Displaying items by tag: Chevrolet
A refresh can't save Chevrolet's subcompact SUV from being upstaged by the Trax, which is both more affordable and more appealing.
It's embarrassing to be upstaged by a little sibling. Just ask the Chevrolet Trailblazer, a subcompact SUV that's been around since 2021. The underachieving Trax sitting next to it in the showroom never really gave the Trailblazer cause for concern, until the redesigned 2024 Trax showed up with a whole new outlook on life. The new Trax promises more space, appealing style, and new features—all for significantly less money—and we just awarded it a 10Best Trucks and SUVs trophy. It is already encroaching on the Trailblazer's sales numbers, too, outselling it in the third quarter of 2023.
HIGHS: Cheeky looks, refined ride, strong brakes.
The Trailblazer is doing its best to stay relevant, and a refresh for the 2024 model year brings bigger screens inside, freshened looks, and new colors. But the Trailblazer is facing an uphill battle against its significantly cheaper stablemate—and against other vehicles in this competitive segment.
One might wonder why Chevrolet bothers to sell both the Trax and the Trailblazer. These two models are an example of a split that's evident within the subcompact-crossover segment. The Trax is meant to compete with the smaller, front-wheel-drive-only pseudo-hatchbacks that exist on the lower end of the price spectrum—think Kia Soul, Hyundai Venue, and Nissan Kicks—while the taller Trailblazer is meant to be a "real" SUV (in that it offers optional all-wheel drive, at least) that costs a bit more and has a more upright shape.
LOWS: Sluggish acceleration, cheap interior materials, questionable value.
It's not entirely an illusion, either, as the Trailblazer has a higher seating position than the Trax by more than two inches, according to our measurements. And, if you select all-wheel drive, the Trailblazer does offer a more compelling optional powertrain, a 155-hp 1.3-liter turbocharged three-cylinder with a nine-speed automatic transmission (as opposed to a CVT in other Trailblazers and a six-speed automatic in the Trax). There is a bit more refinement to be found in the Trailblazer, too, as its heavier curb weight creates more of a planted feeling on the road. We like the way the Trailblazer steers, and its brake pedal exhibits good feel, bringing the SUV to a rest from 70 mph in just 166 feet.
But when you look more closely at the numbers, paying more for the Trailblazer starts to make less and less sense. The Trax's longer wheelbase means it offers slightly more passenger room, and it even has a bit more cargo room with the seats folded, swallowing 21 carry-on suitcases in our testing compared with the Trailblazer's 19. Plus, the Trax's 1.2-liter engine is barely at a disadvantage next to the heavier Trailblazer's 1.3-liter. The Trax gets to 60 mph just 0.1 second slower and had a slightly better performance in our real-world 75-mph highway fuel-economy test (30 mpg, versus 29 mpg for the Trailblazer).
The price difference is what really makes the fight seem unfair. The Trax's base price sits at just $21,495, while a comparable Trailblazer is nearly $3000 dearer. The disparity grows when you start piling on options, as our loaded Trailblazer RS AWD—admittedly thick with desirable extras such as a panoramic sunroof and a power liftgate, neither of which the Trax offers—stickered for $34,470. A loaded Trax, on the other hand, barely crests $27,000.
VERDICT: The Trailblazer suffers from the existence of the more compelling Trax.
If you're merely looking to spend as little money as you can on a satisfying crossover-esque small car, the high-value Trax is a no-brainer. But if you're willing to shell out more for things like all-wheel drive and interior niceties, several more attractive options exist within the Trailblazer's price range, including the Mazda CX-30 and the Kia Seltos. That leaves the Trailblazer stuck in an awkward liminal space, with little to recommend it unless you manage to snag an attractive discount.
