-throw Hurst shifter for quicker shifts.
Camaro’s V-6 is an all-aluminum dual-overhead-cam 3.6-liter shared with the Cadillac CTS. For model-year 2011, it gets a slight bump to 312 horsepower, up from 304, and an increase in torque, to 278 pound-feet from 273. (Think of torque as the force you feel when you press the accelerator and horsepower as the energy that sustains your momentum.) Camaro owes the power boosts in part to competition from stronger new V-6s juicing up the 2011 Mustang and 2011 Challenger; both of which rate 305 horsepower.
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS models again use a 6.2-liter V-8 that’s cousin to a Corvette engine. It repeats at 426 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque when linked with the manual transmission and at 400 horsepower and 410 pound-feet when hooked to the automatic. The automatic-transmission SS V-8s have GM’s Active Fuel Management System, which saves gas by shutting down half the cylinders during light-duty driving, as in highway cruising.
Traction and antiskid stability systems to aid grip on take-offs and in corners are again standard on all Camaros. So are antilock brakes for added control in emergency stops. In the SS models, the StabiliTrak antiskid system provides the driver with an adjustable Competitive/Sport mode to accommodate racetrack-type maneuvers.
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro may look a little yesteryear but it’s certainly not yestertech. True, it’s built on a rear-wheel-drive chassis and most modern cars have a front-wheel-drive design. Front-wheel drive groups the powertrain components over the tires that also propel the car. Front-drive is space-efficient and aids wet-pavement grip but isn’t ideal for handling because it tends to make a car nose heavy and demands that the front tires steer and provide traction. The latter requirement can cause powerful front-drive cars to squirm and wriggle in fast takeoffs, a nuisance called torque steer.
Rear-wheel drive distributes the mass of the powertrain along the axis of the car for better handling balance. It doesn’t place as much traction-enhancing weight over the wheels that propel the car but does liberate the front tires to concentrate on steering.
For its part, the 2011 Camaro uses a thoroughly modern rear-drive design adapted from one engineered by General Motors’ Holden division in Australia. It’s employed on sporty GM cars there and in Europe and also underpinned the critically praised but short-lived Pontiac G8 sedan, which was discontinued after just two model years when Pontiac shut down in 2009. This is a rigid and well-balanced chassis with all-independent suspension that provides sharp handling and a ride that’s firmly controlled if a bit too stiff on severely broken pavement.
Mustang and Challenger are rear-drive, too, with Challenger riding a shrunken version of the chassis designed for the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans. Mustang’s platform is built exclusively for it, but unlike Camaro and Challenger, it employs a solid-rear-axle suspension that’s less sophisticated than an independent design.
Features: The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro again subdivides LT models into 1LT and fancier 2LT trim levels, and SS models into 1SS and 2SS tiers. The base LS trim is exclusive to coupes, while the 2LT and 2SS levels are equipped similarly except for their engines. For model-year 2011, a head-up display is standard on 2LT and 2SS models; this feature projects key instrument data onto the windshield in front of the driver. And newly standard on every 2011 Camaros is GM’s OnStar assistance system with six-months of no-charge directions and expanded information service.
Every 2011 Camaro comes with air conditioning, power locks and mirrors, and power windows with express up and down for driver and front passenger. Cruise control, remote keyless entry, and a three-spoke steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope adjustment also are standard. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth cell phone link, and USB iPod interface are part of the available Driver Convenience and Connectivity package. This option also includes remote start on automatic transmission-equipped Camaros.
A single-CD radio with six speakers is standard on the 2011 LS, LT, and SS models. A premium, 245-watt Boston Acoustics nine-speaker audio system is available on 1LT and SS models. XM satellite radio (subscription required after a trial period) is standard. So is GM’s OnStar assistance system through which OnStar staff can remotely reduce engine power in a vehicle confirmed as stolen.
Cloth upholstery is standard on LS, 1LT, and 1SS models, with leather included on 2LT and 2SS Camaros. The 2LT and 2SS also get heated power front seats; the other models have manual front-seat adjusters. An available ambient light package uses LED “light pipe” technology to give the cabin a nighttime glow.
