By John Faulkner Clean Fleet Report
This Iconic Pony Car Gives Joy
With the push of a button the engine roars to life. You feel the satisfying growl and gentle rumble through your body. Take a minute to enjoy, no rushing out of the driveway. The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe will be waiting for whatever journey you have planned for the day. Whether it be around town errands or chasing down the twisties, there is certain joy that comes from driving the Camaro SS.
The new front-end styling for 2019 is meant to boldly challenge the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger in a decades-old continuation of the Pony car wars. The only battles in this war have been on the track, and bragging rights for being a Chevy, Ford or Dodge guy. All three of these Pony cars are still in production. While the rivalries are friendly, the brand loyalty still runs deep.
Driving throughout Southern California, the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe, painted Red Hot, got plenty of glances, even a few comments of “cool car,” and the occasional revving of some hot rodder wanting to test me off the line. Sorry pal, those days are long over or left to the track. So, looking, feeling and being sporty was never, ever the issue. Sort of got the blood boiling a bit!
There are optional four- and six-cylinder engines and a six-speed manual on the 2019 Camaro. Clean Fleet Report went for the muscle with the 6.2-liter V8 that pumped-out 455 horsepower and 455 pounds-feet of torque through a 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters.
There are four driver selectable drive modes of Tour, Sport, Track and Snow/Ice. We spent most of our time in Tour on the freeways, then Sport for, well, being sporty.
This combination in the rear-wheel drive Camaro SS was exactly what we were seeking. The acceleration was smooth and linear, making for slick transitions through the gears without any hesitation or stumbling. Consistent 0-60 mph runs of 3.9 seconds were easily attained with the Camaro SS begging to get to 100 mph. If only we were on a track and not I-5 through Camp Pendleton in San Diego County.
The engine note that begins as a bark and growl, settles in as speed increases and is unnoticeable when on the freeway. For some fun, place the automatic in the manual mode, select Sport, and blip the paddle shifters through the gears. The revving ekes out the most power, and the downshifts produce a rumble that gets neighboring driver’s attention.
The EPA rates the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS fuel economy at 16 city/27 highway/20 combined. In 320 miles of 75-percent highway/25-percent city driving, Clean Fleet Report averaged 24.9 mpg. However, in a 155-mile highway run with the cruise control set at 65 mph, we achieved 31.5 mpg. So, don’t be afraid to look at the 6.2-liter V8 as only a powerful beast, because when driven with a light touch exceeding 30 mpg is very real.
It is important to note that the fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific. They represent the reviewer’s driving experience, but should be similar to most drivers living in our reviewer’s cities. If you live in cold weather, high in the mountains, spend time in the city or stuck in rush hour traffic, then your numbers may differ.
Joy Of Driving
When Clean Fleet Report drove the 2019 Corvette Stingray ZR1, we were impressed with the handling and performance. The fun factor was very high. Hopping into the Camaro SS Coupe didn’t disappoint, giving Chevrolet two outstanding high-performance cars to choose from.
One thing we noticed about the two cars is how similar they handled and rode. Built on completely different chassis, Chevrolet’s engineers have given the Camaro SS a performance suspension that is stiff, but not so much that road imperfections are bone jarring. Only the optional magnetic ride control that was on the Corvette would have given our Camaro SS an even smoother ride.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 summer run-flat tires were staggered, 245/40 R20 up front and 275/35 R20 in the rear. The grip was predictable and reliable when diving hard into tight corners or taking high-speed sweepers. There was never a moment of surprise from tire slippage or sliding. The run flat tires on Southern California’s concrete freeways (that are grooved for rain dispersion) were noisier than would be liked. This is the trade-off for reduced weight by not carrying a spare tire. Suggestion: crank-up the stereo!
The Camaro SS came standard with four-piston front and rear, Brembo performance brake discs, that were power-assisted and part of the anti-lock brake system. Stopping is as important as accelerating, and the performance brake set-up provided consistent short stops that did not fade from heavy use on a mountain road.
Design Details: Exterior
The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS received new front-end styling, which included a fascia, grill and dual-element LED headlamps. Even the “Bow Tie” emblem has been modified into what Chevrolet calls the “flowtie” design, where the emblem is open.
