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Old 27th May 2017, 15:41   #1
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Default A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8914.jpg


At the end of the Michigan to San Francisco road trip I undertook with my mom after completing my graduation, where I drove through the most scenic parts of US during 7 days, I reached San Francisco on Saturday afternoon with my flight due on the coming Monday.

Now I was unsure how long the lease return process would take on my leased 2015 Ford Fusion so I set up an appointment in advance for Saturday evening itself to return my lease with the Ford dealership closest to the Airport. It was surprisingly quick and we were home in a total of 2 hours. With another day to spend in the San Francisco area, we were scratching our heads on what to do since we've been to the area before and covered all the touristy spots. Mom wanted to go meet 2 of her childhood friends who lived close to SF but that would take 2 hours at most nevertheless we would still require a vehicle.

Rental Tips

Now I must thank Team-BHPian saishivaj for the tip he shared in his own travelogue regarding USAA members receiving discounted rates at Car Rentals as I signed up with USAA immediately after reading his thread in anticipation of a time that I would have to rent a car. A simple google search showed me that Avis had the best discounts for USAA members and I made an account with them as well. Being a USAA members not only waived the young renter's fee but also unlocked the rest of the Avis fleet that people under 25 are not allowed to rent.


The Rental Rollercoaster


*UP*

I did not start the booking process until after returning my lease because there was a good chance that the Ford dealership could refuse to accept my lease return due to lack of space. After returning from the Ford dealership, I opened the Avis website and saw some good discounts (Presumably like a one day before discount). The Camaro was available for around $65/day but for some reason, before putting down the deposit online, I wanted to call the Avis phone number and check what exact car was available since it says "Camaro or similar vehicle" on the website.

*DOWN*

The person online to start off with, was not very friendly and after a initial few questions, asked me for my age. I informed him straight and true that I was 21 years of age. At this point he tells me that even though I am a USAA member, I will not be allowed to rent any cars other than a Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze or a Ford Fusion and he was not sure why the system was allowing me to do so online (even after entering my age).

Now I was very confused and saddened by this information. I tried again to check the website for any information regarding what the Avis spokesperson had just told me and to my shock the prices had more than doubled . Apparently, it was barely a minute after 9pm and bookings after 9pm are considered very last-minute. A Ford Fusion was now $65 and a Camaro now over $100. I was pretty bummed out by the fact that now I would be paying nearly $120 (including taxes) to rent the same car that I had just driven across the country and could've just kept my own car to drive for free. Nonetheless my mom still wanted to go meet her friends who lived in the area nearby so I booked a Ford Fusion from 8am Sunday till 6am on Monday and went to sleep all sad. :(

*UP*

The next morning, I was so tired and unmotivated to drive that I reached the Avis office at the SFO airport at around 11am instead of 8. I went and stood in the line but then a super nice lady who was just starting her shift at work asked me to come up to her desk so she could review my reservation. As a one last beacon of hope, I asked the lady what was the reason I was unable to book the Camaro. She took a couple seconds to look at the screen and told me "Hmm. It says here that you're an AvisPreferred Member as well as a USAA member. You are absolutely eligible to drive the Camaro SS. We have a 2017 Camaro SS here in our garage. Let me check if it's available" And available it was. The difference between booking a Camaro and a Ford Fusion was $30 so it was an absolute no-brainer for me. Now, a regular Camaro SS booking is also limited to 300 miles/day but for being a AvisPreferred Customer, that limit was removed for me too! And that is the story of how my date with the Camaro SS started.


A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-vtoh.jpg


Chevrolet Camaro SS Quick Review
  • Steering - The car featured 3 different modes aka Tour, Sport and Track but they did not seem to affect anything other than the turning resistance of the steering wheel. (They might affect other things with Performance pack) Now when it comes to steering feel itself, the modes were actually quite counter-intuitive. You would think that the Track or Sport mode would be fun for the twisty mountain roads but it made the wheel so heavy that you were fighting the car to make it turn and it wouldn't unwind itself when you let go. Tour mode was actually perfect for twisting roads with enough resistance and feel to allow you to drive with confidence but light enough that you could chuck the car around. Track mode actually came in handy on the super straight highway drive where the heavy steering wouldn't budge and veer the car on the smallest undulations on the road. The car wouldn't budge out of it's lane and the small corrections I usually need to make to keep it in the lane were reduced to a great extent.


    A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8922.jpg

  • Engine - The Engine featured in the Camaro SS is the 6.2L 455hp LT1 V8 motor that pulls like a freaking freight train as it revs to it's 7,000 rpm limit. Every time I pinned down the throttle it was like a time warp sensation for me. The car would start accelerating at a furious pace and would not let up until you let go of the gas pedal. Overtaking other cars was a breeze and the steps were simply, point and shoot. The torque down low starting at 1,200 rpm is very strong which I'm assuming is thanks to 6.2L size of the engine. The sensation can also be described as being launched from a catapult although you do have brakes to slow yourself down.

