2021 hasn’t exactly been kind to Camaro sales so far. First, the Chevrolet muscle car’s brakes stopped sales in Washington and California. Then, as is the case with many vehicles this year, Chevy halted Camaro production due to chip shortages. And this is all following the Mustang and Challenger overtaking the Camaro in the market. Naturally, this means a few sacrifices; specifically, the loss of some Chevrolet Camaro 1LE powertrain options.
The 1LE package turned the Chevrolet Camaro into a track-ready “corner killer,” Hagerty says
To be fair, ‘1LE’ isn’t actually a Chevrolet Camaro trim level. It’s an options package to give the muscle car some extra track prowess, Hagerty explains. And initially, the 1LE package was only available on the V8-equipped Camaro SS.
However, in 2016 Chevrolet introduced a 1LE package for the V6 Camaro, Car and Driver reports. The supercharged ZL1 1LE came two years later. And in 2019, Chevrolet gave the Camaro Turbo a 1LE package, too. But, while all these Camaros offer a 1LE package, that package changes somewhat between the trim levels.
Admittedly, many of the 1LE goodies are shared with each Chevrolet Camaro engine option, Car and Driver reports. Specifically, a limited-slip differential, sportier suspension, Brembo front brakes, and grippier tires. Each Camaro 1LE also comes exclusively with a short-throw six-speed manual, and extra engine oil, transmission, and differential coolers.
However, it’s here where the 1LE packages start to differentiate themselves. The Turbo and V6 models, for example, have an upgraded fuel system borrowed from the SS model. And the V6 gets a dual-mode performance exhaust on top of that.
The Camaro SS 1LE, though, has automatic rev-matching, an electronic LSD, Recaro seats, and adaptive magnetorheological dampers. And the ZL1 1LE comes with extra aero features, a carbon-fiber rear wing, Multimatic dampers, Brembo rear brakes, and extra suspension adjustability. The Turbo and V6 models could order the Recaro seats as options, though.
But, while the Chevrolet Camaro Turbo and V6 1LE models don’t have the grunt of the SS and ZL1, they’re still excellent track cars, MotorTrend reports. Motor1 called the Camaro Turbo 1LE “a hot hatch hunter.” It can out-handle and out-accelerate a Camry TRD, which costs roughly the same, Automobile reports. And the V6 1LE is no less fun, Automobile reports.
For 2022, there’s only one engine available for the Chevrolet Camaro 1LE
Sadly, the budget-priced fun is just about over. The 1LE package only cost $4500 on the 2021 Chevrolet Camaro V6 and Turbo, a value that aftermarket mods couldn’t replicate, MT reports. But even though it’s a performance bargain, simply not enough people bought into it.
Or rather, not enough people bought into a non-V8-powered Camaro, The Drive reports. GM claims that the LT1, the cheapest V8-powered Camaro, now represents roughly 25% of Camaro sales. So, to shift production where the sales are, Chevrolet is canceling the 1LE package on the Camaro Turbo and V6, Road & Track reports.
As a result, for 2022 the cheapest way to get a Chevrolet Camaro 1LE is to buy a 1SS model. The 2021 model starts at $38,795; the 1LE package is a $7000 option. In comparison, a 2021 Camaro 1LT Turbo 1LE starts at $30,995.
What does this mean for its rivalry with the Ford Mustang?
Because the Camaro SS 1LE is sticking around, Chevrolet still has a rival for the more handling-focused Ford Mustangs. The closest thing to the 1LE used to be the Mustang GT PP2, but that, along with the GT350, was discontinued in favor of the Mach 1. But considering the GT PP2 wasn’t as fast or sharp as the Camaro SS 1LE, the Mach should be the better rival, Car and Driver reports.
However, the loss of the Camaro Turbo 1LE means the Ford Mustang EcoBoost HPP no longer has a direct rival. The Turbo 1LE also broadly competed with the Toyota Supra 2.0 and the Subaru BRZ. And with its loss, Chevrolet no longer has a true bargain offering in the same vein.
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