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 Post subject: Bonneville vs Camaro
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:43 am 
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Year and Trim: 2003 SSEi
So, for our anniversary this past weekend, I rented a 2011 Camaro for my wife to drive over the weekend. Sadly I missed getting the SS by about an hour and had to settle for the base model LS with the 3.6L V6 (312 hp, reportedly). We drove the wheels off it around the mountains in Northern Utah. Took a few pics, here’s a small sample:
Here’s Kim excited to hit the road.
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In the parking lot at Snow Basin. Nice place in summer and winter.
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Old Snow Basin Road. Kind of road you dream about driving on. The Camaro liked it.
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Ran into this classic for sale in Ogden Canyon. Another road you dream about driving on, but this one is rather congested and there have been many deaths on this road, so we took it easy.
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What was my impression of the Camaro and how does it compare to the Bonneville? The V6 was peppy, and the 6-speed automatic it was hooked to seemed to complement it. The engine liked to rev and would shift at 6k when I got on it. It seemed to lack cajones in the bottom end, though. I was disappointed that I couldn’t do a smokey burnout in it. In fact, I couldn’t even squeal the tires at all. I think it was a combination of a weak bottom end and the electronic throttle – the servo seemed programmed to ease the gas on. Hopefully the SS is different – it would suck not to be able to fry $400 worth of tires with 420 bhp. Once it got on the pipe, however, it scooted along pretty good.
The car was comfortable inside and the front seats were roomy considering the size of the car. You sit low in it and the small side glass was more than tolerable. The A and C pillars did make a couple blind spots at times, but it wasn’t bad once I got used to it. Not much room in the back seats, but not bad for folks under about 5.5’ tall.
The strength in this car, besides the way it looks, is the way it handles. It has a firm but very nice ride. And it corners like the tires were made of 2-sided duct tape and the road was covered in contact cement. It was an absolute hoot on twisty canyon roads. Very positive steering, no sense of oversteer or understeer – it felt very confident in the corners. Loads of fun.
Here’s how the 2011 LS Camaro stacked up to a 2003 SSEi. I was surprised in some areas!
Ride – Draw, if you keep in mind that the Bonnie is 7 years old. The Camaro felt tighter, but it only had 700 miles on it.
Cornering – Advantage Camaro. Smaller, lighter, very sure-footed.
Room/Comfort – Advantage Bonneville. Slightly. It’s a bigger car, what do you expect? Not that the Camaro was uncomfortable by any means, but of course the Bonneville is going to have a bit of an edge in creature comfort and room – it’s a 4 door sedan.
Off the line – Advantage Bonneville. By a couple car lengths. And it pulled the Camaro up to about 50-55 mph (just over the speed limit, when we shut ‘em down). That was surprising because seat-of-the-pants impression suggests the Camaro was faster. Would have liked to have found a place I was comfortable to let them run out a little longer, but didn’t have time.
Rolling start – Advantage Camaro. Nailing it from about 30 mph the Camaro would take the SSEi every time. By the time the Bonnie found the right gear the Camaro had already launched.
Rolling start from about 5 mph or so – Advantage Bonneville. We rolled around a corner onto the on-ramp then floored them both. I was behind in the Bonneville and easily kept pace with the Camaro. I had to back off, in fact. Kim said she had the Camaro floored. That surprised me.
Top Speed – unknown. We never had the Camaro over 80 mph. Just didn’t feel the need to tempt a ticket. Sorry.
Next time I’m holding out for the SS. Stay tuned for the sequel…

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 Post subject: Re: Bonneville vs Camaro
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:11 am 
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You will find that most new muscle cars have the "burn-out" problem. The big thing now is the audio. It matters not what is under the hood anymore...sad. With audio fad going on now, it is now becoming more challenging to install a system now in newer cars. Just my opinion. :ack:


Last edited by J Wikoff on Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bonneville vs Camaro
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:00 pm 
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viper79 wrote:
You will find that most new muscle cars have the "burn-out" problem. The big thing now is the audio. It matters not what is under the hood anymore...sad. With audio fad going on now, it is now becoming more challenging to install a system now in newer cars. Just my opinion. :ack:


Eh, I wouldnt call the trim they got the muscle version. And actually, whats under the hood is becoming a lot more popular.

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 Post subject: Re: Bonneville vs Camaro
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:03 pm 
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The Camaro might actually be heavier than the Bonneville.

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 Post subject: Re: Bonneville vs Camaro
PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Location: Sycamore, IL
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3750lbs for LT auto and smidge lighter for manual.

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