Specifications 2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS AWD
Vehicle Type: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $29,995/$34,470
Options: power panoramic sunroof, $1495; Convenience package (automatic climate control, rear type-A and -C USB ports, wireless device charging, 120-volt outlet, auto-dimming interior mirror, driver and passenger illuminated vanity mirrors, power liftgate), $1195; Adaptive Cruise and Sound package (7-speaker Bose sound system, adaptive cruise control), $995; Fountain Blue paint, $395; Driver Confidence package (blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, rear park assist), $395
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 12-valve inline-3, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 82 in3, 1338 cm3
Power: 155 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 174 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/torsion beam
Brakes, F/R: 11.8-in vented disc/10.4-in disc
Tires: Continental ProContact TX
245/45R-19 98H M+S TPC Spec 3178
Wheelbase: 103.9 in
Length: 173.5 in
Width: 71.2 in
Height: 65.7 in
Passenger Volume, F/R: 50/45 ft3
Cargo Volume, behind F/R: 54/25 ft3
Curb Weight: 3390 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 8.7 sec
1/4-Mile: 16.7 sec @ 83 mph
100 mph: 28.0 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 9.5 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 4.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 6.5 sec
Top Speed (C/D est): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 166 ft
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 23 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 29 mpg
75-mph Highway Range: 380 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 27/26/29 mpg
The Chevy Trax has until now been known for its snack-size proportions and affordable starting price. Just as quick as Chevy ended its production run, the Trax returns as an all-new model with a dazzling redesign, more space, and enhanced safety features. Every Trax is front-wheel driven and powered by a 137-hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It borrows that powertrain from the smaller Trailblazer; its style inspiration comes from the mid-size Blazer. The new Trax will continue to be built in GM’s South Korea plant, and its low starting price should make it the third-cheapest crossover on the market, behind the subcompact Kia Soul and Hyundai Venue. The Trax is scheduled to arrive in the spring of 2023.
What's New for 2024?
After a brief hiatus, the Chevy Trax is scheduled to reappear sometime in spring, 2023 as a thicker crossover with more standard features than before. New inside and out, the Trax has a longer wheelbase with more rear legroom and increased cargo capacity. The Trax is now offered in five trim levels rather than just two. Chevy uses the 137-hp turbocharged three-cylinder from the Trailblazer this time around, giving the Trax 18 fewer horsepower than the previous model—a significant reduction when you have only 155 ponies to start with.
The Chevy Trax offers some promising extras without breaking the bank. The LT is the sweet spot between affordability and features. The LT comes with a big 11.0-inch infotainment touchscreen and remote start, and we’d spend the extra cash for the optional heated front seats and steering wheel. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard on LT and up, which makes navigation and playing music from your smartphone a breeze.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Every Chevrolet Trax is powered by a 137-hp 1.2-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It’s the same powertrain under the hood of the Chevy Trailblazer. This is the only powertrain, and it’s front-wheel drive only. While the Trax is somewhat larger in size than the Trailblazer, the last Trailblazer we tested reached 60 mph in a patience-demanding 9.4 seconds, but it was all-wheel drive. We expect the Trax’s performance to be about the same when we eventually test it.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA hasn’t rated the 2024 Chevy Trax’s fuel economy yet; we’ll update this section as soon as they do. We’ll also plan to take the Trax on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route to test its real-world efficiency. For reference, the front-drive Trailblazer the new Trax shares its powertrain with is rated for 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. We expect the Trax to be able to either match those estimates or be slightly below them due to its larger size. For more information about the Trax’s fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The new Chevy Trax has a completely redesigned interior. Its driver-facing infotainment screen and climate controls are neatly placed, and the rest of the interior is made up from the unexceptional materials expected in this affordable segment. The new Trax has a longer wheelbase than before, which has resulted in about three inches of additional rear legroom and more cargo space. While tech luxuries such as remote start, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a sunroof are trim-dependent, these features help liven up an otherwise corporate interior.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Chevy gives the Trax LS and 1RS trims an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen as standard equipment, which is already a larger unit that what was previously offered on the fanciest version of the previous generation. An 11.0-inch infotainment touchscreen comes on trims LT and up and includes an 8.0-inch gauge cluster. This driver command center controls much of the new Trax tech such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an available wireless phone charger, and WiFi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every Trax comes standard with the Chevy Safety Assist driver-assistance suite. For more information about the Trax's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Standard lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Available adaptive cruise control
Although it wears the Equinox nameplate, the 2024 Chevrolet Equinox EV has little else in common with that compact SUV. The differences start with its powertrain, which swaps gasoline power for electrons. The Equinox EV's exterior styling blends futuristic touches with more traditional crossover design cues, and it looks pretty cool. The entry-level front-wheel-drive powertrain is 210 ponies strong and is said to provide around 250 miles of driving per charge. Unlike the smaller Bolt EUV, all-wheel drive is an option on the Equinox EV, and it gooses power to a perkier 290 horsepower. Uplevel models come with a larger battery pack that can extend the range to up to 300 miles, although opting for all-wheel drive reduces that estimate somewhat.