A console-mounted gauge package includes oil pressure, oil temperature, volts, and transmission-fluid temperature. The gauge package is standard on 2011 Camaro 2LT and 2SS models and available as an accessory through Chevrolet dealers.
Stiffer optional suspension packages return for 2011, labeled FE2 sport on V-6 models and FE3 performance on SS models. All Camaros have four-wheel disc brakes; SS versions get high-performance Brembo-brand four-piston calipers.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Prices back to top
Base-price range for the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro is $23,530-$40,500.The reborn Camaro has been a pleasing value story, offering head-turning styling and a well-thought-out suite of performance features starting under $24,000. Not many vehicles of any type offer 300-plus horsepower at those prices; fewer still can match the SS model’s 400-426 horsepower at under $32,000. (Base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Chevrolet’s fee for the 2011 Camaro is $850.)
Base price of the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro LS coupe is $23,530. To this or any Camaro, add $995 for automatic transmission.
Base price of the 2011 Camaro 1LT coupe is $24,730; it adds to the LS coupe such features as alloy wheels, upgraded cloth upholstery, a power driver’s seat, and fog lamps. The 2011 Camaro 1LT convertible is priced from $30,000 and mirrors the 1LT coupe equipment.
The 2011 Camaro 2LT coupe starts at $28,075, the 2011 Camaro 2LT convertible at $33,500. These models add to the 1LT such amenities as leather upholstery, power heated front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, the head-up instrument display, Bluetooth hands-free mobile-phone connectivity, and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with a USB iPod interface.
Base price of the 2011 Chevy Camaro 1SS coupe is $31,795 and the 2011 Camaro 1SS convertible starts at $37,500. Among 1SS standard features are the V-8 engine, a limited-slip differential, 20-inch alloys, four-piston Brembo-brand vented disc brakes, SS-specific front and rear fascias and rear spoiler, and SS seat embroidery.
The 2011 Camaro 2SS coupe starts at $35,100 and the 2011 Camaro 2SS convertible at $40,500. The 2SS models’ luxury and feature upgrades over the 1SS are similar to those of the 2LT over the 1LT.
Among key options, the RS package costs $1,600 and adds exterior dress-up trim and xenon headlamps, a power sunroof adds $900 to Camaro coupes, and contrasting-color racing stripes tack on $470; 21-inch wheel packages start at $4,680.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro are unchanged from those of the 2010 models. Count fuel efficiency among Camaro’s assets, especially given the car’s performance credentials.
The 2011 Camaro LS coupe and the LT coupe and convertibles with their V-6 rate 17/29 mpg city/highway with manual transmission and 18/29 with automatic.
The 2011 Camaro SS coupe and convertible rate 16/24 mpg with manual transmission and 426-horsepower-V-8 and 16/25 with the automatic transmission and 400-horsepower-V-8. Chevy recommends regular-grade 87 octane gas for V-6 Camaros and premium-grade 91-octane for SS models.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Release Date back to top
The 2011 Chevrolet Camaro coupe went on sale in autumn 2010 and the 2011 Camaro convertible went on sale in February 2011.
What's next for the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro back to top
Addition of the 2011 convertible is the first of a string of new Camaro variants expected over the next few years. The 2011 Indy Pace Car replica is one, with the 2012 model year set to welcome at least three fresh faces.
Expect a specially trimmed 2012 Camaro Transformers edition playing off the car’s appearance in the “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” movie. Chevy also is likely to return to the lineup a 2012 Camaro Synergy model that equips the V-6 Camaro with some interior and exterior touches found on the SS models.
Early betting had Chevy tabbing the historic Z28 label for the next step in Camaro high performance, but it chose to draw on a more obscure but just-as-revered name when it unveiled the 2012 Camaro ZL1 in early 2011. The carmaker is billing it as history’s fastest Camaro and the most technically advanced pony car ever.
