2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE V6 in Krypton Green (a $395 option)
2017 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS Coupe with V6 1LE Track Performance Package
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles driven: 300
Fuel used: 15.6 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 19.2 mpg
Driving mix: 55% city, 45% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 16/28/20 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
|Room and Comfort||C
|Power and Performance||B+
|Fit and Finish||C+
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
|Big & Tall Comfort
Base price: $25,905 (not including $995 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: V6 1LE Track Performance Package ($4500), 3.6-liter V6 engine ($1495), Recaro performance front bucket seats ($1195), special paint ($395), black sueded knee bolsters ($350)
Price as tested: $34,835
The great: Racetrack-ready handling prowess, plenty of power–especially for a V6
The good: Precise manual shifter, firm and supportive seats
The not so good: Outward visibility, limited cabin and trunk space
More Camaro price and availability information
One of the frustrations with many modern performance cars has been that to get any of the best things about them—engine, suspension, or appointments—commonly required ponying up for the pricier cars in the line. Lately, though, there’s been some movement to let more customers in on the fun. In the case of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro, that means making the 1LE track-suspension option available for cars with the V6.
A satin-black rear spoiler and front splitter are included with the 1LE performance package, as are black-painted 20-inch forged aluminum wheels on run-flat Goodyear Eagle F1 summer performance tires.
Furthermore, there’s not even a limit on trim levels for selecting the 1LE upgrade. It can be had all the way down to the bare-bones Camaro LS coupe, which is the way Consumer Guide® editors experienced the package. Starting at $25,905 for the LS, then adding the V6, the 1LE group, Recaro front buckets, extra-cost paint, dealer-installed suede knee bolsters, and delivery, the total for the test car came to $34,835, which places it between the V6 2LT and V8 1SS coupes price-wise.
The $4500 V6 1LE package—which is slightly different than the version for V8 Camaros—includes the FE3 performance suspension from the Camaro SS, limited-slip differential, stouter Brembo front disc brakes, bigger 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels, run-flat summer tires that are wider in the rear, and a dual-mode performance exhaust. The black-painted wheels are complemented by applications of satin black to the deck spoiler, front air splitter, and hood. High-intensity-discharge headlights, a suede-covered shifter knob, and a suede-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel fill out the option contents.
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Outside of the 1LE package’s upgrades (sueded steering-wheel rim and shift knob) and the optional Recaro front sport seats with sueded upholstery, the Camaro 1LS’s interior doesn’t boast many frills. Sueded center-console-mounted knee bolsters (a $350 option) add welcome cushioning in aggressive cornering–they’re a wise investment if you intend to do any racetrack or autocross-course driving. The Camaro’s rear-seat area is too small for most adults.
With the 335-horsepower V6 engine, 6-speed manual transmission, and 1LE gear, CG’s test car was a highly entertaining ride for the money. Steering was taut and responsive. Body lean was well controlled in cornering. Ride was firm in any setting of the Driver Mode Selector—passengers will certainly feel harsh bumps whenever they’re encountered. The brakes, with 4-piston front calipers, were prompt stoppers.
1LS Camaros get a smaller touchscreen infotainment system with fewer functions, but the control layout is easy to use. The climate control system’s temperature setting and fan speed are controlled by rotating the knurled chrome trim rings of the central air vents–a neat, efficient use of space.
The V6 is gutty enough for fun driving. It responds quickly to pedal inputs and will, according to the manufacturer, go 0-to-60 mph in 5.2 seconds with the manual, which is the only transmission available for the price-leader LS. The gearbox is rewarding to use—shifts smoothly go right where you send them—and the clutch is easy to master and work with. Electric valves automatically open and close the active exhaust. Chevy says it plays off the Driver Mode Selector “to create a unique exhaust note for each setting.” To these ears, the exhaust sound was more to the “drone” side of the drone/rumble divide, but by no means was it ever annoying.
If anything could have been better in this reviewer’s time with the car, it was fuel mileage. He averaged 19.1 mpg from a stint of 190 miles that included 45 percent city-style driving. For reference, the EPA estimates the test car’s powerteam should get 20 mpg in combined city/highway.
In the shade of a gas-station-pump canopy it was possible to see some “orange-peel” effect in the bright Krypton Green paint. This optional hue probably looks really cool at 1/64 scale in a blister-pack hanging from a rack in the Walmart toy aisle. However, 15.7 feet of it parked in a driveway is . . . a bit much.
Anybody who has a romanticized ideal of the uncomplicated, minimal-frills sporty car may find the 1LE Camaro LS to be living the dream. Convenience equipment is pretty simple, surroundings austere. The suede on the shifter knob, steering wheel, and grippy extra-cost sport buckets was the most “decadent” material in the cabin. There’s lots of hard plastic, with soft-touch stuff reserved for the armrests and console lid. The test car came with the most basic (and simple-to-program) radio with a 7-inch touchscreen—though it did include Chevy MyLink features. The climate system has automatic control but is a single-zone unit—everyone in the car will be as hot or cold as the next guy. Certain popular options are precluded from the LS.
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It might not have the full, burly exhaust note of a V8, but the Camaro’s 335-hp 3.6-liter V6 is definitely no slouch–particularly when paired with the slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission. The trunk offers a slim 9.1 cubic feet of space; the trunk opening itself is rather stingy, and liftover is high.
That’s not to say the base Camaro is a prairie schooner. Other standard features include things like electric power steering, a rearview camera, keyless entry and starting, power-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, satellite radio, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
The speedometer and tachometer hunker beneath large hoods atop the dashboard. The dials are big and legible, and a color vehicle-information panel between them displays well. A long strip of buttons that are small and sometimes hard to find in a hurry manages the climate system.
The Camaro celebrates its fiftieth birthday for 2017, and a small badge on the lower edge of the steering wheel commemorates the occasion. Red, white, and blue front-fender emblems have a retro vibe.
Front-seat passengers will find pretty good legroom and, depending how far down they adjust the seat, passable headroom. The “chopped-top” roof design for the sixth-generation Camaro is evolved from the fifth-gen car, which means driver vision is very limited to the sides and over the shoulder. As for personal storage, the glove box is big but low, so the door may land on the front passenger’s knees. The long console-box makes a good armrest, but actual storage space underneath is skimpy. There are two cup holders in the console and small pockets in the doors. In back there’s only a small open bin between the seats and a pouch on the back of the front passenger seat. The underlying message? Don’t sit back there—and few adults probably could if they tried.
The trunklid is quite flat, so loading requires a high lift. At least the strut-supported lid swings back just beyond vertical to let a user get close when loading. The trunk has a flat floor with acceptable space for a car of this size and type, the rear seat folds to add cargo capacity if needed, and with no spare tire there’s a little room under the floor.
It’s no secret that the Camaro has some packaging shortcomings. Still, those who like its retro look and want it to live up to its sporty image without breaking the bank may finally have their car in the V6 1LE.
Our Camaro 1LE V6 test car’s extra-cost Krypton Green look positively radioactive–intense enough to subdue Superman. The top tier of the Camaro lineup’s V8 performance models gets plenty expensive, so it’s great that Chevrolet has seen fit to offer some of that impressive handling hardware at a much more accessible price point.
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