What's New for 2024?
The Equinox EV will be an all-new electric model when it joins the Chevrolet lineup in fall 2023 as a 2024 model.
We expect the Equinox EV to start at around $30,000 for the base 1LT model, but upgrading to the front-wheel-drive 2LT seems like the way to go. It adds a larger battery pack and carries a 300-mile estimated driving range, not to mention several additional features that most buyers will find desirable. Such items include heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, fancier 19-inch wheels, and roof rails.
EV Motor, Power, and Performance
Front-wheel-drive Equinox EVs come with a single electric motor that makes 210 horsepower, but opting for the optional all-wheel-drive system ups power to 290 ponies. We haven’t driven the Equinox EV yet, but we’d wager that the front-wheel-drive powertrain will be enough for most drivers, especially given the immediate power delivery that’s typical of electric motors and will likely give the SUV a perky demeanor around town. The smaller Bolt EUV, for instance, makes 10 horsepower less from its single onboard motor but still managed a respectable 6.8-second run to 60 mph at our test track. When we get a chance, we’ll test both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the Equinox and update this story with the results.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
Base-level Equinox EV models come with a smaller battery pack than the rest of the lineup and carry a range estimate of 250 miles per charge. All others get a larger battery which can provide up to 300 miles of range, although going with all-wheel drive drops the estimated range down to 280 on those trims. All models come with DC fast-charging capability, and Chevrolet says that can add 70 miles of range to the battery in as little as 10 minutes.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA hasn’t released fuel economy ratings for the Equinox EV yet, and we don’t expect to have that information from the government until closer to the SUV’s launch. Once we get a chance, we’ll take the Equinox EV on our 75-mph highway fuel economy route to test its efficiency and range. For more information about the Equinox EV’s fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Although the Equinox EV’s cargo capacity isn’t quite as capacious at 57 cubic feet with the rear seat stowed, the rest of the interior feels about as roomy as the gasoline-powered model. Inside, buyers will find a digital dashboard similar to that of the recently revealed Silverado EV and styling themes that mirror the Bolt EV hatchback and Bolt EUV crossover. Base models are fairly basic and lack even power-adjustable front seats, but moving up to the 2LT, 3LT, and RS trims unlocks plenty of features including heated seats, power seats, a sunroof, dual-zone climate control, and more. Opt for the 2RS and 3RS models and you can order the saucy Adrenaline Red interior theme.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Equinox EV comes with an 11.0-inch digital gauge display with a secondary touchscreen for infotainment. In the 1LT model, that infotainment display is 11.0 inches but a larger 17.0-inch screen is optional on 2LT and 2RS models and standard on the 3LT and 3RS. Chevrolet hasn’t released a full list of standard and optional features yet, but we expect to see wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard across the lineup with uplevel models getting in-dash navigation and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
All models will ship with basic driver-assistance features as standard, including automated emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlamps, and lane-keeping assist. For buyers seeking the most up-to-date tech, the Equinox EV will be offered with GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system. For more information about the Equinox EV’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
Available adaptive cruise control with hands-free driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Chevrolet provides standard coverage limits for the Equinox EV’s electric powertrain components. It also includes the first maintenance visit, but overall coverage doesn't come close to that of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
Complimentary maintenance covers one maintenance visit
Electric components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles
In many ways, the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV can be considered a fresh look at what it could mean to be a truck going forward. Developed as an EV from the ground up and not constrained by a traditional pickup truck design that separates the cab from the bed, Chevy envisioned new ways to package the people and the utility in the all-new Silverado EV. This new pickup sits somewhere between the redesigned 2022 Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Hummer EV in terms of looks and function but also delivers its own take on a highly functional and modular experience wrapped in high style. You can read all about the exciting new 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV here.
