2018 Chevrolet Camaro 2SS Coupe Hot Wheels Review

This thing is so not a toy


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Blistering acceleration, exotic car-worthy handling and steering, Big V8 muscle car burble is intoxicating, great sport seats, its shortcomings eclipsed by its sheer fun factor
Negatives: Horrible interior ergonomics, cheesy Hot Wheels badging, "arrest me" orange looks good but draws too much attention
Bottom Line: If it's American heritage muscle and childhood Hot Wheels memories you want, this is what you get, along with serious performance. This special edition Camaro 2SS is a serious blast to drive to the point where you ignore its interior imperfections.
The current Camaro is a wonder of a vehicle in higher performance trim levels, and though it carries some of the same ethos as Camaros of old, it certainly doesn't drive like them. Sure, the V8 muscle is still present, but the level of performance and handling have grown into something truly impressive. The addition of the Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary package is more of a bold novelty to signal the end of this generation. The package is one that's largely aesthetic and one the evokes childhood for some of us. We drove the 2SS with the big LT1 V8 engine along with the Hot Wheels package for a few days. Read on for the full details.
 

Driving Experience

9.8

 

It doesn't matter what color the Camaro 2SS comes in. This thing doesn't just pack serious firepower, it's truly dynamic to drive. No longer just a straight-line muscle car, the Camaro has become a sports coupe to reckon with.

Ride Quality: Our tester came with Magnetic Ride Control, which works wonderfully to adapt to driving conditions. The 2SS's ride is firm but still civilized in everyday driving.

Acceleration: The 2SS puts down its power authoritatively, hurling the car to 60 in barely over four seconds.

Braking: The big Brembos are excellent at stopping, and the pedal is progressive and properly firm.

Steering: The Camaro's steering is dead on perfect in terms of feel, effort, and precision. It's one of the best setups we've experienced.

Handling: The Camaro handles like it's on rails with no perceivable body roll and excellent control at all times. It feels balanced and composed even with all the anger under the hood.

Technology

8.7

 

The in-car technology in the Camaro is surprisingly good and somewhat unexpected in a muscle car. Though the Camaro really is about the driving experience and the muscle car experience, it's good to know that there's a good dose of 21st century tech.

Infotainment System: The 8" MyLink color touchscreen responds well to inputs and is remarkably easy to use. The rather extreme downward angle of the screen in order to prevent glare and washout from sunlight seems exceesive, though.

Controls: It's a bit of an ergonomic mess inside, but at least the climate controls and and audio controls have knobs and a clean line of buttons. The temp adjustment controls are actually on the HVAC vent rings, which are unique but easy to operate.

Styling

9

 

We love the exterior design of the Camaro, but the somewhat garish Hot Wheels paint job and badging make it a bit kitschy and juvenile, despite the fact that it probably caters to baby boomers who are nostalgic for childhood.

Front: The front end is a bit busy but still attractive. The whole fascia will change for 2019, but it remains menacing. It could go without the strange silver trim in the lower fascia.

Rear: The rear end is near perfect with quad pipes, slender but distinct taillights, and that optional spoiler looks great protruding from the rear decklid.

Profile: The small greenhouse, big 20" wheels, and long body give the side view presence and a pouncing-cat like profile. If only the Hot Wheels badging wasn't there.

Cabin: Though it's cleaner than the Mustang with whom it competes, it's a bit weird with huge HVAC vents that are placed too low, an unattractive steering wheel, and way too much orange inside thanks to the Hot Wheels package.

Comfort

8.8

 

The Camaro isn't high on the list of cars we expect to be comfortable, but it actually is, despite the fact that it can only really hold two adults. Driving this beast around all day is no problem thanks to some excellent seats.

Front Seats: The sport seats hug you and keep you in place but at the same time provide just the right amount of cushion. We imagine road trips being more than manageable.

Rear Seats: We didn't really fit in the tight quarters in back, but it looks like small children may barely make it in.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The Camaro is solidly built, and the only thing you really hear is the growl of the sonorous V8 engine. It sounds truly marvelous.

Visibility: Visibility is poor with mail slot like window height all around, and a hood and rear decklid that prevents you from telling where the car begins and ends.

Climate: There's plenty of cold air blowing out of the big vents. Unfortunately, it's right where your hand is on the manual shift knob, so you end up with some numb knuckles. The heated and ventilated seats are excellent.

Safety

7

 

The Camaro did decently in some crash tests, but it hasn't been tested by the federal government. The list of safety features is pretty good for a car of this nature.

IIHS Rating: It didn't nab the top safety scores, but it performed well, nabbing "good" in all tests except for the roof strength, which was "marginal".

NHTSA Rating: Not tested.

Standard Tech: The standard set in the 2SS includes a rear vision camera, Rear Park Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert.

Optional Tech: None.

Storage/Cargo

6

 

The interior doesn't present many small storage options, but the trunk is bigger than you think. Keep expectations low for cars like this, and you won't be disappointed.

Storage Space: The front occupants don't have a lot of accessible storage since the center stack has no cubbies or compartments. The center console has a small armrest compartment and cupholders. The door pockets are also very small.

Cargo Room: The trunk has 7.3 cubic feet of space, accessible through a small opening. At least it's enough for a three grocery bags. Fold down the rear seats, and you get 9.1 cubic feet.

Fuel Economy

5

 

There are no illusions of great fuel numbers with a small block V8 muscle car, and the Camaro 2SS definitely drink gas like there's no tomorrow. Couple it with the temptation to gun it every opportunity, and you have yourself a recipe for a serious fuel bill over time.

Observed: 14.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 171 miles

Driving Factors: We only had it for a few days, but we exploited it as much as we could within legal limits. We drove it in Race mode most of the time, which accounts for the poor mileage.

Audio

8.4

 

The upgraded Bose premium audio system is very good, but the size of the cabin doesn't really allow for a full sound experience. That being said, we did enjoy listening to the system's ample bass and distortion-free sound.



Final Thoughts

The Camaro 2SS really is our favorite muscle car thanks to a truly thrilling driving experience and the kind of engine sounds that make an auto journalist giddy. The color is a blessing and a curse. There are those bystanders who love looking at it, but it also makes you feel like a bit of an attention hog. The car is fast, excellent to take through curves, and it feels truly connected to the driver. If you can get past the color, the strange interior ergo, and limited visibility, it's hard to find a car that's more fun. We'd opt to ditch the Hot Wheels package, save some money, and get it in a paint color far less solar.
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