When it comes to evaluating the wisdom of major purchases, the dynamic involved often boils down to the classic question of "need" versus "want." Staking out a clearly defined and heavily defended position on the "want" end of this spectrum is the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro.
Between the nameplate's storied high-performance history and this fifth-generation coupe and convertible's muscle-bound styling and gutsy engines, it doesn't take long to figure out this is a car that has very little to do with need. Even though the current V6-powered base models manage to return decent EPA fuel economy estimates of up to 22 mpg combined, the car's limited outward visibility, cramped rear seat and small trunk make it downright difficult to come up with rational reasons for buying a Camaro.
Then again, that's pretty much been the case for the 40-plus years since the first Camaro rolled off the assembly line in response to Ford's spunky new 1965 Mustang. From the beginning, this has been a car with a strong emotional appeal. Now, that attraction can be downright visceral as well, thanks to beasts like the 580-horsepower V8 under the hood of the ZL1 model, an engine that enables it to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in a supercarlike 4.4 seconds. Alternately, there's the race-oriented Z/28 and its high-performance hardware and stripped-out interior.
Just as it was back in Detroit's original muscle-car era, the Camaro has a short list of all-American rivals ready to duke it out for boulevard supremacy. The 2015 Dodge Challenger offers a lot more rear-seat legroom, plus the new Hellcat variant's 707-hp, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes even the mighty Camaro ZL1 look tame by comparison. The all-new 2015 Ford Mustang, meanwhile, sets new standards with its superior handling, more ergonomic interior and fuel-efficient turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The rear-wheel-drive 2015 Hyundai Genesis Coupe factors into the mix as well.
From our standpoint, the Challenger and Mustang are the superior and more desirable cars this year. But we also realize that buyers seriously considering the 2015 Chevy Camaro will ultimately want what they want. And, as people who understand the passions that cars like this can evoke, that's just fine by us.
Published: Monday, October 13, 2014