  • Gearbox - The gearbox in the SS was 8-speed unit which is average at best. In automatic mode, it works well to keep you in the right rev range according to the speed of the car and the throttle position. In manual mode, there is still a delay between the paddle and the actual shift to the point where sometimes when I tried dropping multiple gears, I didn't know how many gears the car has already dropped and if it was ready to go. Quite disappointed that the character of the gearbox doesn't change with different modes. One would assume it would hold lower gears with Track mode but it still is in a hurry to find the 8th gear and settle down.

  • Handling - Handling of the Camaro was very neat. It took all the corners I threw at it in the back roads of Lake Tahoe very well. I wasn't ballsy enough to turn off traction control yet but with the power on tap, rear wheel slides through every corner would not be very hard.

  • Braking - The brakes on the Camaro were the standard 13.9 inch rotors, 4-piston calipers on both the front and back. They shed speed very well without drama on the highway but I would still recommend the upgraded 6-piston from the Performance pack if you want to do some track time because the pedal feel was soft and bite not sharp enough. Maybe that's because its a rental car and was driven like crazy but maybe it's just the brakes since that car had only 1500 miles when I picked it up.

  • Seating - The seats were average and not much to speak of. My mom had actually sat in the 2016 Mustang 5.0 the day before when we were at a Ford dealership and the standard seats in the V8 Mustangs were much more supportive according to my mother and I share the sentiment. (not the Recaro seats which are available as an option)

  • Sound - I had a tough time enjoying the note when I was focusing on making sure I don't crash but I did enjoy the sound it made in upper rev ranges. Otherwise the car was much too quiet. You can hear the V8 rumble to life at startup but that's about it under 4,000 rpm. I'm sure a Performance exhaust can fix that for you but this being a rental, it's just a base SS without any options. Something I must mention is that the tire noise was so loud that it must have been the culprit at hiding the engine note that was missing. I'm not sure if it was the roads or the GoodYear tires on the car but damn I had to crank up the stereo on the highway just so I wouldn't have to listen to the annoying tire noise.


    Attached below is a clip showing start up and an in gear acceleration. You can almost hear the tire noise after the car starts up and begins to roll. I would expect a V8 muscle car to be a little louder than that. The delay in the paddle shift click and the gears actually dropping can also be heard.




  • Ride - The ride and refinement of the car overall was a little harsh when compared to the Ford Fusion I had driven for the thousands of mile before this, joints on the freeway and potholes actually hurt your behind and you should probably slow down for both. But at the end of the day, it's sports coupe not a family sedan and firmer suspension is to be expected.

  • Kitna deti hai? - On a round trip of a little over 500 miles, with 400 miles of highway and 100 miles of spirited driving, I was able to get 23.7 MPG aka 10 kmpl which is not bad considering I was revving the engine just to enjoy the sound quite often.

  • Entertainment - Since on a 500 mile road trip, I can't just enjoy the engine note the whole time or I'll be breaking land speed records and jail time records at the same time, ICE was quite important. The OE system that was installed in the car was functional but not very intuitive. The car did feature CarPlay but I had trouble opening up Waze (GPS) and Spotify at the same time while my iPhone was connected to CarPlay which got frustrating after a while and I just switched over to streaming music over Bluetooth. The Ford SYNC (ver 2 and 3) are much easier to figure out and use. The screen for the ICE was also tilted downwards for some reason unknown to me, and as a tall person, it made it harder for me to control.

  • Space - As a roadtrip car, space to carry luggage is also important. The trunk might be spacious and easily fit a full size suitcase but the entry to trunk was so small, I had to legit squeeze my suitcase hard to push it in there. Thank my lucky stars that it wasn't a hard case suitcase because then there would be no chance it would go in. No joke, I had 4 full size suitcases in total and had to make 2 trips between the hotel and the airport just to bring all the luggage over. 2 Suitcases can fit in the rear seats but why not reduce the rear seat space (zero leg space anyways) and give a better, bigger boot opening. Suitcases in the rear seats are just tough to put in and block rear visibility.

  • Visibility - Visibility in the car is not very good thanks to the thick B pillars. There is no convex part in the mirror either to fill in the blind spots, something even my Ford Fusion had, due to which each lane change involves shaking your head left to right to try and check the mirror for cars behind you. Turning your head and looking is useless due to the width of the body. Your best bet is to accelerate fast and change lanes so that you're only having to account for cars that were already in front of you.


    A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8918.jpg

  • Ergonomics - As far as ergonomics go, I only had trouble with placement of the A/C vents. They were under the screen and blew air directly at the gear lever. This was also the only place that I could put my phone (for navigation) and that did not bode well with the phone. Maybe switching the position of the ICE screen and the air vents would be better? Gotta give props to Chevrolet for the great design in incorporating the temperature and air flow dials into the vents though.


