Not long ago Chevrolet released a configurator to accompany the new Camaro. It’s an easy way to see all the specs and features for the many available trim levels, and there are a lot. Between many LT and a couple of SS options, as well as the 1LS and ZL1 closing off opposite ends of the spectrum, there’s a price point for everyone, no matter what kind of Camaro they’re after.
The engines range from turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinders to the supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The turbo starts at $26,195, which is reasonable, but the supercharged V8, deservedly so, takes a dramatic leap to $64,1945, or $65,790 with an automatic transmission. Fortunately, there is a middle ground, and it takes the shape of the LT1. Here’s why it’s the best choice.
The cost per horsepower is impossible to beat
First of all, its $35,195 price is well within range for someone looking at new muscle cars. The Ford Mustang GT starts at $36,285 while the Dodge Challenger arrives at $35,760. This means the Camaro LT1 with a manual transmission is the cheapest muscle car among its competitors. Hopefully, that will help its dismal sales.
Even though the Camaro LT1 has the lowest price, it’s far from being the least powerful. The Mustang sits comfortably at 460 horsepower from the smallest engine of the three, while the Challenger trails it at 370 with a 5.7-liter Hemi. The Camaro nips at the Mustang’s heels with 455 horsepower, from its massive 6.2-liter V8. For its price, the Camaro barely isn’t the most powerful among its competition.
Standard LT1 equipment already has a leg up
Consumers can get a Camaro LT1 without any extra packages and still come out on top. The LT1 comes standard with Brembo performance brakes in the front, an engine oil cooler, limited-slip differential, performance suspension, and a 3.73 ratio for the rear axle. It’s also one of the last cars to have a manual transmission. If all of that isn’t satisfactory there are plenty of options for customers to choose from.
LT1 lacks newer safety features
If safety is a concern, the LT1 yet again comes with a plethora of safety features as standard, including Chevy’s own Teen Driver feature. OnStar is also included, and various types of traction control. If the LT1 has a weak point, it’s in the lack of state-of-the-art safety features that are becoming more common on other, less expensive cars. Forward collision alert, lane change alert, and rear cross-traffic alert aren’t available to the LT1. However, cars are now much safer than they used to be, so just paying a little more attention to the road and surroundings make up for not having those features.
LT1 interior starts out basic but has plenty to offer
In terms of interior, the LT1 is fairly basic, but it has plenty of options to choose from. From the factory, it has all the usual refinements, including Bluetooth, a touchscreen, theft prevention, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, various leather-wrapped bits, and cupholders. Chevrolet offers many interior packages for the LT1 at modest pricing, giving the customer plenty of room to customize the car however they like.
Plain exterior with lots of options
Exterior-wise the Camaro LT1 doesn’t have a lot as standard. It’s a simple-looking car, but once again there are a lot of packages available for it. The car comes with run-flat tires, and we recommend replacing those immediately. Run-flats offer poor grip and are very expensive, and most insurance companies offer roadside assistance, so getting a flat tire isn’t as big of a problem as it used to be.
If shopping for a Chevrolet Camaro, and want the best bang-for-the-buck, the LT1 is the best option. It’s only $10,000 more than the 1LS but offers a massive difference in performance. It gets a better engine, better brakes, and better suspension, and it’s almost at Mustang power territory for less money.