Test Drive: 2009 Chevy Camaro SS
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Story and photos by David Haueter

Amid the media hoopla surrounding hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles, the presence of the Chevy Camaro SS as a new car on the street seems like an anomaly. Powered by a ground-thumping 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 426hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, the Camaro SS is a throwback to the days when American muscle cars ruled the streets and has the looks to back up its performance. Camaro owners from forty or so years ago will recognize the new Camaro right away. The designers did a great job at keeping the best elements of the first generation Camaro from the late 1960's but have updated it with more modern mechanics and safety features.

The new Camaro SS looks so much like the classic that it's a little odd to see it wearing Pirelli tires with Brembo Brakes behind the wheels. This car gets a lot of attention out on the street too - from little boys that are drawn to it like a testosterone magnet (or maybe it's the Transformers fame) to Corvette owners, who wave or blink their lights in acknowledgement of the new Chevy muscle car. Inside, the retro theme carries over, though it's not as affective as the external design when it comes to details. For instance, the lights are controlled by a dial that is difficult to grip and turn, the door release handles are difficult to reach, and all the little climate control buttons grouped together are difficult to get used to.

On the plus side, we liked the selection of gauges in the Camaro SS, which include oil pressure and temperature, battery voltage and transmission temperature. When's the last time you drove a road car with a transmission temperature gauge? The shifter is also precise and the seats are supportive and comfortable. If you're over on the tall side, you'll definitely want to avoid the sunroof. Our test car had it, and at 6'5", my head was bumping and rubbing against the ceiling during the entire week I had the car. I was able to fit my two kids in the back and still have room to work the pedals, but it's not something you want to do for an extended trip. One negative thing about the exterior design of this car is that it makes it difficult to see out of, particularly in that blind spot toward the back half of the car.

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