With my old 98 Pontiac Sunfire GT on its last legs, I decided to start looking around for a new car. After many hours of online research, I narrowed my options down to one car: the new Chevrolet Camaro. Yesterday I went for some test drives with my brother.
I test drove the manual V8 first. I wanted to try the manual V6 first, but the first dealer we went to didn’t have one — the rest of their Camaros were automatics(!). I took the V8 out to the highway, then through a residential area a bit. After that, we went to another dealership and I tried the V6, then the V8 again immediately afterward.
I was just blown away by the V8. I’ve never driven a car with what much power before. And the rumbling engine is just awesome. It is just a BEAST! No matter how fast you are going, it just wants to go faster. I took it up to 165 km/h on the highway and it still wanted to keep going.
Seriously, it feels like you’re riding on a cushion on top of some huge, powerful animal. The gear ratios are such that you’re barely shifting at all when driving in the city, so the ride feels a lot smoother than with the V6. You just hit 50 on residential streets and 60 on thoroughfares without realizing it.
When I drove it again at the second dealership, I turned the traction control off in the lot and had a little scare when I made my first left-hand turn at the light from the road leading off the lot. I pushed a little too hard and the back end just swung out. It was like driving a “normal” car on ice…and that was on dry pavement. Those things will definitely need a set of winter tires.
As for the V6, it is no slouch, let me tell you. It’s definitely not as poweful as the V8, and the difference is very noticeable. That said, it still feels very “peppy”. The missing power is mostly felt at the top end — the engine wants you to shift to another gear much sooner instead of just wanting to keep going in the same gear as with the V8. The gear ratios are different, so you’re shifting more, but you’re getting the higher rpms and it feels like you’re racing.
The V6 has more of a souped up “rice car” feel (and sound). At the lower, residential speeds, it feels like it’s a faster car than the V8 because of the quicker changes in acceleration due to shifting more often. The V8 is more deceptive in that sense because you’re not getting the changes in g-force as much (which tends to lead to “I didn’t realize I was going that fast” syndrome when you look at the speedometer).
If the V8 option wasn’t there to spoil you, the V6 would definitely be a fantastic choice. The V6 felt a lot more like the kind of car I’m used to. The V8 felt more like an animal.
While driving to the second dealership to try the V6, I was already starting to think that maybe I should just settle for that — that maybe the V8 was just too over the top. But after driving the V6, then immediately driving the V8 after that, I knew I had to get the V8. It just awakens something inside you…something that hearkens back to the days when men first tamed wild animals. It’s like you’re the first person to jump onto the back of a wild horse and you’re wrestling it under control.