It took Chevrolet a few years to build the new Camaro after its debut nearly ten years ago. Now the new ‘Maro has hit its stride and comes with a bewildering amount of trim levels. From four cylinders to eight, the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro is a pony car for the ages. It’s time to determine which trim level is best for your new Camaro.
It means looking at everything from infotainment to performance and figuring out exactly what “SS”, “1LE” and “ZL1” mean, and which of those mysterious terms is better.
The base Camaro isn’t worth it
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In many other cars, 275 hp is a lot. Tuning Volkswagen GTI pushes that power all day, and they’re a riot. However, 275 horsepower is not enough in the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro 1LS. While the name might lead you to think that it has somehow a 275 hp LS engine, it doesn’t. Instead, you end up with a turbocharged four-cylinder Camaro.
And at 3,351 lbs, the Camaro 1LS’s power-to-weight ratio doesn’t scream “pony car” at us. However, the optional manual transmission does and seeing as the Camaro is more of a sports car than a muscle car, it’s pretty much a must have in any trim. That said, your $ 25,000 is better spent on a more practical hot sedan than this thing.
The 2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is a V8 monster
Now on to the other end of the spectrum: the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. How about 375 extra horsepower over the four-cylinder Camaro? As many? We think so too, and Car and Driver too. The Camaro ZL1 is by far the most extreme Camaro you can buy. Well, unless there is a COPO Camaro drag. Fortunately, you also have a choice in the transmissions here, whether it’s a 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual.
Still, even at its price tag of $ 65,000, the ZL1 is incredible value. You have to add another zero to start getting that kind of power from any other sports car. You also keep a lot of the niceties (like leather and Android Auto) from the Camaro SS 1LE. There is no Porsche GT3 relief here.
Is the Camaro 1LE worth it?
This brings us nicely to the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro that you should really want. It’s the Camaro that everyone should have wanted for 40 years or so: the Camaro SS. Plus, the addition of the track focused 1LE package makes the new muscle car a true track weapon. Chevrolet adds a new differential, better brakes, suspensions and seats to take the Camaro SS to 11. Plus, that’s real value at $ 38,695. 455 hp is much more than a Supra, and for almost $ 10,000 less. Frankly, the Camaro SS 1LE with a stick might just be one of the best performance cars out there around.
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