In the range of Chevrolet's Silverad model year 2022, there is also a ZR2 version focused on off-road.
The statement said the Silverado ZR2 will provide "high performance capability in a wide range of drive settings - on and off road."
The 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 received, among other things, a refined front end, a modified front bumper, additional protective elements, 18-inch wheels, 33-inch off-road tires, modified suspension, higher ground clearance (284 mm) and Terrain Mode driving.
The 2022 Silverado will otherwise appear on the US market this fall, with more modern interior styling, along with a redesigned front panel, better quality materials and a new 13.4-inch infotainment system.
For the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado ZR2, a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 426HP and 624 Nm is planned.
How does America’s second-best-selling pickup satisfy in Rally Sport Truck guise?
Chevrolet sold 594,094 Silverado pickup trucks in America last year. Again, that's last year—you know, the bad one with the global pandemic. Also, General Motors will hate me for mentioning this, but since the two vehicles are virtually identical, we really ought to toss in the 253,016 Sierras GMC managed to move in 2020. Grand total: 847,110 trucks. I mention these massive sales figures because I always get a bit nervous when reviewing a product that sells in such bulk. Porsche sold 8,839 examples of the 911 last year. That's a number I can wrap my head around, and maybe say something that will affect the numbers. One man's opinion about the second-best-selling vehicle (Ford's F-Series total in 2020 was 787,372 units) in the United States of America? I'm throwing a pebble into the proverbial ocean. You know what? I'm still gonna try, dammit.
Materials And Design
This Chevy is a handsome fellow. Our test truck's black paint with red accents (the latter being part of the $3,280 Redline Edition option package) seriously pops. Full-size trucks are massive these days, and most of the visual mass is concentrated on their grilles. The Silverado RST wears this facial weight well, managing to look aggressively thick yet sporty. The Ram 1500 looks downright dowdy by comparison, whereas the Ford F-150 is just plain. Sure, the Chevy has strange, sideways-U daytime running lights, but the rest of its front-end styling is solid, especially the black bowtie badge smartly framed in chrome trim. There's little to note on the rest of the Silverado's exterior except for the crucial fact that the steps cut into the rear bumper are still the smartest, best way to access the bed of these hulking half-ton trucks. Yes, even better than Chevy's overly complex transforming tailgate.
Inside the Silverado, everything comes crashing to a halt. Look, the competition sells trucks with nicer interiors. That's just the way it is. What angers and upsets me about that fact is that it's no secret! Ford and Ram combined deliver more than one million pickup trucks a year with better interiors. Everyone knows this to be the case, and yet GM does little about it. Being even more frank, I'm a perennial MotorTrend Truck of the Year judge. I can attest to the fact that the Chevy Silverado's substandard interior has knocked it out of contention for the golden calipers. Twice.
What's Under The Hood?
