Chevy vs. Ford vs. Dodge.
For decades, these three brands have battled one another for the hearts and souls of American performance car buyers, and today the war is waged with unheard of amounts of firepower and technology.
What once were remedial examples of engineering stuffed with bigger engines are now outright sports cars, and in top-specification trim they easily cost just as much as luxury sport coupes from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. At such prices, what they lack in terms of brand prestige and sophistication they more than make up for with downright stunning performance.
Chevrolet isn’t taking its foot off the gas, either. The freshened 2019 Chevy Camaro clearly demonstrates the automaker’s desire to dominate the recently updated Ford Mustang and aging yet appealing Dodge Challenger.
Chevy blends form and function with new styling changes
With the new 2019 Chevrolet Camaro lineup, designers seek to provide greater differentiation between the car’s various model lines.
All Camaros have reworked front and rear styling. The popular LS and LT trims feature a more traditional appearance. The Chevy bowtie emblem sits in the middle of the upper grille, and the body paint color wraps around the car’s face separating the upper and lower grille elements.
Around back, a revised bumper and new LED taillights identify the 2019 Camaro. The taillights have a new lighting signature that places greater emphasis on Chevrolet’s heritage of dual-element designs.
When equipped with the RS Appearance Package, the Camaro adopts a sportier appearance. Specific RS-design elements include a polished black grille, shiny lower grille accents, LED headlights with a new LED running light signature, 20-inch aluminum wheels, dark-tinted rear taillight lenses, and a rear diffuser panel.
Moving up to the 2019 Camaro SS, this V8-powered member of the family gets a newly aggressive “Flowtie” front-end treatment. The Chevy bowtie moves to the middle of the bumper, which is blacked out in the center, ostensibly to maximize airflow and cooling. The SS also gets hood extractor vents, fascia vents, and air curtains to improve aerodynamics, reduce lift at high speed, and enhance component cooling.
Unique LED headlights and running lights, as well as specific 20-inch aluminum wheels, dark-tinted taillight lenses, and for models equipped with the optional Dual Mode Exhaust system, a rear diffuser panel round out the changes for the 2019 Camaro SS.
For the record, the Camaro ZL1 retains its front styling from the previous year, but does adopt the same rear-end changes as the Camaro SS.
Next-generation infotainment tech debuts
There’s more to love than looks, and Chevrolet hasn’t forgotten to upgrade other aspects of the 2019 Camaro.
Inside, the car gets a next-generation infotainment system. Evidently, Chevy is dropping the MyLink branding for this system, now referencing the technology as “Infotainment 3.” A 7-inch touchscreen display is standard, with an available 8-inch display for the mid-grade and top-shelf versions.
Designed to mimic the look and operation of a smartphone, Infotainment 3 includes improved voice recognition, new apps, over-the-air software updates, and an upgraded Performance Data Recorder. Navigation is an option, and you can expect the same features and functions that were available previously to continue here, such as OnStar subscription services, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection, Teen Driver monitoring and report card technology, and more.
The Camaro’s standard reversing camera is a new design for 2019. It is now equipped with a digital high-definition camera offering an improved view to the rear of the car. New for 2019, an available Rear Camera Mirror is optional for the 2SS and ZL1 trims, providing an unobstructed 180-degree view of what’s behind the Camaro at any given time.
On the driver assistance and collision avoidance front, Chevrolet is offering a forward collision warning system as a new option.
New Camaro Turbo 1LE makes performance more accessible
Aside from a new 10-speed automatic transmission for the Camaro SS, which includes launch control and line-lock “tire warming” capabilities, Chevrolet has announced no changes to the car’s mechanical arsenal.
Rather, the big news on this front is a new Camaro Turbo 1LE variant that offers track-ready performance at a more accessible price.
Equipped with the Camaro’s standard turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which supplies a healthy 275 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, the Turbo 1LE is equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox and the same suspension and braking upgrades as the V6 1LE.
The turbocharged engine also puts less weight over the Camaro’s nose, improving weight distribution to a near perfect 50:50 balance, the better to maximize grip from the standard 20-inch wheels wrapped in 245/40 front and 275/35 rear summer performance tires.
Given that this car is designed for track-day duty, the Driver Mode Selector also gets Track and Competition driving modes. The Camaro Turbo 1LE also has a matte-black hood that reduces glare while driving, and the interior features a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in simulated suede. Recaro performance seats are an option.
A favorite is better than ever
Built on the same platform that is tucked under the Cadillac ATS and CTS, two luxury sport sedans engineered to take on the best from Germany, the Chevrolet Camaro is a terrific car to drive.
From its tidy size and useless back seat to its blistering acceleration and athletic handling, it is a sports car in its own right. Based on my own experience driving various iterations of the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger, the Chevrolet is my favorite.
And now, it’s better than ever.
First Pictures: 2019 Chevrolet Camaro
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