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One of the greatest pleasures in life is storming an empty highway with the roof down. I did that when I screamed the empty switchbacks of Ghantoot recently in the new facelift 2014 Chevy Camaro Convertible. We got the 6.2 SS V8 which currently is on the market for about 200,000 AED (around $55,000 USD). Million Dollar Question: Will it overtake the upcoming 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible? More importantly, how does it compare with the current generation 2014 Ford Mustang V8 Convertible? Let's find out...
In my humble opinion, this is the most stylish convertible you will get in it's price range of around 200,000 AED or $55,000 USD. Period. Okay, I'm a Mustang fan too but please, LOOK at the Camaro! This is a car that breathes muscle. How many more movies does the Camaro need to be in to prove it's style? For one, I love the new narrower grille and the revised lights. It gives the Camaro a sleeker, edgier look, much more contemporary. The body character lines are straight up with no unnecessary curves, further solidifying it's stance. Finally it has 20 inch alloy wheels which is 2 inches more than the 2014 Mustang Convertible offering of 18 inchers.
The SS trim we got sported leather Recaro bucket seats, MyLink Infotainment system, navigation, keyless entry (standard on all trims) and 7 inch touch screen. And yes, a head up display which we loved. The leather extends to the gear box and steering as well. The front dash area could improve in terms of material finishing. It is overall a much improved interior compared to the previous generation, however you will still find lower quality material finishing in some areas. I have seen better quality finishing in similar priced coupes, however when looking at convertibles, this is a good quality cabin at this price tag.
The MyLink Infotainment system is quite intuitive and easy to use. Bluetooth, aux and USB are standard offerings. Navigation system can also be optionally added with added connectivity features. The convertible hood is a soft top and in my experience was very easy to operate. The car has to be at a standstill when the hood is to be operated so unlike German convertibles you cannot remove the hood while driving. It takes about 20 seconds for the hood to come down.
All major safety checkboxes have been ticked here, with front, side and curtain airbags, ABS, StabiliTrak Electronic Stability, front fog lamps, ISOFix child safety anchors, rear park assist and rear camera as well.
The front legroom is decent, however the front headroom might be an issue for drivers above 6 ft. Also the rear legroom is quite cramped so essentially only two adults can practically use the car with two kids at the back. Cargo room at the back is bare bones 320 liters which is good enough for a couple of small bags.
We drove the most popular trim, the SS 6.2L V8 which generates 432 HP and 569 Nm torque. Again, compared to 2014 Mustang V8 Convertible, it has more power and more torque (Mustang has 419 HP and 529 Nm torque). I personally loved driving the Camaro with the top down on Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. This is a head turner of a car and it's a real joy to scream around town in it. The acceleration from 0 -100 on average is about 5.5 seconds and it feels pretty darn quick on the roads, despite being almost 2 tons in weight.
This was a surprise. I always thought the Camaro was best left for a straight line. I was proved wrong. On twisty roads, I have revved the beast and hit roundabouts at 100 to find surprisingly good handling for the Camaro. It's not as good as, say Bentley Continental V8 but it's not bad. There is definitely understeer there but the Brembo brakes have a solid road grip and it's a far cry from the Fast and Furious persona of just being a straight line hero.
The Chevy Camaro 2014 Convertible is one of the best value for money convertibles in the market. It's main rival is set to launch the brand new 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible that promises to up the ante in terms of interior options and luxury. It's plus points are iconic looks and joyous drive, however the jury is still out on interior finishing and technology.