The wide and low stance is enhanced by the long hood and sweptback windshield. The smooth roof is briefly interrupted by the color-keyed shark fin antenna, leading to a small rear window and a crescent spoiler. The quad LED tail lights sit above the dual, chrome exhaust tips in the lower facia. I like the design, and by the number of Camaros I see on the road, so do many others.
Design Details: Interior
Clean Fleet Report’s Camaro SS came with the 2SS trim package. This meant the ventilated, leather-trimmed seats were heated and cooled, with the driver getting eight-way power adjustments and the passenger six-way. The digital gauges are complete and complemented with a very helpful head-up display.
The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 Plus sound system has six speakers and an eight-inch high-definition color touch screen, that for some strange reason is angled downwards. For taller drivers this may be an issue, but after a few days in the car it isn’t noticeable. The down-angle screen housed the AM/FM/CD/MP3/AUX radio with SiriusXM (one-year subscription), Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. Controls for Bluetooth and the hands-free telephone are found on the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel that has a squared-off bottom.
Activating the very handy and helpful OnStar system is as simple as pushing a button. This connects you with a friendly General Motors representative to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. The most common requests are for directions, handle emergencies and general assistance. This is one area where GM is the industry leader, and after the introductory basic plan expires, it is well worth renewing for your passenger’s and your peace of mind. For faster internet speeds there was a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that comes with a limited period subscription. Depending on how much you travel and your data use, the 4G LTE Wi-Fi option should be seriously considered. Our experience is it was fast and provided uninterrupted service, even for streaming movies and games.
The low roof and the high belt line mean the small windows don’t let in much light, and outward visibility is limited. The Jet Black interior, while attractive, also added to the darkness. The seating position is low and the hood is long, so frontward views are challenged. But with all that said, the interior is pleasant to look at and, once seated, provides good comfort. Unless you are thinking of sitting in the back seat. Probably shouldn’t, as there isn’t much “there” there. The trunk opening has some interesting angles, but accommodated four weekend bags easily.
Convenience and Safety
The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe comes equipped with safety features, including eight airbags, cruise control, rear vision camera, electronic stability and traction control, rear park alert and assist, lane change, blind spot and forward collision alerts. The head-up display is a major safety element that keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.
Convenience items include power windows with one-touch up and down, keyless start and entry, passive entry system, power and heated side mirrors, dual zone automatic climate control, and a theft deterrent system. The rear camera mirror is something not many cars have and is an interesting feature. The rear view mirror has a switch on it that allows it to act like a normal mirror, and also as a camera. The camera mode takes some getting used to, as the perspective is different, showing a wider view. I found it especially helpful when parking.
Clean Fleet Report’s 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe, with the 2SS package, had a base price of $42,000. With the 10-speed automatic transmission option of $1,595, the MSRP came to $43,595. All prices exclude the $995 destination charge.
Observations: 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS Coupe
There are six Camaro models for 2019: LS, LT, RS, SS, ZL1 and ILE. For Clean Fleet Report, getting a week in the 2019 Camaro SS Coupe with the 2SS trim package, was a treat. From the gutturally pleasing sound of the engine, upon lighting it up or down shifting with the paddle shifters, to the tight, positive and predictable handling, this car does exactly what Chevrolet says it will do.
Like the Corvette, the Camaro SS is built to be driven. Whether it’s hard and aggressive or highway cruising where 30+ mpg is a reality, you will feel young again.
For more product information visit Chevrolet.com
For more reviews by the author visit Clean Fleet Report
John Faulkner is Road Test Editor at Clean Fleet Report. He has more than 30 years experience branding, launching and marketing automobiles. His interest in automobiles is broad and deep, beginning as a child riding in the back seat of his parent’s 1950 Studebaker. He is a journalist member of the Motor Press Guild.
Camaro SS press fleet vehicle provided by Chevrolet Division of General Motors. Prices and vehicle information applies to U.S. models at the time of publication, not including destination, taxes, license, etc. All product information, including prices, features, and specifications, is subject to change without notice.
Photos (as noted) © 2019 John Faulkner and Lex Adams. Additional photos courtesy Chevrolet
Story © 2019 Clean Fleet Report – This review is reposted with permission on CarNichiWa.com