The 1969 Camaro ZL1 was a limited-edition stripped-down drag-race special with an all-aluminum 427-cubic-inch (7-liter) V-8 purposely underrated at 430 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Due in Chevy showrooms in early calendar 2012, the 2012 Camaro ZL1 will be a balance of road-race handling and brute force. It’ll pack a supercharged 6.2-liter all-aluminum V-8 rated initially at 550 horsepower and 550 pound-feet of torque and employ commensurately fortified running gear. ‘
That leaves open the possibility that the Z28 will return to the Camaro lineup for model-year 2012 or later, as a sort-of interim performance model slotted between the SS and ZL1.
The longer-range outlook points to a next-generation Camaro launching during 2014, possibly as a 2015 model. It’ll remain rear-wheel drive but could switch from its Holden platform to a modified version of the structure planned for the next-generation Cadillac CTS. With fuel economy and improved handling in mind, this 2015 Camaro would be lighter in weight than today’s car. That might convince Chevy that a turbocharged or supercharged V-6 could provide V-8-like performance in the SS model but deliver better mileage and more agility.
2011 Chevrolet Camaro Competition back to top
2011 Ford Mustang: Riding a crest of pent-up demand, Camaro outsold its Ford rival in 2010. The 2011 Mustang defends it turf with big changes under the hood. The new base engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 with 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. That’s an increase over the 2010 V-6 of 90 horsepower and 40 pound-feet of torque. To boot, it rates 19/29 mpg with manual transmission and a class-leading 19/31 with automatic. The 2011 Mustang GT’s new V-8 is a 5.0-liter with 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, gains of 97 and 75, respectively. It, too, beats its Camaro counterpart, at 17/26 mpg manual, 18/25 automatic. Both engines replace five-speed manual and automatic transmissions with more efficient six-speed units. The top-of-the-line 2011 Mustang Shelby GT500 gets a renovated version of its supercharged 5.4-liter V-8. Output rises modestly, to 550 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. The only GT500 trans is a six-speed manual and the car rates 15/23 mpg. Overall, Mustang continues to appeal to a wider audience than the aggressive Camaro or the fleshy Challenger. Coupes and convertibles are on tap and base prices start at $22,995 and $27,995, respectively, with the V-6, $30,495 and $35,495, respectively, with the V-8. The 2011 Shelby GT500 starts at $49,495.
2011 Dodge Challenger: Large and in charge, this is the pony to get for relative comfort. It’s the only one in this herd with a rear seat spacious enough to carry a couple of adults for more than a few minutes without hearing them complain. With a 250-horsepowr V-6, Challenger SE models weren’t up to the performance promise of this car’s styling. Model-year 2011 brings a real upgrade via the 305-horsepower/268-pound-feet 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V-6. Challenger R/T models walk the talk with their 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which in the 2010 model had 376 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque and in the 2011 climbs to 383 and 420. But the best way to live the muscle-car life in a Challenger is with the SRT8 version. Its 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 had 425 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque for 2010. The 2011 model upgrades to a 6.4-liter Hemi with 470 horses and 470 pound-feet. The V-8s come with a six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic; the V-6 with the automatic only. The 2011 Challenger is a coupe only. The SE is priced from $25,495 rates 18/27 mpg. The R/T starts at $30,495 and rates 15/24 with manual, 16/25 with automatic. The SRT8 is priced from $44,380 and rates 14/23 and 14/22.
2011 Hyundai Genesis Coupe: Hear us out on this: the Genesis Coupe follows the American pony car formula that puts a lively engine in front and power to the rear wheels. It has a coupe body with good front-seat space and true to tradition, sacrifices rear-seat room and trunk volume to the gods of style. Of course, this pony hails from South Korea and its base engine is an I-think-I-can 210-horsepower/223-pound-feet turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The alternative is a robust 306-horsepower/266-pound-feet 3.8-liter V-6. Neither packs the kick of a Ford/Dodge/Chevy V-8, but then the Genesis Coupe weighs several hundred pounds less than a Mustang/Challenger/Camaro and enjoys a certain nimbleness as a result. The solidly built Genesis Coupe is by no means a muscle-car experience, but it’s not without its entertaining qualities. The turbo four starts at $23,050 and delivers 21/30 mpg with the six-speed manual and 20/30 with a five-speed automatic. The 2011 Genesis Coupe V-6 starts at $27,550 and rates 17/26 with a six-speed manual and 17/27 with its six-speed automatic.