Chevrolet Debuts New 2019 Camaro to Mixed Reactions

For a long time, many complained that the sixth-generation Camaro didn’t differentiate itself enough from its fifth-generation older brother to even warrant a new generation. Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore as the camo has officially been cut loose on the 2019 Camaro and it’s…well, it’s interesting.

While the sixth-gen mid-model refresh does have a distinctly new look, it’s a pretty shocking departure from the styling of the 2016-2018 model years. The front fascia has been completely re-worked, as has the rear. Right now, we are trying to reserve passing judgment on the new looks, but our knee-jerk reaction was not great.

External Updates

However, we’re going to hold our tongues for now, since we weren’t a huge fan of the sixth-gen when it first debuted and it’s now one of our favorites of all time. We know that the sixth-gen still isn’t some people’s cup of tea and this refresh is not going to help if that’s how you feel. The headlights now seem to be floating in a large honeycomb grille and the lower vents have been reworked substantially.

The 2019 Camaro Turbo 1LE joins the track-focused 1LE lineup, offering an FE3 suspension and new Track and Competitive Driving modes.

Things improve with the SS styling, at least we think, with the addition of a black bar bisecting the grille which seems to give the front end more balance. The hood on the SS has also been reworked with heat extractors that are moved further toward the rear of the car and appear to be similar to the 5.5-gen’s. Gone are the two scoops flanking the sculpted lines of the muscular hood.

Chevrolet says the new grille has been optimized for airflow and the SS will receive the now iconic flowtie and “aero-enhancing curtains,” which has already seen integration on the new Silverado. LED-accented headlights will come standard on the SS while the RS will actually deliver full LED headlights (instead of just accents) as well. However, the front ends of the LS/LT, RS and SS will be distinctively different, giving them their own unique appearance, thought the ZL1 will remain largely unchanged as “it has already been optimized for airflow.”

The 2019 Camaro’s updated designs are not only striking but also help to improve performance.

At the rear, the fascia has been redesigned to look less angular and it appears that the SS badge looks less forlorn than on the previous sixth-gen. The biggest change, however, is the rounded rear taillights. According to Chevrolet, they are “a more sculptured evolution of Chevrolet’s signature dual-element design.” The LS and LT will receive standard red taillights while the RS, SS and ZL1 will receive dark-tined neutral-density lenses. They honestly remind us of something that would be more at home on a Malibu, but they aren’t the worse thing in the world. But aside from the looks, Chevrolet has made some pretty big updates to the underpinnings of the cars.

Under the Hood

For a long time now, the sixth-gen’s biggest strength has been its fantastic drivetrain and even better interior build quality. Even if you don’t care for the looks of either of the sixth-gens’ aesthetics, they are easily the best-built, best-driving Camaros of all time, and that hasn’t changed. In fact, it just improved with Chevrolet announcing that the SS will be available with the 10-speed automatic transmission and line lock from the ZL1.

2019 Camaro SS now offered with 10L80 10-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission featuring custom launch control and line lock.

Just the 10-speed alone would be worth updating for us, but Chevrolet wasn’t content with just updating the V8 models. For the first time ever, Chevrolet will offer a Camaro Turbo 1LE — a four-cylinder 1LE equipped with the same track-capable performance as the V6 1LE. This includes larger diameter stabilizer bars, specifically tuned dampers, stiffer cradle bushings and the full range of go-fast goodies including larger wheels and tires. According to Chevrolet, when equipped with the turbo four-cylinder, the Turbo 1LE possesses near perfect 50/50 weight distribution.

Tech Updates

Rounding out the updates to the 2019 Camaro are the additions of Chevrolet’s next-gen Infotainment 3 system and an integrated rear camera mirror. The rear camera is said to drastically reduce the Camaro’s substantial blind spots. Forward Collision Alert is a nice safety add, but the best addition in the tech department is the availability of the Performance Data Recorder al la Corvette.

Overall, the updates are relatively minor but help to enhance one of the greatest Camaros ever produced. While we may not be stoked on its looks right now — in fact, we searched around to see if this was an April Fool’s day joke we missed somehow — just in the last hour or so, the car has already grown on us. Whether or not that eventually equates to us loving it is to be foreseen, but we encourage you to do the same and give it a little time to sink in. After all, it can’t look any worse than the new Mustang.

About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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