We’ve already highlighted some of the quirky features of the Camaro which owners are just going to have to live with. As the days have passed, a few more have come to light!
I thought the large screen infotainment system would include a sat nav system but apparently it doesn’t. Well, if it’s there, you are certainly going to struggle to find it.
The boot is huge for a convertible, except the opening hatch through to the space is tiny. The boot lid doesn’t feature a proper internal handle either, so on a wet November day in England, you will get your hands dirty.
Access to the rear two seats – little people only – looks straightforward enough, except the handle to lower the front seat forward is situated in the wrong place, so you have to reach right in to the car to find it.
And finally, it has tiny sun visors, which are fixed forward. That means if the sun is shining in from the side of the car, you will be left squinting.
Individually, these little things don’t add up to much but together, they might become a daily headache…
Today I was at Reading University interviewing a cyborg. No, it’s true. Professor David Warwick had implants put in his arm which tapped in to his neurological system and allowed man and machine to work in almost perfect harmony.
I had a similar experience driving there in the Camaro. In so much as I finally started to feel at home is a tail happy, 400bhp rear-wheel drive, left-hand drive car. Believe me, add too much acceleration on a wet roundabout and it becomes interesting.
The Chevrolet ate up the miles on the M4 – as well as the petrol – and was supremely comfortable. It’s rather quirky, in a 1980s sort of way, which makes the whole experience of driving the Camaro quite endearing.
The dashboard is a strange mix of modernity, like the head-up display and large screen infotainment system, and retro ‘almost’ cool. A rash of four dials in front of the auto gearstick reminds me of a sporty Italian car from 40 years ago – totally pointless, unless you really do need to know your oil temperature on a clock-like dial.
Having covered almost 200 miles, it was time to put some fuel in too! Did I mention it was thirsty? 17.8mpg thirsty to be exact. Ouch.
It’s taken a few days but the muscle and character of the Camaro is finally beginning to win me over. Once I’d had the chance to drive it outside of the urban environment, the 6.0-ltre Chevy proved an absolute blast!
I swear the entire front end lifts up when you hit the accelerator and the roar from the twin exhaust pipes is just too tempting to ignore. I’ve finally mastered the head-up display now too, which flashes the speed and various other features just above the line of the bonnet, reflected on the inside of the windscreen. Cool.
While there is plenty of flex in the convertible’s body design – manifested in the odd squeak and rattle – the Camaro is actually a very comfortable and quiet drive. The front seats are vast, like your grandfather’s favourite armchair.
The one place you don’t want to be sitting in this car is the passenger seat on a country A-road. It’s not that my driving is so bad, just that the Camaro is so wide you really do have to keep your eye on your lane positioning.
Sometimes you need to stand back a few paces to get the true picture – and that’s certainly true of the Camaro. Compared to your average British car, it’s the size of Texas.
It’s almost five metres long, which for a sports car is BIG. And tipping the scales at just under 1800kg, it’s way heavier than any European competition too.
So that 400bhp of burbling V8 under the enormous bonnet is actually doing a remarkable job powering the Chevy to 60mph in 5.2 seconds. All I can tell you is that when you do hit the accelerator on a straight stretch of road, the Camaro pushes you back in the seat.
It’s definitely not the car for blasting around the country lanes of Gloucestershire but on a decent A-road, the burly Yank is a lot of fun indeed…
Three times I have walked up to the Camaro – three times I have walked up to the wrong door. I’m used to driving left-hookers after living in France but something as wide as the Chevrolet is quite a handful through an English high street!
The 6.2-litre V8 is actually quite refined around town, well unless you factor in the 12mpg that is. Be warned though, the slightest press of the accelerator lifts the bonnet and sends the American surging forward.
Unlike a Ferrari or Aston Martin, the Camaro doesn’t let out a highly-tuned squeal when you do decide to make progress. It’s more of a gut grumble, or as a famous motoring writer once penned of TVR exhaust pipes, ‘like two lesbians moaning in a bucket’.
Despite the ridiculous stripes over the car, the retro looks and in-your-face image, the Chevrolet is quite civilised on a day to day basis. If only they made a right hand-drive it would be even more feasible. That and a following petrol tanker…
Shy, retiring types need not apply… Not only is today’s new test car a rather bright colour, it also boasts two racing stripes over the bonnet and boot lid. Eek.
