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#3

in 2012 Affordable Sports Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $18,210 - $27,022
Original MSRP: $23,280 - $41,030
MPG: 17 City / 28 Hwy
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2012 Chevrolet Camaro Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Test drivers say the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro offers solid handling and a composed ride. However, the Camaro’s weight kept most reviewers wanting more from its powerful V6.

  • "V6 models, convertibles included, don't pin you to your seat, but they have good scoot in pretty much any situation." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "With 323 horsepower available from the 3.6-liter V-6, we would expect some startling acceleration numbers. Unfortunately, our test car weighed in at 4105 pounds. Meaning that our ponycar just barely beats an everyday sedan like the Toyota Camry in power-to-weight ratio." -- Motor Trend 
  • "With the soft-top up or down, this four-seater is loud, and the ride quality is exactly what you'd expect it to be: a little rough around the edges, like your college boyfriend who gained fame by throwing a sofa through a second-story window and onto a professor's car." -- Mother Proof

Acceleration and Power

For 2012, the Chevy Camaro puts out 11 more horsepower than the 2011 model. The Camaro’s 3.6-liter V6 engine now produces 323 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 278 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. While the Camaro’s V6 provides plenty of get-up-and-go, one reviewer notes that a Toyota Camry V6 was quicker in a zero-to-60 mph sprint. He blames the Camaro’s size and heft, as the base coupe weighs roughly 300 pounds more than the comparable Ford Mustang.

The rear-wheel drive V6 Camaro is mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. However, a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted shifters is available. If you like the Camaro’s looks, but want more power, consider the high-performance, 426-horsepower Camaro SS or the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1.

According to the EPA, the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro gets 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with an automatic transmission, while six-speed manual Camaros get 17/28 mpg city/highway. While these estimates are competitive among muscle cars, the Ford Mustang does slightly better, earning 19/31 mpg city/highway with an automatic transmission.

  •  "The manual transmission shifts smoothly, though the shift action is not as precise as in some sporty-car rivals. The automatic transmission is occasionally slow to downshift in passing and merging maneuvers." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Whether you choose the vigorous V6 or one of the tire-shredding V8s, no one will ever accuse your 2012 Chevrolet Camaro of being slow." -- Edmunds 
  • "Sadly, the Camaro's 6.6-second 0-60 run is also slower than the 6.1-6.3-second 0-60 runs we recorded with Camry V-6s in the past." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2012 Chevrolet Camaro may not be the quickest affordable sports car on the block, but test drivers are surprised by how well it handles. One critic says that the Camaro’s wide tires give it a slight edge when compared with rivals like the Ford Mustang, and some even find the Camaro more entertaining to drive. However, others note that its subpar visibility doesn’t inspire confidence on a twisty road. While the Camaro handles well, muscle cars are better known for straight-line performance than agility. If you’re in the market for an affordable, agile sports car, consider rivals like the Mazda Miata and Nissan 370Z.

  • "Any Camaro corners with good grip and minimal body lean. It shows better composure than a Dodge Challenger, though it's a bit too big to be as agile as a Ford Mustang, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, or Nissan 370Z." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The Camaro also displays impressive amounts of cornering grip, communicative steering and a refined suspension that makes this generation of GM's classic GT car exponentially more talented around corners than any Camaro that has come before." -- Edmunds 
  • "As we have seen recently, tires are nearly everything when it comes to handling. When comparing the Camaro and the Mustang V-6, the Ford is at a considerable disadvantage." -- Motor Trend 
  • "The chassis is less jumpy than that of the Mustang but far more communicative than in the Challenger, and although the Camaro is nearly as wide as the Dodge it doesn't feel as big." -- Car and Driver
  • "The car's chassis is rock solid and the ride surprisingly decent, even on the massive optional 20-inch tires. There's remarkably little body roll in fast turns, and the brakes are tremendous - both the standard four-wheel discs and the stronger, optional Brembo racing brakes." -- New York Times

Next Steps: 2012 Chevrolet Camaro

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