2013 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2LT Road Test Review

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Available in a number of different iterations, Chevrolet's Oshawa, Ontario-built Camaro offers three different engines (soon to be four), two different transmissions, and two different body styles. In this case, the LT designation means it runs Chevrolet's 3.6-litre V6 engine. Camaro Convertible models thus equipped are offered with both 1LT and 2LT trim packages.

A set of 18-inch alloy wheels supports 1LT models as standard equipment. Fog lamps, six-way power seats, automatic headlights, cruise control, keyless entry, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth, OnStar, and a six-speaker CD/satellite-based sound system with an auxiliary audio input jack round out the package.

The 2LT Camaro features all of those items, in addition to 19-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and auto-dimming rearview and driver-side mirrors. A Rallye gauge cluster on the center console, along with a head-up display, rear park assist (standard on all convertible models), and a rearview camera are components of the 2LT package as well. The 1LT's six-speaker audio system is supplanted by a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system. Rounding out the kit are heated front seats and leather upholstery.

You can upgrade either V6-powered model with the $1,715 Rally Sport package that adds 20-inch alloys on 245/45 front and 275/40 rear summer performance tires, HID headlamps that feature a halo ring, and RS badging.

Camaro Convertible's soft-top is capable of stowing itself or deploying itself within 20 seconds. This means if you roll up to a traffic signal just after it goes red, you'll have more than enough time to lower the top and still be able to check the envious stares of the other drivers at the signal upon pulling off that smooth move.

Since it folds in a Z pattern, the outside of the top protects the headliner when the top is retracted. A tonneau cover is offered, but it's really a pain to use. Given the top folds flush with the body of the Camaro when it's down, the tonneau is almost irrelevant though.

Raised, the top's line blends nicely with overall design of the car, making the Camaro Convertible one of the rare drop tops that looks good with the top up too. A glass rear window and an acoustical headliner keep the car quiet when the top is in place. The rear window is also equipped with a defogger to aid visibility in inclement weather.

The Camaro was designed from the onset with a convertible variant in mind, so its structure is not significantly compromised by the fact the top can be opened. A single latch secures the top to the windshield frame, making its operation a much simpler process. Chevy pairs a rearview camera with the soft top to improve rearward visibility when the top is raised.

As much as we appreciate the retro-inspired exterior, the similarly influenced interior brought a rather significant flaw forward from the 1967 Camaro. We're referring to the placement of the "Rallye" gauges on the centre console, tucked up near the bottom of the dash. Frankly, any gauge requiring a driver to take their eye completely off the road and look down into the depths of the interior of the car to glean its information is both dangerous and useless.

On the other hand, we like the look and the intuitiveness of the new Chevrolet MyLink touchscreen audio system. Capable of interfacing with smartphones, MyLink enables control of audio apps like Pandora and Stitcher, while also accommodating Bluetooth audio streaming from your mobile device.

The 2013 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 2LT is fitted with GM's 323-horsepower, 3.6-litre V6, which generates 278 ft-lbs of torque. With a six-speed automatic transmission, Chevy claims 11.4 L/100km in the city, 6.8 on the highway, and 9.3 combined. Acceleration with the V6 is adequate, if not exactly exceptional, but the exhaust note leaves a bit to be desired. We imagine thrust might be better with the manual transmission, but that sophisticated sound the best sporting-oriented V6 engines emit is MIA.

Around town, on the highway, and in less athletic situations, the Camaro rides smoothly, is reasonably quiet (for what it is) and is more than capable of holding its own merging into fast moving highway traffic. However, size is its Achilles Heel. The Camaro is just too big to really enjoy blasting along an open mountain road-which is where we enjoy pleasure driving the most. Now, this is not to say the Chevy isn't agile. Every Camaro model possesses a significant amount of agility. If you keep in mind the Camaro is a sporty car, rather than a sports car, you probably won't be disappointed. Still, there is a number of more driver satisfying V6-powered performance cars out there.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Convertible, Chevrolet, 2013, Camaro Convertible, $20,000 - $29,999, $30,000 - $39,999, $40,000 - $49,999,

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