The mechanicals are better, and the Silverado sure has a great engine. We all know EVs are the future of not just General Motors, but pickup trucks, too. But, man, this V-8 is a honey. It's big, at 6.2 liters of displacement, and delivers 420 eager horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. Cylinder deactivation means that the pushrod small-block can run around as a 3.1-liter four-banger part of the time, as well, in a nod toward efficiency. I've probably used the following quote from Bob Lutz more than any other in my career but, "Americans buy horsepower but drive torque." Chevy has done such a masterful job coupling this mighty V-8 to the jointly developed Ford/GM 10-speed automatic transmission. There are certain cars where it just feels good when you push down on the go pedal. This truck, with this powertrain, is one such vehicle.
Interestingly, the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 in the Ford F-150 makes 500 lb-ft of torque (and 400 hp), but because of both a touch of turbo lag and the fact that Chevy is better at programming the 10-speed, the Blue Oval truck doesn't feel as quick nor as powerful. Also, the big 6.2-liter beats up on the numbers put out by Ram's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which pips out "just" 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. Even though the American wing of Stellantis has shoved its 6.4-liter V-8 into everything from the Dodge Chargers to Keurig coffee pod machines, it's not available on a 1500 pickup. (That said, there is an eTorque version of the Hemi that adds a supplemental 130 lb-ft of electric torque.) One more thing about GM's 6.2-liter: It sounds phenomenal.
The Driving Experience
Looking at the test numbers, the 5,420-pound Chevy is pretty quick. It pulls from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and covers the quarter mile in 14 seconds flat at 99.5 mph. I used to own a Subaru WRX that was slower than that. If you're a pickup-truck-drag-racing kind of person, know that the lighter, 5,340-pound Ford is a touch quicker, hitting 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and dusting off the quarter in 13.9 seconds at 99.8 mph. Not much, but quicker is quicker. The big-boned Ram (5,960 pounds) truly lags, needing 6.6 seconds to hit 60 mph and a full 15 seconds to do the quarter mile, travelling at 93.4 mph. The Silverado definitively loses the braking contest, requiring a longish 133 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph. The Ford uses 123 feet, whereas the Ram needs just 121. I'm not sure what we gain from putting full-size pickup trucks around our figure eight handling course (they all do poorly while killing their front tires), but the Chevy was the fleetest at 27.5 seconds, beating the F-150 by 0.1 second. The Ram was a distant third, requiring 28.8 seconds.
Subjectively, I liked how the Silverado drove when tackling twisty canyon roads. Dare I call it sporty? I dare. Would I—could I—use the word sporty to describe either the Ford or the Ram? No. However, that's not the common use case for a pickup, and the Chevy's ride quality trailed that of the excellently tuned Ram. When unloaded, you were fully aware there was nothing in the bed. The same is true of a Ford F-150, and both the Ford and the Chevy use leaf springs to suspend the live rear axle, whereas the superior-riding Ram has coil springs. Of the two with the old-school tech, the Chevy's ride is a bit more pleasant than the Ford's.
One of the reasons given for sticking with seemingly ancient suspension technology is that leaf springs are better for towing. Fair play, if you're actually purchasing the truck to do some work—or at least tow your party boat—as you want as much capability as possible. The Chevy can tow quite a bit, 9,300 pounds, which is more than the similarly equipped competitors. On paper, at least. With a 7,600-pound loaded horse trailer hanging off the hitch (that's 82 percent of the RST's capacity), the reality was quite different.
The big V-8 and its hill of lag-free torque had no problem moving the horse-laden trailer. However, as experienced horse hauler and senior editor Aaron Gold explained, "Unfortunately, the Chevy isn't as stable as other trucks I've towed with. I could feel the horses moving and the trailer trying to shove the truck around on steep downgrades, and the brakes felt severely taxed. The Chevrolet is a reminder there's more to towing ability than power. "
Where does this leave us? The 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 RST is a good-looking full-size pickup truck with a great engine and some decent performance chops. Towing horses isn't the truck's forte, but despite what decades of marketing has told us, plenty of people buy trucks simply because they like driving trucks. If you're one of those people, I'd almost recommend you buy yourself a Chevy truck similar to this one. Why almost? That interior is just a drag, especially if you're not explicitly buying the Silverado as a work truck. Chevy comes close to delivering a satisfying pickup with this RST, but that's the same story it's been for far too long.
