OH SO WRONG, THAT IT’S OH SO RIGHT: 2019 CHEVROLET CAMARO 2.0T MANUAL
The idealism of a muscle car automatically requires eight moving cylinders – even removing two of those and curb side enthusiasts snicker at the very sound of what they expected to be a brawny note. So then the idealism of slapping four single pistons under the hood of what should have eight is about as wrong as wasting a cold beer on the Fourth of July. And yet, as we discovered with the Ford Mustang EcoBoost, there is something oh so right with the new turbocharged enactments. A few years ago, General Motors took their crack at the turbo-four calling card when it came to the ominous Chevrolet Camaro; however, unlike Ford calling their turbo a premium option, the Camaro’s new found 2.0T makes for a new entry engine to their widespread muscle car.
It only makes sense that the new turbo-four starts at the bottom as it’s see a gratified 275-horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque whereas its naturally aspirated brethren 3.6-liter V-6 is rated at 355-horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque or the enthusiast preferred 6.2-liter V-8 rated for 455-horsepower and 455 lb-ft of torque. And we won’t even bother getting into the supercharged V-8 with over two and half times the amount of power as the four-cylinder – as such is the cost too seeing that the Camaro turbo-four starts at $25,995. As such with the naturally aspirated variants, the turbocharged engine comes standard with a six-speed manual and correct number of pedals on the floor whereas the eight-speed automatic comes as a $1495 option.
Unlike the Ford Mustang however, Chevrolet isn’t punishing their consumers for going with the lesser, affluent route. The Camaro, in its turbocharged format can be optioned up to a premium stature, as such with our test subject featured here. Bumping up into the mid-grade 2LT trim, our Camaro starts at $27,500 and is sizably equipped with leather trimmed, power adjustable, heated & ventilated seats – dual-zone climate control and 7-inch touch screen infotainment with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. Increasing its desirability, ours also featured the $4500 1LE Track Performance Package with 20-inch black painted forged wheels and brembo brakes – satin black hood wrap – performance suspension – front splinter – heavy-duty engine cooling – limited-slip differential and suede-wrapped flat bottom steering wheel and shift knob.
Running through the configuration, there are hundreds of ways to modify the Camaro to make it extra special to you, from upgrading to the Bose sound system with an 8-inch touch screen to having RECARO performance seats to even all the different available vinyl stickers. Seeing our Camaro with the 1LE Trac-Pack here, provides the right guise that no one is the wiser to its entry-level persona. Encompassing a menacing defiance for 2019, it’s needless to say carries a fierce presence to its bearings considering what lies under the hood.
Despite having minimum number of cylinders available, the turbo-four is still one quick cookie. Hitting 60 mph from a standstill takes just over five seconds. Transitioning the drive modes from Touring into Sport or Track influences the driving characteristics to be much harsher as the suspension gets stiffer and the steering gets tighter, the clutch gets heavier and the brakes just never seem to stop doing what they do best. On a curvy mountain road north of Los Angeles, Track mode feels competitive in the sense that this turbo-four could possibly be a fun track-day car – grip is constantly at our service and the steering provides such excellent feedback we almost forgot this was a muscle car.
However, the roads around Los Angeles, California aren’t always paved as well as those back-country roads and with our 1LE Trac-Pack incorporating staggered 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires – around town, we left the Camaro’s driving function in Touring to maximizing its most comfort without sacrificing its sporty credentials. Transitioning between gears provided an athletic balance of comfort and competitiveness – the throws are short and at 5,600 revolutions a snort from the exhaust sends a subtle reminder to shift up even though there’s a 7,000-rpm red-line. Our only beef would be is that there is no Active Rev-matching capability as it is featured on the SS and ZL1.
Upon entering, it feels very muscle car-like – blind spots are just about everywhere and we could barely see out the rear window – which is fine, we don’t need to see the police behind us anyway. Having gone with the standard seats, they are plenty supportive and comfortable as they wrap our more to love body type firmly – going with the RECARO seats would only suggest that you prefer your car to be as comfortable as riding inside a clothes dryer. However, when it comes to rear seat – might as well tell everyone it’s only a two-seater. Formatting the dash around the driver, everything is well-designed and in place of the drivers reach. With a simplistic form and function, there was no need for extravagant design and use of material. And we still can’t get over the nifty way of turning the air vents to adjust the dual-zone climate control system.
After averaging 24 miles to gallon on premium fuel and spending more hours in LA traffic than our entire weekend trip had combined – one doesn’t have to feel like the lesser opting for the turbo-four on the Camaro. At $32,995, it should feel oh so wrong, but its oh so right.
Model: 2019 CHEVROLET CAMARO 2.0T
Starting Price: $25,995
As Tested: $32,995 (2LT W/ 1LE TRACK PERFORMANCE PACKAGE)
Engine: 2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 275-HORSEPOWER / 295 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: 6-SPEED MANUAL
Drivetrain: REAR-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 20-CITY / 30-HWY / 23-COMBINED
(AS TESTED: 23.4 MPG COMBINED)
Fuel Range: 400 MILES (REAL WORLD: 450 MILES)
0-60 MPH: ±6.0 SECONDS
These are some great shots, and I agree – even though the 8-cyl exhaust burble is absent, the performance numbers don’t lie and this is one compelling muscle car.
It’s shockingly good. And that fact that cars like this are still available in a manual makes it even better. V-8’s are always the crowd pleaser (or eater) But as a daily, this 4-cyl is the way to go.