It’s what you’ve all been waiting for, Camaro five vs. Camaro six. Ever consider trading your fifth-gen in for a sixth-gen? Or are you trying to make a decision on which one to buy? Well, we got our hands on both in 1SS trim level and we put them to the test! As you can see, 2016 is an all-new car. Our shootout began when Wheaton Chevrolet of Regina, Saskatchewan offered us their 2016 Camaro to try. They think we are going to try and make their car look better than our fifth-gen so that you will buy it; that is not the case. We are going to tell you our experience with both cars after a full day of testing! We started off by driving the two cars through the city down to Wascana Park where there are some nice winding roads and great scenery. After some good driving, and great pictures, we found an empty parking lot away from all the attention so we could get the cars side by side for a true comparison.
These two cars, both being Camaros, look very similar, but are completely different. Camaro Six is on an all-new Alfa chassis similar to the Cadillac CTS and ATS. For Camaro models, however, the Alfa chassis was reworked. The Camaro shares only 30 percent of its parts with other platforms; the main difference being its wider suspension track– besting the CTS by almost 2 inches. When building the all-new chassis, GM’s focus was to make it stiffer and lighter, but not necessarily stronger. The improvement in weight and ridgity was accomplished by shortening the width, length and height dimensions. The dimensional changes, along with the extensive use of light-weight materials, make Camaro six approximately 200 pounds lighter than the previous car, depending on options and trim. Magnetic Ride was added as an option along with different driving modes including snow/ice, tour, sport, and a very aggressive track mode. We had a lot of fun in track mode. The extensively-new technologies incorporated into the Alpha chassis help provide better numbers, and possibly a better car.
Built on the old Zeta chassis, the 2015 Camaro felt like a strong competitor. The fifth-gen can do everything the new car can do (and almost just as good). Handling was very similar. Both cars’ independent suspension felt stiff yet not too harsh and stuck to the pavement like glue. In fact, we raced the two cars and the 2016 only pulled ahead by half a car length. The previous generation Camaro includes a 426-horsepower 6.2L LS3/L99 V8 with the option of a 6-speed auto or manual. The new car has an 455-horsepower 6.2-liter LT1 v8 with the option of a similar TR6060 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic 8L90 in which our test car was equipped. The new engine and transmission options make the new car much more powerful and efficient. Of course the new-generation car has more bells and whistles, along with the latest design, but for some people, it’s just about having the speed. It’s about the old Camaro race car heritage with the ability to modify with ease, and that is exactly where the Camaro five is superior.
After driving the two cars back-to-back, performance was very similar. There is just something about the new car that makes it clear that the Camaro five is outdated. Jumping into the drivers seat of the 2016, you immediately notice it is a lot more driver-focused. Everything is facing the driver and is placed within easy reach. Interior is also built with higher quality soft-touch materials, similar to the C7 Corvette. Hit the push-button start and you immediately notice the upgraded technology with an all-new infotainment system and Apple CarPlay. Different driving modes, and active rev matching, help you drive like a pro. Like we said before, we had a lot of fun in track mode. When in the track setting, the dual-mode exhaust bypasses the mufflers making for a very aggressive sound. Ripping through eight speeds using the paddle shifters involves the driver ever bit as much as the 6-speed manual, for a true sports car feel. In the drivers seat of the previous generation car it felt basic. Some may like the simplified feel of the fifth-gen car, and we respect that too.
We were really impressed when we found that the only shared part on the two cars was a few emblems. If you add up the pros and cons, the fifth-gen is arguably built stronger. The fifth-gen did bring Camaro back from the dead and it also retains its simplistic heritage. The sixth-gen has been modernized with new electronics such as an electronic e-brake, driving modes and fancy lights. In fact, we love the new bells and whistles. Not only has the interior has been improved, but the exterior looks outstanding, and all performance numbers have been improved. Making a decision on these two was hard, they are both great cars. If you are not a fan of all the great technology used in the sixth-gen, a first-gen might be a better choice for you. The sixth-gen car won’t set you back much more than a lightly-used fifth-gen these days and you have the pleasure of being the first owner! Camaro six preformed better and provided a better driving experience overall than the pervious generation, you get more for your money and it looks better! Thanks again Wheaton Chevrolet for letting us test the new 2016 Camaro. It really is worth going brand new.