The four-cylinder 1LE delivers amazing handling and no messy tire smoke.
It seems that nearly every review of the Chevrolet Camaro compares it to the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, and with good reason—these three nameplates are historic foes going back 50 years. Well, Constant Reader, that won't happen today, because the subject of this test is the four-cylinder 2021 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE, an endangered species that combines the Camaro's smallest engine with the SS model's suspension.
Truth be told, a read of the spec sheet had us thinking that this Camaro's natural enemies might be sport compacts like the Hyundai Veloster N and Volkswagen Golf R. Its 275-hp 2.0-liter turbo I-4, six-speed manual, and emphasis on handling over tire-smoking power would put it in the ballpark, we thought, but a couple weeks of real-world driving disavowed us of this notion. The Camaro 1LE has a very different character than a hot hatch. But it also has a very different character than the brawnier Camaros we've driven. We came away with likes, dislikes, a lot of respect—and a newfound notion that a Camaro equipped like this one really is its own unique thing.
First, a little more about the Camaro 1LE. This is a track performance package that combines FE3 suspension components from the V-8-powered SS with four-piston Brembo front brakes, a mechanical limited-slip differential, a 3.27:1 final drive ratio, a short-throw shifter, and coolers for the engine oil, transmission, and rear differential. The V-6 Camaro 1LE also gets an extended engine cooling system and dual-mode exhaust. The 1LE's exterior elements include a black hood, black lightweight wheels, Goodyear Eagle F1 run-flat summer tires, and (strangely) RS badging.
Turbo Four Is Small But Potent
As mentioned, our Camaro 1LE had the 2.0-liter turbo engine, which is the Camaro's smallest but not exactly its least potent. Although the 3.6 liter V-6 beats it on horsepower, with 335 to the 2.0T's 275, the four-cylinder's 295 lb-ft out-torques the six by 11 lb-ft. That said, the 2.0T is slower to 60 mph than either the V-8 (4.1 seconds with an automatic transmission) or the V-6 (5.0 flat with a manual). But a 5.6-second 0-60 time means the 2.0T hardly needs to apologize for its small displacement.
We found we could get quicker acceleration times by launching ourselves (revving to 4,000 rpm before dropping the clutch) rather than using launch mode. The no-lift-shift feature—in which you can keep the accelerator pinned to the floor while you shift gears, and the ECU will keep the revs where they need to be—proved to be a big help, as did the racing-style shift indicator on the head-up display.
One quirk of the four-cylinder Camaro 1LE is its ridiculously tall gearing. Sixth gear is so high that it literally lugs the engine at 65 mph. Short of investing in a new gearbox, we suppose Chevrolet could fit a shorter final drive and improve the Camaro's sprinting ability, but then you'd run out of revs in first gear way too quickly. The gear spread and speed ranges feel perfect just the way they are, so we can live with a sixth gear that is only for cruising on superhighways. We rarely shifted above fifth and still managed better than 20 mpg.
1LE Means This Camaro Can Handle
But the 1LE is all about handling, and it was out on our favorite twisty roads that our affection for this particular Camaro really blossomed—and the differences between it and our favorite hot hatchbacks started to emerge. A good sport compact attacks the curves with a big, stupid grin, but the Camaro wears the concentrated grimace of a professional. It's not joyless, just focused.
Like a good hot hatch, the Camaro's limits are high but accessible. It grips with heroic tenacity, though we were amused to note that on the skidpad, it was grippier in right turns (1.03 g average) than left turns (0.98 g average), something left-to-right weight distribution (49.9/50.1 percent) doesn't seem to explain—especially with the driver further loading the left side. Out on the open road, if you get cute and try to provoke the Camaro 1LE, it'll let go in an instant, especially if the tires are cold—but the telepathic connection between driver and car is so good that you'll likely have it gathered up just as quickly.
