2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. Click image to enlarge

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General Motors Canada
Dodge Canada

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Reviews and photos by Paul Williams and Grant Yoxon

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2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS and 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T

Welcome to Autos’s new Made in Canada test-drive series, where we compare, where possible, pairs of vehicles that are built in Canada and compete in the same market segment. We’ll drive each of these vehicles for one-month, and generate a detailed description, driving impressions and conclusions concerning the vehicles we test. Paul Williams and Grant Yoxon are the lead writers.

What vehicles?

Direct competitors that compete in the same market segment are the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla; the Toyota RAV4 and the Chevrolet Equinox and the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. We’ll attempt to pair other “like” vehicles as they are made available, but if certain models don’t fit into a one-on-one comparison, we’ll test them independently, using the same approach throughout the series.

And when we do drive direct competitors, we’ll drive vehicles of similar specification and price, in order to compare “apples to apples.”

Our first pair to be test driven are the Chevrolet Camaro SS and Dodge Challenger R/T

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS. Click image to enlarge

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS
By Paul Williams

Built in Oshawa, Ontario, the Camaro is available in two SS trim levels: 1SS and 2SS. They both use an engine derived from the Corvette’s LS3, although notably the six-speed manual version (LS3) makes 26 more horsepower than six-speed automatic (L99). Our $41,065 (base 2SS) Rally Yellow Camaro SS is powered with a 6.2-litre V8 engine fitted to a six-speed LS3 manual transmission. So equipped, the engine makes 426-horsepower at 5900 rpm and 420 pound-feet of torque at 4600 rpm. The 2SS version adds creature comforts like Bluetooth, Boston Acoustics audio, heated seats, but doesn’t include additional performance equipment.

Optional equipment on our test example includes 20-inch polished aluminum wheels with Pirelli P-Zero tires ($540), Rally Sport package ($1,380), power sunroof with express open and venting ($1,195) and black hood and trunk lid stripes ($585). The as-tested price is $41,065.

The car is rear-wheel drive, like the original Camaro.

Paul’s initial impressions

2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Bumble-Bee Transformers, New York Auto Show
2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS Bumble-Bee Transformers, New York Auto Show. Click image to enlarge

I’m sure the striking design of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS would turn heads without the eye-popping Rally Yellow paint and black stripe kit. However, if you’ve already checked off the big wheels and the stripe package, you might as well keep going, right? “In for a penny…,” as they say.

In pictures, the Camaro SS can look almost like a toy, rather than a real car. Those who’ve seen the Transformers movie featuring the Camaro in Bumble Bee guise understand all about the look, as do fans of the original 1969 version which it liberally quotes. When you get up close, the new Camaro is like a wild concept car that’s been put straight into production, all attitude, swagger and show.

Well, not all: it does actually go as well. Put your foot into it and the Camaro roars to life, seemingly unleashing its horsepower all at once. The sense of power is palpable; guaranteed to increase the heart rate. In normal driving, however, it’s surprisingly docile.

Really, my first impression is that if you bought this car as a reward to yourself, you’d be entirely pleased with yourself.

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