    A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-2016chevroletcamarointeriordetailedvideophotogallery_9.jpg



Route


A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-map.jpg


The route included taking the state highway all the way to Lake Tahoe which includes mostly 4 lane super straight roads all the way to the Lake. On the way back, we drove along the edge of the lake and took some twisty mountain roads that were mostly 2 lane highways. On multi-lane highways, the Camaro commands a presence where most people will move out of your lane when they see the Camaro headlights in their rear-view mirrors or try to get into a race with you. On a two lane highway, most people will also let you through during the 2-mile passing zones that are scattered throughout the route, but for me it got a little annoying when a Chevrolet Impala who was unable to overtake the SUV in front of him during these passing zones, would still block the left (passing) lane in an attempt to do so, when it is proper canyon etiquette to let someone pass when they are obviously more capable and right behind you, even the law says that "slower traffic please stay to the right". I was never breaking the law since the speed limit was 65 mph but most vehicles were moving much slower since it is unnerving for them to take a fast twisty corner at that speed and I am still a civil driver and will never overtake someone while crossing a double yellow line (not meant to be crossed). Finally after 4 instances of the Impala blocking the left lane and passing no one, I downshifted to the right gear, gave the lane change signal as the passing lane was about to start and drove right to front of the line. The Impala as usual pulled out into the passing lane behind me and barely overtook one vehicle before falling back in line without overtaking anyone.

I guess the lesson here is that, please drive safely when you're on twisting mountain roads, don't push yourself or your car more than you're comfortable with and let cars that are more capable through instead of blocking their path.

A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_4641.jpg


Reflection

After coming back to the hotel at around midnight, we packed up and then drove to the airport at around 6am, making 2 trips back and forth just because all the luggage wouldn't fit in the car, although being able to drive the Camaro SS was absolutely worth making the extra trip. The return process was as easy as driving the car back into the Avis garage and telling them that the fuel tank was full. Now that I'm back in India and driving my Skoda Laura TSi, driving the Camaro SS for a whole day has kind of spoiled the fun I had in my Laura since my receptors for acceleration have been reset. (Remap definitely on the cards now). Overall, next time I'm back in the US for business or pleasure, you'll definitely see me in the Camaro SS. Booking in advance can cut the price upto 50% so you can bet that I'll do that as well.

Let me know if you guys have any questions about the car or the trip that I can answer and I'd be more than happy to do that!



Other Pictures


Clear Skies and an Empty Highway
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_4375.jpg


San Francisco!
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8887.jpg


Mom meeting a friend from High School after 25 some years!
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8899.jpg


Road towards Lake Tahoe
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8904.jpg


Ayy Ayy
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8915.jpg


Driving along Lake Tahoe
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8937.jpg


Gotta keep the Speed Limit in mind
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8941.jpg


Road back from Lake Tahoe
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8943.jpg


Sun is shining!
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8945.jpg


Snow at Lake Tahoe!
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8950.jpg


Multi-colored Skies in the evening
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_8954.jpg


Credit to my mom for taking most of the videos and photos for the travelogue.

Last edited by GTO : 30th May 2017 at 08:46. Reason: Taking live - thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th May 2017, 08:50   #2
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Default Re: A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th May 2017, 14:30   #3
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Default Re: A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

Found a picture in my phone that shows why we traveled to Lake Tahoe in the first place.

A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_4644-1.jpg
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Old 5th June 2017, 18:13   #4
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Default Re: A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalajprakash View Post

Now I must thank Team-BHPian saishivaj for the tip he shared in his own travelogue regarding USAA members receiving discounted rates at Car Rentals as I signed up with USAA immediately after reading his thread in anticipation of a time that I would have to rent a car. A simple google search showed me that Avis had the best discounts for USAA members and I made an account with them as well. Being a USAA members not only waived the young renter's fee but also unlocked the rest of the Avis fleet that people under 25 are not allowed to rent..
Please can you post the link for the travelogue regarding "USAA Members" shared by Team-BHPian saishivaj. Would be of great help. Thanks.
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Old 5th June 2017, 18:21   #5
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Default Re: A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

Quote:
Originally Posted by embee View Post
Please can you post the link for the travelogue regarding "USAA Members" shared by Team-BHPian saishivaj. Would be of great help. Thanks.
Here you go.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...mazda-6-a.html (USA: 5,700 mile road-trip in a Mazda 6)
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Old 19th June 2017, 22:38   #6
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Default Re: A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8

What an iconic American muscle car ! One could admire it for hours and not get bored. There is something about the raw experience of the American muscle car that appeals viscerally to the senses.
Your post brought back memories of the time I had a rental Camaro for 3 days in US. Sadly, it wasn't the the V8. But considering I had booked a Camry, I was lucky to get a Camaro. I spotted one in the lot when picking up the Camry and asked if the Camaro was available. Presto, I was upgraded FOC. The 3 days with it were memorable. Although I followed speed limits strictly, I still took every opportunity to floor the throttle, like when exiting a toll booth. Pure delight. The only issue was to be careful not to be in anyone's blind spot. We were almost run over by a pickup truck that decided to suddenly take an exit from the middle lane. Low slung sports card do suffer due to not being visible from big vehicles.
Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories. Sharing a pic.
A date with the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - 6.2L 455 hp V8-img_4357.jpg
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