One of the key arguments in favor of the four-cylinder 1LE over other Camaro models is reduced weight on the nose, though we're not sure there's much real-world difference. Our test car weighed precisely 100 pounds less than the last V-6 manual Camaro we tested, but front/rear weight distribution was identical at 52%/48%. It's a different story compared to the V-8, which carries 54 percent of its weight on the front wheels.
But whatever conversations are happening between the Camaro 1LE and Sir Isaac Newton, what the driver experiences is some kind of magic. Turn-in is buttery-smooth, and once in the curves the feedback from the steering is wonderful, with the front tires serving as your eyes and ears on the road surface. Rolling out of a turn, the steering does its best to guide you back to straight and true as you experience another benefit of the four-cylinder engine: You can open the throttle wide with no worries of the rear tires breaking loose and introducing an unwanted variable into your driving equation. Drag race with the V-8, but if your ideal road is curvy rather than straight, the 2.0T is the engine you want.
That is, most of the time.
Here's the problem: As much as we enjoyed, liked, and admired the four-cylinder Camaro 1LE on the curvy roads, it wasn't the fun-loving daily driver we were hoping for.
We all know the Camaro's built-in foibles: terrible outward visibility, awkward ingress and egress (exacerbated by our test car's $1,595 Recaro bucket seats), a strictly theoretical back seat, and a pint-sized trunk. That's not what we're talking about. And although it's easy to bag on the Camaro's cabin, we can't fault the ergonomics, driving position, or control layout. The touchscreen infotainment system is straightforward and easy to learn, and we love the climate controls—the idea of turning the chrome rings surrounding the vents into temperature controls is pure Joe Cool genius.
Our problem is that, unlike our favorite hot hatchbacks, the day-to-day driving experience is a bit, well, bleak. The 1LE isn't offered with an automatic transmission, which we love—but even for die-hard stick-shifters like us, the Camaro's heavy clutch and intractable shifter crowd the line between cheer and chore.
Sound, Or Lack Thereof
But the turbo Camaro's worst sin is its awful engine note. We know that a four-cylinder engine can't generate the deep rumble of a V-8, but with this 2.0T, it's as if GM's engineers didn't even try to make it sound good. Below 4,500 rpm all it can manage is an insipid, uninspired buzz that is too characterless to be called flatulent. Seriously, we cannot overstate how awful this engine sounds. We attempted to convey this to a car-enthusiast friend who expressed disbelief that any engine could sound as bad as we described—until we took him for a ride.
It's only in the top 1,000 rpm or so of its rev range that the Camaro's engine shows some aural promise, but given the flat torque characteristics and tall gearing, there's rarely any reason to rev it into the stratosphere. Come on, Chevrolet—Honda has been building awesome-sounding four-cylinders for decades. Even the Hyundai Veloster N makes better noises. We're giving you detention until you can work out how to make this thing sound like what it is—an honest-to-goodness performance engine.
Herein lies our one major issue with the four-cylinder Camaro 1LE: Not to keep dragging Hyundai into this, but the Veloster N is good fun whether you're tearing up the curves or running your kids to school. The Camaro is great when it's running hard, but we want it to be that much fun all of the time.
Would that make it a better car? It would be a more engaging one, to be sure, but perhaps that isn't what Chevrolet had in mind. The 1LE is, after all, meant to be a track package. What the four-cylinder Camaro 1LE does best is prove that the Camaro is truly a multitalented vehicle. It's not just a muscle car, and it's not quite a sport compact. Instead, the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro 1LE Turbo is truly its own thing—and that thing is pretty darn talented.
No… It's not a click-bait title, but this short story is so shifted at its core that it was not clear to me who was still in "Aprilililili mode".
