2021 Chevrolet Camaro: Photos, Specs & Review

2021 Chevrolet Camaro: Photos, Specs & Review

The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is as sporty as ever, and SS models are motivated by

The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is as sporty as ever, and SS models are motivated by a 455-horsepower V8 that backs up the car’s muscular looks.  Chevrolet

American muscle cars as a cultural phenomenon may have peaked in the 1960s, but Chevy, Ford and Dodge are all still playing the muscle machine game, and today’s muscle cars are more potent, and more civilized, than ever. 2021’s fastest ZL1 Camaro can hit 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and pull an 11.4-second quarter mile, purpose-built drag racer territory in the swingin’ sixties. Even the four-cylinder base model has more power than the famous Iroc-Z of the Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister Era. 

Forbes Wheels Overall Rating: 73/100

As with the previous generation of Camaro, the car’s looks are meant to hark back to the very first 1967 to 1969 model. For that reason the current Camaro, introduced for 2016, was hard to tell apart from its 2010 to 2015 predecessor at first and still is to some degree. It’s sharp, menacing, and appropriately muscular, telegraphing its performance car intent even in base model form. An odd facelift in 2018 was changed again for 2020 for a more cohesive front end. It’s a looker, but probably the most subtle of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang muscle car trio.

The Camaro is a true performer no matter what’s under the hood and even the base four-cylinder models are fun to drive, with taut handling and more than enough power to enjoy a twisty road. That four-cylinder puts down more grunt than the old Iroc-Z of the Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard Era, and low-end muscle cars are much faster than the used to be. That said, it’s best had with a V8, and there are both 455- and 650-horsepower versions to choose from.

Comfort & Convenience: 12/20

The Camaro is best when used as a two-seater, as the back seat is nearly nonexistent even by the very modest standards of coupes and muscle cars. Poor outward visibility doesn’t help its cause, either. The trunk is a comically small 9.1 cubic-feet in the coupe and 7.3 in the convertible, well shy of the Mustang and abysmally tiny compared to the 16.2 cubic-foot Challenger.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Camaro a five-star overall rating while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives it Good ratings in most of its evaluations, but only an Acceptable rating for roof strength and Marginal for its LATCH system. Unfortunately, the Camaro comes with no standard active safety features, and the few which are available are all extra-cost options that are not available on every trim.

Fuel economy is generally an afterthought with performance cars, but the four-cylinder Camaro isn’t too bad. It returns 22 mpg city, 30 highway and 25 mpg combined with an automatic transmission and 1 to 3 mpg less with a manual. That’s better than most frugal V6 Challenger and even with Ford’s EcoBoost Mustang. The V6 Camaro falls behind the Challenger and has no direct rival from Ford. V8 Camaros fall between the mostly more frugal Ford V8s and the Challenger’s thirstier ones, and buyers can expect around 16 mpg combined from most of them.


  • Exhilarating performance in some versions, fun in all
  • Solid pricing and value
  • Muscle car style and speed


  • Feels like a cave inside
  • Trunk is laughably small
  • Back seat tight, even for kids

The Camaro is a vibrant performer no matter which engine option you choose, and it can also be a quiet, reliable and modern daily driver. It does ask drivers for more sacrifices, however, than its longtime rivals: the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. The Camaro is the newest of these three designs, with the current generation introduced for 2016. The Mustang was introduced a year earlier and the Challenger dates way back to 2009, but curiously, the Camaro can feel older than the other two inside.

Chevrolet has changed the Camaro very little since that 2016 intro apart from introducing ever-more-powerful performance packages. While there are rumors of an eventual EV replacement, the 2021 model gets only small additions. There are new paint colors, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard, and the powerful ZL1 1LE package is now offered with an automatic transmission for track day warriors who want to improve their lap times.

Higher-trim models come with nicer interior materials and a bit more interior color, but the Camaro’s cockpit can be dark and confining. The plastic materials, particularly in the lower-end trims, feel cheap.  Chevrolet

The Camaro offers a dizzying array of configurations, but there are four basic powertrains. The lower trims, LS ($26,195, including a $1,195 destination fee) and LT ($26,695 for the 1LT to $32,695 for the 3LT), start off with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 275 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. LT models can be optioned with the larger 3.6-liter V6, with 334 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Unlike four-cylinder and V6 Camaros of yesteryear, these are pretty quick machines that can hit 60 mph in the mid five-second range.

2021 Chevrolet Camaro Performance

While both the four-cylinder and V6 models are surprisingly strong, the true muscle car experience adds up to more than specs on paper. The sound, feel and look of the car are important, too, and the best way to get the full experience in a new Camaro is with a V8 under the hood. 