American muscle cars don’t come much more brawny than the Chevrolet Camaro. It sits squat, wide and very long on my driveway, screaming performance, in an outdated, very expensive to run type way.
How expensive? Well, apart from the £42,000 price tag on our test car, the best fuel consumption we can hope for is 21.5mpg in the combined cycle! Or 14.9mpg around town.
Not only that but CO2 emissions are a massive 304 g/km, which means an annual road tax bill of just over £1,000.
All that power and left hand-drive too – it’s going to be an interesting week. Right, I’m heading to the shops to see if I can find a parking space big enough…
Motoring journalists don’t often admit to stuff like this but I will. After six days in the Chevrolet Trax, today I noticed a little button I hadn’t used before. It was hidden away at the bottom of the centre console and read ‘ECO’.
Hmm. No idea why Jessica or I hadn’t spotted it but it’s certainly easy to miss, below the level of the knob on the gearstick.
We’ve already found the 1.7 VCDi engine has plenty of torque and lively performance but with the ECO button turned off, well, the Trax is even more fun than it was before. I’d recommend driving with ECO off around town and along A-roads – then press it in for high-speed motorway journeys.
I’ve read some fairly uncomplimentary reviews of this Chevrolet SUV but as an overall package, I’m still a fan. It might bounce over potholes and lean into corners but there is plenty of fun to be had.
You will need to ignore the wind and tyre noise, especially at higher speeds, some of the interior trim is also a little on the cheap side too.
Trax remains a lot of car for the money. It has lots of storage compartments (I stopped counting at 19) and with the rear seats folded it can carry more than a Skoda Yeti or a Nissan Juke.
All the engines in the range are from the General Motors stable, so are well proven in Vauxhall and other Chevrolet models. Everything is backed up by a 100,000-mile, five year warranty.
Trax is also one of the few cars we have handed back lately with fuel in it – perhaps not surprising when you learn it is capable of 55+mpg on motorway trips.
So, if you like the styling and wants something a little different, an SUV that isn’t faultless but bags of fun, the Trax must be on your shopping list.
The Trax, like a lot of cars these days has Stop-Start to boost fuel economy. I have been averaging around 48mpg, which I think is pretty decent for any SUV in everyday driving situations.
The Trax also has another stop-start system which I can’t quite work out. Over the last six days I have stalled it at least eight times. Which is eight more than I have stalled any other car this year.
It seems to happen at low speed, then the Chevrolet is winding down to a standstill. I Put my foot on the clutch as I brake and then, well, the engines dies!
No idea what is going on but it can be very disconcerting, especially if I have the DAB radio on and can’t hear the engine noise. Today I tried to pull away at a junction and absolutely nothing happened.
It’s the only black spot on a very willing, if rather noisy drivetrain.
I bounced around Mongolia once in a Land Rover Discovery. It was about the same time as the Mongol Rally, when people from the UK drive all the way there in cars which have to have an engine smaller than 1-0-litre. Oh and the cars have to be cheap – very cheap!
I’m disappointed that Chevrolet don’t make a 1.0-litre version of the Trax because it seems like the perfect Mongol Rally machine. The original Fiat Panda 4×4 has always been a favourite in the race but not many have survived the test of time.
Like most SUVs, the majority of Trax sold in the UK are going to spend their life on Tarmac. Today I had a chance to run it along some dirt roads and grassy fields – it performed really well considering it was on road tyres.
The short wheelbase and lightweight makes the Chevrolet perfect for uneven ground. OK, it may not be as comfortable as larger sport utility vehicles but with a decent set of off-road tyres, I reckon it would be unstoppable!
If ever there was a British Bulldog of car design this is it. The Trax may be short on stature – 4.25 metres of it – but the front end looks like a mutt straining at the leash.
While the rest of the car is sculpted-out conventional SUV, that Chevrolet front end is what really bites you on the bottom. In fact, if you added a set of wider wheels and painted it black, the Trax would be a bruiser of a 4×4 to look at.
The only problem with having such a large front end is that wind noise can be quite intrusive at high speed – not helped by the elephant-sized door mirrors which are simply enormous!
However, the built quality is pretty rugged and robust. The doors shut with a reassuring thud and the interior is practical, with 1370 litres of space if you fold the rear seats flat (356 litres with the back seats in place).
Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying the 128bhp diesel engine. You have to work it hard, which might be tiresome in the long run but it’s simply great fun to drive.