Basically, here are short stories about this American nebula…
At the beginning of this and still current in 2021, Chevrolet went public with a somewhat strange announcement.
And on that occasion it was said that "Due to restrictions in California and Washington relating to copper brake pads, customers in those states cannot order Camaro SS, ZL1 and 1LE for delivery after January 1, 2021."
All of this was nicely and concretely stated and signed by Mr. Kevin M. Kelly as Senior Communications Manager at General Motors.
And the reason for this beautiful announcement comes down to one of the most silly studies and assumptions that have ever emerged in the world of cars. Because according to some research conducted within these two states, the Chevrolet Camaro in its SS, ZL and 1LE derivatives releases copper into the atmosphere from its brake pads. And then that copper can come in contact with water surfaces and bother salmon.
Yes… You read that right: Camaro are not sold in California and Washington because of salmon.
Because of faking salmon!
The explanation of this theory states that by wearing brake pads, copper is released into the atmosphere, and some of these particles end up in waterways. So as copper itself is toxic to salmon, it has prompted lawmakers to limit the use of copper in brake pads. Or to simply stop offering models that have copper as a component in their brake pads. That is, models whose brake pads have more than 5% copper within the total ratio of the materials of which they are made.
So as the Chevrolet Camaro in its derivatives uses copper as a component of which the brake pads are composed, so the Camaro in question from 1 January 2021 may not be sold in these two above-mentioned countries.
But that's not all.
Because they are Americans after all, so more dramaturgy is needed for this story…
Namely, with the exception of copper present in the brake pads, it is badly considered and the abolition of certain types of tires is also not in line with waterways and salmon that swim on them. Because some of the tires use the antioxidant designation 6PPD-Quinone. And that bad antioxidant is responsible for the streams and rivers where it ends up during tire wear on a paved surface.
So now I'm just waiting to see the list of manufacturers and models of tires that kill salmon with their particles. And then I go to support the murder of a few more and buy a can containing at least part of it. Because it is as meaningless a reaction to this kind of news as the news itself is the meaninglessness of today's life on the road.
And it is only a matter of time before eco-mentalists in our region will realize that, for example, driving a Golf "deuce" poses a danger to the development of pulmonary alveoli on salamanders. Or that buying cheaper winter tires negatively affects the sex life of earthworms.
And then we are again followed by bans, regulations and penalties which, like the last jerks, will fill the state budget.
Wonderful, isn't it ?!
The late 1960s were years of great change. Freedom was conquered on many fronts, from Paris all the way to the moon, and on the roads of America, freedom was conquered with the squeak of wide tires and the roar of V8 engines. Chevrolet's flagship has entered its second generation, and it has changed drastically during the mentioned years.
The Chevrolet Corvette C3 was introduced as a 1968 model based on the Mako Shark II concept, and all the drama of that design study was transferred right to the production model. The perfect balance of sharp character lines and curvature created another silhouette to remember and the Corvette was thus again the most attractive car America has ever seen.
Over half a century later, the C3 Corvette is still a dream car no matter which side of the Atlantic that dream is dreamed of. A few years ago, one such dream came true when the 1972 Corvette C3 arrived on an overseas ship and landed in Serbia.
"And how come you don't want her?" Kiki described his dream car quite briefly. However, the road to its final realization did not begin with turning the key on the perfect car. Although it looked great in the photos, when it arrived, this Corvette revealed a large number of shortcomings that led Kiki on the path of a two-year restoration. In the process, he did most of the work with his son, which gave the Stingray project an indelible personal stamp. As Kiki explained to us, the Corvette arrived in Serbia in black and with a 454 V8 engine, which after extensive improvements had as many as 680 horsepower.
In the end, why a rocket? The Chevrolet Corvette was an icon of space racing and it was in this golden color that it was given to astronauts from the Apollo 12 mission. The fact that it looks, accelerates, roars and thunders just like a real space shuttle is just an addition to the claim that the Corvette is actually a spaceship the American way.