There are two 6.2-liter V8s available. The LT1 ($35,195), SS ($38,695) and SS 1LE ($45,695) models use the more modest of the pair, producing 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. This engine is responsive, strong and makes a sonorous V8 burble. The 455-horsepower engine can propel the Camaro to 60 mph in the low four-second range and turn a 12.7-second quarter mile, all while offering handling that would’ve been exotic sports car five decades ago. If that’s not enough power, the ZL1 ($64,195) offers a 650-horsepower, 650 pound-foot version of the 6.2, good for horizon-blurring speeds on or off the track.

The optional ambient lighting setup and larger 8-inch infotainment screen available on some of the top trims goes a long way towards brightening up the cabin, but even at the high end some materials don’t feel up the Camaro’s price.  Chevrolet

A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all models, with an eight-speed automatic optional on the LS and LT, and a ten-speed automatic optional on all by the base LS. All Camaros are rear-wheel drive, just like in 1967. They also come as Coupes and Convertibles (for a $6,000 premium) on all but the base coupe-only LS.

Depending on the trim, the car can be had with a dual-mode exhaust, which takes the sound from a pleasant rumble to a cackling roar in the blink of an eye, and the quieter setting makes the Camaro much more pleasant for highway driving and longer trips. The addition of an automatic transmission option for cars equipped with the 1LE track package may seem like a fun-killer, but the 10-speed gearbox can actually shift faster than any human, so it delivers both improved lap times and better fuel economy.

A variety of performance enhancing 1LE-labeled packages, ranging from $4,500 to $7,000 offer mechanical and cosmetic upgrades that improve both looks and dynamics. Chevrolet also makes an array of wheels and other performance parts available including an oil cooler. As in the 1960s, there are a slew of appearance packages and accessories options to customize the car, some of which run into the $5,000+ range.

The current generation of Camaro is less retro than the previous one, but it’s still a looker either in coupe or convertible form.  Chevrolet

2021 Chevrolet Camaro Comfort & Convenience

Though the Camaro’s challenging outward visibility can make a spirited drive more stressful than it needs to be, the car is at least quick on its feet. Chassis tuning is excellent and Chevy’s weight cutting efforts have yielded strong gains in agility, while good steering feel helps the driver set the car on the desired line. 

The poor visibility is a consequence of the Camaro’s long hood, low roofline and chunky C-pillars, all of which contribute to the car’s retro-cool styling. The cabin, while better than the previous-generation Camaro, is still a dark and dull cave of gray plastic. The interior materials, particularly low-end models, look and feel cheap and the low roof means it’s pretty dark in the Coupe, although Chevrolet offers ambient lighting as an option. There are many configurations of Camaro and as the price increases so does the plushness of the features, but all share the same basic interior structure.

You don’t have to spend a lot to have fun with the Camaro. Even the lower-end LS and LT models like this one are quick and fun to drive, though they lack features.  Alex Kwanten/Forbes Wheels

Front passengers have plenty of room, but the back seat is a no-go zone for adults. Even by the modest standards of the Mustang and Challenger the Camaro’s back seat is confining and dark. The same is true of cargo space. The trunk offers a puny 9.1 cubic-feet in the coupe and 7.3 in the convertible, well shy of the Mustang and teeny-tiny compared to the 16.2 cubic-feet in the Challenger. Cargo room may be way down on the list of Camaro-buyer priorities, but be prepared to pack light.

At the very least, Chevrolet’s Infotainment 3 software is colorful but easy to use and intuitive, making it less distracting to use while driving—especially at the speeds the Camaro is capable of achieving. Most Camaros come with a 7-inch infotainment screen, but the 3LT, 1SS and ZL1 configurations get a larger 8-inch unit that fills the space much better. All are now equipped with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2021 Chevrolet Camaro Safety Systems

The wireless additions are a useful tech upgrade, but the Camaro is lacking in standard and optional safety tech. There are no standard active safety features, and only a few are available as extra cost options. To get the only ones available, forward collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, rear parking assist and rear cross-traffic alerts, means upgrading to the 3LT, 2SS or ZL1 trims. The Challenger and Mustang also skimp on standard driver-assist gear, but they make a whole lot more of it available as options.

 The wildest Camaro is the 650-horsepower ZL1. Although that’s less power by the numbers than the Dodge Challenger Hellcat, the Camaro does a better job of turning power into fast lap times while the Dodge is primarily focused on straight lines and burnouts.  Chevrolet

2021 Chevrolet Camaro: Our Verdict

Chevrolet has packed its familiar muscle car with a sparkling array of powerplants and serious handling ability. The Camaro is a looker to behold from the outside, too, but the driving office is a dark and plasticky place with a useless back seat, and the car is bereft of many active safety features. The Camaro is faster and handles better than many versions of the aging Dodge Challenger, but Ford’s Mustang is nearly as sharp as the Camaro and offers a very similar experience. Both Challenger and Mustang offer more room, nicer interiors and more technology, particularly in the area of driver assistance gear.